Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Light Lehengas: Wedding Season 2013

I am sure that most of you like myself are stuck in constantly attending wedding soiree after another at this time of the year. While traditionally bling has always ruled when it comes to dressing for Indian bridal (the bride and even her friends), experimental fashionistas are also stripping off the excesses and fitting into ensembles that do not weigh 20 kilos. Although it remains to be seen in the main wedding ensem of the bride, ladies are increasingly picking minimal outfits for the lesser functions. Nothing is a taboo anymore -- be it black, neon, or the absence of blind-you-in-the-eye embellishments.

This new shift is not limited to just anarkalis or saris -- lehengas go light too this wedding season, and here we present our top choices from Pernia's Pop Up Shop to rock that mehendi, sangeet and cocktail -- those that have neo twists, yet look traditional enough.


Aniyat by Taniya O' Connor:
The jacket of this lehenga set features applique work, embellished by zari and ari work. I love the fan-like gota work that accentuates the tie to the panelled skirt.

Ridhi Mehra: This raw silk lehenga embraces the much-seen European influences seen in ethnic couture shows this year. Featuring gold dori work with embellished shoulders and a minimal net dupatta, this ensemble works really well for those who have dancing feet.

SVA: The hot pink and hip-length jute kurta combined with the deep blue of the velvet underskirt lends ample Indian flavour to this lehenga set. Oversized pom pom ties, alongwith a sheer net dupatta completes the ensemble -- I say perfect for those who wish to hide a few problem areas.

Priyal Prakash: Being an ever-loving fan of polka motifs in Indian wear -- from mehendi 'golas' to mirror work -- this lehenga instantly caught my attention. Crafted out of raw silk and net featuring sequin and gota work, the vermillion red pops out beautifully against the bottle green.

Ohaila Khan: Neon does not seem to be going off the trend pages anytime soon, and this ensemble with that delicious green border caught my eye instantly. Kasab embellishments highlight the dupatta.

Anita Dongre: I am the biggest lover of Anita Dongre lehengas around I bet. Crafted in raw silk with gota patti work all over, this lehenga is also available in many other colour variations at Pernia's.


Anju Modi: Totally loving that draped tunic! Crafted in Chanderi with raw silk accents, and applique, this lehenga is definitely breezy!A part of it features block printing, finished off with resham-dori work on the hemline.

Atsu: The long choli on this lehenga is created out of lace highlighted with mint-toned sequin embroidery work. The flowy, simple net underskirt also feature minute sequin motifs. I think the mint green and peach palette is what that makes it work well.

Pernia Qureshi: Featuring embellished shoulders with pleated sleeves, the raw silk kurta in this lehenga features a cut out in the midriff. Paired with a simple flowy skirt with dull-gold borders on the hemline, and a net dupatta, I am loving how classy it gets!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Economics of Buying a Chanel 2.55

Today is a very somber day for me. For 3 months now I have been planning, plotting and saving (all attempts in vain because I always find some other stuff that I am in dire need of) for another Chanel 2.55 bag. The first one I own is a reissue and I have been feeling the lack of a classic model with the interlocking C's. So a few days ago my husband took pity on me and said he might consider chipping in (chipping in is an understatement as I have only saved about 1000 dollars). The operative word being pity. So I get all excited and tell the boy, let's go "see" the bag. You know secretly hoping that he would just whip out the credit card and say okay here goes.

Hello you gorgeous red reissue!

Sadly, no such luck today. As the lady brings out this beautiful beige bag in caviar skin with the lovely gold hardware and leather intertwined in the shoulder strap I am smiling from ear to ear, dreaming about parading around town with it that very moment.The current price of the bag was INR 330,000 which if you apply even the slightest bit of logic is steep. So the husband says to me, let's think about it and check the price in an EU country as they are usually cheaper there. He's got a point there so I very sadly leave the Chanel boutique.

Despite the fact that I know I will get that bag sooner or later because that's just the way it is for me once I lay my eyes on something, I got down to thinking about the opportunity costs of my prospective new Chanel. I crossed the Celine boutique and thought hey I can get 2 mini shoppers or 2 trapeze bags for that price. However, since I already own one of each, I let that be a fleeting thought.. for now at least. But I'm still wondering about all the other things I can purchase. Should I really go buy a new Celine, or should I add some more money and buy diamond earrings? Obviously diamonds can be a much better investment.Should I instead ditch all of that and go on a shopping spree and fill my closet with more sweatshirts (maybe the Givenchy Bambi one this time), DVF dresses, a few Manolo's, maybe another Saint Laurent Paris clutch, or even the Lanvin LOVE necklace that I've been eyeing, or how about the Valentino Rockstud shoes?

The options are plenty. But it all boils down to one thing, how badly do I think I NEED that Chanel. What will be the marginal utility of a new classic 2.55 in beige caviar skin with gold interlocking C's? Will it render a better return on investment like diamonds? After all, classic Chanels do go through a regular price hike (the economic term would be "Fashion Inflation").

After a long hard hour spent thinking, I have decided to give my vote to my beloved Chanel. Diamonds, dresses, sweatshirts all come and go. Economics, opportunity costs, marginal utility..bla bla bla..A Chanel my lovelys is forever. So are diamonds, but umm currently all logic prevails until I bring home that little black box. 

Remembering Isabella Blow

I love reading about people in the fashion industry that inspire me and am constantly on the search for the next new book. One of the books that struck a chord inside be was the one on the legendary Isabella Blow (Blow By Blow - The Story Of Isabella Blow written by husband Detmar Blow). 

I’m not sure what about her really got me to be such a huge fan. Was it her penchant for over the top hats, was it the craziness in her personality paired with the darkness she was so often consumed with, was it that she discovered Lee McQueen and Philip Treacy and many more talents? Or was it simply because she herself was one of the most creatively dressed women I have read about? What was it? All I knew is that one glimpse of her picture and I was a die hard fan.  

A Bill Cunningham image from one of the fashion weeks

A little while ago, the late fashion queen's clothes and accessories were being sold off at a Christie's auction in England to settle some finances, when her good friend and heir to the Guinness empire, Daphne Guinness bought the entire collection. The Isabella Blow Foundation & Central Saint Martins then teamed up with Somerset House to present an exhibit of her wardrobe named Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore which is now open to public until 2nd March 2014. 
 Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore

From her complicated, to say the least, aristocratic upbringing to her perpetually broke days before she committed suicide, Issy’s life was one hell of a roller coaster. She started her career under Anna Wintour and has worked with some of the best fashion publications in the world including the renowned Tatler, British Vogue and then The Sunday Times. The book left a lasting impression on my heart and in this short post I want to talk about some of my favorite anecdotes from the book. 
The first one being her discovery of Lee McQueen. Only Issy could have made a remarkable discovery like that. She liked outrageous fashion, fashion that was pretty much unwearable the first time she saw it, fashion that broke all the rules of the fashion rule book, fashion that had overwhelming shock value. She quoted once in an interview "I hate crap. I like craftsmanship with a little room for fantasy". I guess London was the best place for such discoveries. Issy was not one to enjoy the confinement of an office and go through look books et al to find new talent. She preferred to be scouting the streets of London for that. In June 1992, she attended the graduation show at Central Saint Martins and came home in awe of a particular collection she had just witnessed. That student was none other than Alexander McQueen. So in love with his collection she was, she ended up buying the whole thing (they say it costed 5000 pounds) and poor McQueen would come around the Vogue offices to collect the cash in installments with clothes in a bin liner! I cringe just at the thought of a simple McQueen top barely grazing a bin liner!! Despite the fact that his clothes were initially despised by the fashion fraternity especially his "Highland Rape" collection and another one which depicted slavery, she still had faith in the designer. Today, the brand is iconic to say the least.

Burning Down The House - Photographed by David LaChapelle

Another one of her greatest discovery was milliner Philip Treacy who she stumbled upon at the Tatler office (this was before she came across McQueen). Treacy was there to collect a hat that he created for a shoot and shortly after that Issy started ringing him to create exceptionally unusual head gear (it was to be medieval) for her wedding (her wedding dress is another story all together!). The final creation involved her head and neck be bandaged in pale pink chiffon, whilst the real head gear was kind of like a gold crown with intricately cut gold lace filigree on the sides. Talk about a crazy wedding hat! She paid all of 60 pounds for it. 
The wedding day - Wearing a Philip Treacy hat

In a Philip Treacy "Arrows Of Love" hat

An eternal friendship

Moving on to her wedding dress. No white, no tulle no pearls. Dark violet velvet with an embroidered necklace with faux stones on it inspired by Moghul India was what she wore instead. It was created by Nadia La Valle.
The unusual wedding gown

One of the most recurring names you read in the book is Hilles, the stately home in Gloucestershire owned by Detmar's mum. She had fallen in love with or rather was obsessed with the estate and spent a lot of her own money to restore it and breathed new life into it. It came with William Morris carpets and spectacular 17th century Mortlake tapestries on the wall depicting scenes from the bible. This undying love for Hilles has a lot to do with her own family closing up their ancestral home, Doddington Hall which had a huge impact on her mentally as one discovers in the book. I guess it served as some sort of a replacement. Overtime, this became a party hub for the who's who of the fashion and society circuit such as Malcom McLaren, Sophie Dahl (one of the models she discovered and who she claimed was "a blow up doll with brains), Stella Tennant and so on.
An aerial view of Hilles

One of the saddest parts I read about was her manic depression which manifested itself throughout the years. It lead her to 7 failed suicide attempts and one that eventually took her life. She had this great love for life and adventure which would get crushed as she came face to face with numerous heart breaks. Losing her baby brother, her own mother abandoning her with just a cold goodbye, her wealthy father barely leaving her any money upon his death were some of the events that took a toll on her.Once McQueen was famous, she felt that he had no use for her anymore. After he moved on to Givenchy, she was hoping he might get her a job but there was nothing. Only a free dress here and there. Her fragile relationship with Lee, impacted her drastically. She felt everyone was moving on and forgetting her.
She exchanged her Manolo's for flats after a suicide attempt that lead to broken ankles

This exhibition is to celebrate the style icon's exceptional wardrobe. It's to celebrate that she will NEVER be forgotten. It's to celebrate her discoveries. To celebrate her love for craftsmanship. To celebrate one of the most influential and original women in the fashion industry. Her clothes comprised of some of the most avant-garde creations and she always topped her outfits with a flamboyant Philip Treacy hat which became her signature. I wish I could be in London during the period of the exhibit. It would have been a dream come true for me to see her clothes and hats up close. Thank you Daphne Guinness for reminding the world again of the unforgettable element of grandeur that Isabella Blow brought into the fashion industry.
 Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore

 Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore

 Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore

 Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore

 Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore

 Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore

Philip Treacy & Detmar Blow wearing his wedding sherwani

Stella Tennant, another one of Issy's discoveries

The amazing Daphne Guinness

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Accessories Trends SS 2014: Season's Funkiest Clutches

Our readers would know all about our clutch and bag obsession. And hence I wanted to present these two micro-trends from SS 14. One's whimsical and rather refreshing, whereas the other simply epitomises words such as chic, glam, et al.

1. Strong on summer themes, clutches of SS 2014 embrace graphic glory!

How about some cool graffiti upon your hand-candy? SS 2014 had signature clutch-specialists adding more bold illustrations to their designs. Urania Gazelli's handmade plexiglass collection is inspired by playing card motifs. That's a king in your spring -- with customisable monograms. Edie Parker did a beach inspired collection. Limited to his signature shapes, and enhanced by seaside graffiti, fruit patterns, and stripes, these are surely to become a collector's hottest finds from the designer. I was also happy to see very limited glitter, unlike his previous collections. Brazil's darling, Serpui Marie had ample numbers inspired by animal designs -- owl, giraffe, zebra, and this macaw clutch that I totally love.


2. Blinging just about right, metallic fervour descends season after season!

Metallic is one trend that pops in and out every season in a variety of forms-- from trims, to accents, to even full-fledged coverage. And out of the repertoire of metallic clutches this season, I feel these stood out. Louboutin's oval clutch has signature studs and a bullet clasp. Nina Ricci's minaudier was accentuated with a mirror mosaic. Anya Hindmarch's shape is the factor that caught my attention. Valentino's golden clutch has golden gryphons caressing it on either side.


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Little Black Glove

For the past few days, I've been going through this leather glove phase. I'm not talking gloves used to keep your hands warm. I'm talking Karl Lagerfeld-esque accessorizing kinda gloves. So yesterday as I got dressed up to go to a friend's house party, I decided I wanted to be all black (think Karl's signature outfit). I paired black skinny pants with black suede knee high boots, a black blazer, a white shirt and a cherry red 2.55 reissue bag. My ensemble was relatively simple. To spruce it up a bit, I added a pair of cool cut out gloves from Zara which I bought because there's no way I could order and receive the Karl Lagerfeld ones by late evening, so I had to make do with what I could get my hands on. Speaking of making do with what I have, I could have done with a cooler black jacket but we're talking compromise here.

Anyways, I have decided that a pair of sexed up leather gloves are a must have in a girl's closet. May I remind you again that these would be to accessorize only and not for warmth. An even cooler pair would the the fingerless leather ones. It's amazing how these little things can transform a look completely and are versatile enough to be worn with jeans, black dresses, etc. My next look that I am going to try with this newly discovered accessory is a red silk shirt tucked into a black leather pencil skirt, black stilettos or knee high boots and of course the gloves. What do you think?

I'm currently crushing on two of Karl Lagerfeld fingerless gloves (scroll down to see images). Click here to purchase the pair with embellishments on them and here  for the cut out gloves with studs on them.

Karl Lagerfeld  Attens crystal-embellished leather fingerless gloves

Karl Lagerfeld studded leather gloves

My cool new cut out gloves

Me from the previous night

The LEGEND ... Karl Lagerfeld

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Kitsch Launches Eina Ahluwalia Jewelry & Engages In A Philanthropic Collaboration With Tahir Sultan

On the 12th November I had the pleasure of attending the ever so fabulous Kitsch boutique for the launch of Eina Ahluwalia's jewelry and also see Charu &Priya Sachdev's philanthropic side as their joined hands with designer Tahir Sultan.

Kitsch has always been one of my favorite boutiques in Delhi and I can't tell you how many times I have harassed Manasvani (their super sweet sales girl) to find out prices of one designer bag or the other (Celine & Saint Laurent Paris to be more specific). The boutique stocks all my favorite brands and it's always a pleasure to step into the very chicly decorated store to browse through the DVF and Victoria Beckham dresses.

I first came across Eina Ahuluwalia's jewlery whilst browsing Perina's Pop Up Shop when one particular pair of earrings caught my eye (Respect Protect earrings) and i recall thinking, hey this is some interesting stuff and eventually browsed through the designer's entire collection. When I saw the collection personally two days ago, I had to somehow stop myself from buying the "LOVE, RESPECT, PROTECT" brooch that Eina herself was wearing and being a baroque lover, I once again did everything I could to NOT take out my credit card to purchase this gorgeous baroque-esque cuff (I'm going through a frugal phase as I'm saving money for two more Kenzo sweatshirts and a Chanel Boy bag). If you haven't visited the boutique yet, I suggest you make a trip soon. More so if you're keen on purchasing the sailboat earrings Deepika Padukone was seen wearing (P.S they're super pretty ).

Aside from showcasing the gorgeous jewelry, the Sachdev sisters have also teamed up with Kuwaiti-Indian designer Tahir Sultan to give back a little to the society. Tahir & Manvendra Singh Shekhawat's not for profit organisation, I Love Jaisalmer employs female artisans who create beautifully embroidered cushions and home accessories. Whilst protecting the city's heritage, the foundation also creates sustainable employment for women which renders them independent and enables them to earn a living. The extremely colorful and pretty cushions and bed covers are now available at Kitsch. Isn't this the perfect way to decorate your home and give back to the society at the same time?

Please scroll down to enjoy the photographs from the event.

L-R: Pia Pauro, Anita Bajaj, Ad Singh (P.S I have that Vogue hardcover book you see in the background)

Charu Sachdev with Sanjay Sharma

Designer Eina Ahluwalia assisting a guest who is wearing the sailboat earrings 
L-R: Priya Sachdev, Rohit Bal & Kalyani Chawla (my FAV!)

Prerna Subha & Edward Lalrempuia (notice the pretty cushions in the background)

L-R: Eina Ahluwalia, Charu Sachdev, Prerna Subha

Eina Ahluwalia wearing the LOVE, RESPECT, PROTECT brooch

L-R: Vikram Baidyanath, Tahir Sultan, Priya Sachdev (Aren't the cushions pretty)
Kitsch New Delhi - 011 46098212

Image Courtesy: The Sachdev Group

Monday, 11 November 2013

Dior X Harper's Bazaar India - A High Tea Affair

As you all may have seen by now, the highly celebrated November issue of Harper's Bazaar India is now on the news stands with a very FABULOUS Chitrangada Singh in head to toe Dior on the cover. This very special issue included a stunning photo shoot in Paris featuring a Dior clad Chitrangada. 

For the launch of the November issue, the House of Dior hosted a high tea at their press office in Vasant Vihar and of course the who's who of Delhi were attendees. The decor was done by the couture house itself and was extremely elegant and chic especially the floral arrangements. I also loved the 3-tiered trays with macaroons and other bite sized desserts. Nom Nom Nom! 

Moving on to the fashion bit of the event, Kalyani Chawla looked lovely in the all black silhouette paired with the Mise En Dior pearl jewels. Being a handbag lover, I was obviously checking out the bags more than anything else. It was great how a few of the ladies stayed true to the theme with their Lady Diors and even cooler when Niamat Bakshi was carrying her limited edition Andy Warhol clutch

Please scroll down to enjoy the photographs from the launch.

The lovely Kalyani Chawla & Chitrangada Singh

How gorgeous is her Dior ensemble

L-R: Prerna Subha , Tanisha Mohan and Chitrangda Singh (Aren't the Andy Warhol shoe prints exquisite?)

L-R: Akanksha Aggarwal , Kalyani Chawla , Chitrangda Singh and Priya Sachdev

Anisha Sabnai with Niamat Bakshi (notice her Andy Warhol Clutch)

Ayesha Thapar

L-R: Bindya Judge, Kalyani Chawla, Preah Narang

Loved the floral arrangement by Dior

Lisa Lal

Niamat Bakshi & The Cover Girl

L-R: Nishat Fatima, Chitrangada Singh, Samara Gupta

Priya Kapur

L-R:  Priya Sachdev, Ayesha Thapar, Niamat Bakshi

Image Courtesy: Christian Dior