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The Desi Empire State of Mind

NYFW SS '16

L to R: Naeem Khan, Bibhu Mohapatra and Sachin & Babi

Fashion month is upon us, and it was kickstarted with the ever -so-chic New York Fashion Week. Showcasing collections for Spring/Summer of the upcoming year, the runways shone with lively colours,reinvented concepts, and exquisite design. Not only is NYFW known to draw crowds from around the world, but also designers hailing from around the globe. These connoisseurs get to set the hottest trends for the season in the Big Apple, and India was not to be left far behind. Naeem Khan, Bibhu Mohapatra and Sachin & Babi made a sizeable dent on the fashion armour with stellar collections, and it looks like they’re here to stay. Here’s a roundup of their collections!

Naeem Khan

NYFW SS '16

The very biggest names are patrons of Naeem Khan’s magnificent designs—Michelle Obama, Vanessa Hudgens and Bella Thorne to name a few. The designer took inspiration from the ’50s and ’60s for his uber glamorous spring-summer collection. The splendid taffeta ball gowns were the highlight of his collection. Crafted in lively pinks and yellows, the gowns were embellished with exquisite beadwork in floral and paisley patterns, and came packed with pockets. Other garments included magnificent printed slit dresses and a gown with striking red embroidery. Khan definitely wowed the crowd but really, does he ever disappoint?

Bibhu Mohapatra

NYFW SS '16

 

Bibhu Mohapatra’s collection stunned New York fashionistas with impeccably tailored garments. Heavily influenced by the Bauhaus era and Swiss photojournalist Annemarie Schwarzenbach, the line had an androgynous, minimalist theme. Geometric shapes and textures were the norm, and luscious neoprene and silks dominated the runway. Jumpsuits and gowns in gorgeous silvers, greens and dusty pinks strutted alongside striking abstract printed pant suits. Mohapatra’s distinctive aesthetic was one of the most unique ones seen at NYFW.

Sachin & Babi

NYFW SS '16

Spring/Summer 2016 done in the Sachin & Babi way is a dreamy and romantic spectacle. Off-shoulder midi dresses, and formal blouse and pants combinations featured fanciful floral motifs, but the highpoint of the collection were the flamboyant gowns by the husband-wife duo. Three-tiered chiffon delights, these gowns were ensconced in refreshing flowers in primary colours. The dynamic pair also included gorgeous casual evening wear in the show held at their East Side townhouse.

Who was your favourite Indian designer at NYFW? Write in the comments below!

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Designer Spotlight: Rahul Mishra

 

Rahul Mishra

If you follow Indian fashion, then you know Rahul Mishra is the name to know in fashion circles. Hailing from Malhausi, a small village 50 miles away from Kanpur, he was far removed from the fashion world growing up but you’d never know it judging from his recent successes on the runway. After pursuing a degree in science at Kanpur University, it was a chance encounter that got him to enrol at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. Turned out, this master’s degree helped him find his metaphoric calling.

Rahul Mishra

                                                                                        Couture 2015 collection

Mishra’s early accolades like winning the ‘Fiesta Italiana Talent Hunt Contest’ by Indo-Italian Chamber of Commerce affirmed that the Kanpur boy was incredibly talented. His stint at NID finally provided him with the creative space that he needed to hone his skills, and it also led to a realization that design could be used to uplift fading Indian arts and crafts. In 2006, he debuted at Lakme Fashion Week with collection featuring handloom techniques from Kerala. Needless to say, it won rave reviews. This collection also earned him a scholarship with Istituto Marangoni, Milan, where he created a new range using chikankari (Lucknowi work) by innovative pattern making that reduced the textile consumption up to 30 per cent.

Maheshwari collection

                                                                                      Maheshwari collection

It was only a matter of time until the world took notice. He was one of nine international designers invited by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University to be a part of a landmark exhibition, and also won the International Designer of the Year award at the International Apparel Federation annual convention in Netherlands. The Victoria & Albert Museum, London briefly exhibited his chanderi work, and National Geographic showcased his label’s philosophy in a UNESCO documentary.

Rahul Mishra

But the best was yet to come. In 2014, the designer won the coveted International Woolmark Prize—an award that only the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld have been honoured with in the past. Mishra was the first ever Indian to win it. Up next was a coveted spot at Paris Fashion week, which he’s been showcasing at ever since.

Rahul Mishra

No amount of international adulation has swayed the brilliant designer from his core belief—to ‘let craft lead the way’. He continues to innovate and actively work towards bringing Indian crafts to the global spotlight and elevate those who struggle to keep the art alive every day. His most significant act has been the reverse migration of artisans from the slums of Mumbai back to their craft villages in a bid to provide them steady employment.

Mishra’s silhouettes contemporise the traditional fabrics he is so partial to in a bid to appeal to the modern Indian woman. He is particularly known for reinventing sari blouses—from overlapping jackets and capes to bomber jackets. Mishra is also often gives essentially western silhouettes like embellished sweatshirts, pencil skirts and sheath dresses his signature update.

Rahul Mishra

Come 2015, Mishra continues to be a fashionable force to reckon with. Presently, the Victoria & Albert Museum plans to permanently showcase his Woolmark Prize collection, and the label retails at the snazziest fashion chains across the world. There’s also the PFW SS ’15 show we just can’t wait for!

What do you think of the designer? Tell us in the comment box below! 

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Best of Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2015

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The Winter/Festive phase of Lakmé Fashion Week is over and we’re still daydreaming about the fashionable treats we saw walk down the runway! The runway glittered with Indian, western and fusion gems during the ultimate celebration of fashion. Here are our top picks for the upcoming festive season:

Nikasha

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Nikasha threw it all the way back to the roaring twenties with her shimmering golden and pink collection ‘Indira et Amrita’. The signature twenties fringe swayed on silky camisoles, flapper dresses and semi-sheer draped pants. Inspired by sisters Amrita and Indira Shergill, the glimmering garments also featured her signature lily blossoms. The Gatsby-esque collection was accessorized with ombre tassel earrings and twinkling headbands.

Manish Malhotra

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Decadence and royalty were the essence of Manish Malhotra’s line this season. Navy blues, deep maroons, ivory and rich browns were a staple throughout the line. Full-skirted gowns with plunging necklines in opulent materials like velvet and silk, and sparkling off-shoulder ball gowns stood out. Do we see a shift from Indian to decidedly western silhouettes for the new-age Indian bride? The collection invoked a strong sense of regal magnificence.

AM:PM

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The ‘Siyah’ collection by AM:PM (Ankur and Priyanka Modi) stood out in elegant ivory, red, and black shades. Panelled skirts, structured maxis, draped dhoti pants, and peplum jackets in silk, organza, and satin dominated the runway, all of them adorned with mukaish work and intricate embroidery reminiscent of Islamic crafts and architecture. Daring slits and cutout details gave the graceful collection an edgy twist. The highlight of the collection was a rosy red structured sari with a peplum blouse.

Shruti Sancheti

Shruti sancheti

Pinnacle by Shruti Sancheti drew from the culture of beautiful fabrics from Benaras and fused it with Japanese silhouettes for her line ‘Kaashi to Kyoto’. Using chanderi, silk, dori embroidery and Chinar print, she created flowing kimono jackets, capes, and asymmetrical tops with billowing sleeves in maroon, blue, wine and gold. These were paired with slim skirts, culottes, midis and lehengas for the ultimate ethnic fusion collection.

Ridhi Mehra

Ridhi Mehra

Ridhi Mehra kept it simple with classic hues like red and blue with floral applique work. She played peekaboo with sheer fabrics, draped dupattas, and pre-stitched capes. Tailored jumpsuits added an element of playfulness, but Ridhi also kept the Indian vibe alive with marsala lehengas.  The collection notably included a gorgeous royal blue gown, resplendent with gold embroidery.

Gaurang Shah

Gaurang

Reinventing Varanasi (a city in Uttar Pradesh) heritage was the aim of Gaurang Shah’s winter collection, and it did so with flair! Featuring traditional silk saris in reds, pinks, oranges and yellows, the collection truly celebrated the culture and fabrics of Varanasi. Gaurang added a twist to it with a touch of contemporary and quirky prints. There is just one word that aptly sums up this collection—vibrant!

So what were your favourite looks at LFW 2015? Let us know in the comments below!

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Destination Wedding Packing Hacks – What Not to Pack!

 

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Planning a destination wedding is no piece of cake. It takes months and months of organizing, inviting and coordinating! Oh and let’s not forget, the pain of packing for those invited! It’s completely unlike packing for any other vacation—given how fragile and expensive your wedding items can be, you’re definitely going to be under immense pressure and stress. The trouble of customs and excess luggage can instantly send you in a tizzy. But don’t you worry, because we’ve got you covered with a list of what NOT to carry to the next dream destination wedding you’re attending. Read on to find out!

Your entire collection of real jewelry

Let’s face it, when you’re travelling to another city or country, there is always the possibility of luggage going missing. Or what if something gets misplaced at the hotel? That’s why it’s better to stick to semi-precious baubles instead of the real deal.

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Luxemi Pick: Floral Diamonique and Pearl Set

Never-ending layers

There’s no debating that you want to look your best. You’ve probably even purchased a fair share of heavy lehengas and anarakalis, but how are you going to pack them? Clothing with layers of can-can are best avoided. Choose lighter options like sleek kurtas and fuss-free saris that are easy to pack.

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Luxemi Pick: Pink peony printed sari

 Fragile items

You do not want to see your precious Indian wear getting ruined. Heavily embroidered saris or particularly delicate ones, stiff corset blouses, and lehengas with plenty of work should not be stuffed into your suitcase. They deserve extra TLC so save them for a wedding in your hometown.

 

Uncomfortable heels

Doesn’t matter if you’re the bride or the guest; weddings mean hours of standing and socializing and, of course, dancing! Don’t pack heels that will leave your feet sore the next day, making it difficult for you to enjoy the rest of the festivities. Opt for wedges and platforms over stilettoes for maximum comfort. There’s nothing like flats, of course!

Too many hair appliances

Don’t carry your entire arsenal of heavy hair appliances. Most hotels have hair dryers and, if you’re looking to get ironing or curling done, there is bound to be a salon nearby. Or, coordinate with your friends so you aren’t lugging your entire bathroom cabinet with you!

Tell us what you would avoid carrying to a destination wedding in the comment bow below! 

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Designer Spotlight: Raw Mango

 

sanjay1

2014 may have been Rahul Mishra’s year, but 2015 surely looks like it belongs to Sanjay Garg. Born and raised in a small village called Mubarikpur in Rajasthan, Garg comes from a well-to-do business background. After quitting the Indian Institute of Craft & Design, he soon left to join NIFT in New Delhi, which helped him build the sensibilities required for textile design.

sanjaygarg

The designer then went on to work for store, Shades Of India, and also started taking on other small projects like the Chanderi Cluster Development Programme, where he came across weavers in the Ashoknagar district of Madhya Pradesh. That’s when he had his aha! moment and made it his mission to make simplicity a brand statement.

sanjay2

Garg launched label Raw Mango in 2008 with the intention to revitalize traditional techniques to create contemporary Indian hand-woven textiles. By introducing design interventions at the weaving stage, the idea was to make textiles softer and easier to drape. The main purpose of this was to get the younger generation to develop an interest in handloom saris. He then took conventional Indian motifs like house sparrows, parrots, trees, lotuses, marigolds, cows, coins and created Indian wear in divine shades!

RM1

Today, with more than 450 craftspeople working at the helm, the brand is focused on making saris, dupattas, stoles and fabrics with minimalism as the predominant theme. Garg doesn’t believe in using “gimmickry or glamour” in his collections, instead each piece is aimed at delivering high quality pieces backed by great design. Not one to make a big show about his winning collections, he lets his work speak for himself and hardly uses any advertising. While most designers love seeing their creations splashed across fashion magazines, Sanjay Garg couldn’t be bothered. He believes curiosity is the greatest marketing tool and that is what brings his clients to him.

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The designer isn’t so keen about fashion shows either. Despite being in the industry for so many years, he debuted his first ever runway collection at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2014. The showcase included lush fabrics, which took the form of empire waist dresses, kurta-pyjama suits, and heritage saris.

Sanjay-Garg

The fashion fraternity simply can’t get enough of his designs. His stunning creations have been featured in Vogue, Elle, Verve, and Harper’s Bazaar Bride.

collage

In fact, Bollywood is going gaga over his creations too! From Kajol and Sonam Kapoor to Dia Mirza, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Kangana Ranaut, the stunning ladies are clearly fans of his saris! Soha Ali Khan, who tied the knot recently, also sported his a fuschia pink lehenga by him for her reception.

Soha-Ali-Khan

Garg’s sights are set on seeing Indian textiles on the global map. With a visionary approach, he only chooses to work with young craftsmen and weavers open to new ideas. His strong belief of beauty lying in imperfections is the driving force behind the brand. Without a doubt, our eyes are eagerly awaiting what Raw Mango comes up with next!

sanjay3

What do you think of the brand? Tell us in the comment box below! 

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Fashion Hacks Every Desi Girl Ought To Know!

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Whoever said shortcuts will get you nowhere was obviously mistaken. The right short cuts can change your life. Dramatic? Maybe. But we found a few hacks that will instantly take your Indian clothing game to the next level. Not only are these Luxemi-approved, they also have the power to transform your wardrobe (which is synonymous with changing your life, of course).

  • Dressed to the nines but just noticed the creased collar of your kurta? Don’t fret! Just pull out your hair straightener and iron away!
  • In case you’re running late for an event and still haven’t done your hair, skip the neat bun or braids. Simply spritz on some sea-salt spray and get ready to break a few hearts with your desirable waves!
  • Dropped some of your favorite red on your brand new cream sari? No need to worry! Just dab it gently with a cloth soaked in white wine to do away with the blot. And then pour yourself another glass, maybe?
  • Yellow sweat patches can often be a menace on light colored clothes. Spray some lemon juice on the stains before you put them to wash.
  • Never wear freshly ironed clothes right away. Let the fabric cool for 5 minutes to avoid creating new wrinkles.
  • Can’t find your earring clasp? Use a small piece of eraser as the substitute!
  • Having trouble wearing your new embellished jootis? Place a bag of water in each one to stretch them out and leave them overnight in a freezer. If you don’t have time to do that, just put on a pair of socks underneath them and blow dry!
  • Liquid dishwasher detergent and an old toothbrush are the only things you need to keep your diamonds set sparkling forever!
  • Hang your heavy anarkalis and lehengas overnight to get rid of creases on them.
  • Your maang tikka giving you trouble yet again? After securing it in your hair with pins, use double-sided tape to secure it to your forehead.
  • Need to try on a churidar but don’t have the time to try it at the store? Check if the waist of the pants wraps around your neck once, without any overlaps. If it does, then it will fit you just fine!
  • If the zippers on your salwar keep getting stuck, rub them with a lead pencil and watch them slide smoothly!
  • Pin a safety pin to the inside of your salwar or blouse in case of an emergency. If a button pops or the zipper breaks, you’ll be prepared!
  • Place muslin cloth or a plastic sheet between every fold of real zari saris. This will not only keep the colour intact, but will also make sure none of the embellishments scratch into each other.

Share your go-to Indian fashion hacks with us in the comment box below!

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Best of the Best at Amazon India Couture Week 2015

 

AICW2015

Just recently, the crème de la crème of the fashion fraternity descended in Delhi for Amazon India Couture Week 2015 (read: 29th July – 2nd August). Some of the country’s best couturiers showcased their bridal wear—from cocktail gowns to fusion ethnic wear—proving, once again, that beautiful excess is here to stay. Whether it was Persian folklore, boho-luxe or floral motifs; each and every show was a pure visual feast! We round up the designers who set the stage on fire.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee

sabya

When the king of bridal wear, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, pairs up with the king of red soles, Christian Louboutin, everyone hopes to catch a glimpse of the action! Sabya’s signature voluminous lehengas came with a twist—they were trimmed down to slimming, figure-skimming silhouettes. Saris made an appearance with long jackets, capes and corsets. When it came to the embroidery, the designer went all out with dense work in muted gold.

 Manish Malhotra

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Deep red, forest green and glamorous gold—the ultimate shades for Indian brides—dominated the runway at Manish Malhotra’s show. The designer focused mostly on western couture, like enormous skirts and velvet jackets that would work for cocktail and reception parties. He added a refreshing spin to florals, presenting large motifs that were bright, colourful and funky. The show also marked the return of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to the ramp, sizzling in a breath-taking marsala gown with splashes of gold!

 Rimple and Harpreet Narula

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Rimple and Harpreet Narula’s collection was an ode to the splendor and extravaganza with which Indian Maharajas led their lives. The line paid homage to regal insignia as well as fine craftsmanship in shades of ivory, beige, burnt gold, and ruby red. Consisting of gold karigari, handcrafted embroidery, and crystals embedded on capes, robes, billowy jackets, majestic cloaks and lehengas; each piece narrated the interactions of Indian royals with western influences. Showstopper Shilpa Shetty shined in a shimmery gold lehenga choli, truly making it a royal affair to remember!

 Anju Modi

anjumodi

Persian folklore came alive on the runway with Anju Modi’s show. Inspired by miniature paintings, Rumi’s verses, Islamic influences, and fairytales, the designer’s models were dressed in traditionally ornate wedding attire. The collection’s highlights were her voluminous lehengas worn with intricately embroidered cholis and multiple dupattas. Modi didn’t ignore the new-age woman either—the unconventional combination of contrasting hues, such as turquoise with black, mustard with blood red, or even mint green with rani pink, will be a hit among modern brides.

 Varun Bahl

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Varun Bahl’s classic lehengas, saree gowns and anarkalis were an aesthetic treat with their fascinating floral designs. Seen in delicate fabrics like tulle, georgette, silk, and crochet, the outfits came in hues of sensual creams, pale pinks, glossy golds, reds, and blacks. The ensembles featuring gold-tinted 3D roses and pearls stole the show, while a pair of trousers with floral embroidery was the obvious showstopper!

 Rohit Bal

rohitbal

Flora and fauna were the predominant theme at the ever-theatrical Rohit Bal’s sprawling showcase. Clusters of red, black and white roses worn around the models’ heads and necks added to the drama. Flowing lehenga skirts and structured sherwani jackets were detailed with Persian embroidery. The motifs consisted of florae, various long-tailed birds, and even elephants and camels. The best part was the flutes of champagne held by models; enhancing the celebratory mood every wedding party and Rohit Bal show carries!

Who was your favourite designer at Amazon India Couture Week 2015? Tell us in the comment box below!

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