Category Archives: Luxe Interviews

Birchbox’s Deepica Mutyala on Beauty Tricks for Indian Women

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At the ripe age of 16, Texas native and now beauty maven Deepica Mutyala had set a goal—that she would move to New York City and ignite her dream of working in the beauty industry. And that’s exactly what this University of Texas, Austin graduate achieved. After stints with companies like L’Oréal USA and L Brands on Victoria’s Secret PINK, Deepica now works as a Senior Manager in Brand Development at Birchbox in NYC. Getting makeovers by Beyonce’s make-up artist (!) and being exposed to the biggest brands in the beauty biz is all part of typical work day for this gal (sounds terrible, right?).

We caught up with this makeup maverick for a quick tete-a-tete on the best beauty trends for Indian women, common mistakes, must-have products and more! Pssst…she even threw in some cool insider trade secrets!

Luxemi: What are the most common beauty mistakes Indian women make when dressing in traditional wear?

Deepica Mutyala: I don’t think there should be any rules with makeup. It should be about your mood and how you feel whether you’re in Indian or western clothes.  Indian girls tend to stick to red lipsticks as their go-to with Indian ensembles but mix it up and have fun, I say! You can completely change the way your outfit looks by just changing your hair and makeup, thus allowing you to repeat that sari at the third wedding of the season (that is, of course, if you haven’t already discovered the beauty of Luxemi!).

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What are the latest beauty trends that will lend themselves beautifully to Indian wear?

  • Plum lips and bold brows! I especially love plum lips with white Indian outfits and I am definitely not a believer in the ‘no white after Labor Day’ rule.

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  • Braids: I don’t think Indian girls play with braids enough because they fear that it’ll look too traditional. But there are so many ways to experiment with them. My current favorite is a voluminous messy fishtail. It’s a great way to stand out in a room full of straightened or curled hair.

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  • Contouring: Contouring is still having its moment and lends itself perfectly to Indian wear. Who doesn’t want defined cheekbones and glowing skin, right?

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 5 must-have beauty products a desi girl’s kit ought to have?

  • A brow pencil: You know how threading your eyebrows completely changes the look of your face? Filling your brows lends the same effect! It’s a product most Indian women don’t realize they need (because they already have dark, thick brows) but can’t live without once they see the difference it makes.
  • A bold lipstick: I am loving plum lipstick right now. A classic, high pigment plum that I love is M.A.C Cosmetics’ Rebel, but if you’re looking for a light berry shade, I recommend the Cynthia Rowley Beauty creamy lip stain in Dahlia. It’s layerable, so you can add coats for intensity and personal preference.

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  • Concealer: I think if you surveyed all Indian women and asked them what their number one beauty concern is, we would say dark under eye circles. Since I battle this problem too, I like using a heavier concealer that also has brightening properties. My current favorite is the Vasanti Instant Pick Me Up Color Correcting Illuminator in shade CC 4. It has the glowing effects that everyone loves from YSL’s Touche Eclat with the coverage power of M.A.C Cosmetics’ concealers—the best of both worlds!

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  • Highlighter/Illuminator: If you want radiant skin, I have two tips: drink tons of water and find a killer highlighter. I especially love the way highlighter looks when I’m in Indian clothes. You can instantly tell the difference in pictures when you do and don’t wear it. I use a cream highlighter because I have dry skin. My current favorite is the Bio Brightening Stick from W3LL PEOPLE. The stick format makes it really easy to apply.

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  • Beautyblender: I’ve never met a makeup artist who didn’t have a beautyblender in their kit. The difference in how your makeup applies is unreal with/without it. It’s especially helpful when you’re contouring to blend with zero streakage. I can’t go back to using any brush again now. Make sure to wet the brush to where it doubles in size before using.

Indian celebrities who nail desi-dressing makeup according to you?

I love the versatility of Deepika Padukone’s beauty looks. She always mixes it up, from dramatic smoky eyes/bold lips to more subtle natural glows. She also gives me major brow envy.

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It’s also really exciting to see Mindy Kaling’s makeup looks evolve. I love that she’s not afraid to experiment with different looks across both fashion and beauty and you can tell she’s having fun with it.

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Insider beauty tricks you’d like to share with us?

If you have extreme dark circles, use a bright red or orange lipstick as a base under your eyes before applying concealer. The bright pigmentation of the lipstick evens out your skin tone. We work with celebrity makeup artist Daniel Martin at Birchbox and he mentioned that this is one of his favorite beauty tricks to use on Mindy Kaling. Major game changer!

Most people apply mascara outward going towards their ears to create a sort of cat eye look. But for a more wide-awake makeup look, apply your mascara inward. By re-directing the lashes this way, your eyes will pop and look more refreshed. I learned this trick from Mally Roncal who has been the go-to makeup artist for celebrities like Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez and now has her own beauty line called Mally Beauty. The products are all extremely brown-girl friendly (high pigments)!

Want more fun tips from Deepica? Follow her on Instagram @deepicam

What do you think of Deepica’s tips and tricks? Tell us in the comment box below!

Praachi Raniwala for Luxemi

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Filed under Beauty Secrets, Get the look, Guest Post, Hello From Luxemi, Hello From S&S, Indian Fashion 101, Indian-Inspired, Luxe Interviews, Luxe Ladies, Luxemi Inspiration, Luxemi Style, Style Secrets, Trend Update

Indian Wear You Need To Invest In!

 New age Indian silhouettes according to FLW designers

Gone are the days when one’s desi repertoire was limited to a sari, lehenga or salwar. We’ve witnessed nothing short of a revolution on the traditional wear front (one thats brought a multitude of options) and we’ve lapped it all up! No surprises there, right? So we roped in some of the top designers from Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort ’14‘s roster — Sonam and Paras Modi, Monica & Karishma, Sonaakshi Raaj and Arpita Mehta — to tell us the Indian silhouettes the Luxemi girl just can’t do without! We hope you’re paying close attention.

Sonam and Paras Modi

New age Indian silhouettes according to Sva

Left to Right: Sva floor length waist dress, Preeti Desai in Sva jacket style dress

Sonam and Paras Modi behind the label SVA say, “Indian women today are very fashion conscious and want to look their best at every occasion. She wants to carry on traditional rituals but with a difference. The jacket style dress and a floor length low waist dress are a must for her. The statement jacket style dress with subtle embellishments promises a timeless and classic look. There’s no going wrong with it. The low waist floor length dress, on the other hand, enhances one’s curves and is very flattering. It is a modified version of the kalidar kurta and is very trendy and youthful. The sheer back makes for an appealing look, hence its popularity with brides.

Monica and Karishma

New age Indian silhouettes according to Jade

Left to right: Asymmetrical lehenga, sheer net lehenga and three-tiered anarkali all by Jade

Monica and Karishma of Mumbai-based label Jade say, “The modern Indian woman is all about being experimental — traditional with a twist. Reinvention is the key so she should opt for a three-tiered anarkali. Layering lends a regal, timeless vibe to the look while the new-age silhouette turns heads owing its dramatic nature. The second must-have is the asymmetrical lehenga! Paired with a chic corset, the asymmetrical lehenga is all about cutting-edge styling and having a blast. A sheer net lehenga with an embroidered border is princess-like in its appeal. Pair it with tights for casual decadence!”

Sonaakshi Raaj

New age Indian silhouettes according to Sonaakshi Raaj

Left to right: Deepika Padukone in Sonaakshi Raaj sari-gown and Anamika Khanna dhoti sari

Sonaakshi Raaj gives her vote to sari-gowns and dhoti saris. “These silhouettes are the epitome of east meets west and are ideal for a cocktail party or wedding reception. They promise a look that’s elegant, chic and sexy without getting into the hassle of draping.”

Arpita Mehta

New age Indian silhouettes according to Arpita Mehta

Left to right: Soha Ali Khan in Arpita Mehta jacket and Neha Dhupia in Payal Singhal high waist skirt and crop choli

Aprita Mehta is all about the high waist skirt paired with a crop choli due to its flattering nature. “It’s apt for the Indian body — hiding the flaws and accentuating the thinnest part of the waist all the same time. The end result is extremely sexy and glamorous. The second promising trend is the traditional vest/jacket in different lengths paired with either a skirt, sharara or dhoti pants. It’s stylish and can be spruced in multiple ways making each look different.”

Which one would you rather get? Tell us in the comment box below! 

Praachi Raniwala for Luxemi

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Filed under Designer Radar, Designer Style, Indian Fashion 101, Luxe Interviews, Luxe Ladies, Luxemi Inspiration, Outfits To Die For, Trend Alert, Trend Update

Luxemi Interviews Fashion and Celebrity Stylist Kushal Parmanand

Sonakshi Sinha in Hi! Living

Sonakshi Sinha styled by Kushal Parmanand for Hi! Living

Fashion and celebrity stylist Kushal Parmanand jokingly refers to himself as an “Indian fashion industry fossil!” And considering he’s got over 10 years of experience under his belt, we get why (well, kind of!). His foray into the industry was one most can only dream of — he kick started his career with revered couturiers Abu Jani & Sandeep Khosla after which he moved on to working with Nandita Mahtani. Styling came knocking his way in the form of a Fashion Directorship at Seventeen India, followed by stints at L’Officiel India, L’Officiel Homme, Hi!Blitz and most recently Noblesse India. His stellar repertoire also boasts of styling Bollywood beauties like Bipasha Basu, Sonakshi Sinha and Sonali Bendre among others. We engage the stylist du jour in an exclusive tete-a-tete!

Kushal Parmanand

Celebrity and fashion stylist Kushal Parmanand

Luxemi: How did you foray into fashion? Is it something you always wanted? 

Kushal Parmanand: My foray into fashion was actually by default. I come from a family of two generations of engineers and they obviously wished for me to continue their legacy. After trying to pursue an education in computer science and management studies for two years, I finally landed at Fanshawe fashion school in June 2000 to pursue my true calling. I remember wanting to be in fashion, a designer in particular, since I was in 8th grade. Rohit Bal was my idol then.

Luxemi: You have worked with some of the country’s top stylistas — right from Sonam Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor to Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif. Who are your personal favorites?

Kushal Parmanand: I think I have the biggest crush on Bebo (Kareena Kapoor)! She is undoubtedly my favorite. She is extremely easy going and a breeze to work with. Most celebrities today know what works for them and are quite fashion focused. Having worked with many of them editorially over the years I feel that working collectively and keeping common interests in mind helps get the best out of a shoot!

Luxemi: Who are some of your favorite Indian and international designers?

Kushal Parmanand: Wow that is a very tough and long list! I love the work Riccardo Tisci does for Givenchy couture. This seasons in particular; I am loving key pieces from Balenciaga, Monique Lhuillier and Vionnet while Elie Saab, Dior, Valentino and Lanvin remain eternal favorites. On the Indian front I love different designers for their varied focuses. Anamika Khanna, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, Rajesh Pratap Singh and Gaurav Gupta are my favorite veterans. From the younger lot I am partial to Kallol Datta, Sailex and Nachiket Barve.

Actually I feel fashion is a bit fickle in that sense — every season you are bound to love that someone a little more purely because their showing tugged at your heart strings more than the others.

Luxemi: Autumn-Winter ’13 Indian wear trends that ought to be tried this season? Also tell us about the top colors one must have in their wardrobe? 

Kushal Parmanand: Monochrome continues to be a huge trend this season. Punk and vintage inspired fashion is also big. Think of smaller ways to include them in your traditional wardrobe. Red is THE color to be swearing by — not only is it one of our most traditional colors, it also looks lovely on Indian skin. Make sure to experiment with interesting updos and accessories for a refined look.

Luxemi: Style icons who carry Indian wear beautifully? 

Kushal Parmanand: I think Deepika (Padukone) looks great in Indian wear. She has an inherent grace about her, almost like royalty. Apart from her I think Kareena (Kapoor) looks her best when she is in a sari.

Kareena Kapoor in a saree

Luxemi: Your favorite picks from Luxemi.com

Kushal Parmanand: Laila Motwane’s lehangas, the coral wrap kurta from Nikashasaris by Neeru Kumar and jhumkis  from Amrapali are my top picks. The wine salwar with shell embroideryFoil Printed “Club” Pallu Saree by Satya Paul and Flowing Net Anarkali with Embroidery by Kisneel are also great options.

Luxemi Indian wear

Parmanand’s top picks from Luxemi

Luxemi Indian wear

Parmanand’s top picks from Luxemi

Amrapali earrings on Luxemi

Amrapali earrings on Luxemi

Luxemi: If one has only 10 minutes to put together an Indian look, what should be their go-to?

Kushal Parmanand: The chotu sari (one with a shorter hemline) is a great option.

Nandita Thirani sare

Chotu sari by Nandita Thirani

Pre-pleated saris and sari gowns are easier to drape, making them ideal go-tos as well. If neither works for you, there is always the humble salwar kurta which has many interesting variations this season. I personally always steer towards a minimalistic look. Finish it off with a dash of a strong lip and a messy braid or updo — absolutely perfect when you’re on the run!

Sonakshi Sinha styled by Kushal Parmanand

Sonakshi Sinha styled by Kushal Parmanand for Hi!Blitz

So take it from the man who knows best and make these quick tweaks to your desi closet. Trust us when we say that these simple additions will go a long way!

Praachi Raniwala for Luxemi

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Filed under Celebrity Style, Designer Style, Hello From Luxemi, Indian Fashion 101, Indian-Inspired, Luxe Interviews, Luxemi Style, Trend Update

Luxemi + Anita Dongre’s Trousseau Shopping Guide

Anita Dongre's Jaipur Bride

Image courtesy: Anita Dongre

Anita Dongre surely does know a thing (or two) about style. No, scratch that…the veteran designer could very well be the last word when it comes to all things fashion. Hence when we decided to rope in an expert for this trousseau-shopping guide, we couldn’t think of a more fitting name than her. So listen up brides-to-be — pay close attention and bookmark Dongre’s ace advise…it is bound to prevent all your retail anxiety as well as several bridezilla fits! We are already swearing by this bridal shopping bible, you’d be wise to say ‘I Do’ to it too.

Anita Dongre at Lakme Fashion Week

Anita Dongre with Aditi Rao Hydari at Lakme Fashion Week

Luxemi: How soon should one start putting together their trousseau? How much time must one dedicate to it?

Anita Dongre: I would say that you should start deciding the colours, styles, designers, and the overall look that you want to wear for each occasion well in advance. Start putting everything together over the 6 months leading up to your wedding — that, I feel, is the ideal time frame.

Luxemi: Brides tend to go overboard with their trousseau shopping. How much is too much?

Anita Dongre: It’s never enough and the sky is the limit when it comes to wedding shopping. However, it is advisable to work on a budget for the trousseau. List down the key pieces you require for your trousseau and stick to the list.

Luxemi: 5 must-have trousseau essentials?

Anita Dongre: That’s easy. My 5 must-haves are —

  1. An elegant anarkali
  2. An embroidered jacket or bandi (also known as the Nehru jacket/traditional vest) that can be paired with pants, pallazos or lehenga.
  3. A heavily embroidered dupatta that can dress up any Indian outfit in your closet
  4. A cocktail gown
  5. A set of sarees for both formal occasions as well as casual outings.

Luxemi: What are the top trends this season? Which colors are must-haves?

Anita Dongre: It’s the time to move away from traditional reds and maroons and experiment with a varied color palette ranging from neons, fluorescent, limes and peacock blues to fuschia, corals and dusty pinks. There’s a plethora of choices when it comes to lehengas — the mermaid style, A-line, straight cut and flared versions — with such a wide variety of cuts and styles, there is something to suit to every style sensibility and body type.

Net, chiffon, georgette and silk are the preferred fabrics for Indian bridal wear this season. Experimenting with unconventional saree drapes is also a trend that is fast catching on. So pair a raw silk bandi with a saree or a lehenga.  One could even opt for the lehenga saree as it’s easier to drape and very convenient to carry off.

Luxemi: Which Luxemi ensembles ought to make their way into one’s trousseau trunk?

Anita Dongre: Luxemi’s Scarlett Saree with Rich Gold Border, Gold Embellished Chantilly Lace Saree, Pink Anarkali with Gota Work by Nikasha, Gold Sequined Saree, Lehenga Saree with Thread Work and Brocade Coat with Velvet Border by Kisneel are must-haves!

Luxemi picks by Anita Dongre

Anita Dongre’s Luxemi picks

Luxemi picks by Anita Dongre

Anita Dongre’s Luxemi picks

Luxemi: Trendy pieces vs classics — what’s your take?

Anita Dongre: Your trousseau should always have a mix of both. The trendy pieces can be used for your cocktail party and sangeet while the classics can be saved for your main wedding day and reception. Trendy and classic pieces can also be paired together for an edgy yet elegant look. For instance, you could pair a traditional bandi (vest/Nehru jacket) with a gown/skirt or wear an embroidered jacket/bolero with a saree and so on.

Luxemi: Let’s talk jewelry shopping — do’s and don’ts?

Anita Dongre: Always go to a trusted family jeweler. Here too, list down the main ceremonies and outfits and match your jewelry accordingly. Invest in versatile pieces that can be dressed up or toned down and be worn with both Indian as well as western outfits.

Luxemi: Which are some of the best cities for Indian trousseau wear according to you?

Anita Dongre: Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkatta are go-tos in India. There’s my Anita Dongre Bridal store as well as Phoenix Mills and Palladium in Mumbai, multi-designer mall The Gallery on MG in Delhi and Forum Courtyard in Kolkatta.

Luxemi: Who are some of the celebrity brides one can take inspiration from?

Anita Dongre: Kareena Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Esha Deol hands down! The one thing they all have in common, and is worth taking inspiration from, is that while each dressed in tune with their respective traditions, the final look was not overbearing — right from the choice of the bridal ensembles to the make up; it all spelled elegance!

Luxemi: So what’s your parting trousseau shopping advice?

Anita Dongre: While everyone’s shopping habits and needs will vary, there are certain pointers that will help you sail through your trousseau shopping effortlessly. First up, make sure you have a list of designers or multi designer stores you wish to visit. Dedicate a week to visit all these stores, shortlist what you like from each of them, and then start buying. Always have a shopping budget and try sticking to it as far as possible!

Anita Dongre's Jaipur Bride

Image courtesy: Anita Dongre

So there you go…let the splurge fest begin. And yes, you can thank us later! 😉

Praachi Raniwala for Luxemi

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Filed under Celebrity Style, Indian Fashion 101, Luxe Interviews, Luxemi Inspiration, Luxemi Style, Style Secrets, Weddings

Luxemi + Nishka Lulla’s Fall wedding guide

Is it just us, or is your calendar chock-a-block with weddings for the next few months too? The onset of a new season can mean only one thing – putting together a fresh new wedding wardrobe to strut through the season in style. So we decided to get an expert – Nishka Lulla – on board to make this a breeze.

Designer Nishka Lulla

Nishka Lulla

Fashion designer and Bollywood/celebrity stylist, Lulla has made quite the splash since she forayed onto the scene in 2009. Her clientele boasts of Bollywood biggies such as Katrina Kaif, Sonam Kapoor, Asin, Deepika Padukone, Genelia D’souza and Ameesha Patel among others and she is also lauded for her boho-chic personal style. She speaks to Luxemi and curates Fall wedding looks you absolutely ought to be swearing by. So, listen up!

Mehndi

Sing, dance and basically make merry at one of the wedding’s more intimate functions.

luxemi Peach Tulle Salwar

Luxemi’s Peach Tulle Salwar

Nishka says: “The outfit needs to be practical yet stylish. Avoid full sleeves and swear by coral for this function. Luxemi’s peach tulle anarkali salwar is a great pick.”

Sangeet

One of the most awaited wedding events, the sangeet is all about reveling in the limelight for a true fashionista.

watermelon net lehenga with a contrasting mango dupatta

Luxemi’s watermelon net lehenga with a contrasting mango dupatta

Nishka says: “Since color blocking bright hues is trending these days, a different colored lehenga, choli and dupatta is a perfectly striking way to go. Go easy on the embroidery and let the colors take centre stage. Luxemi’s watermelon net lehenga with a contrasting mango dupatta is your best bet.”

Cocktail party

 Indulge in a night of debauchery but with a fashionable flair.

sequined hot pink coat from Luxemi

Luxemi’s sequined hot pink coat

 Nishka says: “Go for an indo-western look. Pick an Indian ensemble with an utterly western silhouette and cut. Since coats are ruling trend charts, you could wear a coat style kurta with cigarette pants and Luxemi’s hot pink silk coat with sequins fits the bill.”

Pheras

Embrace your roots whilst celebrating this new beginning.

mango salwar by Nikasha with gota embroidery

Mango salwar by Nikasha featuring gota embroidery

Nishka says: “Go traditional for the pheras with essentially Indian colors. Vintage is another chic option. Oxidized vintage Indian embroidery such as zardozi and gota work is just what this function demands.” And it doesn’t get better than our mango salwar by Nikasha with gota embroidery.

Reception

This is your time to play the glamorous social butterfly to the hilt.

luxemi gold sequined sari

Luxemi’s gold sequined sari

luxemi gold blouse

Luxemi’s gold blouse

Nishka says: “Since metallic is one of the biggest Fall trends, sport it at the reception for a diva-esque look. A sequin sheathed saree teamed with a metallic gold or silver blouse will definitely look fabulous.” Our gold sequined sari and complementing blouse will do the trick.

So there you go…with a guide as high on style as this, you’d agree when we say that stunning the wedding scape just got a whole lot easier!

Praachi Raniwala for Luxemi

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Filed under Celebrity Style, Designer Style, Get the look, Luxe Interviews, Luxemi Inspiration, Weddings

Luxemi Interviews Payal Singhal for Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2013

Headshot of Payal Singhal

Payal Singhal is making waves in Indian fashion circles

It’s a hard world for Indian fashion out there: you’re walking a tightrope between traditionally intricate motifs and embroidery with minimalistic Western lines and cuts. But Payal Singhal seems to have gotten the balance just perfectly, with industry insiders at Lakme Fashion Week excited about her take on modern Indian fashion.

A sample from Payal Singhal's recent Taj collection.

A dupatta from Payal Singhal's Taj collection showcases her focus on jaali work.

More jaali featured in Payal Singhal's collection.

This isn’t your standard saree shop collection, Luxe fans. We’re talking edgy takes on traditional salwars & anarkalis with tons of lehengas thrown in, all with a healthy dose of traditional “jaali” and filigree work (floral designs dating back to the Mughal empire) for bold global statements.

A yellow creation for Payal Singhal's most recent collection.

We’re totally digging the long-sleeve saree blouse (we wrote a how-to-wear guide here before) and Payal’s effortless way to make a saree everyday accessible with a tunic and statement jewelry, as seen below.

Citrus and silver is a disarmingly fresh color combination. A new age way to pull off a blouse, look ethnic, and be fashion forward all at once. Boom.

So what’s Payal’s thought process in making these effortlessly glam getups? Here’s what the designer had to say about the influences behind her most recent collection, tips for accessorizing outfits, and her uniform for hanging out in the city.

Bollywood star Aditi Rao Hydari walks the ramp for Payal Singhal's Taj collection.

Luxemi: Tell us about your inspiration for this year’s LFW collection and why you felt it was important to integrate swadeshi (locally made) textiles?
Payal: The inspiration started from a book I was referencing for work. It was a book on Islamic architecture where all the textures and patterns were inspired from monuments; the Taj Mahal is the epitome of that. We always use a lot of Indian textiles in our collections because the brand motto is to make Indian clothes with Indian textile, but in a global context.

Give the skirt/top combo an Indian twist with this Anarkali-inspired take.

Luxemi: Describe the Payal Singhal girl – Who is she? Where does she live? What’s her style?
Payal: The Payal Singhal girl can live anywhere, but she’s confident and not afraid to experiment with her style.

Luxemi: What do you think the trends will be for spring/summer wedding fashion this year?
Payal: I think minimalistic, earthy glamour is what will be in fashion this year for the summer brides: cool colors like sand, cream and grey with pops of warm colors like red and yellow and gold tones. It will be more about style than embroidery.

Payal Singhal's fresh take on umbrella pants is street chic and edgy with a nod to Indian sentiments.

Luxemi: You split your time in New York and Mumbai. What’s your go-to outfit for a night out on the town in New York? Do you change it up when you’re in Mumbai?
Payal: In New York, it’s easy. I usually put on leggings and  Frye boots and any wrinkle-free tunic from DVF (something that doesn’t need to be ironed!). I don’t do much different in Mumbai, except switch out the boots for some peep-toe pumps.

Luxemi: Your name is Payal, which refers to the Sanskrit word for “anklet.” What are your rules for accessorizing Indian outfits?
Payal: I always have one focal accessory and don’t over accessorize, so either a statement earring or necklace or ring – but never all 3 together.

Payal Singhal and Aditi Rao Hydari close out the Taj show at Lakme Fashion Week.

Looking to inject a little Payal playfulness in your weary wardrobe? Try pairing an ornate blouse with high-waisted pants. Or drape your salwar in pretty patterns that are elegant yet chic. Neutrals in black, gold and white are anything but boring when your inspiration is the Taj Mahal!

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Luxe Ladies: The Life and Style of Alana Watkins

As part of our blog series, Luxe Ladies, we’re featuring a real member of the Luxemi.com community to learn about her and her relationship with Indian fashion.

Luxe Report readers, meet Alana. We recently chatted with Alana about her life, her fashion inspirations, and, of course, Luxemi!

benefits of borrowing and renting indian outfits for weddings online

Luxemi: Can you give us your stats? Where you live, what you do?

Alana: I live in Chicago and work as a National Account Exec for a trade show company that produces local jewelry trade shows.

Luxemi: How would you describe your style?  

Alana: My style is definitely eclectic, and I love mixing highs and lows. I need to feel comfortable and confident in what I’m wearing; those are the 2 fashion rules I always follow.

Luxemi: Where do you find your fashion inspiration? Any fashion icons you look up to?  

Alana: I could peruse Paris street style blogs all day if I had the time. Their style is classic and feminine, all the while having an edge that American style cannot seem to grasp. When it comes to my style icons, they are two polar opposites (but I love them both equally!): Kate Moss and Audrey Hepburn. They always look(ed) so comfortable in their own skin, almost as though they never questioned anything they put on. I am very attracted to that type of confidence.
Luxemi: What is your relationship with Indian fashion?  

Alana: The brilliant colors used in Indian fashion, especially in weddings, are so appealing, and I have always been a fan of the beautiful, gold jewelry. The fashion is so outgoing and has a personality of its own!

Luxemi: Why did you try Luxemi?  

Alana: I knew I needed a major fashion strategy after receiving invites to 4 Indian weddings this summer (one was all the way in Slovakia!). Renting through Luxemi gave me the opportunity to play around with my own style without the heavy investments required for a lot of Indian outfits. In the end, I rented a beautiful sea green sari and an embellished suit.

custom suit for indian weddings available for borrow rental online luxemi

Luxemi: Where did you wear Luxemi? How was your look received? 

Alana: I wore the sari to a wedding reception and the suit to a Sangeet. It seemed every auntie at the reception complemented me on the color, and the girls loved the ornate embellishments. The suit was loved by all, and many asked if I had it custom made!

Luxemi: What did you think about your Luxemi experience?

Alana: I love shopping with Luxemi even when I am not looking for anything in particular. The site is

so easy to shop and I truly trust the fashion sense of the curators behind Luxemi.

Luxemi: Any fashion advice/secrets you’d like to share with Luxe Report followers?

Alana: At the end of the day, fashion is supposed to make you feel good. Just have fun!

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Luxe Ladies: The Life and Style of Nina Mehta

At Luxemi, we love to celebrate our customers —  and really, with so many amazing women doing such interesting things, why wouldn’t we?! In our new series, Luxe Ladies, we’ll be featuring a real member of the Luxemi.com community to learn about her and her relationship with Indian fashion.

Luxe Report Readers, Meet Nina. We chatted with Nina about her life, her style, and of course, Luxemi!

Nina Mehta, Designer at Twilio in San Francisco

Luxemi: May we please have your bio-data info?
Nina: I love my life! I’m a San Francisco transplant from Chicago. My new city has everything I need except Devon Street. ‘Devon’ is like like Chicago’s Little India where you can always find a paper-thin dosa and a mountain of bindis.

I’m 26 and spend my days as a designer working at Twilio and the evenings exploring music and seeing and doing art projects.

Luxemi: How would you describe your style?
Nina: My fashion (and artistic) style is influenced a lot by materials and patterns. I try to compose a look that blends opposing ideas like a soft image on a hard material, metal embellishments on a flowing fabric or an outfit with pieces from the East and West. I’ll usually wear clothes with simple fabrics, cuts and styles but have one element that funks it up with a punch.

Nina's Metal & Wooden Jewelry

During the last year few years I started buying Indian, African and Californian wood jewelry. The material is light, natural, almost always has been hand-crafted. I also love the way the sound of wooden bracelets sound when they knock against each other around my wrists. It’s much more office friendly than the metal pieces I wear when I’m out in the evenings.

The cartoon version of me is wearing a black, comfortably fitted dress, sheer tights, a little bronze locket, a few wooden bracelets and some funky flats. In the winter, I’ll wrap my purple shawl from Jaipur around my neck like a scarf and tuck into my leather jacket.

Luxemi:  What is your relationship with Indian fashion?
Nina:  It’s pretty difficult for me to keep up with Indian fashion because I only wear sarees and salwars to marriage functions and Diwali parties. Every few years I go to India with my family, usually for a wedding, and that’s when it makes sense to invest in one or two safe outfits I can wear for a few years. But in India, if you can dream up the outfit, it can be made. There are too many choices! It’s hard to keep up with Indian fashion because I wear it so infrequently.

Luxemi: Why did you try Luxemi?
Nina:
  A near and dear Indian friend of mine was getting married and invited me to be a bridesmaid, so I wanted to look my best. At the bachelorette party, the bridesmaids decided to shop together on Luxemi, and rent an outfit for the Sangeet night.

Luxemi: What did you think about Luxemi?
Nina:
  At first I was hesitant to rent a sari because I usually have a tough time deciding what I want to buy. But browsing the outfits on Indian models from the couch at a beach house with my girlfriends was way more fun than dealing with heat, crowds, smells and thousands of choices without any way to do a search!

The major perk for me was having my Sari delivered. I had my outfits shipped to Chicago, where the wedding was, so I got to fly carry-on which let me spend more time with my family instead of stuffing my suitcase with a wrinkled Sari and waiting at baggage claim.For the sangeet I wore a mustard sari with a wide, beautiful peacock embroidery that ran down the back.

I usually choose safe colors like purples and greens but renting gave me the freedom to take a chance. I love the hard sequin-emboidered peacock against the soft flowing fabric. I loved it so much I had the mehndi artist design peacocks on my palms. For the first time I wore an Sari that embraced my personal style and still looked very Indian.

Thanks, Nina! Follow Nina @ninamehta on twitter.




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Guest Post: New Year, New Rules!

At Luxemi, we’ve been thinking a lot about what we want for the new year. Amazing fashion, of course, but also about how to be better, and more thoughtful, with everything we do.  

We asked NY-based Health and Relationship Coach Kavita J. Patel to share her advice on how to consciously prepare for a new year.

The New Year brings with it new excitement and the possibility for so much. A whole year lies ahead of us, and with it comes a nice new clean slate. But if you are anything like me, that clean slate can feel overwhelming. I immediately get a strong urge to write all over it, and by the end of the year it just ends up needing to be wiped clean again.

Most people around this time ask, “So, what are your New Year’s resolutions?” My relationship with resolutions is mixed—kind of a love/hate thing going on. It’s a brand new, bright and clean year that I have to work with, but I can’t enjoy it even for a moment. I start writing on that empty slate about what I want to accomplish before I know exactly what I want to create for the New Year.

I like doing things consciously. I don’t like to create a resolution to exercise more just because that’s what other people say they are doing. It has to deeply resonate with me. So, I want to share with you my 7-step process to CONSCIOUSLY start your new year off with a bang. This will resonate with you especially if you also feel this love/hate thing happening with New Year’s resolutions.

1. First, get into a place that feels good for you in your home. It could be the kitchen table or your bed. Wherever it is, make sure you are comfortable and the area feels peaceful for you.

2. Softly close your eyes, and take 3 slow, deep breaths.

3. Get into a place of feeling centered, which means you feel a physical shift of dropping out of your head and back into your body. If you don’t feel this shift, you can simply focus on your breath as a way to get centered.

4. Take a moment to reflect on your past year and ask yourself out loud: “What were 3 accomplishments that I felt fan-freaking-tastic about in 2011?” Allow your thoughts to lead you to those accomplishments. Don’t force it—trust that they will come to you. If only 2 come or 1 come to you, that’s great too. (Feel free to ask these questions in your own words. Just make sure the core concept is included.)

5. Then, ask yourself out loud: “What were 3 areas in 2011 that I felt stuck and powerless? What were 3 areas that I really wanted something different and couldn’t quite have it?” Again, don’t force it. Allow your thoughts to lead the way, and if you need to take a deep breath because nothing is coming, do that.

6. Then, ask yourself out loud: “Now that I am in 2012 and the year lies ahead of me, and I can do what I want with it, what are 3 things that I REALLY want?” or “What are 3 things that I YEARN to create in 2012?”

7. Lastly, once you have finished and gotten clear on what you want, open your eyes, find your journal or a piece of paper and a pen, and write out the 3 things you WANT. It’s okay if you just came up with one or two. Write out how you are going to support yourself in making those 3 things happen. As women, we NEED support. You cannot do it all on your own, and if you think you can, ask yourself if you have been able to accomplish these things in the past all by yourself.
The answer is probably no, because you didn’t have the support. Take the fast track towards what you want—not the slow and bumpy one.

Know, as you follow this process, that CHANGE is good. If you are on a path to wanting happiness, love, and feeling great overall, then changing yourself is essential to get and create what you desire in life. You have a whole new year to do what you please, and you can make what you want come alive. Don’t let anyone tell you any differently. Here’s to another fabulous, fun, and happy new year.

 Kavita J. Patel is a relationship coach based in New York who creates love breakthroughs for women in her business, Outrageously Happy Relationships. She has been featured in Time Out New York and can be found at kavitajpatel.com or on twitter @kavitajpatel.

What what do you want to create for the new year? Let us know in comments below or @luxemi!

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A Golden Story: Luxemi Talks to Amrapali

Amrapali International Jewelry Week 2011

From Bollywood to Hollywood, India’s premier jewelry brand Amrapali is quickly becoming known as the jeweler to the stars. With its modern interpretations of classic Indian craftsmanship, it’s no wonder that A-listers Jennifer Lopez, Sonam Kapoor, Rachel McAdams and the Queen of Jaipur count themselves as devoted clients. Luxemi was lucky enough to catch up with designer and Head of Operations Tarang Arora at India’s International Jewelry Week 2011 to find out his inspiration for the latest collection and his own personal style icon (hint…she’s not Indian).

Tarang Arora, Designer and Head of Operations of Amrapali

  • Who is your inspiration? India and its wide array of traditions and cultures, each of these facets as a rainbow inspires me.
  •  Any fashion icons you relate to or whose style you really like? There are so many people experimenting and expressing themselves with the way they look and dress. My all-time favorite is Gwen Stefani, who continues to look stylish even after being in the industry for so long.  Currently, Lady Gaga is such a breath of fresh air – her outlook is unique. We need more people like her with an unabashed showcase of what she likes.

    Sonam Kapoor at the Indian Jewelry Week, 2011

  • Indian fashion is making waves on the global front, how does that effect the fashion scenario here? India is now seen as a big fashion creator and it gives us more exposure. Amrapali can boast of a distinguished clientele amongst Hollywood celebrities. It’s great to know that international audiences are opening up to our designs and culture. Our transition started with the movie Troy and after that, Hollywood took notice of our jewelry and style. Also, that was the right time when Indian fashion had started making its place in the international market.

    JLo in Amrapali

  • What is the biggest difference between Indian and international fashion? What are our strengths and weaknesses? Indian fashion is less experimental than international fashion. People are still quite restrictive of what they wear even though it’s evolving. Our strengths lie in our technique, when it comes to hand-made garments, jewelry etc. Also we love to experiment with colors and fashion here is unapologetically vibrant. In terms of jewelry you can really create some magnificent pieces and the masses love it. Our weaknesses in terms of fashion would be the lack of knowledge and services – pre-sales and post-sales. Also Indians hesitate in truly experimenting and actually going all out but that too is getting better now.
  • How would you describe your design sensibility? Amrapali’s designs in two words are ethnic chic.

    Actor Dia Mirza in an Amrapali creation

  • What are your opinions on recycling jewelry or preserving vintage jewelry? Jewelry is not something which can be recycled. Gold is a precious metal and each time a piece is melted there is a lot of wastage. We believe we have a good collection of vintage jewelry which has been built over the years. Sometimes we get just parts of old jewelry like a part of an old necklace or a hair pin. We add our own touch to it and join it to make it a new piece altogether.

Kangana Ranaut at International Jewelry Week, 2011

Would you like to see Amrapali jewelry on Luxemi? Let us know!

—  By Fashion Bombay for Luxemi

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