Mani J love continues here on The Asian Fashion Journal. Her latest collection- Udaipur Tea Party popped up on my Insta feed last week and is def worthy of share. This collection for me is her strongest. The silhouettes and styling are youthful and pretty but with an urban edge- Like the cut out bustier, capes, bombers and slevelettes- all of which add more drama to an Indian outifit but can equally look hot paired with western pieces.
Love this blouse.
Check out her Insta feed for more of her designs and there’s lots of happy client pics to scroll through too. Very happy to see Mani doing so well! 🙂
Yep, this really is my third consecutive post on V&A’s India Festival. I can’t help myself!- the leading show Fabric of India is a stunner and supporting talks and events have been fab too. I attended last week’s V&A Fashion in Motion which this year shone the spotlight on Ashish Gupta. The retrospective catwalk show featured his high-octane, sequin rich, sports luxe designs from the last ten years. My faves included the camo parka, the slogan tees and dresses, his rainbow sequin separates and of course the blinged up shopping bags.
The Fashion in Motion series started back in 1999 and each year invites a leading fashion designer to showcase a retrospective of their work with live catwalk shows. Look out for the next show in 2016!
During the preview of Fabric of India exhibition @ V&A I spoke to the talented Kallol Datta and Rimzim Dadu about Indian Fashion and Textiles. It was great to hear their thoughts on the contemporary scene. I hope you enjoy the post : )
Kallol next to his provocative Suicide Print Sari
How did you get involved with the exhibition? And what are your thoughts on it?
RD: Divia one of the curators approached me (and other designers) in 2010 so they visited our studios, our archives, our techniques and they were really interested in what we were doing and it’s finally materialised here today. An exhibition like this is much needed because it documents the vast and great heritage of Indian textiles and shows it to a wider audience.
KD: Five years back the team from the V&A came over to India for an exploration trip, they came to the studio we had a chat, they looked through the archives and they kept coming back – for instance to fashion week. That’s how the relationship started. I think its a great exhibition and it’s nice how they’ve taken a slightly more academic route and I like that its been presented this way because you’d expect a lot of people would expect to see a stereotype of Indian fashion.
Rimzim with her leather Ikat piece
Talking of stereotypes how would you describe contemporary Indian textiles/ fashion scene to someone who isn’t familar with it?
KD: I guess with India and its not just with fashion/textiles -it’s with every creative industry…every two hundred miles there’s a different state, the language differs, the way people look, the way they dress so for example Rimzim is Delhi based and I’m in Kalkota, so the crafts used by Kalkota designers is very different to Delhi designers and that makes it interesting because its very difficult to pin point and I think there are three /four of us exhibiting here that when we started off six/seven years back we all pretty much either studied abroad or had some work experience abroad and then came back so it was an exciting time for Indian Fashion- it was more contemporary, we were focusing on harnessing the now, our work was an immediate response to our environment and there was no need to self flagellate- that you know just because we are Indian we have to delve into Indian textiles so there’s not been a conscious decision to be this way it’s been more instinctive amongst my generation.
RD: Suddenly there is this great textile revolution in India. In the last couple of years everyone is appreciating things we have previously taken for granted so there is this revolution with people trying to revive crafts and textiles- like ‘save the weavers’ and it was something that we took for granted and it did die out in the middle but now there is more awareness. It’s thrilling to be a part of this new textile movement. For example this Ikat weave (referring to her piece in the exhibition) I have a team of traditional Ikat weavers but they are not used to weaving with leather so it’s something that I’ve had to teach and develop with them and in turn we are then creating something completely new.
Lovely video featuring Rimzim Dadu made by new stockist Indelust
What are your thoughts on the future of Indian fashion? do you think it will have more of a global prescence or with such a huge domestic audience there is no need to look to outward markets?
KD: We have 1 billion ppl to penetrate into their minds so that’s the priority and with a lot of us we stopped looking at the west or even the east as in Japan for success formulas. We are all trying to come up with our own levels of what success means to us and what makes us happy. All areas of the arts are evolving, there’s a great live music scene- original compostions, the contemporary arts scene has never been more exciting. We are still being shaped aesthetically by what’s around and we continue to push the stereotypes of Indian fashion.
Kallol’s last answer sums up the real shift in contemporary Indian Fashion. Designers like Kallol Datta, Rimzim Dadu, Rahul Mishra and Pero are all working in an organic way, getting influences by their heritage around them but at the same time are not dictated by them. They are not afraid of pushing earlier boundaries and coming up with something completely new and fresh. Rimzim’s leather Ikat is a perfect example. Using a traditional technique in a completely different way and for a non traditional garment. These designers know and respect the large, evolving, multi faceted audience at home and as you can see they are busy designing for them. I’m really glad that the Fabric of India has highlighted their work and I continue to enjoy watching and blogging about this exciting, dynamic, evolving industry.
For more info on the exhibition and to book tickets- V&A
As always the V&A host a series of accompanying talks & events alongside major exhibitions. I’m looking forward to attending their latest – V&A’s Fashion in Motion: ASHISH on Friday. Ashish will present a retrospective of womenswear and menswear from across the last decade. Tickets are free and limited and need to be booked in advance
Earlier this week I was lucky enough to attend the Press Preview for the V&A’s lastest show- Fabric Of India. The curators Rosemary Crill and Divia Patel deserve a whole lot of praise as the exhibition truly is a wonderful celebration of Indian textiles and craftsmanship. To be able to develop and decide upon a series of strong themes and exhibits to represent the large and diverse history of Indian textiles must have been an incredible challenge.
The dramatic entrance showcasing new and old
Gown by Manish Arora
The exhibition is split into six themes- Nature & Making, How Textiles Are Used, Splendid, Global Trade , Textiles In A Changing World and Textiles Cutting Edge. All six themes flow together beautifully and the exhibits are enhanced by Gitta Gschwendetter’s exhibition design.
I loved the first section where dyeing/ weaving and printing techniques were explored and explained with samples and film as well as raw materials- like the dried pomegranate that’s used as a natural dye.
Sample showing some of the 14 stages used in Ajrakh block printing. A technique from Rajasthan, Kutch and Sindh
‘The embroiderers at the Sankalan embroidery design and production house in Jaipur, Rajasthan, practise a variety of stitch techniques to embellish fabrics by hand. The V&A followed their work on a lehnga, a wedding skirt, from traced outline to finished product. Only by slowing the footage could the incredibly fast stitching of ari embroidery be captured, as professionals perform it so rapidly it is nearly impossible to see with the naked eye’ V&A video
Beautiful example of Rabari embroidery from Gujurat in the top of the pic
Wall hanging from Gujurat which was dumped outside a Brookyln warehouse and rescued by an art appraiser that recognised its value and later donated the striking piece to the V&A
The piece above like Tipu’s tent are hung up and allow viewers to wander inside and get a feel of the opulence and drama of both pieces.
Wedding Ensemble by Sabyasachi Mukherjee designed especially for the exhibition. The zardozi gold embroidery was done in the towns of Barasat, Nodakhali and Daualpur, West Bengal
The last room was also a favourite. It would have been easy to finish with the likes of Sabyasachi & Abu and Sandeep brands that are known for their bridal wear and pieces which I guess the public would easily identify as Indian wear.
Instead the last room featured the work of contemporary designers. Designers that are developing their own design aesthetic and using traditional elements in non traditional ways. Manish Arora and Rahul Mishra were the most internationally recognised names featured in the room and both their pieces were beautiful. I loved the fact that designers like Kallol Datta and Abraham & Thakore were featured also- designers that are not known outside of India.
‘Renowned contemporary fashion design Manish Arora welcomes the V&A into his studio, and offers exclusive insight into his work and inspirations’V&A Video
2014 Woolmark winner Rahul Mishra’s Lotus dress
I met Divia Patel, co-curator of the exhibition a couple of months ago and she explained the importance of the V&A acquiring pieces by new and upcoming designers. So their part in the great history of Indian fashion could be archived, talking to her gave me a small insight in to how varied and interesting a curators role is.
Designers Rimzin Dadu and Kallol Datta were on hand to answer questions- And I talked to them about their involvement in the exhibition and their thoughts on contemporary Indian Fashion and it’s future. I’ll be posting these interviews next week
It was fab to see streetstyle photographer Manou’s images closing the show (read my previous interview with him here)
I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition and my post really does skim through a few of my personal favourites- it’s def a must see show and I know I’ll be making a couple more visits in the next few weeks!
Exhibition opens 03rd Oct 15 and runs till 10th Jan 16
Tickets costs £14 (concessions available) V&A members go free
The exhibition is curated by Rosemary Crill, Senior Curator in the Asian Department and Divia Patel, Curator in the Asian Depertment
The exhibition is part of V&A India Festival, a series of exhibitions, activities and events throughout Autumn 2015 to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Nehru Gallery of Indian Art at the V&A
The V&A is open daily from 10.00-17.45 and until 22.00 every Friday
I’m a little late in writing about this years Alchemy festival @ Southbank. There’s only a few days left but there’s plenty of events left to go to… Get blown away by the mighty Bishi, or get your groove on to The Friday Night DJ Mix presented by BBC Asian Network, sing along to Bollytastic Shreya Ghosal or wander through the exhibitions and tuck into the best of Indian street food at the accompanying food festival. Basically there’s something to do for whatever your age or tastes!
Bishi’ Never Seen Your Face.
I’ve also had a lot of press releases pop into my inbox this week and here’s a few that I thought were worth sharing..
Fashionista, Hina Rasim is known for bringing over the hottest Pakistani labels over to London for exclusive trunk shows. She’s back again this time with a selection of pieces by Ammara Khan, Elan, Rozina Munib, Sania Maskatiya and Faiza Samee.
Sulakshana Monga will be presenting her label Soltee by Sulakshana Monga at a trunk show in Birmingham on 29th-31st May. She will be bringing her latest collection as shown at the recent Amazon Indian Fashion Week and will be available for one to one bridal consultations too.
Suzali London launch event 23rd & 24th May
Blogger Vic from London Ki Ladki emailed me through details of Suzali launch this weekend. Designers that will be showcased at the event include Nida Azwer, Shirin Hassan, Naureen Arbab, Lalarukh, Sarah Anees and Mehreen Nooran.
Have a great Bank Holiday Weekend and I’ll be back soon with some posts of what I’ve been up to the last couple of months…including highlights from my sister’s hen party in Portugal…the highs- The Ah-mazing EMO Tivoli Victoria which was a gastronomic delight to the lows- a really disappointing experience with Pink Monkey Stag & Hen that we booked an activity with.
Date for the diaries girls! Aashni & Co are having a blowout sample sale next Sat!!! Head down for gorgeous pieces by Tarun Tahiliani, Anamika Khanna, Indian by Manish Arora (I hearted Manish’s designs worn by Sonam in Doli Ki Doli) Varun Bahl and many more. Even though I’m all set for my sister’s wedding I’m def going to have a browse. So see you there! x
I am a an Anushree fan girl. I loveee her work. Yes, her work is really obvious and lacks the creative depth and flair of the Rahul Mishra’s of the world…BUT WHO CARES!!! Sometimes you need obvious, you need pretty, you need pastels, you need florals, you need youthful, and you need super girly! and her collections have them all in spades.
I was in the Aza Altamount store for a fitting of one of her Anarkali’s. This crazy auntie gee comes over and starts swooning over it and says to me can you take it off I want my daughter to try it on. So I told the crazy lady too late I’ve already bought it- she doesn’t listen and she says that’s fine let my daughter try it on and take that one and you can place an order….errmmm no way Jose!!! See how much love people have over Anushree’s sugar and spice! (and how crazy Indian aunties are!) lol!
Anyway back to the post and to the yummy pics of her recent #RoyalCourtyard collection.
I also had a brief chat with her at the Aashni & Co Wedding show in Jan and asked her for her top three tips for Brides….
Firstly, I think a lot of people go with what they think they are supposed to wear. I wore pink for my wedding opposed to red because that’s what I liked. Basically I think its very important to stick to what you like.
Secondly, I think its important to go heavy I think a lot of people say don’t over do it- but its your wedding you’re getting married once so you might as well dress up and go all out. I wouldn’t advise diluting a garment- you wouldn’t want to be looking like a guest on your wedding! Go all out!
Thirdly get your make up and hair right. It makes a big difference and really finishes a look. So get that right and you’re set.
Also I’ve got to say I’m a big fan of the Anushree’s social media especially all the behind the scenes shots.
It’s Lakme time again! I’ve been pouring over the yumminess over social media and while I can’t report from the shows in person I’m pretty glad to be bringing you the next best thing…A Guest blog by the VIVALUXE.COM team. VIVALUXE.COM is a new luxury e-tailer that brings Asian Designer Wear to a global audience. With the ohh soo chic Maheep Kapoor as fashion director the site’s edit promises big things (There are some more A-list names joining the site in the coming weeks) I will bring you more info on the site in a later post but for now enjoy their Guest Blog Post for me on Day 1 @ Lakme!
Fashion, fun and flower-power: A day in the life of LAKMÉ FASHION WEEK SUMMER/RESORT 2015
By Rea MM, VIVALUXE.COM for The Asian Fashion Journal.
Unless you’re a sartorial Scrooge; I think we can all agree that any LAKMÉ FASHION WEEK saunters into our lives like a mid-year Christmas, full of goodies giftwrapped painstakingly by designers to create their delicious new collection! This year though was particularly anticipated as LFW celebrated its 15th year and certainly did not leave the best for last, as the event opened offsite with Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s collection Big Love where he gave a new fashionable dimension to the saree! So, coffee in one hand and notepad in the other, the only way to take on this celebration of creativity is to head in with all guns blazing. Be prepared to have your brain, your instagram and twitter all work overtime for the next 5 days, as the sheer variety of colour, influences and drapes all vie for your top spot!
After a series of seriously intense model scouting days and fittings, inspirational Sabyasachi’s collection Big Love premiered at an unconventional venue – the fabulous rustic grounds of Richardson and Cruddas Mills in the heart of Mumbai.
The ramp was a never ending 200 x 20 feet, with high-tech multi laser lights, roving drone and camera mounted on gantry. It was the ultimate backdrop for a high-octane event worthy of a 15th year anniversary with the crème de la crème of the city in attendance as one of the best designers in India opened the celebrations with a spectacular show.
It was love at first sight for the audience as they witnessed a stunning presentation featuring 62 models and 105 outfits. One of the most sought after designers in the country and around the globe; Sabyasachi unleashed a collection of resort wear that paid tribute to the 70’s decade, which Sabyasachi adores. The designer revisited the era and showcased it with his distinct signature touches and recreated the power dressing period with unisex flower-power, long maxi-dresses, Lennon-esque sunglasses and heaps of glittery fabric. It was refreshing to see a shift from his usual bridal wear, and the enthusiastic applause at the end shows we’re not the only ones who think so! His eternal muse Rani Mukherjee and other Bollywood big shots like Kajol, Deepika Padukone and Sridevi were all present to show their support.
Back onsite, the 9th floor of Palladium Hotel had been transformed into a beachy haven. The grassy outdoors are now commandeered by bamboo-built bars and crocheted hammocks – lending the space an earthy vibe. They’re perfect for gathering on between shows too! Exposed bulbs hang down from jute rope, and come 6:00pm, they light up, illuminating the pretty faces and prettier clothes with a romantic yellow glow. Live DJ sets keep the stylish crowd pumped, and you can refuel yourself at the food stalls dotted along the premises.
Today saw the unveiling of collections that focused on Indian textiles, such as those by Vaishali Shadangule and Krishna Mehta, whose breezy drapes and mix of indo-western silhouettes made for an interesting watch and interesting shift from the usual glitz of Asian styling.
Masaba’s innovative launch on instagram scores her brownie points for originality as one of the most popular and trendy young designers in India presented her colourful line first on popular social media platform, Instagram.
Finally, never failing to disappoint, Manish Malhotra proved his mettle as both, designer and humanitarian yet again, as the Blue Fashion Runway raised awareness for Gender Inequality. The peaches, creams and blues complimented the stunning metallic embroidery that featured on all his garments, with the off-shoulder white number being a particular favourite of ours:
Last month the Grand Ballroom of London’s luxury hotel, the Dorchester played host to the first ever Aashni & Co Wedding Show with the crème de la crème of Indian designers and new gen talent. Aashni & Co’s Notting Hill boutique opened in 2012 and is already the leading store in London for luxe Indian designer wear. The wedding show provided an opportunity to showcase the store’s designers on a larger scale and to a larger audience.
I was lucky enough to join Aashni the store’s owner on BBC 94.9- Jo Good show that week to talk about Indian weddings and the wedding show. It was the first time I’ve been on the radio and the fifteen odd minutes we were on air seemed to fly by. It was a great experience and a big thanks to Jo, Nishy and Gurpreet @ the BBC for making the experience enjoyable. Ok back to the wedding show….
The line up at the show was pretty damn impressive with A-list design talent including Sabyasachi, Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahliani, Anamika Khanna, Varun Bahl and talented new gen designers Sonali Gupta, Shehlaa and Arpita Mehta.
Image Credit: Adnan Qazi
Aashni Anshul Doshi the founder of Aashni & Co had this to say about the show
“ I am so, so, so humbled that these designers have taken that leap of faith and have actually come down here to be in one room with each other and be part of Aashni & Co. It is time people stopped travelling all the way to India to find their wedding outfits- we wanted to bring the best of India’s bridal to our doorstep.”
I got married last year and the exhibition was a perfect opportunity to connect (translate to get star struck) with some of the designers who I wore for my wedding which included Manish Malhotra, Sabyasachi, Varun Bahl and Arpita Mehta.
You already have a connection with London. How does the U.K bride differ to the brides back home?
“Yes, I do. I did a short stint at London Fashion Week and before I came to London with my Bridal wear. I used to also cater to the western audience here through Browns and Selfridges. So, I do have a good idea about what the girls in London want from us. They like being traditional and every single bride whether conservative, whether democratic, whether eccentric actually fantasises about looking like a princess on their wedding day. So we try and keep the fantasy in mind but make sure we keep ethnicity in mind too because of course she is an Indian Bride.”
I also asked him what tips he would give a bride when shopping for her trousseau.
“I’d tell her to do some yoga before you come shopping and get a little introspective because I think it is very easy to get swayed by other people’s opinion on what you should wear but at the end of the day its your wedding so just wear what you want to wear which means if you want to wear a GAP t-shirt and get married just do it.”
I love his answer because it’s so true wedding shopping can become stressful with everyone having an opinion on what you should and should not wear!
Tarun Tahiliani: Image Credit: Shahid Malik
Manish Malhotra: Image Credit: Shahid Malik
Varun Bahl: Image Credit: Shahid Malik
Yummy florals by Zita Elise Image Credit: Raj Dharar
Photo Booth at the entrance
Cakes by Krishanthi- these pics don’t do the cakes justice. The designs were sooo detailed and intricate. Image Credit: Shahid Malik
Getting a lesson on how to take a selfie by Kay from the Desi Dossier and Raj from The Secret Wedding Blog. Was good catching up with other bloggers at the event. Image Credit: Raj Dharar
The event was a first for London and it was lovely to see such a wealth of Indian craftsmanship and talent in one place. With U.K brides following the trends in India (albeit sometimes a little latter) weddings are becoming longer with more and more events to shop for. I really hope it becomes a regular event…are you reading Aashni?
Fab post event video by Aashni & Co.
Full list of exhibitors for Aashni & Co wedding show in association with Zouch & Lamare
I’m sure regular readers and my twitter followers will be expecting today’s post to be on the recent AH-MAZING Aashni & Co wedding show + my guest appearance on BBC London’s Jo Good show. But as I’m still suffering from a dirty ole cold- it’s this bridal post that’s been in my pending box that’s going out today!
Image Credit: Vogue India…still love this editorial!
Bridal shopping can be exciting and fun but on the flip side it can be overwhelming and confusing too. So here’s a few tips that might help…
I’d say the first thing to do is to set a budget for all your bridal outfits. And make a list of how many pieces you need. Be flexible within your budget. It’s tempting to break down your budget-allocating certain amounts to different occasion outfits but it doesn’t always work like that. I had in mind that I’d spend around £2k for my reception gown and I ended up buying a gorgeous Varun Bahl gown for £750.
Wherever you decide to do your shopping do your research. I did my wedding shopping in Mumbai and yep I already had a heads up on where to go because my blog is all about Indian fashion and I’m an avid reader of Indian fashion magazines. So getting a basic list was easy enough but I still carried on asking family and friends for recommendations. I also read a lot of Indian wedding blogs and that’s how my list doubled. I made sure I had each store’s address, telephone number, opening times and price range. Even when we were in India we’d ask for further recommendations. We bought a couple of gowns from Sonaakshi Raaj (I heart her work) and she told us to visit Tamanna Punjabi Kapoor’s store as we were still looking for my sister’s mehndi outfit. And bingo that’s where we got my sis STUNNING lengha from.
It’s great to have an idea of what you’d like to wear. I know so many brides who create a scrap book or pinterest boards on outfits they like. BUT does it mean those styles suit you? For both my Sabyasachi and Manish Malhotra lenghas – I had to be made to try them on by my mum and my sister. I wasn’t keen on either of them on the hanger – neither were what I had imagined I’d wear. but when I wore them it was a different story- I loved them both. So be open minded and try different styles & colours.
Take your bridal shopping seriously. There may be hangers on that want to join you- because for them its a fun day out! but for you its another opinion that you might not necessarily want. I shopped with my mum and sister and they know me and I trust them- that’s why when they made try on styles I wasn’t sure of I did!
Right so I know alot of brides leave their wedding shopping till the last minute in order to shop once they’ve got down to their ideal weight. But the biggest disadvantage to this is that it reduces your options when shopping. You may have to buy off the rack designs that are than adjusted to fit you or may have a nail biting time hoping your ordered piece comes in time. Remember custom orders can take between 1-6 months (and maybe even longer) to make. I personally would recommend brides have all their pieces with them at least a month before their wedding. This allows time to get any adjustments done as well as hair and make up trials done with the outfits and of course any last min accessory shopping.
This is a goldilocks kinda tip- You’ve got to ramp up your usual look so there’s no mistaking who the bride is but on the other hand don’t go so out there that you end up looking like someone else entirely. No Renee Zellwegers please! I remember my mum insisting I try a bright fuschia lipstick at my wedding make up trial- I hadn’t been a lippy girl till then and I was ummming and ahhing. Anyway, Gini the mua said try it, if you don’t like it we won’t use it on the day and again my Mum was right. It completed the look- its just because I wasn’t used to seeing myself all glammed up!
Asian weddings have so many different events. Make sure you mix up your looks so you look different on each occasion. A friend (quite rightly) told me off at a recent wedding because on each occasion I was wearing either a cream or white based outfit! And make sure you go for looks that suit the event- if you’re having a beach party wearing a heavy lengha that you can’t move in just isn’t going to work.
I am so ridiculously fussy when it comes to the fit of my Indian clothes because no matter how stunning the outfit is if the fit isn’t right it won’t look as wow as it could.
Work with what you’ve got. And remember you’re young and beautiful so don’t hide away the body that in 30 years time you’d wished you’d showed off more. My belly is always hanging out! I just think while I’ve still got a small waist and only a mini muffin top I may as well work it while I can. LOL!
Lastly and importantly- you’ve got to be happy in what you’re wearing! If everyone loves an outfit but you don’t- don’t get it! It’s your wedding, your choice!