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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!

Aashni + Co Wedding Show 2017


January saw the return of the Aashni + Co. Wedding Show. Once again, The Dorchester played host to India and Pakistan’s fashion royalty. Amongst the designers exhibiting at this breathtaking exhibition were Anushree Reddy, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Tarun Tahiliani, Rimple and Harpreet Narula, Akanksha Gajria, Elan, JADE By Monica & Karishma and Gaurang Shah.

Now in its third year running, the Aashni + Co. Wedding Show has become the go-to wedding show for brides searching for their ideal outfits. Boasting of an elegant showcase featuring the latest designs, the show enables attendees to truly experience the form, fit and detail of each garment, whilst also receiving first hand attention from the designers themselves.

Zita Elze - A+Co. Wedding Show | The Maharani Diaries

Upon entering the ballroom we were greeted to a forest of dreams created by award winning floral artist, Zita Elze. Scattered amongst the enchanted fruit laden forest were exquisitely crafted designs from participating designers. Founder and director of the show, Aashni Anshul Doshi stated that “Zita is an integral part of the show and my extension.”

“I tend to work from the soul with my concepts, for Aashni especially, and for other major commissions. This idea was very site specific, in direct response to the beautiful Gold room at The Dorchester and with a view to showcasing the statement designer pieces that were going to be featured. I wanted to create a blend of French orchard and Garden of Eden with lots of fresh fruit and botanical touches, sculptural trees and natural materials against a darker background of bark, which was used for the floor. This was more about the atmosphere and mood and less about flowers than in previous designs for the wedding show, a magical pause before entering the main event, somewhere for people to be transported into an imaginary world. It was lovely to see how the visitors, designers and models responded to the space, creating their own stories. – Zita Elze

The relaxed atmosphere in the ballroom offered an exciting shopping experience for visitors. Aashni spoke highly of the response from happy customers. “It has been a spectacular show, surpassing even last year’s, and I thank our incredible designers. We had a great response from attendees who had the chance to see a bridal outfit to make their special day even more memorable.”

We were fortunate again this year to spend some time chatting with every bride’s dream designer, Sabyasachi Mukherjee. Fresh off the back of his recent successful couture line titled ‘Firdaus,’ the designer was all praise for the show. Sabyasachi said that brides of today should “keep a cultural identity, wear colour as it’s part of India’s heritage and invest in good textiles.”

The designer told the press,

Aashni is a great friend and her show is very well put together and organised. It feels like coming home. There is absolutely no stress and things are seamlessly planned. A lot of people in London were excited to see my latest debut collection with Christian Louboutin for shoes and handbags. I also showcased my very celebrated ‘Firdaus collection’ that has done well all over the world. I am very happy to bring this to London.” – Sabyasachi

As you can tell from the photographs, the Louboutin’s didn’t fail to impress!

Rimple Narula, one half of the designer duo and self-titled couture line, Rimple and Harpreet Narula was there riding high on the success of designing for Bollywood director Sanjay Leela Bansali’s next magnum opus, ‘Padmavati’ talked about how there isn’t much of a difference now between the international bride and the quintessential Indian bride from India. “The gap has been bridged by social media, but perhaps the only difference is the weather.” She later went on to say that “This is our third time at the show and I think London has become pretty much the second largest market, when it compares to India, looking how fashion savvy Asians are and their overwhelming response which has been really good.”

We had an opportunity to ask Rimple about the must have elements a bride should have in her trousseau.

“A bride must have anything which is timeless and classic. Feel the fabric and embroidery, see the designs and purchase something which is going to remain in your wardrobe for years to come. The hand zardosi work which we do has been around for years. These kinds of pieces are a luxury in today’s time and it will stay with you forever.” – Rimple Narula

Inimitable designer and pioneer of haute couture in India, Tarun Tahiliani talked to B4U Entertainment a little about his design sensibilities.

“Fashion has to be a fusion of who you are today and what you wear as a bride or to an event.” – Tarun Tahiliani

He also touched on the collection he bought with him to London which comprised of light and structured drapes and mixed brocades. “The collection is toned down. It’s subtle, romantic and contemporary with a very international couture fit.” 

Famous for pieces that combine the finest fabrics with exquisite craftsmanship and designs for a range of international stars, including Beyoncé in Coldplay’s “Hymn For The Weekend” music video, designer Abu Jani of the renowned designers Abu-Sandeep said, “it has been great to come to the 2017 Aashni and Co. Wedding Show and to introduce our latest brand ‘ASAL’ to the UK audience. We were enthused by the interest attendees had in our designs, which is a testament to the strong interest in Indian fashion in the UK. We hope pieces from our collection have helped to make some wedding days extra special.” 

Aashni has captured the design pulse of her clientele through extending her vision to produce an uber-luxe wedding show. She has introduced discerning wedding buyers to ensembles that are exquisite in form whilst at the same time providing the access to visionary designers of South Asian background to the residents of the UK.

Aashni at A+Co. Wedding Show | The Maharani Diaries

“I think the best part about this event is that it allows people to meet the designers behind their wedding outfits and if they wish to have a bespoke creation. Our show makes that possible and demonstrates that you don’t have to travel to India for the right designer outfit.” – Aashni Anshul Doshi

The Aashni + Co. Wedding Show is proudly supported by Zita Elze, Sony TV, Akshaya Patra, Bazaar Bride, Khush Wedding Magazine and Hello! Pakistan.

 

Garments on exhibition at the show will be available to purchase from the Aashni + Co. boutique located in Notting Hill. For further information, visit http://aashniandco.com/.

Were you at the Aashni + Co. Wedding Show this year? What was the highlight for you? Let us know in the comments below.

*Images courtesy of Muse Motion Pictures and Monica of Mango Luxe & Co.

Introducing ‘Numaish’ – Discover Style

Numaish Cover Photo | The Maharani Diaries

Manisha Kumar is the woman behind quite possibly the most acclaimed fashion and lifestyle exhibitions in the U.A.E. She is instrumental in bringing high end designers as well as artists to showcase their work through the popular fashion and art exhibitions.

Established in 2012 Numaish exhibitions brings western and ethnic designer wear, accessories and jewellery fresh off the runways, this shopping extravaganza is a one-stop fashion destination that fulfils every bride’s shopping needs.

Numaish | The Maharani Diaries

Now in it’s fourth year running and on the back of another successful summer edition presentation, the Numaish shows are living up to the hype and building an excellent reputation with both organisers and exhibitors.

We caught up with the lovely Manisha to learn more about Numaish and find out what’s next for these hugely popular shows.

Tell us about yourself? What inspired you and how did you develop it?

Manisha Kumar | The Maharani DiariesI have been passionate about fashion since a very young age and had always dreamt of being a part of the industry one day. I started in the banking sector and then did a complete 360 to move into marketing and events management. Numaish began in 2012 with the intention of bringing eminent and emerging South-Asian designers to Dubai showcasing their seasonal collections in fashion.

We want people to have access to this designer fashion and so far the response has been fantastic. Shoppers get an opportunity to meet and receive personalized styling tips from designers from India, Pakistan, London and also UAE.

Could you give us a little insight into the Numaish Talent Hunt?

Our path-breaking initiative gives emerging designers a platform to showcase their creations alongside well-established designers, providing them a jump start in their fashion careers.

We give them free space, provide the marketing and PR for them as well and it’s kind of like a launch pad for them to get an idea about how the customers in the region will react to their products. This is an amazing initiative that has proved to be very successful.

Your first international edition took place last year in Singapore. Tell us a little about it and why did you choose Singapore?

Singapore is similar to Dubai in many ways in terms of demographic, weather and lifestyle. There are exhibitions that do take place in Singapore, however this event was something different for the shoppers.

Numaish | The Maharani Diaries

Numaish | The Maharani Diaries

Numaish | The Maharani Diaries

We had a good mix of designers to fulfil the South Asian expat’s needs for Diwali and Eid. Over the years Numaish has been renowned for its association with ‘revivalist’ designers who are preserving the craft of traditional textiles and making a significant economic impact to the weavers in the villages of India. We presented these designers in Singapore with their latest collections designed by traditional art forms.

Numaish | The Maharani Diaries

Numaish | The Maharani Diaries

It was an honour and a privilege to present the fist international edition.

The feedback was overwhelming and we want to strive to take the brand globally with a diverse range of new and seasoned designers.

How many designers have you worked with so far?

We are proud to say we have provided a platform to over 600 designers to establish their brands in the UAE Market.

Our designers have included the likes of Gaurang Shah, Ritu Kumar, Anushree Reddy, Masaba Gupta and Anavila.

 

We particularly like to showcase work from women entrepreneurs. Numaish provides an opportunity to talented women designers with limited resources to showcase their designs in an international market and give them access into the global fashion industry.

Why are such events important?

Numaish is a one-stop fashion destination aiming to fulfilling shopping needs. Shoppers not only have the opportunity to meet their fashion idols, but they will also receive personalized style tips from fashion week designers.

There are often many misconceptions about these shows. Many people often have reservations about it not being affordable. Mrinalini Chandra for Numaish | The Maharani DiariesWhat are your thoughts on this?

We strive to work with designers who are give us affordable designer wear. So, it’s not going to pinch your pocket. Their designs will be reasonably affordable as well as wearable.

What has been your greatest achievement to this date?

I love hearing stories of people who have purchased their outfits from a Numaish event. I feel a sense of accomplishment and it’s a great feeling to know that they had a great experience at my show. Shoppers’ perceptions have changed. No longer do they have to travel all the way to India. Numaish is a one-stop shop and the exhibitions take place during the festive season, that being Diwali and Eid. So it’s the perfect time to shop.

Apart from the fashion shows what else do Numaish organize?

I also host an art fair once a year where I get artists from India and the rest of the world to showcase their work. It’s like a global art fair.

Who is/are your favourite fashion designers?

I have a long list of them actually. Too difficult to narrow down. I like to work with designers who value tradition and are reviving age-old textiles, such as Gaurang Shah. Ritu Kumar of course is another favourite of mine. I’ve worked with her on many occasions. She’s a very classic designer and I love her designs.

What’s next for Numaish?

We want to go international and develop an online portal to give shoppers who are further away the access to the brands I love to work with.

CEO, Manisha Kumar with a happy customer.

Manisha with happy customers

Thank you so much for taking the time out to chat with us Manisha. All the very best with Numaish and we wish you all the very best for future shows.

Have you attended a Numaish show before? Let us know all about it in the comments below.

For further information about Numaish, follow the links over in our vendor directory and stay tuned to our events page as well.

Introducing ‘ Cuckoo For Colour ‘ – where fashion meets watercolour

Cuckoo For Colour | The Maharani Diaries

Self-taught artist, Aparna Ram had an interest in illustrating from a very young age. An investment associate by profession, she spent several years working in the traditional finance sector in London before moving to work abroad in India. Although this work was rewarding, she felt herself missing home and moved back in 2014. She returned to the industry but most recently decided to step back from the 9 to 5 routine to pursue her interests and focus solely on cuckoo for colour .

When we stumbled across her Instagram account not too long ago, we instantly fell in love with her work and commissioned Aparna to create some beautiful fashion illustrations for our Lakmé Fashion Week Spring/Summer features. Much to her delight, her work instantly captured the attention of well-renowned Indian fashion designers such as Anushree Reddy. Aparna has also been painting bridal portraits which we think make for such unique gifts for your friends or family members to treasure for a lifetime.

Now well and truly in the thick of the new year, Aparna is keeping herself busy with exciting new projects in the pipeline. 

We’re incredibly excited to be working alongside Aparna and are also pleased to announce that for a limited time only, Cuckoo For Colour are offering readers of The Maharani Diaries an amazing 15% discount off any order. Simply enter the promo code MAHARANIat the checkout. The perfect way to treat yourself for the new year.

Who or what inspired you to begin painting?

Aparna Ram | The Maharani DiariesDuring my childhood, my colouring books were my best friend. I remember having to spend summers at my grandmother’s house in a village in South India and there being not much in the way of entertainment. So I would bring colouring books and colour one or two pictures everyday. When I ran out, I would copy the pictures onto spare pieces of paper and colour those. So whilst my interest in colouring and painting had always been there, it wasn’t until high school, when my art teacher began to encourage me that I began to take it more seriously. Unfortunately I moved schools shortly after and the arts class was already full. Luckily my parents found me an after school art teacher in our local area. She was a sweet old lady and taught me to paint with pastels. I’ve painted on and off since then.

Tell us a little about the type of projects you work on.

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve officially signed a publishing deal with Rainy Day Reads Publishing who will be publishing my first book later this year featuring a collection of fashion illustrations inspired by Indian fashion and cinema.

When did you develop an interest in fashion illustration?

Even when I wasn’t painting, I was following fashion bloggers and illustrators online. I’ve always found fashion to be inspiring and a lot of fun to illustrate. I have been experimenting with my style since my twenties. I think it was only natural that when I started painting again, I leaned more towards fashion than any other subject.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere! I could be browsing through a magazine and find myself wanting to interpret an image using watercolour. I also find photography to be very inspiring and of course Instagram where I follow some brilliant photographers, trendy fashionistas, high end fashion designers, travel blogs and so on.  

Aparna’s India City Art Desk Calendar features custom illustrations of major cities in India.

What is your creative process when illustrating? How long does it take to complete one drawing?

I begin by warming up with some quick sketches to get the blood flowing to my hands. If I’m doing fashion illustration, I’ll look up some poses online and start by breaking it down. Once I have sufficiently warmed up, I’ll reference the outfit I’ve bookmarked and sketch out the illustration in pencil. At this point, it’s still rough, so I’ll trace it and then trace it again onto watercolour paper. Then I’ll go in with the paint. I don’t time how long it takes for each one, but 2-3 hours from warm up to scanned image is probably not far off the mark.

Aparna Ram | The Maharani Diaries

Are there any artists or fashion illustrators whose work you admire?

Katie Rodgers from Paper Fashion is someone who’s work I’ve been following long before I picked up painting again. I’ve seen her work evolve and like her, I’d love to be experimental  and try adding mixed media to my work. Megan Hess is another artist whose work I just love.

Who are your favourite Indian fashion designers?

It probably comes as no surprise but I’d definitely put Sabyasachi up there as one of my favourites. I couldn’t have been more thrilled when he signed my illustration at the recent Aashni + Co Wedding ShowSome of my other favourites coincidentally have names beginning with the letter ‘A!’ I love Anushree Reddy, Anju Modi and Anamika Khanna.  

Great taste Aparna! Your illustrations have received much attention and praise from the likes of fashion designers, Anushree Reddy and Nishka Lulla. How does it make you feel?

My first reaction is usually one of disbelief followed by screaming! Once I have calmed down, I begin to experience a number of emotions. Firstly, gratitude that they’ve noticed my work and appreciated it and a little pressure which in turn strives me to work harder.

I absolutely adore your bridal portrait paintings, invitations and the greeting cards you have created in the past. Will this be ongoing work for you? What are your future plans?

I love illustrating bridal portraits especially for brides whom I know personally. It’s such a unique gift to give and I love seeing their reactions. I recently worked on another Indian themed calendar which is currently available to purchase online through my website.

The next couple of months will be dedicated to working on collections of fashion illustrations. I’m also keen to work on more bridal portraits, so will be promoting that side of my business as well. 

Aparna, thank you so much for taking the time out to chat to us. We wish you lots of success with your future endeavours. What’s the best way for people to get in contact with you for custom designed paintings or illustrative work?

They can reach out to me via Facebook or direct message me on Instagram. Email me of course at cuckooforcolour@gmail.com.

My work is available to purchase through my website or via Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/cuckooforoclour. If you don’t find a print you like there, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Aparna has a beautiful range of photographs, illustrations, cards and a gorgeous Indian themed desk calendar available to purchase via her website, Cuckoo For Colour. Don’t forget to enter the promotional code at the checkout!

For further information, follow the links over in our vendor directory.

Lakmé Fashion Week – Spring/Summer 2015 – Vintage Romance

The audience were definitely in for a treat on day 4 of Lakmé Fashion Week. The line up featured the likes of Anushree Reddy, Arpita Mehta and Payal Singhal all showcasing their diverse, ethnic collections.

ANUSHREE REDDY

Designer of the minute, Anushree Reddy’s summery, princess-like lehenga-choli outfits featured her signature floral motifs adorned with intricate gold zardosi embroidery work. A relatively new designer, her elegant and romantic flowing lehenga’s have become an instant hit with Bollywood-town celebrities and Indian brides from around the globe.

The alluring ensembles featured refreshing summery hues such as blushing pastels, bright pinks and even bright reds. Anushree’s clever play on feminine colours in her collection, struck a chord with young Indian women from around the globe and the following week her work was tagged and credited all over social media.

‘The Royal Courtyard’ runway show closed out in a spectacular fashion with actress, Ileana D’Cruz dancing alongside Indian pop-star, Kanika Kapoor. A defining show-stopping moment of Lakmé Fashion Week.

Anushree’s classic and timeless ensembles are without a doubt fit for an Indian princess.

Anushree Reddy:Kanika Kapoor:Ileana - LFWSS15 | The Maharani Diaries

SINGER, KANIKA KAPOOR, ANUSHREE REDDY AND ACTRESS, ILEANA D’CRUZ.

“For ‘The Royal Courtyard’, I took inspiration from the home of Nizams, where ethereal begums redefined grandeur. Each design from this collection is soaked in nostalgia and each piece holds a piece of history within it.” – Anushree Reddy

ARPITA MEHTA

Designer, Arpita Mehta presented a beautiful and neutral coloured collection featuring intricate accents of mirror work. ‘A Royal Summer Affair’ was stylish and youthful yet retained that traditional feel about it.

Arpita’s ensembles have become synonymous with mirror work. For this collection though, she opted for neutral toned sheer silhouettes with subtle, bright traditional accents.

Esha Gupta’s gorgeous and sensuous, high-slit netted gown was fitting as Arpita’s show-stopping ensemble. 

Arpita Mehta - LFW SS15 | The Maharani Diaries

DESIGNER, ARPITA MEHTA WITH BOLLYWOOD ACTRESS, ESHA GUPTA.

“Mirror work is my forte. I’ve always liked sparkle, all my collections have mirror work with a twist.” – Arpita Mehta

PAYAL SINGHAL

One of India’s most versatile designer’s, Payal Singhal showcased a collection which saw a modern take on western and ethnic outfits. Inspired heavily by the Sheesh Mahal in Amer Fort Rajasthan, ‘Palace Of Mirrors’ featured silhouettes with subtle, yet intricate work. Payal presented a modern interpretation of the famous, mosaic patterns on the walls of the beautiful palace.

Elegant fluid floor length lehenga-choli skirts and modern crop-top choli outfits in stunning pastel tones wowed the audience. Actress, Tamannah Bhatia turned showstopper for Payal Singhal on this occasion, dressed in a majestic peach coloured lehenga choli.

Payal’s metallic, intricate embroidered garments are what sets her apart from her counterparts. These beautiful bridal ensembles will without a doubt become an instant hit with South-Asian brides for the upcoming wedding season.  

Designer, Payal Singhal with Bollywood actress, Tamannah

DESIGNER, PAYAL SINGHAL WITH BOLLYWOOD ACTRESS, TAMANNAH.

“I have grown up on the runway. I say that as a joke, but it’s kind of true. I was 21 when I started, and I am 38 now. I think I was really serious about fashion from the day when I joined the business.” – Payal Singhal

Payal Singhal’s runway show highlights can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/1O9w0c2 

NEHA AGARWAL

‘From Russia With Love’ is a stunning, vibrant, vintage collection showcased by new designer, Neha Agarwal. In her second season of Lakmé Fashion Week, Neha presented romantic and elaborate 20th century Russian inspired ensembles with an array of unique designs in a variety of colours.

The collection featured eye-catching gowns, intricately embroidered capes and denim crop tops. The silhouettes were adorned with Russian doll prints, intricately embroidered floral motifs, chains and even tassels.

The show closed with popular nineties Bollywood actress, Karisma Kapoor dressed in a sheer, peach coloured cape and beautifully printed gown.

Neha Agarwal - Karisma Kapoor - LFWSS15 | The Maharani Diaries

DESIGNER, NEHA AGARWAL WITH THE BEAUTIFUL, KARISMA KAPOOR.

Neha Agarwal is without doubt one designer to watch. She has an incredible ability to fuse two cultures to produce show stopping collections with world appeal.

SUNEET VARMA

Talented designer, Suneet Varma presented a meticulously crafted bridal wear collection that exuded elegance. His grand runway presented entitled, ‘Decorative Arts Of India’ covered traditions of all the regions in India.

Suneet Varma pulled out all the stops here. The timeless collection featured an array of different fabrics, work and colours. From tulle sarees, heavily embroidered lehengas to intricate jaal mirror-work blouses, it’s no wonder why this designer’s outfits are highly sort after by Indian brides.

The outfits were complemented beautifully with delicate Reliance Jewels. No doubt though that the pièce de résistance of Varma’s show came when the gorgeous, Nargis Fakhri flaunted the show-stopping vibrant crystal encrusted red lehenga-choli.

Designer, Suneet Varma along with his muse, Nargis.

DESIGNER, SUNEET VARMA WITH HIS MUSE, NARGIS.

“I use colour to express or communicate my ideas and will go to any length to find the exact shade that will make all the difference.” – Suneet Varma

I absolutely loved Suneet Varma’s modern bridal ensembles and if you did too, you can re-live the highlights here –> http://bit.ly/1Sq88lJ 

What were your favourites from day 4 of Lakmé Fashion Week Spring/Summer week? Let us know in the comments below. 

*All images are courtesy of Lakmé Fashion Week