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Aashni + Co presents.. Luxury Prêt Bridal Trunk Show

Aashni + Co Bridal Show

Meet the Designers: Gaurav Gupta, Varun Bahl and Sunita Shekhawat

Brides to be, don’t miss out on your chance to shop the latest Spring/Summer bridal collections from leading Indian designers this week!

Aashni + Co, the UK’s leading, Indian high fashion multi-brand store will be hosting a Spring/Summer 17 bridal and luxury prêt trunk show on Friday 9th June between 11am – 6pm.

Visitors to the store will have an exclusive opportunity to meet Gaurav Gupta, Varun Bahl and Sunita Shekhawat.

As a UK exclusive, fashionista’s will have the chance to discover and browse the avant-garde and fashion forward designs by Gaurav Gupta; the delicate and feminine styles with an edge by Varun Bahl; and exquisite, heirloom-worthy jewels by Sunita Shekhawat. Shoppers will also get an insight into their heirloom and existing jewellery pieces at the show from an expert and are invited to bring their pieces along.

The collections will comprise of winning bridal ensembles and trousseau staples as well as pieces for the entire wedding squad, presented by the fashion luminaries themselves.

The Spring Summer 17 Bridal & Luxury Prêt Trunk Show

Friday 9th June, 11am – 6pm

Aashni + Co, 47 Ledbury Road, London W11 2AA

A Touch Of Romance In The City – Presented by Sundar Weddings

Sundar Weddings Show | The Maharani Diaries

It is somewhat refreshing every now and again to attend a wedding showcase that is minus the pomp and show.

Earlier in the year I was fortunate to be invited to a beautiful and intimate showcase presented by the team behind Sundar Weddings and Mint Leaf Lounge Restaurant in London.

Set in the heart of the central business district, Mint Leaf Lounge provided the perfect backdrop for couples who are looking to break tradition and opt for an intimate wedding. A touch of romance in the city! Let’s face it; an Indian wedding is incomplete without a serving of sumptuous delicacies. What a better way to highlight this than host your wedding at a stylish and sophisticated Indian restaurant.

Sundar Weddings Show | The Maharani Diaries

After the success of organizing a wedding reception at Mint Leaf last year, Ajay and LaToya Patel of Sundar Weddings decided to demonstrate how the classy restaurant can be transformed into a luxury setting. Whether it’s a mehndi function, engagement or even your legal wedding, Mint Leaf Lounge has a range of event spaces and can tailor a package suitable for your special occasion.

Sundar Weddings partnered with a host of talented wedding vendors on the day to highlight their beautiful work.

Vaishali Shah of Ananya created all the stationery for the Romance In The City showcase, including the logo, invitations, supplier name cards, order of service booklet, mehndi stationery, place cards and menus. She spoke of how she created the stationery and the experience of working with the other suppliers on the day.

Sundar Weddings Show | The Maharani Diaries

“Our stationery designs were created to reflect the opulence of the occasion as well as the prestigious venue of Mint Leaf restaurant. Printed on a luxurious pearlescent cardstock, its sheen added a glow to the overall effect of the stationery. The gold lettering and design on the placecards and menus echoed the gold of the table linen and gold rimmed glassware. The RA monogram placed within the diamond shaped design, outlined with swirls and scrolls, emphasised the unique identity and personality of the couple. The same outline of swirls and scrolls was repeated on all the stationery to create harmony and cohesion of theme through the items of stationery. We hand finished the stationery with crystal embellishments to add that extra wow factor.

For the mehendi stationery, we used brighter colours of orange and green, to reflect the more vibrant, fun celebration. We also created cute monogrammed coasters for the drinks as well as ‘advice for the newlyweds’ cards. These advice cards are a great way to add a little fun to a wedding and were left on the tables for guests to help themselves. The cards allow guests to write a few lines to the bride and groom with their advice on how to make a happy and lasting marriage, and they also double up as a keepsake for the couple.

At Ananya we love working with different vendors and suppliers; each brings a fresh vision and a new dimension to an event – all of which help to create an overall effect with stunning results.” – Vaishali Shah, Ananya

Sundar Weddings Show | The Maharani Diaries

To add to the grandeur of the occasion, models were dressed and styled accordingly for three “wedding events;” civil wedding, mehndi/sangeet and wedding reception. The team behind the styled shoot did an incredible job, setting the mood and tone for a fabulous wedding party.

Sundar Weddings Show | The Maharani Diaries

Bonnie of Dress Day was a key force in the styling of the model shoot. Here’s what she had to say about pulling off each look.

“Ajay and LaToya explained to me in great detail what they wanted to achieve on the day. The concept was shared – they wanted to show how a restaurant, Mint Leaf Lounge, could be completely transformed for a wedding venue, and that they were looking at three settings – the mehndi, wedding reception and civil wedding.

Sundar Weddings Show | The Maharani Diaries

I used the colour scheme to pull all three looks together through each supplier. Based on the brief by Sundar Weddings, I discussed what look I had envisaged, so that their contributions were in harmony with the overall showcase. After some liaising, I coordinated with them to bring this vision to life. 

In the end I was thoroughly pleased with the styling and how well everybody worked so seamlessly together to create each unique look.” – Bonnie Marshall, Dress Day

Sundar Weddings Show | The Maharani Diaries

Sundar Weddings Show | The Maharani Diaries

The reception table was without a doubt the highlight with Ananya, Niru Venkat Floral Design and Jones Hire adding an element of opulence to the venue space. Specialty wedding cake decorator, GC Couture supplied a range of bespoke tiered wedding cakes that tasted just as amazing as they looked.

Sundar Weddings Show | The Maharani Diaries

Amid the luxurious and beautiful setting, the show wasn’t complete without some mouthwatering food and drink and foot tapping music. Mint Leaf showed off some innovative Indian cuisine over the course of the afternoon. Guests couldn’t help themselves each time a new tray of canapés rolled out and after all this was over, 7-piece band Salut and DJ VNV Live got the party started.

The afternoon’s events were captured brilliantly by photographer, Kabilan Raviraj.

Sundar Weddings Show | The Maharani Diaries

Sundar Weddings Show | The Maharani Diaries

Sundar Weddings Show | The Maharani Diaries

Mint Leaf offers exclusive wedding packages for Sundar Weddings clients. If you are interested in hiring the venue for your special occasion, get in touch with Ajay or LaToya.

Showcase partners:-

Event Planners: Sundar Weddings | Venue/Co-Host/Caterers: Mint Leaf Lounge | Photography: Kabilan Raviraj | Stationery: Ananya | Cake: GC Couture | Florals: Niru Venkat Floral Design | Model Styling: Dress Day | Hair & Makeup: Roshni Hair & Makeup | Indian Wear (Asian wedding shoot): Kajal’s Couture | Bridal Wear (civil wedding shoot): Sheila Harding Collections | Shoes: Freya Rose | Traditional Jewellery (Asian wedding shoot): Deeya Jewellery | Pearl Jewellery (civil wedding shoot): Chahat Mon Désir | Hair Accessories: Donna Crain Couture | Mehndi for models (styled shoot): H Beauty | Mehndi: Preeti Jeshani | Band: Salut | DJ: VNV Live

Cinema Meets Fashion – BollyGoods Edition 2

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

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

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

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

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

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

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

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

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

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

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

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

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

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

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

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

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

See below for some of our favourite looks.

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

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

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

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

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

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

BollyGoods Edition 2 | The Maharani Diaries

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

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

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

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

IFFM 2015 | The Maharani Diaries

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

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

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

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

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

IFFM 2015 Press Conference 3 | The Maharani Diaries

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

 

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

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

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

IFFM 2015 Press Conference 2 | The Maharani Diaries

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

 

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

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

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

IFFM 2015 Press Conference | The Maharani Diaries

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

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

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

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

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

IFFM 2015 19 | The Maharani DIaries

IFFM 2015 22 | The Maharani DIaries

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

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

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

IFFM 2015 11 | The Maharani DIaries

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

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

IFFM 2015 23 | The Maharani DIaries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IFFM 2015 39 | The Maharani DIaries

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

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

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

More photographs to feast your eyes on as below:

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

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

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