Posts

The Ultimate Bollywood Wedding Playlist – Mehndi songs

London Thumakda - The Maharani Diaries

Last week we launched part 1 of our Bollywood wedding song playlist and it was a resounding success! Pleased to inform you that we are now onto our second instalment which is our mehndi songs special.

The mehndi function is so much fun for many reasons. Much like a bridal shower, the intimate celebration takes place in the presence of the women of the family and close girlfriends. It’s a time to come together for a night of song, dance and the all important mehndi applying.

Whilst performances are not compulsory, they do form an integral part of a mehndi ceremony. Often your aunties will break out into a traditional number, but if you want to totally avoid this all together, get your playlist ready (hint.. hint) and stream them full blast on the stereo.

Today we are sharing some of our favourite classics from the nineties and noughties as well as a couple of mainstream pop hits that never grow old. There are also a couple of surprises in there!

Once again, we have a countdown of 10 favourites below and the full playlist is available to view over on our YouTube channel. Subscribe to keep an eye out for daily updates maharanis!

Mehendi Hai Rachnewali – Zubeidaa

I bet you knew this one was coming! One of the best Bollywood mehndi songs in our opinion. AR Rahman’s beautiful composition talks of the beauty and significance of the mehndi ritual. Singer, Alka Yagnik’s sweet and soulful voice will compel you to listen and take in every line.. “Mehndi hai rachnewaali, haathon mein gehri laali.. kahe sakhiyaan, ab kaliyaan – Henna paste is going to be applied, it will stain my hands red. My friends say, now flower buds.” This tune is timeless and is the perfect introduction to your mehndi party song list.

Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna – Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge 

Another no brainer really. The quintessential mehndi song, it’s on the top of every bride’s mehndi song playlist, not only for the fact that it featured the lovable duo, SRK and Kajol, but it’s a full out dance number. No men at the party? No worries! Grab your maharani squad and start belting out the lyrics.. “Mehndi laga ke rakhna, doli saja ke rakhna – Keep your henna on, keep the wedding palanquin decorated.”

London Thumakda – Queen

What a fun wedding number! Simply put, the Punjabi lyrics talk of the transition from singleton to married material. We have no idea when it comes to Punjabi translations, so we kind of had to look this up.. “Loudspeaker te, Madonna vajdi ho laike virgin.. aithe utthe kehndi, arey phel karde, kabootar vargi, o nemma phir di, gootar goo kardi – On the loudspeaker, Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’ is playing, and the lyrics are provocative, you see lots of pigeons around and then you roam around chattering like a pigeon..” LOL!

Mere Haathon Mein Nau Nau Choodiyan – Chandni

Now this song captured the hearts and attention of many brides when it released all those years ago (was it 1989?). Sridevi’s amazing dancing was out of this world and so was the tune. While it may be slightly difficult to wear bangles for this song as your hands will be full of mehndi paste, doesn’t mean you can’t break out into some epic dance moves right? We say, play this at the beginning when your feet are nice and dry!

Likh Ke Mehndi Se Sajna Ka Naam – Anuradha Paudwal

This pop song, sung by Anuradha Paudwal, was a chartbuster back in the days and you would find this song on all wedding related CDs at the good old CD store. Remember those? Accompanying the song was this sweet video clip which made us feel nostalgic all over again. Sigh..

Chalka Chalka Re – Saathiya

Another stunning dance number for you and your maharanis. It’s kind of like a send-off song which is sung at the wedding by the bride’s friends. We did a little research about the meaning behind this beautiful AR Rahman song. So as you may know, the ‘kalsa’ (or ‘kalse’) is a religious article in Hindu tradition that’s used in almost every religious ceremony. It’s a symbol for health and prosperity. The bride is parting ways from her innocent childhood days and her family home to light the ‘diya’ (or lamp) near the Tulasi plant. Quite traditional, but it’s such a fun, light-hearted dance number for everyone involved in the mehndi party.

Gud Naal Ishq Mitha – Bally Sagoo (Malkit Singh)

When it comes to nineties pop songs, nothing quite beats ‘Gud Naal Ishq Mitha.’  Whether it’s Bally Sagoo and Malkit Singh’s version or some of the newer remixed versions, here’s a song that’s on every couple’s wedding playlist. A popular tune at the sangeet or wedding day, why not play it at the mehndi party?

Solah Button Meri Choli – Darr

Ladies, it’s time to get your dancing game on because this fabulous wedding tune is going to get everyone on the dance floor. Would you believe this song is over 20 years old! It sounds like an old school tune, but in our eyes, this one is timeless. With lyrics like “Meri maa ne laga diye solaah button meri choli mein.. Mere baabul tu ab jaldi se baithaade mujhe doli mein – My mother has put sixteen buttons in my blouse.. My father, make me sit in the wedding palanquin quickly” you’ll want to play this one on repeat!

Mehndi Mehndi Na Mujhko Lagaana – Chori Chori 

We were disappointed that we couldn’t find a clearer copy of this song over on YouTube! We’re not quite sure why Rani is singing about not wanting mehndi on her hands, but nevertheless, it is such a catchy mehndi song and Rani looks so gorgeous. The best part is that the choreography is so simple for all your girlfriends to dance along to.

Saajan Ke Ghar Jaana – Lajja

Last but not least, ‘Saajan Ke Ghar Jaana’ is quite possibly one of the all time classic wedding songs. We love this song so much that aside from having it on our engagement song list, we have also decided to include it on the mehndi playlist. Who knows, we might even add it on our Bollywood sangeet list next week! A stunning pre-wedding song and if you have that one girlfriend who can mimic Sonali Bendre’s epic dance routine, even better.

There have been so many memorable Bollywood mehndi songs over the past few decades. We just couldn’t list them all, but if you want to check out our full playlist, you can do that here and don’t forget to subscribe while you’re there.

What are your favourite mehndi songs? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned for next week’s Bollywood sangeet playlist! 

 

The Couture Mantra Runway

Couture Mantra by Kiran Lally | The Maharani Diaries

Last year we introduced you to a young Melbourne designer by the name of Kiran Lally of Couture Mantra. We can proudly say that in a short time span, Kiran has come a long way.

Couture Mantra has gained a strong following on the fashion circuit with a successful presentation at the 2015 Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. An emerging South Asian fashion designer, Kiran has designed and styled for local and international celebrities. Her wedding and occasion wear has been particularly popular amongst young Australian women.

Couture Mantra by Kiran Lally | The Maharani DiariesAs the name implies, her ensembles are made from the highest quality fabrics and tailored to perfection. Couture Mantra’s elegant, feminine silhouettes are all hand-stitched with fabrics such as raw silk, nets and flat chiffons and they feature traditional casab, zardosi and mirror work.

Kiran’s design ethos is drawn from various experiences, in particular her rich Indian heritage. Her mother has also been a huge influence, inspiring her to create her eponymous label and share her work on social media platforms.

Now in her third successful year, Kiran is embarking on a new journey, presenting her latest contemporary collections at an exclusive runway show taking place this Sunday 5th June in Australia’s fashion capital, Melbourne. From versatile winter/fall fashion to summer/resort collections, we cannot wait to see what ‘The Couture Mantra Runway’ has in store for the upcoming seasons.

Attendees are in for a treat with Bollywood personality Esha Deol gracing the fashion ramp for Couture Mantra. The actress has in the past walked the runway for prominent Indian designers such as, Neeta Lulla and Shyamal & Bhumika. There will also be special performances from the Melbourne City Ballet and Mandy Dance Academy.

Couture Mantra is proudly supporting Melbourne based charity partner, Wear For Success, with funds raised going to provide opportunities for men and women facing barriers to employment, self-sufficiency and financial independence. Wear for Success provides professional clothing and career support training to people looking to re-enter the workforce after a period of unemployment, returning to the community after a period of imprisonment or illness, and people facing hardship and other barriers to success.

A runway show unlike any other, Kiran prides herself in the exceptional service she provides and through this event she wishes to empower other young women to embrace their culture and strive to achieve whatever you want to do in life.

VIP admissions on the night include food and beverage as well as a chance to meet Esha Deol and get your photo taken with her. Online ticket sales will also go into the draw to win an exclusive prize comprising of a Couture Mantra ensemble to the value of $400 along with matching statement jewellery pieces and henna tattoos.

The Couture Mantra Runway promises to be a night to remember with members of parliament, elite business personalities as well as beauty pageant winners all in attendance.

Get your girlfriends together for a fun night out at the magnificent, Regal Ballroom in Northcote, Melbourne. Tickets are priced at $49 per person or $99 for the VIP experience, which includes pre-event canapés and cocktails. For further information visit Couture Mantra’s Facebook page and book your tickets online via Try Booking.

We would like to wish all the very best to Kiran and the team at Couture Mantra. Cannot wait to cover the event. Stay tuned!

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. 

DAY 5 – Amazon India Couture Week – Royal Opulence

Amazon India Couture Week 2015 closed out amid much fanfare with two of the most glamorous actresses in Bollywood, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Kangana Ranaut both strutting their stuff on the runway for designer’s Manish Malhotra and Manav Gangwani respectively.

MANAV GANGWANI

Manav Gangwani is one of the most promising designer’s to come out of India. At just 34 years of age he has already carved a niche for himself as a highly acclaimed fashion designer. Widely recognised for designing opulent couture, Gangwani is incredibly popular amongst high profile celebrities like Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, Preity Zinta, Priyanka Chopra, Shahrukh Khan and even Salman Khan. His label has become a force to be reckoned with in the high end luxury fashion market.

Heavily inspired by the French romanticism period, his aptly titled collection, ‘Le’Amoureuse,’ unveiled beautifully structured silhouettes fit for a modern princess. Gangwani has infused his designs with a lot of romance, elegance and vibrancy. His sensuous mens and women’s collection featured luxurious gowns with long trails, capes, sari gowns, tailored suits, coats and dhoti pants.

Manav Gangwani - AICW15 | The Maharani DiariesThe designer presented a mix of feminine and contemporary ensembles in various fabrics and textures such as georgettes, translucent organza, delicate lace, sheer tulles and zardosi work.

As like most designers at this year’s Couture Week, the pieces showcased rich craftsmanship and exquisite thread work with intricate floral embroidery and swarovski crystal embellishments. The rich colour palette was mostly comprised of jewel tones as well as bright corals and turquoise hues.

Bollywood actress of the moment, Kangana Ranaut wore a sumptuous, glittery purple gown complemented with bold and heavy smokey eye makeup and wearing minimal accessories. Her gown weighed around 30 kilograms, but the confident actress looked incredibly comfortable as she effortlessly sashayed down the catwalk.

Gangwani’s whimsical and romantic creations exude grace and royalty. He narrated a beautiful tale on the runway with silhouettes in many deep, contrasting hues, celebrating the sensuality and confidence of a woman. A woman who isn’t afraid to step outside her comfort zone and make a bold statement.

“When a designer chooses a colour palette, it reflects his mindset at that point of time. For me, grey is related to smoke which starts my creative journey. The colour story then leads to coral which depicts fire and moves to aqua that is used to extinguish the fire. It ends with purple which depicts victory and power. Therefore, against all odds, victory is achieved.” – Manav Gangwani 

These bold and statement ensembles are perfect for the bride and groom who want to give their wedding the royal treatment. Manav Gangwani’s classic yet contemporary designs offer unparalleled opulence. Absolutely magnificent.

MANISH MALHOTRA

In what was a fitting grand finale, renowned fashion guru, Manish Malhotra wowed audience and celebrities alike with his charming display of old-world, 1950’s inspired silhouettes. As the man himself so eloquently put it, this was a time “when western fashion was being revolutionised and fashion shows had a sense of an intimate experience and luxury.”

Manish unveiled his newest collection titled ‘The Empress Story’ at an opulent offsite location with a select few from the Bollywood fraternity making a presence. Against a lavish backdrop featuring a beautiful ornate chandelier and luscious roses, models sashayed down the runway in a range of beautiful silhouettes in bespoke styles, cuts and vibrant colours.

Manish Malhotra - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

Best known for his exquisitely crafted bridal wear, Manish’s dedication to his aesthetics are what has set him apart from other designers. This year he showcased intricately embellished festive gowns in rich textures and jewel-like tones. Each outfit was infused with Indian design sensibilities. The voluminous gowns, lehenga-choli’s and structured mens suits featured elaborate flora and fauna motif appliqués in delicate thread work and zardosi embroidery. The varied colour palette shifted from gorgeous jewel-like tones such as metallic silvers and golds, luscious burgundy’s, deep blues onto then the more subtle rose pinks, greys, blacks and coffee brown. Adding to the grandeur of the runway event, models wore handcrafted shoes and adorned masquerade masks designed by Nitya Arora of Valliyan

Making some what of a mini comeback to the runway scene, Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan looked ethereal as Manish’s showstopper. After a 5 year hiatus, Aishwarya oozed confidence dressed in a striking heavily embroidered burgundy coloured skirt, matching top and sparkling gold shrug.

“2015 is a very special year for me as it marks 25 years as a costume stylist/director and 10 years of my label ‘Manish Malhotra.’ What makes it even more special is Aishwarya returned to runway after five years as the showstopper for my show. She is a style icon. She is beautiful and stunning.” – Manish Malhotra 

Whilst many were swept away by Aishwarya’s presence and her wonderful ensemble, one of the most impressive pieces for us was the sensuous sleeveless deep red silhouette hand stitched with intricate shiny embroidery patterns. Understated elegance for the modern Indian bride, this gown would make for the perfect reception party wear. Menswear was just as classy, with the designer sharing a preview of his limited edition mens collection and for the first time revealing unique shoe wear.

As seen throughout Amazon India Couture Week, understated drama seemed to be one of the key recurring beauty trends with models wearing romantic, smokey eye looks, nude lips, contoured cheeks and shiny glossy hair. MAC‘s star makeup artist, Mickey Contractor added a new dimension to the traditional smokey eye look by teaming shimmery burgundy hues with thin eye liner and heavy mascara.

Manish Malhotra’s collection epitomises grace, mid-20th century splendour and royal opulence. These ensembles were a refreshing departure from his usual work, with the designer producing more restrained pieces that highlight and also celebrate the intricacies of traditional craftsmanship. He has proved once again why he is so popular with South Asian brides from all over the globe.

“2015 marks an important milestone as the ‘Manish Malhotra’ label celebrates 10 years and 25 years a costume director. ‘The Empress Story’ is a special collection as it not only ends the beautiful decade that was, but also represents the beginning of a new phase for the brand. It captures the excitement and thrill of taking the next step, while taking pride in its foundations. With ‘The Empress Story,’ I return to my love for timeless aesthetics and structure along with fine craftsmanship that has taken months to translate onto fabric. All the elements in the collection do speak a common, universal language of elegance and élan. Much like the power of femininity, these will never go out of style.” – Manish Malhotra

AICW15 - Manish Malhotra | The Maharani Diaries

What a fabulous finale to this week long celebration of refined Indian couture. Don’t forget to stay tuned to the blog for the best trends from India Bridal Fashion Week and Lakmé Fashion Week Autumn/Winter.

Full highlights from the final day of Amazon India Couture Week can be viewed here —> http://bit.ly/1R9slxb

What were your highlights from the final day of Amazon India Couture Week?

*Content and images courtesy of Vogue India, Amazon India, FDCIHarpers Bazaar India, Verve Magazine, Luxpresso, Indian Express and BoldSky.

DAY 3 Amazon India Couture Week – from Persia with love

DAY 3 - AICW | The Maharani Diaries

As each day of Amazon India Couture Week progressed, the production scales of the sets became more lavish. Day 3 wasn’t just about the flamboyant ensembles, but equal emphasis was placed on translating the designer’s vision into the sets.

From Persian folklore to boho luxe to vintage glamour, Anju Modi, Monisha Jaising and Varun Bahl all presented spell-binding couture collections infused with modern and traditional design sensibilities.

ANJU MODI

First up was veteran designer, Anju Modi whose costumes can be seen in director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s next magnum opus, “Bajirao Mastani” releasing later this year. Prior to her showcase, Modi spoke of the experience she had on the sets of “Bajirao Mastani” speaking highly of actress, Deepika Padukone and how she drew a lot of inspiration from her. She also spoke about how immersed she became in the colourful Persian culture and how she wanted to delve more deeply into researching about its influences on India. These influences are beautifully reflected in her collection which is an ode to Persian art, architecture and the philosophies of respected poet, Rumi.

“Since it is an ancient civilization, it has got a lot of heritage, tradition, great art work, architecture and mughal motifs, which are slightly different from our usual Rajasthani and Gujarati designs. All this mixed with the India ethos has given me ideas to make it a contemporary line.” – Anju Modi

Her collection, aptly titled ‘Kashish’ (meaning “attraction” in Urdu), conjured up images of the Persian princess pining for her loved one. The enchanting royal courtyard captured the regality and opulence that is associated with the Islamic heritage with princes and princesses adorned with turbans and embroidered veils. It was like being in the presence of royalty.

Known for her respect of India’s design legacies, Modi has cleverly fused Persian influences with Indian design sensibilities. Her design aesthetics are a true testament to India’s rich textile heritage and this is evident through each garment with the use of intricately embroidered Mughal motifs hand woven on rich textured fabrics such as chanderi, dupion, khadi, organza, velvet and georgette.

Anju Modi - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

In a beautiful intimate setting with romantic mood lighting, Modi presented an array of voluminous lehenga-choli’s, sharara’s, anarkali’s, multiple dupatta’s and classic sherwani and pyjama suits in gorgeous hues. There were pinks, reds, blues, yellows and teal as well as soft and subtle pastel shades.

Models wore romantic make up and hair looks with minimal eyeshadow, red lips and soft hair-dos adorned with delicate fresh flowers. 

A number of pieces stood out, but it was difficult to go past the rani pink and mint green bridal lehenga layered with two dupatta’s and accentuated with delicate accessories. As for the menswear, the classic red and beige sherwani suit shone amongst the lot, accessorized with a matching printed turban. 

‘Kashish’ exuded modern regal romance and elegance. Contemporary in appearance with subtle hints of regal undertones, these timeless ensembles are for the modern bride or groom who isn’t afraid to make a royal-like statement at their wedding. The juxtaposition of the contrasting colours add further appeal to those who love the idea of mixing and matching separates.

MONISHA JAISING

Marking 25 successful years in the industry, eminent fashion designer, Monisha Jaising presented an ambitious collection titled, ‘The Sailing Bride’ featuring a melange of luxury sportswear, resort and evening wear as well as some alternative bridal wear.

Monisha Jaising - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

A relative newcomer to the world of bridal fashion, Monisha’s ensembles take a dramatic turn from the traditional wedding attire to showcase more modern, unconventional and eclectic bridal wear fit for the adventurous bride, more commonly today as the ‘boho bride.’ Relaxed, frugal, yet artistic in nature and one who does not compromise on luxury or comfort.

Monisha took her audience to the sea with nautical themed sets. A luxury private yacht full of sun kissed models and chiseled male crew men.

The show featured the likes of popular fashion icon and designer, Pernia Qureshi (who will also be making her Bollywood debut soon) and actress, Kriti Sanon. ‘The Sailing Bride’ encompasses a broad range of well crafted Indian bridal wear featuring lehenga-choli’s, draped sari’s, tailored jackets and pants and cocktail gowns in a variety of playful and sophisticated colours. The ensembles were stitched in unique surface textures such as luxe silk jersey material as well as organza, georgette, soft chiffon, velvet, cotton, fur, tweed, leather and neoprene.

AICW15 Monisha Jaising | The Maharani Diaries

Pernia Qureshi surprised the audience, opening the runway show, dressed in an ice blue, woolen off-the-shoulder gown embellished with delicate mirror embroidered patterns. The showstopper of the night arrived with Bollywood actress, Kriti Sanon strutting down the runway flaunting an incredible grey, sporty-like lehenga featuring panels adorned with traditional zardosi embroidered elements paired with a ribbed tank top, contrasting red dupatta, heavy jewels and embellished Converse sneakers. Representing the runaway bride, Kriti also sported rebellious yet tasteful tattoos.

Makeup and hair looks were fresh with soft-tousled hair and matte finished lips in stunning dark red brick shades.

“The collection caters to the cool laid-back bride who wants to look luxurious on her special day yet prefers practical and fuss-free ensembles. We have constructed silhouettes which are easy to handle, as well as chic and trendy. There is no hassle of draping and pleating, making it a perfect choice for a wedding on a yacht.” – Monisha Jaising

Monisha Jaising AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

ACTRESS, KRITI SANON

Kriti Sanon was undoubtedly the standout of the night dressed in that bespoke jersey lehenga complemented with the statement sneakers. 

Resort wear has always been Monisha’s forte, but ‘The Sailing Bride’ has definitely added a new dimension to the term ‘modern Indian bride.’ A new era in bridal fashion wear, where haute couture meets hippie glamour.

Fresh, youthful, contemporary and edgy, today’s young and ambitious bride and her entourage want to be able to have the freedom to express themselves.  These effortless and chic ensembles will no doubt redefine luxury for Indian women.

VARUN BAHL

Glistening and ornate chandeliers, floral canopies descending from the ceiling, vine creepers and a runway lined ever so delicately with gorgeous red roses. The stage was set for a grand affair. Perhaps a lavish, high profile wedding? That indeed it was. Well, a teaser of some sort I suppose. It was the perfect platform and launching pad for Varun Bahl’s foray into the luxury world of wedding design.

Aside from the wedding venture though, designer, Varun Bahl’s ensembles identify with fashionista’s who love understated luxury. Opulent and extravagant in nature, his couture ensembles also strike a chord with lovers of romance.

Varun Bahl - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

Bahl has a penchant for florals. His collection aptly titled, ‘Song Of The Flower’ embraces age old, vintage handloom weaving techniques with garments well-crafted and intertwined with French inspired floral prints and patterns accentuated through every outfit. Pretty floral motifs were delicately woven on classic lehenga’s, sari’s, anarkali’s, blazers, wide legged pant suits, sleek sherwani suits, modern dhotis and flamboyant kurta pyjama suits.

The talented designer produced classic and vintage tailored couture exquisitely handcrafted with high quality fabrics such as tulle, georgette, plush velvets, satin and raw silks. The colour palette is infused with shades of romantic and sensual colours like ivory, pale pinks, rose reds as well as the more traditional and bold hues such as black and burgundy.

Varun Bahl - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

Varun Bahl - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

Varun’s silhouettes were reminiscent of the 18th century where fine lace detailing was used extensively to enhance the dress wear of men and women. The designer has cleverly drawn on European and Indian art forms to create magnificent ensembles. A beautiful representation of Varun’s design sensibilities and an ode to the modern bride or groom who lives for the moment and embraces beauty and romance.

“Couture is about the bespoke experience, both in make as well as concept.. Every piece of couture is like a work of art, created with great attention to detail with intricate handwork done on it.” – Varun Bahl

Varun Bahl - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

On the night, female models wore soft, understated romantic looks with nude makeup, elegant side buns, adorned with intricate and delicate silver and gold accessories.

The standout piece for us was the floral bridal lehenga which was beautifully complemented and balanced with a sheer net dupatta and slim high-waisted gold belt. As for the menswear, you simply couldn’t go past the slick and sophisticated black kurta pyjama suit featuring a red sequin embellished shawl.

Varun Bahl’s flamboyant ensembles will no doubt be popular amongst bride and grooms for the forthcoming wedding season.

Full highlights from DAY 3 can be viewed here —> http://bit.ly/1K5v1q7

What were your favourites from day 3 of Amazon India Couture Week?

*Content and images courtesy of Vogue India, Amazon India, FDCI, Amlan Paliwal/IANS, Harpers Bazaar India, Instagram, Indian Express and BoldSky.

 

Things to be excited about for Amazon India Couture Week 2015

AICW Event | The Maharani Diaries

India Couture Week is returning tonight promising to be bigger and better with a few surprises in between. The event hosted by the Fashion Design Council India in association with title sponsor, Amazon.in will span over 5 days at the Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi.

12 of India’s finest couturiers will be showcasing timeless collections in front of a lucky invite-only audience.

Designer’s are set to mesmerise with glitz, glamour and Bollywood showstoppers.

The Maharani Diaries will not be present at the event, but we will do our level best to bring you the best of this fashion extravaganza.

Here are just a few of the things we are looking forward to covering over the next week:Sabyasachi Couture | The Maharani Diaries

 IMAGE: SABYASACHI COUTURE
  • Sabyasachi! Need we say more?

The master couturier, Sabyasachi Mukherjee will be collaborating with French master shoe designer, Christian Louboutin for opening night of Amazon India Couture Week (AICW). Sabyasachi’s aesthetics will be matched with Louboutin’s iconic Parisian footwear.

This is Louboutin’s first ever creative collaboration with an Indian designer and likewise for Sabyasachi. A remarkable milestone.

“This time, for womenswear, the focus is stilettos, and who better than Christian Louboutin? What I appreciate the most about his shoes is that in spite of the high glamour, the brand manages to keep alive a sense of quirkiness, and that resonates well with our brand philosophy.” – Sabyasachi Mukherjee

Expect luxe bridal couture, shoes and handbags in dark and daring hues. Sabyasachi’s collections have a regal feel about them, yet they still manage to evoke modern sensibilities.

A pure genius. Cannot wait!

Manish & Aishwarya | The Maharani Diaries

MANISH AND HIS MUSE, AISHWARYA RAI BACHCHAN
  • Style guru, trendsetter and India’s most popular fashion designer Manish Malhotra will close out Couture Week with a bang. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will return as Manish’s muse after a 5 year hiatus.

Manish’s showcase will be a celebration of the “Manish Malhotra” label which this year completes 10 successful years.

“This finale show at couture week is going to be a departure from what you’ve seen, with an intimate setting as we are going to present a preview of our limited edition MANISH MALHOTRA LONDON LABEL.” – Manish Malhotra

Manish is promising old-world charm with luxurious 1950’s ensembles in front of an intimate, vintage style setting. Voluminous creations featuring Manish’s signature intricate embroidery.

Rohit Bal | The Maharani Diaries

SHOWMAN, ROHIT BAL
  • Colourful character, Rohit Bal is promising a ‘world of fantasy’ for his audience. Rohit has been teasing us via social media for the past few days with glimpses of his designs for his collection supposedly titled, “Husn-E-Taa’iraat.”

As per any Rohit Bal show, we can expect glamour, extravagant sets and stunning bridal and grooms wear.

Rohit is a bit of a showman in the Indian fashion world, so I’m looking forward to him breaking out into one of his signature runway dance’s again.

Deepika Padukone wearing Anju Modi’s creations in Bollywood movie, "Ram-Leela."

IMAGE: BOLLYWOOD FILM, “RAM-LEELA” – ACTRESS, DEEPIKA PADUKONE DRESSED IN ANJU MODI’S CREATIONS
  • Anju Modi is the star designer behind the fabulous Rajasthani style costumes featured in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie, “Ram-Leela.”

Her upcoming collection is set to be inspired by Persian culture and she has taken inspiration from Bhansali’s next magnum-opus, for which she is once again costume designer for, “Bajirao Mastani.”

“My collection is inspired from Persian culture as I have been working on ‘Bajirao Masatni’ and had to create outfits for the Persian princess’ character. She is a girl who hails from Persia and the character is such that I needed to do a lot of research anyway.” – Anju Modi

Modi will pay homage to India’s rich textile heritage. I am expecting beautiful and rich textured gowns and lehenga’s with Persian influences featuring intricate zari embroidery and thread work.

Monisha Jaising | The Maharani Diaries

IMAGE: MONISHA JAISING COUTURE
  • Monisha Jaising’s ‘Sailing Bride’ collection promises “light-weighted ensembles” for the “cool laid-back bride.”

“We have constructed silhouettes that are easy to handle as well as chic and trendy. There is no hassle of draping and pleating, making it a perfect choice for a wedding on a yacht.” – Monisha Jaising

From the sounds of it, we can expect silks, chiffons in beautiful resort like colours. Perhaps a line that could appeal to the destination wedding market or the adventurous bride?

  • All eyes will be on Rajul Mishra’s debut AICW collection titled, “Tree Of Life.”

“In a way this collection focuses on all the aspects that create glory in the villages of India and how they interact with cities, technology and the world at large. There is a great deal of participation from weavers and embroiders who live there.” – Rahul Mishra

His line is promising to showcase luxe sportswear as well as traditional lehengas, saris and this year’s must-have item, capes.

Gaurav Gupta couture.

IMAGE: GAURAV GUPTA COUTURE
  • Experimental designer, Gaurav Gupta will present “Silt & Cipher” this week.

“Many a time I have heard criticism about conceptual avant-garde designers creating garments which are a ‘part of their fantasy world’ and are impossible to be worn by regular people. Fantasy and its figments have always remained the lot of the stories I narrate and strongly believe in.” – Gaurav Gupta

The talented young designer is showcasing delicately embroidered and intricately crafted ensembles featuring zardosi work and lace.

Expect luxurious and timeless silhouettes. Certainly one show to watch out for.

Bollywood actress, Kangana Ranaut expect to walk the ramp for Manav Gangwani.

BOLLYWOOD ACTRESS, KANGANA RANAUT EXPECTED TO WALK THE RAMP FOR MANAV GANGWANI
  • The current ‘Queen’ of Bollywood, Kangana Ranaut will showcase the showstopper for Manav Gangwani’s French inspired collection.

“The collection this time is French collection, called “Le’amoureuse” (the beloved) and who else is better than Kangana to wear the final outfit. She is a dear friend and is perfect as my muse. I have worked with her in the past, she is a very versatile person and the collection is also very versatile.” – Manav Gangwani

This will be a departure from Gangwani’s signature style, but I’m more excited about seeing Kangana back on the runway! 

  • Finally, MAC cosmetics are known for their trend-setting makeup looks at runway shows and at this year’s Couture Week event, beauty and fashion aficionado’s are expecting nothing less.

What are you excited to see at this year’s Couture Week event?

*Content courtesy of FDCI, The Indian Express and India Today

Lakmé Fashion Week – Spring/Summer 2015 – Pastels, Prints & Capes

AICW Event | The Maharani Diaries

India Couture Week is returning tonight promising to be bigger and better with a few surprises in between. The event hosted by the Fashion Design Council India in association with title sponsor, Amazon.in will span over 5 days at the Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi.

12 of India’s finest couturiers will be showcasing timeless collections in front of a lucky invite-only audience.

Designer’s are set to mesmerise with glitz, glamour and Bollywood showstoppers.

The Maharani Diaries will not be present at the event, but we will do our level best to bring you the best of this fashion extravaganza.

Here are just a few of the things we are looking forward to covering over the next week:Sabyasachi Couture | The Maharani Diaries

 IMAGE: SABYASACHI COUTURE
  • Sabyasachi! Need we say more?

The master couturier, Sabyasachi Mukherjee will be collaborating with French master shoe designer, Christian Louboutin for opening night of Amazon India Couture Week (AICW). Sabyasachi’s aesthetics will be matched with Louboutin’s iconic Parisian footwear.

This is Louboutin’s first ever creative collaboration with an Indian designer and likewise for Sabyasachi. A remarkable milestone.

“This time, for womenswear, the focus is stilettos, and who better than Christian Louboutin? What I appreciate the most about his shoes is that in spite of the high glamour, the brand manages to keep alive a sense of quirkiness, and that resonates well with our brand philosophy.” – Sabyasachi Mukherjee

Expect luxe bridal couture, shoes and handbags in dark and daring hues. Sabyasachi’s collections have a regal feel about them, yet they still manage to evoke modern sensibilities.

A pure genius. Cannot wait!

Manish & Aishwarya | The Maharani Diaries

MANISH AND HIS MUSE, AISHWARYA RAI BACHCHAN
  • Style guru, trendsetter and India’s most popular fashion designer Manish Malhotra will close out Couture Week with a bang. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will return as Manish’s muse after a 5 year hiatus.

Manish’s showcase will be a celebration of the “Manish Malhotra” label which this year completes 10 successful years.

“This finale show at couture week is going to be a departure from what you’ve seen, with an intimate setting as we are going to present a preview of our limited edition MANISH MALHOTRA LONDON LABEL.” – Manish Malhotra

Manish is promising old-world charm with luxurious 1950’s ensembles in front of an intimate, vintage style setting. Voluminous creations featuring Manish’s signature intricate embroidery.

Rohit Bal | The Maharani Diaries

SHOWMAN, ROHIT BAL
  • Colourful character, Rohit Bal is promising a ‘world of fantasy’ for his audience. Rohit has been teasing us via social media for the past few days with glimpses of his designs for his collection supposedly titled, “Husn-E-Taa’iraat.”

As per any Rohit Bal show, we can expect glamour, extravagant sets and stunning bridal and grooms wear.

Rohit is a bit of a showman in the Indian fashion world, so I’m looking forward to him breaking out into one of his signature runway dance’s again.

Deepika Padukone wearing Anju Modi’s creations in Bollywood movie, "Ram-Leela."

IMAGE: BOLLYWOOD FILM, “RAM-LEELA” – ACTRESS, DEEPIKA PADUKONE DRESSED IN ANJU MODI’S CREATIONS
  • Anju Modi is the star designer behind the fabulous Rajasthani style costumes featured in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie, “Ram-Leela.”

Her upcoming collection is set to be inspired by Persian culture and she has taken inspiration from Bhansali’s next magnum-opus, for which she is once again costume designer for, “Bajirao Mastani.”

“My collection is inspired from Persian culture as I have been working on ‘Bajirao Masatni’ and had to create outfits for the Persian princess’ character. She is a girl who hails from Persia and the character is such that I needed to do a lot of research anyway.” – Anju Modi

Modi will pay homage to India’s rich textile heritage. I am expecting beautiful and rich textured gowns and lehenga’s with Persian influences featuring intricate zari embroidery and thread work.

Monisha Jaising | The Maharani Diaries

IMAGE: MONISHA JAISING COUTURE
  • Monisha Jaising’s ‘Sailing Bride’ collection promises “light-weighted ensembles” for the “cool laid-back bride.”

“We have constructed silhouettes that are easy to handle as well as chic and trendy. There is no hassle of draping and pleating, making it a perfect choice for a wedding on a yacht.” – Monisha Jaising

From the sounds of it, we can expect silks, chiffons in beautiful resort like colours. Perhaps a line that could appeal to the destination wedding market or the adventurous bride?

  • All eyes will be on Rajul Mishra’s debut AICW collection titled, “Tree Of Life.”

“In a way this collection focuses on all the aspects that create glory in the villages of India and how they interact with cities, technology and the world at large. There is a great deal of participation from weavers and embroiders who live there.” – Rahul Mishra

His line is promising to showcase luxe sportswear as well as traditional lehengas, saris and this year’s must-have item, capes.

Gaurav Gupta couture.

IMAGE: GAURAV GUPTA COUTURE
  • Experimental designer, Gaurav Gupta will present “Silt & Cipher” this week.

“Many a time I have heard criticism about conceptual avant-garde designers creating garments which are a ‘part of their fantasy world’ and are impossible to be worn by regular people. Fantasy and its figments have always remained the lot of the stories I narrate and strongly believe in.” – Gaurav Gupta

The talented young designer is showcasing delicately embroidered and intricately crafted ensembles featuring zardosi work and lace.

Expect luxurious and timeless silhouettes. Certainly one show to watch out for.

Bollywood actress, Kangana Ranaut expect to walk the ramp for Manav Gangwani.

BOLLYWOOD ACTRESS, KANGANA RANAUT EXPECTED TO WALK THE RAMP FOR MANAV GANGWANI
  • The current ‘Queen’ of Bollywood, Kangana Ranaut will showcase the showstopper for Manav Gangwani’s French inspired collection.

“The collection this time is French collection, called “Le’amoureuse” (the beloved) and who else is better than Kangana to wear the final outfit. She is a dear friend and is perfect as my muse. I have worked with her in the past, she is a very versatile person and the collection is also very versatile.” – Manav Gangwani

This will be a departure from Gangwani’s signature style, but I’m more excited about seeing Kangana back on the runway! 

  • Finally, MAC cosmetics are known for their trend-setting makeup looks at runway shows and at this year’s Couture Week event, beauty and fashion aficionado’s are expecting nothing less.

What are you excited to see at this year’s Couture Week event?

*Content courtesy of FDCI, The Indian Express and India Today