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Top Bridal Lehenga Designer Labels for every Bride

As brides, our main sources of inspiration these days are Instagram and Pinterest. This entails spending endless hours, scrolling through pages of gorgeous lehenga designs and yet you’re still just as confused as you were at the beginning!

Sonam and Anita grace luxury exhibition, Divalicious London

Sonam Kapoor Divalicious London

After hugely successful outings in destinations such as UAE, India, Kenya, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Hong Kong and Indonesia, it was time for London to play host to luxury boutique pop-up exhibition, ‘DIVAlicious’ at The May Fair Hotel.

Sonam Kapoor Divalicious London

Sonam Kapoor at DIVAlicious

DIVAlicious are a unique mobile fashion concept brand launched in Dubai in 2011 to popularise Indian fashion and design globally.

Presented by Dubai based multi-brand retail store The Rack – by Kachins, DIVAlicious partnered with communication consultancy, Sterling Media and Sterling Reality to bring their celebrated exhibition to London shoppers.

Bollywood actress and fashion icon, Sonam Kapoor graced the luxury-shopping event, as did renowned designer, Anita Dongre.

Anita Dongre has been at the forefront of fashion for over 20 years, having created one of the most successful fashion houses in India. A metaphor for supreme craftsmanship, her designs showcase Indian aesthetics in a contemporary language. Dongre’s Rajasthani inspired, handcrafted bridal gotapatti lehengas and handwoven heritage benarasi creations are coveted by brides across the world as well as amongst personalities and public figures.

Divalicious London Anita Dongre

DIVAlicious London marked Anita Dongre’s inaugural London showcase.

Speaking of her participation, she said,

London is an exciting city with an eclectic mix of art, architecture, fashion and business. DIVAlicious was a wonderful event to bring designers, buyers and clients on one platform. I enjoyed being back in London to showcase this season’s bridal couture. – Anita Dongre

Her commitment to revive, sustain and empower the Indian crafts and textiles is evident in her sustainable label, Grassroot.

Alchemy Anita Dongre London

We had an opportunity to ask the designer a few questions about her craft traditions, in addition to her celebrated bridal collections.

You’ve been so instrumental in reviving age-old crafts and eco fashion, how do you make it so appealing for today’s generation?

Today’s generation truly appreciates the gifts of heritage. They understand that handcrafted work translates into luxury. And in India, we have great resource of vintage crafts. As a designer, I bring these beautiful crafts from the interiors of India to the runways by moulding it into modern styles and silhouettes.

Tell us a little about the story and inspiration behind your beautiful new collection?

‘Alchemy’ celebrates the surreal and the whimsical—it combines the deserts of our muse state, Rajasthan, with verdure to present a fantastical land that glistens with the golds of the sand with a mix of a lush forest. The colour palette is reminiscent of the miscellany of the flowers, trees, dense jungles, water bodies, wildlife and the large expanse of the deserts of Rajasthan.

Your bridal collections are timeless, how would you describe the Anita Dongre bride?

All women inspire me. Women everywhere are beautifully multitasking responsibilities – at work, in the home and on a global platform with one achievement at a time. While they grow to be more and more independent, they also remain true to their roots.   

What are the top trends for brides or grooms to try this wedding season?

Brides can go bold with gold this season! Sheer layers look light and beautiful for a summer wedding. I suggest soft pastels with exquisite handcrafted gota patti in fluid silhouettes for brides who like to be comfortable yet look gorgeous.

Grooms look best in the classic sherwani. I suggest a sage green sherwani with minimal embroidery paired with handcrafted footwear for the summer. 

Divalicious London Fashion Show

Divalicious London Fashion Show

Anita Dongre - Divalicious show

UK shoppers had a chance to view, experience and purchase creations by over 20 established and emerging Indian designers along with accessory brands from Dubai, India and Hong Kong, all inspired by the East and toned for the West. The finest Indian designer apparel was brought to the event courtesy of The Rack – by Kachins, a luxurious multi-designer retail hub part of Kachins Group, the iconic Dubai-based suit makers. Designer collections showcased at the event included Anamika Khanna, Gaurav Gupta, Pankaj & Nidhi, Payal Singhal and Tarun Tahiliani

Private banker turned fulltime fashion entrepreneur Vanitaa Bhatia launched DIVAlicious in Dubai in 2011She spoke of the success of the London event.

We had a resounding weekend in London with a great turn out. With the reception we received, I can immediately claim that we will be back again next year and hope to make it an annual spring affair for the fashion-conscious market that is London. Our next step is Nairobi, Kenya! – Vanitaa Bhatia

DIVAlicious London’s partner is the globally renowned, multi-award-winning business and communications consultancy Sterling Media. Established in 1995, the company has a specialist luxury-lifestyle division, providing strategic consultancy to a range of clients.

CEO of Sterling Group, Natasha Mudhar said:

We have had an incredible response to the event, highlighting the love of Indian fashion, design and creativity internationally. As 2017 celebrates 70 years of India and UK’s cultural partnership, we were delighted to welcome the epitome of international fashion, culture and film Sonam Kapoor to the UK. – Natasha Mudhar

Speaking about their association with DIVAlicious London, Neetu Ramchandani of The Rack – by Kachins said:

The Rack – by Kachins was launched to fill a void in the U.A.E fashion retail landscape given the non-availability of Indian designer brands in the region. Both DIVAlicous’ and our vision is in complete sync presenting a natural synergy as we strive to fulfill the demand for South Asian fashion across international shores. We were delighted to have the opportunity to bring to London a preview of our A List designer collections and to showcasing our brand to the UK shopper at DIVAlicious London, without having the need for them to travel to us in the U.A.E. – Neetu Ramchandani

Finally, UAE’s leading property developer, Danube Properties and is the market leader in affordable housing. Speaking about their association with DIVAlicious London, Rizwan Sajan, Founder and Chairman of Danube Group, said,

“We were pleased to be part of DIVAlicious in London this year, and for giving visitors a peek of our project portfolio. Since our inception in the property market, we have garnered immense interest from international markets such as London and through the DIVAlicious London exhibition were able to make our offerings known to a wider majority.” – Rizwan Sajan

Hope we don’t have to wait too long until another DIVAlicious show!

*Images courtesy of Elevate Promotions and Asian Express Newspaper.

Did you attend the London show or any other DIVAlicious show? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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‘Stitch Three’ Spring Edit – Luxury Spring/Summer trunk show

South Asian, High Fashion Studio presents a day of Seasonal Shopping at Stitch Three Spring Edit

Stitch Three | The Maharani Diaries

Dedicated followers of fashion are in for a seasonal shopping treat as South Asian high fashion retail and studio concept, Stitch Three, presents Stitch Three Spring Edit on Thursday 10th March, 11am – 7pm, The Baglioni Hotel, 60 Hyde Park Gate, London SW7 5BB.

Connoisseurs of premium, South Asian fashion brands will be able to shop latest prêt collections by some of India and Pakistan’s most sought after designers such as Sania Maskatiya, Maheen Karim and Pasho. Exquisite embroideries; on trend, graphic prints and luxe fabrics will be thematic at the trunk show, giving shoppers the chance to pick up coveted pieces at Indian and Pakistani retail prices ahead of the summer months as a UK exclusive. Additionally, curated accessory, jewellery and homeware collections will be presented by leading brands such the latest, must-have bag label, Sanetti, and the exquisite Deevara Jewels. Complementing the concept store shopping experience will be sumptuous hospitality throughout the day, making it a must-do diary entry for fashionistas and their friends.

Stitch Three has established itself as a leading powerhouse across the South Asian fashion landscape in the UK, driven by three of the sector’s leading influencers and tastemakers – Aisha Tabani Chowdhry, Aamna Lakhany and Radhika Hasan. Stitch Three curates in the UK a discerning edit of the leading design talents from India and Pakistan’s fashion scenes for a UK audience – household names such as Umar Sayeed, Maheen Karim, Sania Maskatiya and Nida Azwer from Pakistan and Tarun Tahiliani, Gaurang Shah, Rina Dhaka and Anita Dongre from India. Powered by a multi-channel platform that comprises retail distribution, exclusive fashion events and studio, Stitch Three connects consumers with leading and top tier South Asian fashion brands.

Stitch Three Spring Edit takes place on Thursday 10th March from 11am – 7pm at The Baglioni Hotel, 60 Hyde Park Gate, London SW7 5BB. 

*For further press information and enquiries, please contact Tony Gill of Media Hive via email, tony@mediahiveworld.com or call, +44 7970 034 636.

Pantone Colors Of The Year – Rose Quartz & Serenity

Pantone Wedding Inspiration | The Maharani Diaries

It’s reigning pale pinks and soft blues this year all courtesy of Pantone.

In an unprecedented move the institute have nominated not one but two colors this year; Rose Quartz and Serenity.

For those who have been hiding under a rock for a while, the Pantone Color Institute is the world’s leading authority on color standardization. Each year Pantone releases a color, which shapes forthcoming fashion, home décor and wedding trend forecasts.

The soothing pastel tones have been talk of the town in recent months with interior experts, wedding planners, stylists and fashion designers embracing the colors. Rose Quartz and Serenity are incredibly versatile and can be paired alongside other neutral pantone colors as well as metallics. The two shades when combined together are also so dreamy and romantic. As executive director of Pantone Color Institute, Leatrice Eisemen stated, Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.”

To see how these hues can inspire your wedding, we have scoured the internet and got our creative juices flowing to create elegant and romantic inspiration mood boards. Paint your wedding festivities with rose tones and tranquil blues and layer with antique golds, champagne beiges and muted ivories to give your wedding a luxe appeal.

For our rose quartz palette we have blended beautiful and chic wedding ideas that are glowing with elegance. Vintage touches with a hint of opulence.

Rose Quartz Inspiration | The Maharani Diaries

Place setting image courtesy of Pinterest // Bouttonniere image courtesy of Pinterest // Perfume image courtesy of Michael + Anna Costa // Shoes image courtesy of Silvana Di Franco //
Outdoor setting by Jeannie Savage, photography courtesy of Lin & Jirsa //Cake courtesy of Cakes by Krishanthi// Lehenga by Anita Dongre for Pernia’s Pop Up Shop //
Invitation suite by Ceci New York, photography courtesy of Thisbe Grace Photography // Ring courtesy of Trumpet & Horn 

Place setting: Add style to your wedding table with gold plated ornate china wear and cutlery. Infuse blush pink roses into your tablescape to create an eye-catching setting.

Boutonniere and tie: A mens boutonniere or buttonhole need not be over the top in this case. Inject some color and personality into the groom’s trousseau. Mix it up with a fun polka dot tie and one single pink rose. Accompany the accessories with a neutral shade suit and you have a classic yet simple look.

Perfume: Mais oui (but yes), Chanel! The beauty of this too is that the perfume bottle will look absolutely stunning in your photographs.

Shoes: These beautiful Badgley Mischka heels will add the right amount of color to your bridal trousseau and definitely won’t look over the top with your blushing pink toned bridal gown.

Outdoor setting: This isn’t a mandap, but just imagine! Something similar would make for a stunning backdrop. Adorned with luscious pink and ivory roses and complemented with metallic chairs, your wedding will be the talk of the town.

Cake: As Marie Antoinette once famously quoted, “Let them eat cake.” A standout wedding cake like this one from Cakes By Krishanthi layered with frosted pink and white petals and beautiful gold Victorian style details will stand out in any wedding venue.

Lehenga: Anita Dongre’s signature gota patti embroidered lehenga choli’s usually feature floral patterns and subtle gold foiling, hence the reason why we thought this gorgeous feminine outfit is perfect for a wedding of this style.

Invitation suite: Founder and stationery design extraordinaire, Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York believes that “Every legendary party begins with an unforgettable invitation.” This deluxe gold and blush invitation suite will add a lovely touch to the overall theme building anticipation for your guests.

Ring: Whether it’s the engagement or wedding ring, this one from Trumpet & Horn speaks for itself. An unusual art deco vintage ring with yellow, rose and white gold accents. Perfect!

Serenity Inspiration | The Maharani Diaries

Macarons image courtesy of Ana Grinets Photography for French Wedding Style // Invitation suite by Karli Noel, photography courtesy of Ivy & Stone Photography for Style Me Pretty
// Lehenga courtesy of Shyamal & Bhumika // Chandelier image courtesy of Pinterest // Chateau image courtesy of Wesley Nulens for Style Me Pretty // Ring courtesy of Eidel Precious for Etsy
// Shoes and bouquet image courtesy of Anastasia Belik // Place setting image courtesy of Anouschka Rokebrand for Style Me Pretty // Mehendi image courtesy of Pinterest 

Our serenity wedding color palette has been drawn from European influences (French to be exact) combining dreamy neutrals and creams offset with once again metallic and accents of rose quartz as well.

Macarons: What is a French inspired wedding without this delectable dessert? We love this striking macaron tower nestled next to vintage champagne glasses, sitting pretty on an antique sweetheart table.

Invitation suite: This stunning powder blue and cream Karli Noel invitation suite features hand written calligraphy with gold lettering. The perfect wedding invitation suite for your French destination wedding.

Lehenga: We love this luxurious, artisan pastel blue couture lehenga from designer’s Shyamal & Bhumika’s ‘A Little Romance’ collection. Create a statement with a gorgeous lehenga such as this one. Perfect for brides who love timeless and romantic looks.

Chandelier: An ornate antique gold chandelier such as this one will add opulence to your reception venue as well as your wedding photographs.

Chateau: A charming French chateau with all the trimmings is the ideal venue for a wedding of this scale and grandeur. This one looks particularly dreamy. Whisk your guests away to a European retreat for the ultimate destination wedding party.

Ring: A beautiful rose gold Victorian engagement ring featuring a blue pear cut sapphire will match beautifully with the bridal trousseau.

Bouquet and shoes: Go all out with your blue wedding palette. Pointy toed stilleto’s definitely add luxe appeal and once paired with the designer lehenga and a fresh bouquet of carnations or roses, your beau won’t be able to take his eyes off you.

Place setting: Gold candelabras, fine china and fitted blue linens add to the classic and timeless wedding setting.

Mehendi: Just when we couldn’t fall more in love with this inspiration board, we come across this stunning image over on Pinterest, featuring intricate mehendi work adorning a bride’s palms. Lovely details.

Even if you decide against translating these colors into your design concept, what’s important is to ensure that you communicate your color choices into your overall wedding theme. From the venue to your décor through to your cocktails and cake, everything should balance well.

What are your thoughts on this year’s Pantone 2016 colors of the year? Will you be incorporating them into your wedding theme? Let us know in the comments below.

Introducing ‘WaliaJones’ – The New Home for Luxury Indian Clothing

Walia Jones | The Maharani Diaries

Would you believe it’s June?! Before you know it, the wedding and festival season will be here and you’ll be rummaging through your wardrobes trying to find that perfect sari or lehenga to wear at your friend’s sangeet party!

Fear not though. It’s time to rejoice. Over the next six months, we will be featuring some talented women selling designer Indian wear in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Up first, we are pleased to introduce you to WaliaJones. Garima Walia and long time friend Hanin Jones formed online retail fashion house, WaliaJones after discovering that there was a gap in the Australasian market for modern Indian designer clothing.

Their impressive catalogue features designer pieces from the likes of Anita Dongre, Payal Singhal and Sapana Amin as well as up and coming designers such as Reneé. Garima and Hanin pride themselves on providing excellent customer service for each and every one of their clients.

Walia Jones - Garima Walia & Hanin Jones | The Maharani Diaires

FOUNDERS, GARIMA WALIA AND HANIN JONES

Tell us about yourselves and how you started Walia Jones?

Garima: While planning my own wedding I was constantly liaising with designers from all over the world. It took me months of web searching and two trips to India to find a handful of quality luxury designers that suited my taste and budget. Walia Jones - Garima Walia | The Maharani Diaries

Although there were several established websites that provided a platform for designers, they were all based internationally.

At the time, there was no one I knew of locally that could assist me with my Indian outfits.

Once I received my outfits, I was extremely impressed by the level of craftsmanship that was stemming from the local designers in India. I needed to get this talent into Australia and New Zealand!

Hanin Jones, my best friend, was constantly involved in the process to choose designers. By the end of it all, she was an expert in Indian designer wear too!

I work in Business Development and Hanin has a passion for Marketing and E-commerce. With our experienced roles and a passion for Indian luxury clothing, we created WaliaJones to bring the Australasian market unprecedented access to the most sleek, and fashion forward e-commerce portal.

How do you select your designers?

Hanin: We initially started with the designers that were involved with Garima’s wedding attire. The response from the Australasian market was so overwhelming that we decided to expand substantially.

We like to listen to the demands of the customers on the basis of what colours, silhouettes and styles they’re after and in turn search for designers who fit these demands.

We also receive enquiries from designers worldwide who want to be a part of our website. We then hand make curated selections that are chosen because of their exclusive designs and quality. Our designers include established designers like Anita Dongre, Payal Singhal, Ashima Leena, Atsu Sekhose and upcoming young designers. In addition to these designers, we also have a range of reliable tailors in India who assist us with our custom made orders.

A HAPPY BRIDE AND WALIA JONES CUSTOMER FROM SWITZERLAND, DRESSED IN RAMNEET and PUNEET

What services do you provide?

Garima & Hanin: We have over 15 designers and this will be increasing in the near future. Apart from their exclusive collections, we also have a ‘made for you’ service. This service is commonly used for wedding attire and formal wear.

Designs, colours, budgets and timelines form an essential component of our consultations. Our WaliaJones consultants are based throughout Australia and New Zealand. We also have Skype consultations available for those who are unable to travel to meet us.

Although we may not have any stock of a particular outfit, we have several samples which will give you an indication of the fabric, embroidery and quality. We are able to ship to all major cities around the world and have free shipping for our Australian customers.

We pride ourselves on our customer service. Whatever your enquiry may be, we offer around the clock service and are open to answer all your queries.

Please tell us about your collaboration with Bollywood actress and Melbourne’s current Moomba Queen, Pallavi Sharda. What did she wear?

Yes, we styled Pallavi for Melbourne’s Moomba promotions where she wore Ramneet & Puneet. We also styled her for the launch of Melbourne’s White Night event where she wore Payal Singhal.

Where do you find your inspiration?

We both find inspiration in what we do by pure passion. We love what we do and love dealing with people and helping them find their perfect outfit. If we can take the stress away from a bride once she has found her perfect outfit, that is inspiration enough!

Describe your style?

We often struggle with answering this question because our style isn’t fixed. We are always open to stepping out of our comfort zone and switching up our looks. We have so many pieces in our wardrobe and because we’re the same size, it’s easy to mix and match.

We’re not fussed about designer clothing but the quality of the work and fabric are very important for the both of us. As is the tailoring and the fitting.

Would you consider also stocking menswear in the future?

We work with a few designers that do menswear but we are definitely thinking of expanding on menswear on our website very soon.

Are there any designers that you’d love to work with?

There are so many designers that we want to work with. There are too many to name! We love working with both well known designers and younger designers, giving them the opportunity to showcase their designs on WaliaJones

Finally, what’s next for Walia Jones?

There are lots of upcoming designers that we have in store for everyone so stay tuned!

If any of the outfits appeal to you or you’d like to know more about their work, visit the vendor page for more information.