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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

Sonam and Anita grace luxury exhibition, Divalicious London

Sonam Kapoor Divalicious London

After hugely successful outings in destinations such as UAE, India, Kenya, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Hong Kong and Indonesia, it was time for London to play host to luxury boutique pop-up exhibition, ‘DIVAlicious’ at The May Fair Hotel.

Sonam Kapoor Divalicious London

Sonam Kapoor at DIVAlicious

DIVAlicious are a unique mobile fashion concept brand launched in Dubai in 2011 to popularise Indian fashion and design globally.

Presented by Dubai based multi-brand retail store The Rack – by Kachins, DIVAlicious partnered with communication consultancy, Sterling Media and Sterling Reality to bring their celebrated exhibition to London shoppers.

Bollywood actress and fashion icon, Sonam Kapoor graced the luxury-shopping event, as did renowned designer, Anita Dongre.

Anita Dongre has been at the forefront of fashion for over 20 years, having created one of the most successful fashion houses in India. A metaphor for supreme craftsmanship, her designs showcase Indian aesthetics in a contemporary language. Dongre’s Rajasthani inspired, handcrafted bridal gotapatti lehengas and handwoven heritage benarasi creations are coveted by brides across the world as well as amongst personalities and public figures.

Divalicious London Anita Dongre

DIVAlicious London marked Anita Dongre’s inaugural London showcase.

Speaking of her participation, she said,

London is an exciting city with an eclectic mix of art, architecture, fashion and business. DIVAlicious was a wonderful event to bring designers, buyers and clients on one platform. I enjoyed being back in London to showcase this season’s bridal couture. – Anita Dongre

Her commitment to revive, sustain and empower the Indian crafts and textiles is evident in her sustainable label, Grassroot.

Alchemy Anita Dongre London

We had an opportunity to ask the designer a few questions about her craft traditions, in addition to her celebrated bridal collections.

You’ve been so instrumental in reviving age-old crafts and eco fashion, how do you make it so appealing for today’s generation?

Today’s generation truly appreciates the gifts of heritage. They understand that handcrafted work translates into luxury. And in India, we have great resource of vintage crafts. As a designer, I bring these beautiful crafts from the interiors of India to the runways by moulding it into modern styles and silhouettes.

Tell us a little about the story and inspiration behind your beautiful new collection?

‘Alchemy’ celebrates the surreal and the whimsical—it combines the deserts of our muse state, Rajasthan, with verdure to present a fantastical land that glistens with the golds of the sand with a mix of a lush forest. The colour palette is reminiscent of the miscellany of the flowers, trees, dense jungles, water bodies, wildlife and the large expanse of the deserts of Rajasthan.

Your bridal collections are timeless, how would you describe the Anita Dongre bride?

All women inspire me. Women everywhere are beautifully multitasking responsibilities – at work, in the home and on a global platform with one achievement at a time. While they grow to be more and more independent, they also remain true to their roots.   

What are the top trends for brides or grooms to try this wedding season?

Brides can go bold with gold this season! Sheer layers look light and beautiful for a summer wedding. I suggest soft pastels with exquisite handcrafted gota patti in fluid silhouettes for brides who like to be comfortable yet look gorgeous.

Grooms look best in the classic sherwani. I suggest a sage green sherwani with minimal embroidery paired with handcrafted footwear for the summer. 

Divalicious London Fashion Show

Divalicious London Fashion Show

Anita Dongre - Divalicious show

UK shoppers had a chance to view, experience and purchase creations by over 20 established and emerging Indian designers along with accessory brands from Dubai, India and Hong Kong, all inspired by the East and toned for the West. The finest Indian designer apparel was brought to the event courtesy of The Rack – by Kachins, a luxurious multi-designer retail hub part of Kachins Group, the iconic Dubai-based suit makers. Designer collections showcased at the event included Anamika Khanna, Gaurav Gupta, Pankaj & Nidhi, Payal Singhal and Tarun Tahiliani

Private banker turned fulltime fashion entrepreneur Vanitaa Bhatia launched DIVAlicious in Dubai in 2011She spoke of the success of the London event.

We had a resounding weekend in London with a great turn out. With the reception we received, I can immediately claim that we will be back again next year and hope to make it an annual spring affair for the fashion-conscious market that is London. Our next step is Nairobi, Kenya! – Vanitaa Bhatia

DIVAlicious London’s partner is the globally renowned, multi-award-winning business and communications consultancy Sterling Media. Established in 1995, the company has a specialist luxury-lifestyle division, providing strategic consultancy to a range of clients.

CEO of Sterling Group, Natasha Mudhar said:

We have had an incredible response to the event, highlighting the love of Indian fashion, design and creativity internationally. As 2017 celebrates 70 years of India and UK’s cultural partnership, we were delighted to welcome the epitome of international fashion, culture and film Sonam Kapoor to the UK. – Natasha Mudhar

Speaking about their association with DIVAlicious London, Neetu Ramchandani of The Rack – by Kachins said:

The Rack – by Kachins was launched to fill a void in the U.A.E fashion retail landscape given the non-availability of Indian designer brands in the region. Both DIVAlicous’ and our vision is in complete sync presenting a natural synergy as we strive to fulfill the demand for South Asian fashion across international shores. We were delighted to have the opportunity to bring to London a preview of our A List designer collections and to showcasing our brand to the UK shopper at DIVAlicious London, without having the need for them to travel to us in the U.A.E. – Neetu Ramchandani

Finally, UAE’s leading property developer, Danube Properties and is the market leader in affordable housing. Speaking about their association with DIVAlicious London, Rizwan Sajan, Founder and Chairman of Danube Group, said,

“We were pleased to be part of DIVAlicious in London this year, and for giving visitors a peek of our project portfolio. Since our inception in the property market, we have garnered immense interest from international markets such as London and through the DIVAlicious London exhibition were able to make our offerings known to a wider majority.” – Rizwan Sajan

Hope we don’t have to wait too long until another DIVAlicious show!

*Images courtesy of Elevate Promotions and Asian Express Newspaper.

Did you attend the London show or any other DIVAlicious show? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

For further updates on fashion and bridal events, promotional offers and more, subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter in the sidebar.

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.

MET Gala 2016 Favourites

MET GALA 2016 | The Maharani Diaries

One of the most exclusive red-carpet events on the fashion calendar is undoubtedly the Met Gala. Based in New York city, the Met Ball (as it’s more formerly known as), fundraising gala is presented in honour of the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit.

So, in short this event is a pretty big deal.

Held on the first Monday in May, fashion’s night of nights is attended by well-known celebrities from primarily the arts and fashion industries.

To heighten the anticipation, every year organisers come up with a particular theme. This year’s “futuristic” theme saw all kinds of outfits. From the outrageous to the over-the-top or whatever you’d like to call it, here are the most eye-catching ensembles from this year’s fashion extravaganza.

Presenting, “Manus X Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology.” Haute couture in the age of modern machinery.. This is the future.

Beyoncé

Love it or hate it, Queen Bey’s fitted, nude latex Givenchy gown was compared to endoplasmic reticulum (you know that… okay, never mind). Loved the Lorrain Schwartz jewellery as well.

Kim Kardashian

This year a number of a-listers favoured silver. The stars took the machine theme quite literally, but Kim looked flattering in this sassy body hugging, Balmain ensemble. Let’s not talk about that guy behind her though.

Blake Lively

Let’s face it. Blake looks beautiful in anything. This blush pink silk organza and chiffon Burberry gown complimented her angelic makeup and hairstyle. The mum-to-be was looking radiant.

 

Gigi Hadid          

Everyone went gaga for Gigi who stunned in a Tommy Hilfiger evening gown and Lynn Ban jewellery. Her man, Zayn also turned up the heat quotient in a smashing Versace suit and Jimmy Choo shoes. Pity for the armor though.

Rachel McAdams

Rachel’s Valentino gown was too beautiful. One of the very few gold dresses on the red carpet on this occasion. The glamorous gown features a sheer skirt, but it’s simply all class. Simply stunning.

Jessica Chastain

Jessica’s voluminous, silk peacock blue Prada gown was made for her. Particularly loved the striking black crystal embroidery motifs.

Naomi Watts

We have to admit, we have a bit of a girl crush when it comes to Naomi Watts. Yet another celeb who opted for futuristic shimmery silver and Burberry as well. Loved the fishtale cut. She complimented her gown with beautiful Fred Leighton jewels and a Rauwolf cluth.

Margot Robbie

Another Aussie babe, Margot always brings her A game style and sass to the red carpet. Her svelte figure was perfect for this sustainable white cut-out Calvin Klein gown. Paired with Tiffany & Co. jewels, it was so refreshing to see a classic white gown on the red carpet.

Nicole Kidman

Wow, the Aussie brigade was in force tonight. Actress, Nicole Kidman went down the Cher route on this occasion, but she pulled it off! She looked gorgeous in an elegantly Alexander McQueen caped gown embellished with moon and star motifs.

Emma Watson

This beautiful lady opted for a classic cut, monochrome Calvin Klein black and white train “gown” (if you’d like to call it that) made from recycled plastic bottles! Amazing right?! Calvin Klein took an opportunity to highlight the achievements in eco fashion with this 5 piece ensemble and it no doubt went unnoticed.

Zoe Deutch

Zoe looked ethereal in this sheer floral embroidered Dolce & Gabbana gown. Definitely in my top 5.

Kate Hudson

Bridal goals…!!! Wow, literally speechless. Imagine walking down the isle or burning up the dance floor at your reception party in this daring, strapless Versace gown! The actress kept things real with natural make up and back swept hair. Absolutely stunning.

Karolina Kurkova

Karolina slayed in this sheer, bridal inspired Marchesa gown which had 150 purple toned LED lights attached to it!

Kendall Jenner

Somewhat controversial, I thought Kendall looked stunning in this structured Balmain gown. Wearing her hair up in a sleek up-do ponytail, Kendall slayed like model material.

Kylie Jenner

Another Jenner, another Balmain number. Kylie made a fabulous debut on the Met Gala red carpet. She looked a million dollars in this heavily embellished crystal gown. The 18 year old star also sported a new bob haircut on the night which of course made headlines the next day!

Kate Bosworth

A surprise entrant on our faves list, Kate looked elegant in Dolce & Gabbana as she walked down the red carpet. Gorgeous tiara as well.

Zoe Saldana

Point to note: When you want to make an entrance, opt for a gown with a fabulous train. Zoe showed some serious fashionista attitude upon her entry onto the red carpet. Love, love, love how she pulled off this Dolce & Gabbana dress.

Adriana Lima

Adriana looked delightful in a Giambattista Valli dress and Chopard jewels. Bridesmaids calling?

Rita Ora

Not sure why she gets invited, but that’s besides the point right?! The pop-star shone in this feathery Vera Wang dress.

Claire Danes

One of my absolute favourites from Met Gala 2016. Claire Danes was a vision in a glow and the dark, Zac Posen Cinderella themed gown. Check it out! Seriously swooning!

Rosie Huntington – Whitely

Rosie was effortlessly elegant in a classic ivory Ralph Lauren gown. This screams bridal and her man, Jason Statham was dapper in a Ralph Lauren tuxedo.

Bella Hadid

Another haute couture couple to make quite the entry, was Bella and her boyfriend, The Weeknd. They both looked incredible in Givenchy.

Taylor Swift

Honourable mention goes to Taylor Swift who made another rocking red carpet entrance. Her Louis Vuitton dress is so rock-chick glam and we can’t get enough of it.

Emily Ratajkowski

Yes, we don’t know how to pronounce her surname too.. But how good did she look?! Nepali designer, Prabal Gurung is fast becoming a household name amongst tinsel town. Emily carried off this figure hugging monochrome dress with class.

Karlie Kloss

Karlie Kloss Brandon Maxwell made all sorts of headlines at this year’s Met’s. Post event, designer/stylist, Brandon Maxwell chopped it in half to transform it into a hot mini party dress.

Katy Perry

Katy and her man, Orlando Bloom gave us 90s flashbacks, sporting Tamagotchi’s (remember those?) on their outfits. Sadly the two didn’t walk in together and thank goodness as they looked poles apart. As outrageous as she looked though, Katy was there to make a statement and she did deliver. I mean it’s not something you’d rock up to a wedding in, but it’s Prada!

Cindy Crawford

Gosh Balmain dresses were everywhere to be seen on this night. Veteran of the red carpet and quite possibly one of the most beautiful models ever, Cindy Crawford shone in her shimmery, Balmain gown.

What did you think of this year’s MET Gala red carpet? Who were your favourites? Let us know in the comments feed below.

Introducing ‘Numaish’ – Discover Style

Numaish Cover Photo | The Maharani Diaries

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

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

Numaish | The Maharani Diaries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Numaish | The Maharani Diaries

Numaish | The Maharani Diaries

Numaish | The Maharani Diaries

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

Numaish | The Maharani Diaries

Numaish | The Maharani Diaries

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

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

How many designers have you worked with so far?

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

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

 

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

Why are such events important?

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

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

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

What has been your greatest achievement to this date?

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

Apart from the fashion shows what else do Numaish organize?

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

Who is/are your favourite fashion designers?

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

What’s next for Numaish?

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

CEO, Manisha Kumar with a happy customer.

Manisha with happy customers

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

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

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

BollyGoods Edition 2 – Celluloid Inspired Fashion & Lifestyle

BollyGoods

A unique exhibition inspired by the celluloid world, presented by the extended Bollywood fraternity.

The art and aesthetic behind Indian cinema will be curated on one, high end exhibition platform at BollyGoods Edition 2, London on this Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May 2016Hosted by members of the extended Bollywood fraternity, BollyGoods is a unique presentation of celluloid inspired fashion, design, art and lifestyle, highlighting the rich creativity beyond the screen magic of the world’s largest film industry.

BollyGoods Edition 2, London will be inaugurated by First Lady of Bollywood Gauri Khan – Indian film producer, co-founder of film production and distribution company, Red Chillies Entertainment, interior designer, wife of superstar, Shah Rukh Khan and one of the most stylish women in Bollywood.

One of India’s most celebrated designer’s Rohit Bal will be presenting his latest prêt collections at the event along with other exhibitors such as design duo Rohit + Rahul, whose outfits have graced red carpets the world over and are a favourite with Bollywood’s gliteratti, including Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Freida Pinto, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and many more. Eminent, contemporary designers, Gauri and Nainika and Manish Arora will also showcase their timeless couture on the day.

Among the jewellers exhibiting is Shri Hari Diagems by Vinay Gupta, who created the exquisite jewellery worn by Deepika Padukone in blockbuster Bollywood hit, Bajirao Mastani’ as well as also designed jewellery for Mira Rajput’s wedding last year.

Other jewellery exhibitors include model turned designer, Queenie Singh, who has accessorized personalities such as Hilary Clinton, the Queen of Morocco and Kangana Ranaut and Roshni Chopra, actress cum television presenter and now designer.

BollyGoods is the brainchild of Delhi-based entrepreneur, Promila Jain Bahri, a design enthusiast who has enjoyed a successful career in the world of aesthetics. A key influencer in India’s fashion and retail sector for the past two decades, she launched India’s first domestic-born childrenswear label, ‘Li’l Tomatoes’, with over 100 stores across the country. Cultivating her passion for the arts, she founded ‘Gallery of Galleries’ and ‘Ananda the Bliss.’ Combining her prowess in both spheres, she has gone on to pioneer the BollyGoods brand.

“I wanted to celebrate and share the creativity from the celluloid world with the wider world. BollyGoods is all about design and the lifestyle of the stars. The whole idea is to bring together the hugely talented family of superstars who are accomplished designers in their own right. People love Bollywood and are hugely influenced by its fashion and lifestyle. That’s what I want to share with discerning fans.” – Promila Jain Bahri

Bringing the concept to the UK is London-based luxury consultant, influencer and stylist, Shivani Ahluwalia.

“I’ve worked in the luxury sector for years and bringing BollyGoods to the UK is an incredible opportunity for us to showcase the art, craft and design that is synonymous with the industry to purveyors of luxury goods and Bollywood enthusiasts alike. The UK has never before hosted an event of this kind and we are extremely excited to be bringing BollyGoods to London.” – Shivani Ahluwalia

BollyGoods Edition 2’s official charity partner is The British Asian Trust, founded in 2007 by HRH The Prince of Wales. Focusing on South Asia, a region where 500 million people survive on less than $2 a day, the Trust understand that the root causes of poverty go beyond a shortage of money, food and shelter. Complex issues with education, healthcare and employment opportunities keep many people on the margins. In response to this need, their programmes work to improve the quality of education, facilitate skills and training to support livelihoods, highlight the urgent need to combat child trafficking and to break the silence about mental health issues. To date, they have had a positive impact on the lives of more than 3 million people through a pioneering approach of collective giving to create impactful and sustainable change.

BollyGoods Edition 2 takes place on Bank Holiday, Monday 2nd May from 1:30pm – 8pm at The Dorchester, 53 Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA. Tickets are 30£ each and available to purchase from www.chillitickets.com

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

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.” 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.