Saturday, 17 May 2014

Bag Review - Fendi Anna Bucket Bag: Love At First Sight


Brace yourself ladies, there's a new bag on the block and its FABULOUS. Enter the Fendi Anna Bucket Bag. Launched for the FW 13/14 collection and inspired by Anna Fendi, it is the house's latest baby from their iconic Selleria line and comes in the most delicious colours. Available in two versions, grained leather (my absolute favourite!) or intrecciato leather, the Anna has quickly become immensely popular with celebrities like Cara Delevingne, Uma Thurman and many more. For those of you who love to monogram your name on the bag, worry not. The intrecciato version can be customised with your name or initials just like Rihanna and Rita Ora did. Almost an IT bag, I think so!

3 ways to hold your Anna! L-R: Uma Thurman, Naomi Campbell, Sharon Stone
Cara Delevingne with her customised Intrecciato Anna

Featuring impeccable craftsmanship, the Anna is entirely handmade and consists of 1,322 tone on tone stitches that hold the buttery soft Roman leather together. Oh and this bag features the new Fendi Roma logo heat pressed on the front. Moreover, any bag from the Selleria line takes over a day to create. The artisans go through lengthy procedures starting from selecting the leather, designing the model of the bag, cutting the leather and finally stitching the bag to ensure perfection. I strongly recommend you to watch this video to get a sneak peek into what goes on behind the scenes.

The bag is in line with the current minimalist aesthetic but keeps the Fendi traditions alive in every possible way. The shape is what I love the most on the Anna. It's slouchy, however the asymmetrical stitches add a bit of a structure to it. In addition, its very non-fussy and functional. You can sort of just throw in all your essentials and are good to go. I find this very appealing when I invest in a new bag. The optional, adjustable shoulder strap is a major plus point (I almost NEVER buy a day bag without a shoulder strap), because when I'm out and about or travelling, it gets very painful for me to hold the bag on the nook of my arm.

Also, the bag is devoid of too much hardware making it very light and easy to carry. The protective feet on the base means I don't need to start fretting about putting the bag on the floor. I get the weirdest looks from people when I make a fuss about placing any of my bags on the floor at a restaurant or even in someone's house. Sometimes I pull an extra chair to seat my bag.

P.S. The Anna is now available in two sizes (medium and large) at Fendi boutiques. Check with the DLF Emporio store on +91 11 4604 0777 for availability.

In the meantime, click on the names to see super fun lifestyle videos of five supermodels Esmeralda Seay-Rynolds, Binx Walton, Devon Windsor, Joan Smalls, Nadja Bender play with their Anna bags!

Image Courtesy: The Communication Council


Friday, 16 May 2014

Currently Trending: Statement Earrings

What I love about this spring's biggest hair trends (braids, messy updo's, slick ponytails) is that most of them consist of pulling your hair back and revealing your ears. I love nothing more than to tie my hair up and put on a pair of statement earrings on a night out or even for a luncheon. Be it a pair of large crystal hoops or an edgy ear cuff, or even a pair of chandeliers, this summer, don't be afraid of experimenting with bold earrings. Here's what I'm eyeing.

1. Dolce & Gabbana X Victoria & Albert Limited Edition Earrings - These limited edition earrings, specially created for the V& A museum's Glamour of Italian Fashion exhibit are just to die for. I've always loved the duo's Italian inspiration on their clothes and accessories and these earrings are no exception. The macramé lace, the cabochons and a figure of a lady embossed on the gold; it would be a crime not to add them to your accessory closet! I can totally imagine myself on a Sicilian holiday in a summery floral dress, hair tied up in a messy bun with these earrings dangling happily in my ear. Ah, picture perfect. Click here to purchase.

2. Valliyan By Nitya Bubbly Flower Earrings - Whilst I'm a big fan of Nitya Arora's large statement accessories, sometimes you need a few pairs of earrings that have an everyday appeal like these pretty flower drops. The size is perfect. Not too big that you cant wear it during the day and not too small that they go unnoticed. I also adore the contrasting colours and materials used; lilac semi-precious stones set against black crystals. Click here to purchase.

3. Maithili Kabre Crystal Hoops With Chains - This upcoming jewellery designer's appeal is not only her amazing designs using crystals but also a very accessible price point. My BFF ordered five pairs after I posted an interview with her on the blog. I have these hoops in purple crystals without the chains and just a few days ago I bought this pair too. I wore them to see the husband at the studio the same day and all the boys noticed and complimented me on them (mind you, the husband had no clue I had them on, but husbands are bit funny that way!). The shiny two-tone crystals are set in brass and the chains are so playful. For INR 3500, I think it's a steal. Contact the designer on +919819451906.

4. Viktor & Rolf Safety-Pin Earring - When I saw the SS 14 collection last year, I just couldn't get over the safety-pin detailing. They were seen in the form on necklaces on the runway, ear cuffs and as zip fasteners on the clutches. So funky! This tongue in cheek earring in an instant conversation starter. Wear it in a single ear or buy another one to wear in both ears; whatever the case, it will surely turn heads anywhere you go. Click here to purchase.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Dior Cruise 2015 - It's All About The Scarf

Despite the magnificent runway set, the cute sailors, the branded ferry and stunning views of Manhattan island, nothing could take the attention away from what really mattered; the clothes. Raf sent down a collection that was gorgeous as ever. The silhouettes were very fluid and airy with a bohemian touch to it whilst being impeccably French at the same time.

This time, it was the silk scarf, an accessory quintessentially Parisian that served as the collection’s leitmotif. The presence of the scarf was everywhere. On blouses where the neckline was nonchalantly folded over, on coats where the hemlines seem to represent the pointed part of the leitmotif or even skirts that looked like they had been crafted by joining printed scarves. In my opinion, the most beautiful of the looks were the dresses created from a patchwork of embroidered organza squares. Bound to sell out as soon as they hit the boutiques.
Florals and abstract brushstroke prints were also seen on flowy silk dresses, jackets and blouses. “I wanted an element of playfulness in powerful looks, it was an element of freedom coming into those looks,” explains Raf Simons. Clashing prints like that on the cocktail dresses comprising of sequences on the bust, florals on the bodice and stripes on the skirt added a slightly rebellious albeit a super cool touch. Speaking of rebellious, how cool was it that the models were wearing different earrings in each ear?

Moving on, no Dior show is ever complete without Raf’s rendition of the iconic BAR that was seen in the form of coat dresses with fluid handkerchief hemlines or in tweed with varying colour tones and fringed edges. In addition, there were ultra-high waisted bottoms out of which a favourite was a black fur skirt. What I love most is the detailing in his clothes that completely change the way an outfit looks. Case in point being a silk jacquard top worn over an embroidered cotton skirt with an oversized pocket. The silhouette of the pocket is on the outside as opposed to underneath the skirt. So playful. Every look displayed exquisite craftsmanship as always, however the black and white hand-woven raffia dresses which took nearly eight people to create stole the show. The contrasting print under the bust was so beautiful.  

With each passing season, Raf Simons liberates and empowers women to another level. Be it combining sneakers with haute couture dresses or sending light and easy to wear silk dresses down the runway;  there are only a few who understand women the way he has and continues to do so.

Please enjoy some photos of the collection below or click here to see the entire collection.



Image Courtesy: Christian Dior

Dior Cruise 2015 - The Scene

Expect the unexpected is my new philosophy when it comes to Raf Simons. Who would have thought that the Dior cruise show would be held at a navy yard in Brooklyn! The Duggal Greenhouse, where the show took place is one of New York's hippest venues and Bureau Betak built another floor at the greenhouse for guests to enjoy an even better view of the spectacular Manhattan skyline along with the bridge. Just when you thought you've figured Raf out, he pulls another trick from under his sleeve. The who's who of the fashion world and other celebrities were "shipped" to the venue on customised Dior ferries. And by customised I mean really customised! Dior monogrammed on the ship, on the seat covers inside the ferry et al. On site, guests were greeted by these gorgeous Dior clad sailor boys passing around cocktails. What fun!

Please enjoy some photos of the set and the celebrities in attendance. My review will be posted in another blog post.

The set

The breath taking view

Lazaro Hernandez & Jack McCollough

Marion Cotillard


Celebrity and set images: Christian Dior
Ferry and waiter images: Women's Wear Daily

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Feeling The Pinch - The Constant Rise Of Handbag Prices!

Being a big luxury handbag lover, off late, the constant rise in prices of bags has now started to pinch me each time I indulge. I remember about two years ago, a really good handbag would cost me under two thousand dollars, but now, every time I start saving for a new bag, I end up crossing the 2k USD mark. I can almost never save up for another Chanel 2.55 bag after I got my first one in 2010. The price for a 2.55 reissue large was roughly about 2.2 lacs INR in December 2010, now that same bag will cost me nearly 3 lacs INR. That's a big difference!

Whilst I know some brands like Chanel have customary annual price hikes, especially for their classic models, some brands raise prices according to the demand for certain goods. Take the Celine Trapeze for example, when it was introduced, the starting price was 1,800 dollars (not including tax), but by the time I was done saving up that much money, the prices had gone up to 2,300 dollars because it was the IT bag of the season. Forget totes, even a good leather clutch with very little hardware can cost you over a thousand dollars. The classic Saint Laurent Paris Y clutch costs about 1,000 dollars, the Givenchy Antigona clutch can set you back nearly 1400 USD and the Valentino Gryphon clutch where the only hardware is a gold coloured gryphon costs about 82,000 INR. These are some crazy prices for such little leather.

I got down to researching the reason behind the drastic changes in prices. Has the cost of raw materials and labour gone up? Is the Veblen goods theory? Is it the increase in demand especially from emerging markets like India and China? Or simply a combination of everything?

Lets start with the cost of raw materials, namely leather. Luxury brands now are choosing to produce more leather bags as opposed to cheaper canvas bags due to a rising demand for leather. In the last few years, there has been a significant increase in the price of superior quality hide especially from French tanneries where most luxury brands source the leather from. Calfskin is a by product of beef which has seen a decrease in consumption, especially in Europe due to people becoming more health conscious. Fewer cows being slaughtered limits the supply of leather. Also, strict competition from third world leather producers has left only a handful of tanneries still operating in France. According to the Wall Street Journal, Tanneries Haas, one of the oldest tanneries in France receives orders from Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Bottega Veneta and Chanel. A lot of demand from a single source.

Apart from cowhide, exotic skin handbags are also high in demand. Crocodile leather especially, has increased in demand drastically is one of the toughest to produce. At a Chanel boutique in Dubai, a very sweet salesman explained to me why a croc Chanel 2.55 cost 150,000 AED (nearly 25 lacs INR). Breeding crocodiles for leather is very tough, dangerous, expensive and takes a long time. The crocodiles are kept in pens which are cleaned regularly and only a few people have access to them. They are fed a strict diet to ensure growth and good quality skin. Moreover, the crocs are kept away from each other as they tend to get into fights which can ruin the skin. Despite that, only a small percentage of croc leather ends up being perfect enough to be used for a bag. Even the slaughter process follows a strict and ethical regime. Brands have now started to purchase tanneries like the case of LVMH and Kering to ensure their supply is constant. That still doesn't stop the price hikes.

Labour costs are constantly on the rise too, especially in France where they reached an all time high in 2013. In addition, finding the right kind of people that possess the know how required to craft hand made bags is also a challenge. Furthermore, the number of hours that go into creating a single bag are quite high. The Gucci Nouveau from example takes nearly two days to create and so does the Hermes Birkin. Most brands have now started circulating artistic images in the media about how their bags are made to show the mastery taking place behind the scenes. This will enable customers to see what they are purchasing is truly exquisite and worth the high costs.

Aside from raw material and labour costs, there is a steep increase in the demand for luxury goods as the global number of super HNWI increases especially in emerging markets like China and India. Hey, try strolling the streets of Florence in July or London in June and you'll see it swamped by Indians and Chinese walking around with large designer shopping bags! In fact, if you visit a luxury boutique in Dubai, there will ALWAYS be a Chinese speaking salesperson. According to a survey conducted by Bain & Co. in March 2013, the Indian luxury market is growing at 15% to 20% a year. Furthermore, the number of super HNWI's are also on a rise in our country. In 2011, Forbes reported 55 billionaires, whereas the current Forbes list includes 100 billionaires. This is just one example. Overall, the rich are just getting richer with nothing to stop them from paying super high prices.

Finally we can take into account the Veblen goods theory which states that the more expensive the commodity, the more desirable it is. A lot of us perceive something to be more appealing if we pay more money for it.

Honestly, it does get very tiring for me to have to constantly top up my savings account each time I set my eye on a bag I want. By the time I'm done saving, there comes a price hike! That still doesn't stop me though. Till the time people like me exist to fuel the industry, the prices will continue to rise. Such is life.

Till the next time,

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Currently Trending: Fringed Bags - YEEHAWWWWW!!

Whilst florals, bright colours, sheer fabrics, all signify the arrival of spring, this year however, one of the biggest SS 14 trends was the fringe. Not just on clothes, but on accessories and handbags too. Long sweeping fringes that flow fluidly as you walk, leaving somewhat of an imaginary trail like the Gucci Nouveau featured previously or short leather fringes that just make a bag so much fun like the Valentino clutch featured below; this summer its all about the fringe. Here are my top picks on fringed clutches.


1.Celine Laser Cut Fringed Pouch - Celine is one of my most favourite brands when it comes to handbags. There is never a time that I pass by a Celine boutique and don't inside to check out what's in store. Normally its various colours of the Trapeze, Mini Shopper and the Phantom that I admire but now its this pretty funky clutch. The black laser cut leather playing peek-a-boo with bright yellow underneath (Phoebe Philo loves colour blocking so no surprises there!) makes a real statement. Also, since its a pretty soft bag, you can sort of fold it and as the black leather stretches, the yellow really stands out. Pair that with the dramatic fringes and you've got yourself quite a unique clutch. 

A word of caution, do not pair this clutch with an equally eye popping outfit or you'll end up drawing focus away from the bag. Wear it with a clean, minimalist silhouette and let the bag be the focal point of your outfit. Sadly Celine doesn't retail on e-commerce portals so you will have to wait till you fly out of Delhi or simply check with Kitsch at Defence Colony for availability.

2. Valentino Gryphon Handle Fringed Leather Clutch - Trust Valentino to create the most covetable accessories season after season. For the last few seasons and still is, was the Rockstud, now its their fringed bags. This particular clutch is having a major moment and is sold out on quite a few e-commerce platforms. The gilded gryphon (a mythological creature) serving as a finger handle adds a very mysterious characteristic to the bag don't you think? Also I love how the edges have knotted fringes. Very cool, very raw, very sexy. Click here to purchase.

3. Sara Battaglia Teresa Soft Leather Clutch - Another name to add to your designer dictionary like ASAP is Sara Battaglia, the newest handbag designer on the block. Despite being a newbie, her bags have already been worn by numerous celebrities with one of her biggest fans being her super stylist sister Giovanna Battaglia. The Teresa bag has a very fresh take on the fringe. Instead of fringes on the main silhouette of the bag, they are on the detachable handle which makes it very versatile. The day you don't feel like being dramatic, take off the strap and off you go with your very streamlined and minimalist clutch! I also adore the triangle shaped hardware. Click here to purchase.