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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!

Vibrant Spring Fashion Inspiration Shoot

Spring Fashion Shoot | The Maharani Diaries

Happy 2017 Maharanis! It might almost be the end of January, but honestly speaking, it usually takes me until around about this time until I finally swing into my groove.

Having just returned from a beautiful and relaxing holiday in Africa, I feel incredibly refreshed and excited to kick-start the year with some fresh and inspiring content. I’m looking forward to 2017 for several reasons. Firstly, this is our second official year of blogging and secondly, we’re expanding. You heard correctly. Our brand new website is launching in April and I can’t contain my excitement. But, more on that later.

I wanted to brighten up your day today with a lovely shoot I collaborated on with some talented ladies in London last year. Featuring the style-staple, the saree and a couple of gorgeous blouse pieces, the inspiration behind the shoot was obviously Spring.

The genius of the saree lies in its versatility. There are over 100 ways to wear the garment and now thanks to fashion influencers, designers and cinema, Indian women are embracing new ways in which to drape your saree. You could perhaps go to the extent to say that we are witnessing some what of a renaissance for the humble saree. With the upcoming Spring season, it’s time to experiment, adapt to new trends and re-invent your style.

The saree is also a very forgiving garment because depending on the personality of the wearer, a sari can adapt to anybody’s body size and shape. – Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Border & Fall

No doubt, our love affair with the timeless saree continues and this year, expect to see more women sporting the drape at weddings and occasions.

Recently, I raved about how much I love House Of Blouse. Rachana and Roopa Reddy have nailed it with their Bangalore based start up. I discovered them about 2 years ago when I was struggling to find the perfect saree blouse and I can assure you, I wasn’t disappointed. You can read more about House Of Blouse in our exclusive interview feature here, but for now I wanted to briefly share my experience.

House Of Blouse - Style Inpiration | The Maharani Diaries

After spending several hours trawling through the various styles and fabrics on offer, I selected my base neck and blouse shape. The next step was to find the perfect fabric and customise it. For instance, you may want a high neck or perhaps you’d like to adjust the sleeve length. It’s perfect for the style conscious Maharani’s. Finally, using the measurement guide, enter your measurements and within a few clicks, your blouse will be shipped out. There is of course an option to purchase pre-made blouses or you could browse through the gallery to seek inspiration from hundreds of customer’s creations.

I’d say the most challenging step is getting someone to measure you, but aside from this the entire process is seamless. Can I also add how exceptionally good the customer service was! I was blown away by the amount of care taken by the team to ensure that I received these beautifully handcrafted blouses in one piece.

The crop tops fit like a glove and the best part is that they can be mixed and matched with a variety of skirts, sarees, pantsuits and more. No more trips to India. Yay!

So the idea of this shoot was to find creative new ways to wear patterns and style them against a variety of lightweight textures. I wanted to show how simple it is to pair two very different crop tops with bespoke saree’s provided by the lovely Jyoti of Jyoti Chandhok Ltd.

We kept the first look neutral to ensure that the floral georgette blouse shone in that beautiful sunlight. Jyoti’s white and yellow, tussar silk, hand-woven saree was inspired by ‘Basant,’ Spring time in India. She said that the saree would be the perfect haldi function outfit for the bride to be.

We tried 2 pallu drape styles, free style and a more classic look. Both the blouse and saree are so versatile you can create relaxed or more formal looks. Accessories were kept minimal here to highlight the blouse detail. The same applied to hair and makeup. Shalomi chose a natural and effortless look, framing the eyes with the more traditional dark black kajal liner look and keeping the hair soft and tousled.

The next saree was stunning. We turned up the glam quotient by showcasing an eye-catching royal blue raw silk blouse and contrasting it against a vibrant hot pink, chiffon, bandhani leheriya saree.

Bhandani saree | The Maharani Diaries

The saree features intricate kundan stone work and is ideal for any pre-wedding or puja event. I loved how Mandavi kept the accessories minimal once again and on this occasion we opted for a sleek up-do with more defined curls and brightening up the lip colour.

Mairéad of Remain In Light Photography captured the tones and the mood brilliantly. We all had a ball working on this feature. Everybody worked so well to complement each other and being able to collaborate with such a great team of women is what I believe helped make it a success.

Florals and brights have become some what of a Spring staple. As you can see floral print separates are so much fun to style and can be paired with neutrals or bright shades. On the other hand you can opt to make a statement with brighter tones and experiment with colour blocking. Whether you’re adventurous or like to keep your look more subtle and neutral during the festive seasons, flaunt your style with vibrant and sensuous colours and patterns. Express your own individuality and personality!

If you’d like to collaborate on future styled shoots or are interested in registering with The Maharani Diaries, drop us an email at info@fresheyesinc.ddns.net.

Don’t forget to like, share and comment below! 

Photography: Remain In Light Photography // Hair & Make Up: Shalomi // Styling: The Red Notebook + The Maharani Diaries // Blouses: House Of Blouse // Sarees: Jyoti Chandhok

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

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

Stitch Three | The Maharani Diaries

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

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

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

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

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

Aashni + Co Wedding Show 2016

Aashni Show - Designers | The Maharani Diaries

A few weeks back I was fortunate to have attended one of the biggest South Asian bridal fashion events in the northern hemisphere. Aashni + Co presented their second wedding exhibit showcasing the work of India’s most illustrious designers as well as eminent Pakistani designer, Faraz Manan.

Since its inception in 2012, Aashni + Co has fast become the one stop shop for luxury and tailor made Asian bridal fashion, meaning brides no longer need to make a trip to India.

Now in it’s second year running, the Aashni + Co Wedding Show has proved once again that there is without a doubt a demand for high-end bridal couture in the UK. Brides and grooms have the chance to purchase their entire trousseau with first hand assistance from the designer themselves.

On speaking about the success of the show, founder and creative director of Aashni + Co boutique, Aashni Anshul Doshi (Shah) expressed her utter delight officially announcing that it was a “tremendous success.”

We were conscious that we needed to surpass the high benchmark we established with the event in its debut year, 2015. I feel we’ve achieved that based on the response from the designers and visitors here today unanimously. We’ve brought a studied curation of luxe, South Asian couture and bridal wear to the UK’s doorstep, meaning brides and grooms to be and followers of Indian high fashion have been able to meet the designers themselves and shop entire bridal trousseaus or one-off pieces against a fittingly couture backdrop.” – Aashni Anshul Doshi (Shah)

Held at luxury 5 star hotel, The Dorchester, this year’s event drew in large crowds and featured exquisite designer wear from the likes of Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Manish Malhotra and Varun Bahl. Brides, together with their entourage were flocking to the stands throughout the entire day, picking up gorgeous one off lehengas, saris, gowns and the list goes on.

Upon entering the ballroom, The Dorchester’s Gold Room was transformed into enchanting woodlands with visitors taken on a journey through a magical forest filled with fresh blooms, berries, rustic bouquets and sparkling emeralds and rubies gracing the pathways. We were greeted with the harmonious tunes of birds chirping amidst almost bare trees and surrounded by beautiful couture from Faraz Manan, Manish Malhotra, Rimple and Harpreet Narula, Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Varun Bahl.

Zita Elze | The Maharani Diaries

As per last year, award winning floral artist, Zita Elze wowed with her creative design concept. The spectacular display left everybody in absolute awe including myself.

Aashni and Zita have collaborated on a number of projects now and have developed a wonderful creative dialogue.

Amazed by her floral mastery, I asked the gifted florist to give us a few thoughts about how the theme was conceptualized.

“Aashni gave me just a few words for the brief and I was very happy to interpret these into a narrative for the Gold Room at The Dorchester. The starting point was in her shop, with some of the beautiful dresses, picking out jewel colours. This combined with Aashni’s dreams of trees and birds brought about the design. I work instinctively so many of the finishing touches were decided on the day, although everything else was planned in great detail as we only had a few hours to create the whole room. The short lived ethereal nature of these creations is part of their magic – the show lasted just one day.” – Zita Elze

Amongst the designers I had the opportunity to chat with celebrated designers, Manish Malhotra and Sabyasachi Mukherjee. The two inimitable designers who have a strong connection with London shared fond memories of working and studying in the fashion capital, often referring to it in conversation as their second home.

I asked Manish about how he thinks the UK bride and differs to the brides in India.

“I feel in the past brides from the UK were not that aware and for those who didn’t travel they didn’t know that India is changing so much. But today thanks to social media, now they are aware and they know what’s going on. Events like these, where the originals come to you is a step forward. I think all Indian and Pakistani designers should take that step and go to different countries to make brides aware of what’s available.” – Manish Malhotra

Manish at stand Manish

Manish needs no introduction of course. Renowned for creating iconic outfits for Bollywood stars and beyond, this designer leaves no stone unturned when it comes to bridal wear. When questioned about replicas Manish expressed concern and went on further to say that through Aashni + Co, his work remains credible and international audiences can recognize the difference.

Sabyasachi | The Maharani Diaries

Sabyasachi | The Maharani Diaries

When one thinks of glamorous bridal couture and weddings, no other name springs to mind but Sabyasachi. I just couldn’t resist, but I had to ask the designer about how he feels the Indian wedding market is changing.

“Indian weddings are going everywhere. It’s almost become like the visiting card of India because Indian weddings talk about everything that’s beautiful in India. It talks about clothing, food, music, jewellery, textile culture etc. So basically if you want to know about India in that event, then the best way is to get invited to an Indian wedding. Indian weddings by themselves have become the cultural brand ambassador of the country.” – Sabyasachi Mukherjee 

What attracts many brides to Sabyasachi’s couture is his incredible knack of being able to fuse modern with traditional aesthetics. The designer is a purist and this sentiment is echoed in a number of his interviews. Once again he reinforced this theme with his latest collection and it was such a treat for me to see his beautiful couture in person.

I also had a brief conversation with Anamika Khanna about how instrumental she has been in re-inventing the way the humble sari is draped in today’s times and what her thoughts are on why it has been appreciated so well amongst brides and fashion bloggers alike. 

“I feel that the younger generation has stopped wearing saris completely. I was thinking one day.. without killing the elegance or essence of the sari, what can you do with it that it becomes more modern? That’s where I started and then I moved on and realised there’s a lot of potential. It’s not just for Indian girls. You can get away with it by not wearing a gown or a dress. Indian women can not wear gowns or dresses as well because our bodies are different.” – Anamika Khanna

The designers were thrilled with the response of the event and here are just a few of their thoughts.

Aashni’s show is terrific. She always manages to get an avalanche of people in. It was exhausting but it was very well organised and I think she has become the most important interface between Indian designers and NRI brides who don’t normally get to meet the designers face to face.” – Sabyasachi Mukherjee

“What a fabulous platform to show wedding clothes. Aashni has done a fantastic job and it’s well organised with lovely girls coming in to try on our clothes and making me feel so proud.” – Anju Modi

“It’s such a pleasure to be at the Aashni + Co Wedding Show. I am really enjoying it. It’s spectacular, it’s beautifully put together, it’s curated, the space is beautiful, and all the designers are here. The amount of people that were here today is overwhelming. Well done Aashni.” – Anamika Khanna

“The crowd here is great today. London loves to take risks in fashion, which is great for me. And what an incredible event. Aashni has done a wonderful job in putting this all together.” – Gaurav Gupta

“We’ve pretty much sold out in the first two hours, which is great, so I hope to be back next year and I hope that there are a lot more exhibitions like this from Aashni. She has a great eye for picking out the best talent from India and featuring a great mix of designers.” – Masaba Gupta

In terms of organization, the designer’s booths were very well displayed and it was incredible to see the amount of intricacy and detailing in every single gown or lehenga for that matter. Chatting with some of the bloggers, it was like as if we were in bridal heaven! A sea of elegant, bespoke, handcrafted wedding wear displayed ever so beautifully in one of the most luxurious event spaces.

Models looked graceful, sporting various outfits, jewellery supplied by Deeya Jewellery and statement hair and make up looks from Summaya and Shamalah over the course of the day.

Summaya + Shamalah | The Maharani Diaries

Elegant and Wild Wedding Photography set up a vibrant Indian themed photo booth featuring handmade paper flowers and gold bicycle, encouraging patrons to let their hair down during the event. Even the models and bloggers got in on the fun!

Bloggers at Aashni Show | The Maharani Diaries

From left: Vic from London Ki Ladki, Mandavi from The Red Notebook, Nazma from Asian Fashion Blog, Rabbia from Asian Wedding Ideas, Poonam from The Maharani Diaries, Safeera from Habibi Lifestyle and Arti from My Asian Wardrobe. Image courtesy of Elegant & Wild Wedding Photography. 

What sets this bridal exhibition apart from others is the fact that you have a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the designers. Each designer has something different to offer and it’s so great to see so much depth and diversity in the collections.

The event featured work from established fashion houses to more up and coming, new-generation talent.

It certainly exceeded my expectations and I can’t wait for the 2017 show!

To get a true sense of what the event was like, check out the official film –>

The Aashni + Co Wedding Show was presented in association with Mustang Productions and official charity partner, The British Asian Trust.

Aashni + Co is a luxury multi-designer boutique situated in Notting Hill. Ever since it’s inception in 2012, Aashni + Co has carved a niche for itself as one of London’s most sought after destinations for luxury Indian fashion, garnering attention from fashionistas and celebrities in the UK and Continental Europe alike. For further information, visit http://aashniandco.com/.

Model | The Maharani Diaries

Did you attend this year’s Aashni + Co Wedding Show? Would love to hear your thoughts. Let us know in the comments below. 

*Images courtesy of The Maharani Diaries, Adnan Qazi, Rona Wheeldon of Flowerona and Elegant & Wild Photography.

Introducing ‘Aan By Arti’ – the best of east and west

Aan By Arti | The Maharani Diaries

Aan’s director, Arti Badhwar is heavily influenced from the glamour and heritage that surrounds her, from Bollywood’s own blue eyed boy, director, Mohit Suri (her cousin), to the seven generations of her family who were committed cotton and ginning mill owners spanning across undivided India.

One important lesson Arti gained from business, was the importance of good fabric and regional understanding of culture, which can be detected in her high fashion designs. Her trademark style is to combine traditional Indian design with western aesthetics.

Much like the name, Aan’s diaspora appeals to the global woman; strong and powerful, yet graceful and feminine. She is a woman who values art and elegance and would never compromise on finesse.

Arti and her team pride themselves on providing excellent customer service. She has just recently launched a brand new eye-catching collection and her team is all set for another busy year.

We had the opportunity recently of catching up with the name behind Aan, Ms Arti Badhwar to discuss her journey into the world of Indian fashion design.

Welcome to The Maharani Diaries vendor directory Arti. Tell us about your journey. Who or what inspired you to create Aan?

My family has been in the cotton and ginning milling business for seven generations and I’ve been told that it’s in my DNA! In all seriousness though, I found that there was definitely a gap in the market for handmade luxury products at reasonable prices and that’s what led me to start Aan.

Aan By Arti | The Maharani Diaries

Your outfits are incredibly versatile – a beautiful blend of contemporary and traditional style aesthetics. Can you tell us a little about Aan’s design aesthetics?

For this I would like to share a comment that one of our customers wrote when we had re-launched our brand. “Love your work. I trust in the knowledge that all your pieces are made with love. Always the right mix of sophistication, glamour and sass”. This sums up the philosophy of Aan.

Do you have a favourite from the current season collection?

It is very difficult for me to choose, as you could imagine. However, if I had to choose, it would be either the oxblood sari gown or the velvet gown in the same colour. Another one would have to be the black cocktail lehenga.

Where do you draw your inspiration or creativity?

As a designer, I don’t think that many people realize this but we are constantly thinking about our craft. My inspiration could come from anywhere for example; a recent visit to the Taj Mahal inspired some of my embroidery patterns.

Wedding season is in full swing at the moment. What do you believe are the current trends in bridal fashion and are there any tips can you offer to future brides who are currently in the middle of their wedding shopping?

Without a doubt, lehengas and gowns. For brides as well as bridesmaids. They say the only thing that is constant in life is change but one thing that has remained constant is that the bride looks most beautiful in a lehenga.

The ‘big fat Indian wedding’ has become more elaborate with time and this has been reflected in the rise of the gown. We have been crafting wedding gowns for mostly the European market for the last 10 years. As you can probably tell, this season I am partial to oxblood colours. I believe strongly that for brides you can never go wrong with timeless red, pink and gold hues.

What sort of services do Aan provide for future brides?

For our customers we are very hands on and we style brides right from their wedding attire through to their footwear and even provide links to certified jewellers. We love to assist wherever we can and treat our customers like family. Aan specializes in hand embroidery. So, whether it is zardosi, gota, sequins, aari or Swarovski, we offer made to measure couture and are open to input from the brides to enable us to create their dream wedding outfit.

How do you source your fabrics?

At Aan, we work with a mixture of traditional Indian fabrics and the remaining fabrics are imported from Hong Kong.

Aan By Arti | The Maharani Diaries

Describe your own personal style philosophy.

Be comfortable and confident in whatever you wear!

Who are your favourite designers?

Alexander McQueen, Eliie Saab and Rohit Bal.

If people wish to get in touch with you, how can they do so?

It takes 6-8 weeks per outfit depending on the work required. You may contact us via the numbers provided or email us directly at info@aanbyarti.com. We are open to appointments at our London studio or alternatively, if you are based in Delhi you can take a personal appointment with me in the city’s heart of the bridal centre, South Extension 2.

London: +447764561976

Delhi: 9810705776

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

 

If Aan’s gorgeous collections have caught your fancy, visit our vendor page for further information.

Jewellery Inspiration for The Modern Bride

START

It’s that time of the year again where Indian brides splurge on their bridal attire, hair and make up, bridesmaids and what more. But, it doesn’t stop there. An Indian bride’s trousseau is never complete without her jewellery for that added bling or sparkle. Indian bridal jewellery contributes to your overall look and captures the essence of different cultures, whether it’s north or south Indian inspired, traditional or contemporary. Jewellery has the power to make a bride feel like a princess on the most important day of her life.

This wedding season, the modern Indian bride is rediscovering her tradition. At India International Jewellery Week (IIJW), jewellery designers showcased exquisite and breathtaking collections with most marrying the old-world styles with Indo-Western contemporary design aesthetics.

In this post, we cover the various styles of jewellery as seen on the runways, highlight popular brands as well as feature key bridal looks.

ORNAMENTAL GOLD

For Indians, gold is a symbol of purity, opulence, class or prosperity. The fascination with gold combined with weddings will never grow old.

Tanishq

Tanishq is a brand that has become synonymous with high level craftsmanship, purity, bespoke designs and overall exceptional quality. Their collection, titled ‘Divyam’ is heritage focussed, comprised of intricate heirloom pieces created from 22 carat gold and precious gem stones. Inspired by the temples of India, this exquisitely crafted ethnic-contemporary collection is incredibly versatile and so elegant, it will complement modern or traditional bridal wear.

 

On opening day of IIJW, Bollywood actress Juhi Chawla channeled an ethnic glam look for Tanishq. Dressed in a maroon and black lehenga
choli,Juhi looked stunning bedecked in a magnificent layered temple bridal necklace set, maang tikka and gold rings. The choker was a
particularstand out featuring cut diamonds and gemstones.

Tanishq’s regal wedding collection features ornate jhumkis in various shapes and sizes, classic rani haar necklaces, chokers, statement bangles and rings.

Shobha Shringar

Shobha Shringar’s versatile South Indian and Rajasthani inspired jewellery also has a very festive vibe. The meticulously crafted pieces have been specifically designed to be worn during the festival and wedding season. 

Featuring uncut diamonds and pearls, the striking jewellery fuses ethnic and western styles appealing to every bride.

Chitrangada

Chitrangada Singh’s traditional attire was complemented beautifully with Shobhaa Shringar’s jewellery.
Wearing a striking borla maang tikka, layered gold necklaces, armlet and delicate bracelets, the actress dazzled in her bridal avatar.

Shobha Shringar’s classic and contemporary jewellery can be cherished for generations. Undoubtedly one of the best collections showcased at IIJW.

Traditional bridal jewellery is always a favourite with many brides and Tanishq and Shobha Shringar’s latest offerings will inspire brides who wish to keep their look authentic and timeless.

GLITTERING GEMSTONES

Gemstones have long been a part of Indian bridal jewellery and there’s no doubting that whether it’s rubies, emeralds or even pearls, these sparkly numbers enhance any wedding sari or lehenga.

Moni Agarwal

Moni Agarwal’s ‘Zohrakshi’ collection, inspired by nature’s flowers, has given timeless pieces a modern twist. Her sophisticated jewels are studded with rubies, emeralds and pearls.

 

Tennis star, Sania Mirza’s exquisite bridal set was cast in diamonds, gemstones as well as pearls.

Moni’s elaborate sets are embellished with emeralds, rubies and pearls. On the runway, statement necklaces were beautifully balanced with dramatic earrings. The jewellery sets were paired beautifully against pure kanchipuram silk sari’s. Add a bit of sparkle to your reception look with a Zohrakshi set.

Surya Golds

Another brand to embrace colour at IIJW was Surya Golds. Their well crafted jewellery combines Indian and Western techniques created with precious stones and Swarovski Zirconia.

Surya Golds’ pendant necklace sets featuring peacock motifs that are not only striking, but also add a sense of youthfulness. 

Pataudi princess, Soha Ali Khan looked ethereal in her sparkling crown as she sashayed down the runway for Surya Golds.

Pataudi princess, Soha Ali Khan looked ethereal in her sparkling crown as she sashayed down the runway for Surya Golds.

Peacock motif jewellery blends effortlessly with modern or traditional attire and will make any bride stand out at her wedding.

Anand Shah

Last but not least, Anand Shah’s breathtaking use of gemstones in his goddess-like yellow metal pieces is outstanding. 

Richa Chadda’s grecian princess look was enhanced by the striking headpiece.

Richa Chadda’s grecian princess look was enhanced by this striking headpiece

Comprised of bespoke chokers, rani hair necklaces, elaborate head gear, accessories and bracelets, the collection has a very contemporary feel and was one of the standouts at this year’s jewellery week.

For that added royal treatment, gemstones will lighten up any bride’s face and accentuate her overall look. Coloured stones and pearls are more likely to stand out against mono-toned outfits, but don’t be afraid to mix and match.

DIAMONDS ARE A GIRLS BEST FRIEND

Speak of diamonds and this gets any bride-to-be’s heart racing. These days more brides are experimenting with contemporary looks blended with traditional aesthetics and this is where diamonds come into play.

Aara By Avantika and Dhruv Singh

Actress, Evelyn Sharma looked like a royal princess, wearing a Dhruv Singh diamond encrusted choker and complementing chandlier earrings.

Actress, Evelyn Sharma looked like a royal princess, wearing a Dhruv Singh diamond encrusted choker and complementing chandlier earrings

Avantika Kumar Agarwal and Dhruv Singh’s breathtaking pieces consist of diamonds, precious and semi-precious stones. The National Institute of Design graduates presented impressive and delicate pieces that can be paired with traditional or western gowns.

Yoube Jewellery

Yoube Jewellery’s artisanal diamond jewellery is a unique blend of Victorian grandeur and traditional Indian elements.

Their latest collection oozes luxury. Owners Ashok Barmecha and his son Aakash Barmecha pride themselves on producing high quality and bespoke designs that are elegant, luxurious and feminine and appeal to all tastes.

Aditi Rao Hydari’s statement Yoube pearl and diamond layered necklace makes for the perfect reception party look.

Aditi Rao Hydari’s statement Yoube pearl and diamond layered necklace makes for the perfect reception party look.

At IIJW, models graced the runway in elegant gowns adorned with elaborately designed sets. Yellow, white and rose gold sets featured fine diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires and pearls.

This season pair striking diamond earrings with a classic, yet elegant bracelet and necklace.

Diamond jewellery is versatile and can be paired to suit most occasions. Best not to wear oversized pieces during the day time functions though.

PRETTY POLKI & CLASSIC KUNDAN

Polki versus kundan. What’s the difference? Firstly, polki is more expensive than kundan stone because simply put, it’s uncut diamond. Traditionally polki is used in Rajasthani jewellery and is always in demand during the wedding season due to its natural, untouched glossy shine and detailed craftsmanship. Kundan is glass stone typically cast in pure gold and more popular with North Indian brides.

Birdhichand Ghanshyamdas Jewellers

Well renowned jewellery artisans and pioneers of Kundan Minakari (enamelling) work, Birdhichand Ghanshyamdas Jewellers sublime collection titled ‘Adaa’ draws inspiration from the powerful women rulers of yesteryears who maintained a strong sense of style and elegance. 

Preity Zinta as Mughal Empress, Jodha Bai, dressed in a royal red lehenga choli and delicate kundan and polki jewellery. The traditional borla drop matha patti and necklace were particular standouts.

Preity Zinta as Mughal Empress, Jodha Bai, dressed in a royal red lehenga choli and delicate kundan and polki jewellery.
The traditional borla drop matha patti and necklace were particular standouts.

Despite having an old-world charm about it, the collection is timeless and elegant. For brides who are seeking more traditional forms of jewellery for their wedding, Birdhichand is your go to brand for exceptional quality and brilliance.

Jewels By Preeti 

Preeti Jain from Jewels By Preeti showcased colourful butterfly inspired jewels created with gemstones and polki diamonds. The designer’s creations have a worldly appeal and cater to all age groups.

There are delicate headgears, bracelets, waistbands, rings and exquisitely crafted haars and necklaces. Set with 22 carat gold, the polki diamond sets are versatile enough to be worn with western or South-Asian attire.

Indian actress, Ileana D’cruz sported a diamond and emerald necklace, armlet and gorgeous drop earrings.

Indian actress, Ileana D’cruz sported a diamond and emerald necklace, armlet and gorgeous drop earrings.

Sunil Jewellers

Jaipur based manufacturers, Sunil Jewellers utilise modern techniques in their traditionally handcrafted pieces. Sunil Jewellers’ specialty is in its heritage kundan meena work. The collections feature antique gold work, engraving and quality polki diamonds.

‘Ethnica’ has been designed to match conventional and elegant bridal wear.

Kriti Sanon as Sunil Jewellers showstopper.

Kriti Sanon as Sunil Jewellers showstopper.

Both polki and kundan sets are best suited for the regal bride who wants to shine on her wedding day. Rich in heritage and tradition, these brands would make any bride feel like a princess.

Traditional is trendy this wedding season. Embrace all the favourites. Whether its vintage gold, coloured stones, classy diamonds or polki and kundan stone, there’s a look to suit everyone and every piece has its own dignified place in a bride’s trousseau.

IIJW 2015 was a star studded event featuring television stars, Bollywood celebrities and well-known dignitaries. Actress, Sonam Kapoor shone as the brand ambassador, particularly on the final day. Sonam captivated the audience dressed in a lilac Shyamal & Bhumika lehenga choli and accessorized beautifully with exquisite jhumkis.

More image highlights from IIJW as follows –>

For more bridal jewellery inspiration, stay tuned to The Maharani Diaries. What are your favourite wedding jewellery styles? Let us know in the comments below.

*Images and content courtesy of Indian Express, Boldsky, Times Of India, Vogue India, IIJW and Diamond World.

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 4 Amazon India Couture Week – Vintage Glamour

Day 4 AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

All four designers took the vintage-glam route on Day 4 of Amazon India Couture Week. From the regal and luxurious, intricately embroidered bridal lehengas of Rimple and Harpreet to the alluring and graceful, structured silhouettes of Rohit Bal’s collection, it truly was an unforgettable day in the world of Indian couture.

REYNU TAANDON

Reynu Taandon’s collection titled Shahbanu’ was like something out of a story book. A royal affair showcasing classic, elegant and timeless outfits fit for a modern maharani. Persian architecture, heritage and culture have inspired quite a few designers at Couture Week this year and for Taandon this was no different. She wanted to pay homage to the grandeur and royalty of the Persian empress and this was magnificently reflected in her traditional ensembles.

Reynu Taandon AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries(Photo: Amlan Paliwal/IANS)

The stage was set for an enthralling presentation. Against a glorious palace-like backdrop, the audience were transported to the Mughal era with the captivating sounds of live Sufi Qawwali music playing in the background. Taandon’s contemporary take on the ancient period narrated a beautiful tale with models depicted as royal princesses gracefully strutting down the runway showing off their breathtaking beauty. 

Richa Chadda - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

ACTRESS, RICHA CHADDA

Taandon’s creations featured fine gold zardosi threadwork, mirror work and floral motif embellishments intricately embroidered on rich georgette and velvet fabrics. Models sashayed down the runway dressed in sharara’s, anarkali’s and lehenga-choli designs in royal blues, reds and blacks and wearing statement jewellery pieces. Their overall looks were enhanced with beautiful and glamorous makeup and hair tied back in slick and sophisticated buns. 

Bollywood actress, Richa Chadda wowed the audience pulling off the Persian princess act with so much grace and poise. Dressed in a heavily embroidered red and gold lehenga and two sheer veils, she was also adorned with delicate jewels that included a maang tikka, jhumar, necklace and naath (nose ring). Richa looked resplendent in her regal avatar and this was definitely a signature moment of Reynu Taandon’s showcase.

“The Shahbanu muse is a dream-like vision straight out of the royal courtyard with mesmerising beauty reflecting through her accentuated eyes and statement jewellery. So I could only think of Richa when I conceptualised the show.” – Reynu Taandon

‘Shahbanu’ captured the grandeur, beauty and old-world charm of the Persian empire so well. All in all, Reynu Taandon presented a classy show. Her eye-catching collection is certainly befitting of the style conscious Indian bride who exudes modern elegance, and wants to look no less than royalty on her wedding day. 

RIMPLE & HARPREET NARULA

R&H AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

Husband and wife team, Rimple and Harpreet Narula’s design aesthetic could be best summed up in three words; ‘elegant,’ ‘understated’ and ‘dramatic.’ The designer duo have an incredible ability to produce such diverse collections year after year and this year’s showing at Couture Week was no different, presenting well crafted silhouettes in an array of colours and textures. Inspired by the splendour and the magnificence of the Maharaja’s during the days of the British Raj, the designer’s weaved magic. ‘Maharadjah & Co’ was an amalgamation of design elements combining eastern and western aesthetics.

Set against a regal backdrop, they painted a story of royalty amidst western influences. A time when the classy maharaja’s and maharani’s would be highly respected amongst the European society and would hire photographers to capture all their glory with vintage cameras.

Rimple & Harpreet - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

Rimple and Harpreet’s passion for diverse textiles and traditional craftsmanship is reflected in their use of various fabric textures and refined hand embroidery techniques. Heavily influenced by Islamic art, the designers created bespoke and sophisticated ensembles in muted undertones. Subtle shades of ivory and beige, burnished golds and velveteen ruby completed with intricate embroidery work and delicately cut Preciosa crystals.

We have been using Preciosa Crystal components in our creations for quite some time now and their quality standards are par excellence. Their range, when it comes to colors, shapes and cuts is truly amazing. To be associated with a world leader in crystals such as Preciosa is a proud moment for our label and we look forward to bringing the best in Couture and Crystals to our consumers“. – Rimple and Harpreet Narula 

The rich and ornate silhouettes, dramatic capes and robes, sheer billowy jackets, regal cloaks and classic lehenga’s were reminiscent of the majestic colonial era. Female models sported smokey eyes with bold lips and slick low buns and their looks were accentuated with exquisite Sunar jewels and statement accessories. The designer duo added vintage parasol umbrellas to appeal to the destination wedding market.

Ravishing Bollywood actress, Shilpa Shetty stunned as the showstopper, dressed in a gold and rose pink lehenga with a matching sequinned blouse. She stole the spotlight in the unique bridal ensemble and her overall look was enhanced (not that she needed it) with a heavy jadau necklace.

Rimple & Harpreet Narula - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

ACTRESS, SHILPA SHETTY

Shilpa’s sensuous number was one of many highlights of the show and a favourite amongst many fashion lovers.  Whilst perusing through the mens ensembles, we came across a charming sherwani suit that would complement Shilpa’s lehenga beautifully. 

Rimple and Harpreet’s stately collection is acceptable for the modern bride and groom who aren’t afraid to express themselves and love to make a statement. If you’re opting for a royal wedding theme with a palace-like or vintage backdrop, then these delicately embroidered lehenga-choli’s and sherwani suits are definitely for you.

DEBARUN MUKHERJEE

Debarun Mukherjee, an up and coming designer based in Kolkata, surprised everyone with his contemporary Bollywood inspired collection. Aptly titled, ‘Heroine’ his bridal-festive showcase took the audience on a beautiful journey of Indian cinema through the ages whilst also paying homage to the modern Indian woman.

Debarun - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries (Photo: Amlan Paliwal/IANS)

A self-confessed film fanatic, Debarun presented an array of colourful and timeless silhouettes in various textures and shades and matched them perfectly to the different era’s. From the black and white of the 30s and 40s to the technicolour and shimmer of the 70s and 80s and the subtleness of the 90s, his collection was an honest and fitting representation of the fashionable Bollywood heroine.

“This is my first couture week and it has finally given me space to stretch my creativity to a point where I feel I have arrived. A couture collection is like one’s first love and cinema is my first love.” – Debarun

Amid vibrant, multi-coloured audio visual screen backdrops and mood lighting, models strutted down the runway to the sound of songs and dialogues from popular Hindi movies playing in the background. ‘Heroine’ comprised of well hand woven, rich and diverse ensembles in beautiful, contrasting colour combinations. The silhouettes were accentuated with intricate zardosi, bead and thread work and featuring appliqués in floral and ornate motifs.

Aditi Rao Hydari - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

ACTRESS, ADITI RAO HYDARI

Showstoppers Aditi Rao Hydari and Chitrangada Singh opened and closed Dabarun’s show respectively. Aditi looked demure in a grey silk flared lehenga and shimmery dupatta. Representing the coy and shy heroine of the yesteryears, her ensemble looked fitting for a cocktail soirée or pre-wedding event. Chitrangada’s beige bridal lehenga-choli looked divine, complemented well with a green net dupatta. The quintessential bride of Hindi cinema. Both actresses sported side-swept hairstyles, bright pop lips and subtle eye make up. 

It was rather difficult to highlight favourites from Debarun’s collection, but the red and beige floral lehenga that actress, Chitrangada Singh wore was a standout from the women’s line and as for the mens wear, the lightweight red and brownish sherwani suit teamed with mojari’s, exuded understated class. 

Debarun made a strong debut at Couture Week with his flamboyant collection. A wonderful retrospective, recreating iconic moments from famous Indian movies spanning over eight decades. He has created effortless ensembles perfect for the free-spirited and artistic modern brides and grooms out there.

ROHIT BAL

Wow, what can we say! Master couturier, Rohit Bal closed out day 4 of couture week in a spectacular fashion. Held at the exclusive 5 star luxury hotel, The Imperial, Bal weaved magic with his mens and women’s collection titled ‘Husn-e-Taa’iraat’ (translating to ‘beauty of a bird’), leaving the audience spellbound.

Rohit Bal - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

Excitement and anticipation for this runway event had been building for quite some time. In the weeks leading up to Couture Week Bal teased his fans with glimpses of his collection via social media. One things for certain though, his presentation lived up to expectations and the audience were witnessing something special unfold right in front of their eyes. 

Bal’s runway shows are synonymous with entertainment having established a reputation for being more than just about the garmentsRohit Bal - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries itself. There was something different about this show though. Set amid a garden setting with fruit trees bearing apples and pomegranates and the melodious sounds of soft orchestral music playing in the background, he evoked all of the senses and made everyone feel enamoured. A gorgeous backdrop and the perfect ambience making for a memorable showcase.

Known in the past for producing exquisitely crafted bridal couture, Bal certainly turned it up a notch on this occasion blending renaissance fashion with Persian  influences as well as drawing inspiration from his Kashmiri heritage. What was  noticeably different about this collection were the references to Persian art and culture with ensembles featuring intricate zardosi and resham embroidery. ‘Husn-e-Taa’iraat’ captured the natural beauty of wildlife, birds and floral through every ensemble. The hand-woven bird-life and floral motif patterns marked precision and detail.

The colour palette was infused with vivid shades of whites, elegant golds, royal blues, blacks and deep maroon hues. There were voluminous lehenga skirts, badhgala suits, jodhpur pants, classic sherwani’s, graceful and illustrious angrakha’s (similar to an anarkali suit), oversized jackets and sumptuous sari’s in numerous cuts, styles and textures. From velvet to chanderi and net to even brocade, the designer once again produced refined bridal wear.

Models took to the runway oozing confidence and flaunting their glamour with dramatic smokey eye makeup, soft, glossy lips and hair done up in perfect buns. They wore statement fabric floral headbands and some even sported beautiful yet subtle clusters of these fabric roses as neckpieces.

Rohit Bal - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

Adding to the grandeur of this magnificent show, models playfully flirted with guests, sitting on their laps, blowing kisses and toasting their master, Bal with champagne filled flutes. Everything complemented each other; the venue, the extravagant outfits, setting and theme. Bal’s clever use of imagery reflected the old-world Victorian and colonial charm of a bygone era.

The reception was incredible with applause and even whistles from the lucky audience. A visibly happy Bal couldn’t contain his excitement and once again broke out into one of his customary dance jigs.

India’s ultimate fashion showman, Rohit Bal continues to push boundaries, creating masterpieces, impressing fans and critics alike. The designer has effortlessly captured two cultures with so much finesse. Whilst critics will call this bridal wear somewhat unconventional, there’s no doubt these beautiful silhouettes will be a favourite amongst brides and grooms for the upcoming winter wedding season. Lavish, regal and opulent wedding wear. Make a statement on your wedding day with these eclectic ensembles. 

“Design needs to be without reason – spontaneous, whatever attracts you at the given moment and time. I could be inspired by Persia or Timbuktu, but I will eventually turn it into something Indian. That’s my main aim… a strong Indianness in everything I do. “ – Rohit Bal

The 60 piece collection featured some stunning pieces. It was difficult to pin point a favourite, but of course, being lovers of traditional maroon and red bridal wear we simply couldn’t take our eyes off of these two ensembles.

Relive highlights from Rimple & Harpreet and Rohit Bal’s shows here –> http://bit.ly/1NKh6N6

Next post —> A final wrap up of Couture Week featuring every girl’s dream designer, the inimitable Manish Malhotra.

What were your favourites from day 4 of Amazon India Couture Week?

*Content and images courtesy of Elevate Promotions,Vogue India, Amazon India, FDCIHarpers Bazaar India, Instagram, Verve Magazine IndiaIndian 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.

 

DAY 2 Amazon India Couture Week – Gen Next

DAY 2 AICW2015 - Mishra:Gupta

DAY 2 was all about generation next featuring stunning collections from International Woolmark Prize winner, Rahul Mishra and trend-setting couturier, Gaurav Gupta.

RAHUL MISHRA

We’re convinced that Rahul Mishra’s ‘Tree Of Life’ collection is one of the finest to come out of India Couture Week. Yes, it’s a big call and we weren’t there to see it in person, however after reading through several of his interviews in the past few days, we are incredibly awe-struck by his humble nature and his incredible ability to effortlessly fuse traditional Indian fabrics with modern, western aesthetics.

Originally from the Indian village of Chanderi (Madhya Pradesh), Mishra has reached great heights with recent presentations at Paris and Milan Fashion Week, earning him respect amongst the fashion elite around the world.

Mishra’s inspiration for ‘Tree Of Life’ was the fuss-free, multitasking woman. A woman who exudes strength and courage with a hint of fragility.

Rahul Mishra - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

His inspiration was clearly reflective on the simple backdrop. Stage settings and props were kept to a bare minimum so as to not detract attention from the beauty and elegance of the ensembles. 

Rahul Mishra - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

Mishra hasn’t forgotten his roots though with elements of age-old handloom weave techniques highlighted beautifully in every silhouette. A tribute to the village artisans with nature-like motifs such as florals, stems and parrot detailing seen through structured lehengas, anarkalis, pant suits and gowns.

“Everything we do is by hand, it brings what I like to call an imperfection – in the sense that it’s like when you write a signature and you can’t repeat it exactly the same twice. It’s an imperfect beauty.” – Rahul Mishra

The sustainable collection had a monochromatic feel with soft whites and golds with a few pops of jewel-toned colours such as deep purples, blacks and golds. There were embroidered bomber jackets, sheer silk tailored capes, sheer overcoats, flowy voluminous skirts and and sophisticated gowns. The detail and craftsmanship were impeccable with ensembles featuring stunning fabric textures such as silk organza, metallic gold kasab work and resham embroidery threading. 

Much like the sets, hair and makeup looks were demure with dewy tones, lightly glossed lips and models’ hair was slick and combed back for maximum impact.

Rahul Mishra’s collection is versatile and lightweight, suited for the care-free and modern bride who isn’t afraid to mix and match. The clever use of separates mean that they can even be worn after the wedding. Adaptable, comfortable, minimalist yet charming and stylish bridal wear.

Rahul Mishra - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

The highlight of the collection was the gorgeous gold lehenga choli featuring the must-have wardrobe staple of today, a cape. Refreshing and ethereal, Mishra’s addition of a cape is certainly eye-catching and could well possibly become a wardrobe essential in the new-age bride’s closet. 

GAURAV GUPTA

Gaurav Gupta’s unique and trend-setting ensembles have earned him many accolades over the years and his collection at this year’s couture week is without a doubt bound for more praise.

Gaurav Gupta - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

The enchanted forest-like set conjured up a fantasy realm full of bronze-toned angelic, mythological goddesses with gold hair.

‘Silt and Cipher’ is an ambitious collection featuring dramatic statement silhouettes in subtle greys, dusty creams, soft pinks, ivory and champagne colours with a hint of autumn-like colours such as navy and burgundy.

Gupta is a master of innovative couture. In a recent interview, he stated that his inspiration is a “constant process” and that “monotony bores” him. He consistently re-invents his design style, producing contemporary Indian couture that has broad appeal in the east and west.

“For me if everyone is wearing the same thing it’s so boring, and when I came back to India I couldn’t do what was already being or had been done in Indian wear. It made no sense. I feel sometimes it’s almost as if I was a pioneer in global contemporary Indian couture. I like unusual shapes and I like things which are beautiful.” – Gaurav Gupta

Gaurav Gupta - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

He created luxurious and sophisticated body-con silhouettes showcasing sari gowns, overcoats, jacket lehengas, peplum cholis, mermaid skirts and pant suits most of which were infused with intricate zardosi threadwork. The showstopper on the night was Kalki Koechlin who waltzed down the ramp in an elegantly structured muted salmon pink gown with wide pleats.

Gupta collaborated with bespoke Indian jewellery label, ‘Outhouse’ which provided the models with exquisite metallic ear cuffs and headpieces.

Hair and makeup extraordinaire, Mickey Contractor gave the models sculpted and mystical looks using none other than MAC Cosmetics. Cheekbones were contoured, eyelids were glittery and the hair was spray painted, slick and tied back. 

The collection stayed to true to Gupta’s tendencies to go beyond convention. Shades of extravagance and sensuality. Gorgeous wedding reception wear perfect for the bride who wants to make a statement. Provocative yet tasteful. 

Gaurav Gupta - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

ACTRESS, KALKI KOECHLIN

The showstopper of the night for us was Kalki Koechlin’s stunning salmon pink, one-shouldered gown.

For Australian readers, please note that you have the opportunity of seeing Gaurav’s stunning ensembles on the runway at the Indian Film Festival, Melbourne Awards Night and Equality Fashion Show being held at the National Gallery of Victoria on Saturday, August 15th 2015. For further information on this exclusive event visit http://www.iffm.com.au/.

Full highlights from DAY 2 can be viewed here –> http://bit.ly/1Il0LHG

What were your favourites from day 2 of Amazon India Couture Week?

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