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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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Cinema Meets Fashion – BollyGoods Edition 2

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

After a successful first edition on her home soil, BollyGoods founder, Promila Jain Bahri thought it was high time to take her film-inspired fashion and lifestyle exhibition to international shores.

Inaugurated by first lady of Bollywood, and wife of superstar, Shah Rukh Khan, Gauri Khan, BollyGoods Edition 2 provided a platform for South Asian designers and artists to showcase their unique talents on a global scale. BollyGoods is about fashion, art and lifestyle, highlighting the creative work and aesthetics behind Indian cinema.

From left: Founder, Promila Jain Bahri, Gauri Khan, Shivani Ahluwalia

From left: Founder, Promila Jain Bahri, Gauri Khan, Shivani Ahluwalia

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

Held at the prestigious, The Dorchester hotel, the scene was set for a busy afternoon, much to the delight of South Asian shoppers.

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

Eminent fashion designers, Gauri & Nainika and Manish Arora presented stunning modern and eclectic pret collections as well as up and coming contemporary fashion designer and ex-television presenter, Roshni Chopra.

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

Indian songstress, Kanika Kapoor and her mother Poonam showcased their recently launched fashion line inspired by the ‘chikankari’ work of their hometown, Lucknow. Loved Poonam’s lightweight summery collection which featured an array of suits, sari’s and lehenga-choli’s. A number of emerging designers were also invited, giving shoppers a variety of choice.

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

Popular multi-designer London boutique, Onitaa brought a variety of opulent formal and bridal couture to the show. Loved their stand.

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

Another designer who caught my attention was Abha Dalmia. Her traditional benarasi silk sari’s were absolutely stunning. Sadly, Abha only showcases her collections at trunk shows, so keep an eye out for her ensembles at the bridal shows around India.

Couldn’t help but take notice of the beautifully hand crafted jewellery on display from jewellers to the movie, “Bajirao Mastani,” Shri Hari Diagems and UK based Deevara Jewels and Red Dot Jewels who have recently launched a new flagship store in Pinner.

Models were draped in designer wear and jewellery throughout the afternoon to highlight the work of local and international designers.

See below for some of our favourite looks.

Ms Bahri was very pleased with the success of the event and here’s a little of what she had to say:

“We’re delighted by the tremendous response and welcome that BollyGoods has received today in London. I wanted to celebrate and share the creativity from the celluloid world globally. BollyGoods is all about design and the lifestyle of the stars. People love Bollywood and are hugely influenced by its fashion and lifestyle. That’s what I want to share with discerning fans and, after several successful events in India, we have now brought BollyGoods to the UK for the first time.” – Promila Jain Bahri

London-based luxury consultant, influencer and stylist, Shivani Ahluwalia spoke of bringing the show to the UK.

“Today has given us the opportunity to showcase the art, craft and design that is synonymous with Bollywood to discerning buyers of luxury pieces and Bollywood enthusiasts alike. We are extremely proud of what we have achieved today and we look forward to hosting another edition of BollyGoods in London soon.” – Shivani Ahluwalia

Official charity partner, The British Asian Trust proudly supported the event.

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

Full video highlights as follows –> https://vimeo.com/167312846

Were you at BollyGoods Edition 2? Let us know or perhaps you’d like to see something of this scale in your city. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments feed below.

*Images and content courtesy of The Maharani Diaries, Shahid Malik and Media Hive World.

Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2015 – Equality in Cinema and Fashion

IFFM 2015 | The Maharani Diaries

For the past four years, movie stars, producers and directors alike from the Indian film fraternity have been converging on Australia’s arts and cultural capital, for the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM). This bright and colourful annual event, presented by Film Victoria, City Of Melbourne and the Victorian State Government, is the biggest celebration of Indian cinema in the southern hemisphere showcasing a diverse range of films covering different genres and subjects. From record-breaking Bollywood blockbusters to thought provoking documentaries and regional films, this festival is fast becoming a premier event on Melbourne’s burgeoning event calendar.

Melbourne is well known for its multicultural facets of arts, music, films and fashion, so it’s safe to say that the city is never short of any festival at any given time. The city also leads when it comes to the cinema scene. It is without doubt a film lover’s paradise.

This year, The Maharani Diaries was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to attend the festival’s official press conference, opening night, India Independence Day celebrations at Federation Square and the fashion and awards show.

As per every year, the festival is centred on a theme; this year highlighting the fundamentals of ‘equality.’ This theme was explored through a range of different lenses, from gender and sexuality to disability and religion. With female-driven films such as Mardaani,’ ‘Margarita With A Straw and ‘Lajwanti’ receiving critical acclaim, it just proves that there is demand for movies with female leads. Growing popularity of such films is a testament to the Indian film industry. It also goes to show that there’s more to Indian cinema than just Bollywood.

Spanning over a record 14 days, the festival is more than just about celebrating the world’s biggest film industry. For the first time, festival organisers partnered with Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital to showcase bespoke fashion from two of India’s leading couturiers, Anamika Khanna and Gaurav Gupta as well as the work of local and independent designers at a glamorous fashion show tying in with the second edition of the IFFM Awards Night.

IFFM 2015 Press Conference 3 | The Maharani Diaries

From left: Designer, Anamika Khanna, actors, Anil and Sonam Kapoor, Victorian Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley and IFFM Festival Director, Mitu Bhowmick Lange.

 

The festival commenced with the all important press conference featuring Bollywood legend, Anil Kapoor, his daughter and style icon, Sonam Kapoor, talented co-stars of recent rom-com flick, Katti Batti,’ actors Kangana Ranaut and Imran Khan and director Nikhil Advani.

We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to ask Imran and Kangana about working in the film industry and how they sustain their motivation when things aren’t running smoothly. Being the strong willed and confident character she is, Kangana eloquently explained that there’s no formula for success. One who makes mistakes should learn from their experiences. “For me it’s easier because I have no expectations and I don’t carry any baggage with me.”

On the other hand, Imran, having grown up in the industry, carries another perspective on expectations and achievements. “Seeing my uncles and my grandfather go through ups and downs, I think I was actually exceptionally well prepared because I knew it’s never going to be a clean upward route. It’s just the nature of the business.” 

IFFM 2015 Press Conference 2 | The Maharani Diaries

From left: Actors, Kangana Ranaut, Imran Khan and Director, Nikhil Advani

 

Kangana responded to the issue of equal pay between male and female stars in Bollywood as unjustifiable. But on a positive note, the versatile performer highlighted the change in roles for women in Bollywood. She stated, “I think that movies are a reflection of society and as women in India are getting more equality, we’re seeing they’re also being stronger in cinema.”

Apart from being a performer constantly in the limelight, Imran Khan is also a social activist. He often speaks about issues related to Indian society and young people (including the elimination of violence against women, political awareness and sex education).

On the issue of same sex marriage not being accepted in developed countries, Imran responded by saying “In 10, 15, 20 years, we will look back and say how could we have been so prejudiced? It’s going to be a source of great embarrassment.”

IFFM 2015 Press Conference | The Maharani Diaries

With a career in cinema spanning four decades, 58-year-old actor Anil Kapoor mentioned that his film selection has shifted direction and his interests are now focused on roles that make him “insecure, nervous and something which is out of the box.” The star emphasized that he is aiming to diversify and he should not be expected to continue, “dancing around trees.”

In light of the preceding fashion show, The Maharani Diaries asked fashion icon and popular Bollywood actress, Sonam Kapoor about her thoughts about her upcoming fashion line. “It’s called Rheson. I feel a lot of the high street and international designers such as ‘Zara,’ ‘H&M’ and ‘Forever 21’ don’t work on Indian bodies. My sister Rhea and I want to make specific high street clothes comfortable for Indian girls to wear daily and use fabrics that work in the Indian weather. Rhea and I had this amazing chance to collaborate with Shoppers-Stop. They really believed in us. We are going to launch the line in the first quarter of next year.”

Sonam’s father, Anil was full of praise of her success both on and off the screen. He even added modestly that Sonam was the main invitee of the festival while he merely “tagged along with her.”

The press conference was held ahead of the opening night of the IFFM, which kicked off with the Australian premier of indie film ‘Umrika’ which stars Life Of Pi’s Suraj Sharma.  

Day 2 of the festivities commenced in Federation Square highlighting the strengthening cultural ties between India and Australia. Superstar, Anil Kapoor raised the Indian flag in front of thousands of adoring fans and this was followed by the vibrant and colourful Telstra Bollywood Dance Competition with a talented judging panel comprising of actors Imran Khan, Kangana Ranaut and director Nikhil Advani.

IFFM 2015 19 | The Maharani DIaries

IFFM 2015 22 | The Maharani DIaries

By evening, fashion and film collided for a spectacular live celebration that honoured the best of Indian cinema for the last year.

The IFFM Awards Night was hosted to formally recognise our favourite Indian stars, films and filmmakers for their incredible artistry and where better to do so than in the iconic home of the arts, the National Gallery of Victoria.

Guests were given the red carpet treatment and were treated to special performances from local Indian classical dancers decked in traditional wear along with drummers.

IFFM 2015 11 | The Maharani DIaries

The organisers and sponsors went above and beyond to bring to Melbourne a fashion show no other city in Australia has ever witnessed.

The gala event kicked off with a scintillating acrobatic performance that infused fashion, dance and ballet leaving the audience hypnotized and spellbound. Chief guest and yesteryear actress and TV show personality; Simi Garewal made a grand entrance gracing the runway in signature white. This was soon followed by the keynote address from IFFM director, Mitu Bhowmik Lange who thanked both the Indian and Australian community for their continued support and making the event such a grand success.

IFFM 2015 23 | The Maharani DIaries

Quirky father-daughter comedy Piku,’ directed by Shoojit Sarkar, swept the major awards for the categories of Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor. The lovable Hindi film, which follows the strained but loving relationship between a father and daughter, stars Irfan Khan alongside Bollywood superstars Deepika Padukone and Amitabh Bachchan.

Heart-warming drama Kaaka Muttai,’ directed by M. Manikandan, won Best Indie Film. Newcomer, Bhumi Pednekar won Best Actress for her role in sleeper hit Dum Lagake Haisha.’ Looking svelte and sharp in a full sleeved SVA gown, Bhumi was overwhelmed with the honour and what made it all the more special was that it was her first award.

The Telstra People’s Choice Prize for the Best Film, with the highest Australian box office takings in 2014, went to the commercial hit ‘PK directed by Rajkumar Hirani.

The final award for the evening for ‘Excellence In Cinema’ was bestowed upon Anil Kapoor for his long lasting contribution to Indian Cinema. Anil Kapoor was greeted on stage by Simi Garewal who couldn’t help but slip into her “Rendezvous” avatar and hosted a little tête-à-tête with Mr Kapoor sharing many candid moments.

Attendees were entertained by exquisite fashion presented by talented designers, Anamika Khanna and Guarav Gupta as well as renowned Melbourne based designers, Richard Nylon, Roopa Pemmaraju and Susan Dimasi.

The colourful extravaganza brought together Melburnians from all walks of life, including local television celebrities such as ABC journalist Del Irani and Real Housewives of Melbourne star, Lydia Schiavello as well as Australian Football personalities.

Showstopper, Sonam Kapoor was welcomed with a loud and thunderous applause. Sonam looked absolutely divine dressed in a classic Anamika Khanna gown, sporting natural makeup and swept back hair courtesy of the incredibly talented, Namrata Soni.

In a lovely gesture, a silent auction featuring participating designer’s outfits, was held with all the proceeds being donated to The Royal Children’s Hospital.

IFFM 2015 39 | The Maharani DIaries

The evening drew to a spectacular close with the stars gathering together on stage, in what has become a norm for the festival awards night, to snap a ‘selfie’ with the audience.

Festival Director, Mitu Bhowmick Lange has to be credited for her tireless work and dedication for the IFFM’s success and expanding it to Australia’s biggest celebration of Indian cinema. Full marks also goes to The Victorian government who proudly supports the festival, recognizing it as a key initiative to foster closer ties between Indian and Australia.

Cultural diversity has been a reoccurring highlight of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne and this year is no different with more than 55 films being screened from various regions of India as well as Pakistan. There’s something for everybody this year!

More photographs to feast your eyes on as below:

The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne is currently on until Thursday August 27th at select venues across Melbourne, Australia. For further information on films, tickets and events visit the IFFM’s official website

Special thanks to Zara Zaher of SBS Radio and Tapashi Mukherjee for the brilliant coverage.

*Please note, this is not a sponsored post. Images are courtesy of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, Australia India Institute and the Herald Sun. The editorial has been updated since publication last year.