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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.

Aashni + Co Wedding Show 2017


January saw the return of the Aashni + Co. Wedding Show. Once again, The Dorchester played host to India and Pakistan’s fashion royalty. Amongst the designers exhibiting at this breathtaking exhibition were Anushree Reddy, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Tarun Tahiliani, Rimple and Harpreet Narula, Akanksha Gajria, Elan, JADE By Monica & Karishma and Gaurang Shah.

Now in its third year running, the Aashni + Co. Wedding Show has become the go-to wedding show for brides searching for their ideal outfits. Boasting of an elegant showcase featuring the latest designs, the show enables attendees to truly experience the form, fit and detail of each garment, whilst also receiving first hand attention from the designers themselves.

Zita Elze - A+Co. Wedding Show | The Maharani Diaries

Upon entering the ballroom we were greeted to a forest of dreams created by award winning floral artist, Zita Elze. Scattered amongst the enchanted fruit laden forest were exquisitely crafted designs from participating designers. Founder and director of the show, Aashni Anshul Doshi stated that “Zita is an integral part of the show and my extension.”

“I tend to work from the soul with my concepts, for Aashni especially, and for other major commissions. This idea was very site specific, in direct response to the beautiful Gold room at The Dorchester and with a view to showcasing the statement designer pieces that were going to be featured. I wanted to create a blend of French orchard and Garden of Eden with lots of fresh fruit and botanical touches, sculptural trees and natural materials against a darker background of bark, which was used for the floor. This was more about the atmosphere and mood and less about flowers than in previous designs for the wedding show, a magical pause before entering the main event, somewhere for people to be transported into an imaginary world. It was lovely to see how the visitors, designers and models responded to the space, creating their own stories. – Zita Elze

The relaxed atmosphere in the ballroom offered an exciting shopping experience for visitors. Aashni spoke highly of the response from happy customers. “It has been a spectacular show, surpassing even last year’s, and I thank our incredible designers. We had a great response from attendees who had the chance to see a bridal outfit to make their special day even more memorable.”

We were fortunate again this year to spend some time chatting with every bride’s dream designer, Sabyasachi Mukherjee. Fresh off the back of his recent successful couture line titled ‘Firdaus,’ the designer was all praise for the show. Sabyasachi said that brides of today should “keep a cultural identity, wear colour as it’s part of India’s heritage and invest in good textiles.”

The designer told the press,

Aashni is a great friend and her show is very well put together and organised. It feels like coming home. There is absolutely no stress and things are seamlessly planned. A lot of people in London were excited to see my latest debut collection with Christian Louboutin for shoes and handbags. I also showcased my very celebrated ‘Firdaus collection’ that has done well all over the world. I am very happy to bring this to London.” – Sabyasachi

As you can tell from the photographs, the Louboutin’s didn’t fail to impress!

Rimple Narula, one half of the designer duo and self-titled couture line, Rimple and Harpreet Narula was there riding high on the success of designing for Bollywood director Sanjay Leela Bansali’s next magnum opus, ‘Padmavati’ talked about how there isn’t much of a difference now between the international bride and the quintessential Indian bride from India. “The gap has been bridged by social media, but perhaps the only difference is the weather.” She later went on to say that “This is our third time at the show and I think London has become pretty much the second largest market, when it compares to India, looking how fashion savvy Asians are and their overwhelming response which has been really good.”

We had an opportunity to ask Rimple about the must have elements a bride should have in her trousseau.

“A bride must have anything which is timeless and classic. Feel the fabric and embroidery, see the designs and purchase something which is going to remain in your wardrobe for years to come. The hand zardosi work which we do has been around for years. These kinds of pieces are a luxury in today’s time and it will stay with you forever.” – Rimple Narula

Inimitable designer and pioneer of haute couture in India, Tarun Tahiliani talked to B4U Entertainment a little about his design sensibilities.

“Fashion has to be a fusion of who you are today and what you wear as a bride or to an event.” – Tarun Tahiliani

He also touched on the collection he bought with him to London which comprised of light and structured drapes and mixed brocades. “The collection is toned down. It’s subtle, romantic and contemporary with a very international couture fit.” 

Famous for pieces that combine the finest fabrics with exquisite craftsmanship and designs for a range of international stars, including Beyoncé in Coldplay’s “Hymn For The Weekend” music video, designer Abu Jani of the renowned designers Abu-Sandeep said, “it has been great to come to the 2017 Aashni and Co. Wedding Show and to introduce our latest brand ‘ASAL’ to the UK audience. We were enthused by the interest attendees had in our designs, which is a testament to the strong interest in Indian fashion in the UK. We hope pieces from our collection have helped to make some wedding days extra special.” 

Aashni has captured the design pulse of her clientele through extending her vision to produce an uber-luxe wedding show. She has introduced discerning wedding buyers to ensembles that are exquisite in form whilst at the same time providing the access to visionary designers of South Asian background to the residents of the UK.

Aashni at A+Co. Wedding Show | The Maharani Diaries

“I think the best part about this event is that it allows people to meet the designers behind their wedding outfits and if they wish to have a bespoke creation. Our show makes that possible and demonstrates that you don’t have to travel to India for the right designer outfit.” – Aashni Anshul Doshi

The Aashni + Co. Wedding Show is proudly supported by Zita Elze, Sony TV, Akshaya Patra, Bazaar Bride, Khush Wedding Magazine and Hello! Pakistan.

 

Garments on exhibition at the show will be available to purchase from the Aashni + Co. boutique located in Notting Hill. For further information, visit http://aashniandco.com/.

Were you at the Aashni + Co. Wedding Show this year? What was the highlight for you? Let us know in the comments below.

*Images courtesy of Muse Motion Pictures and Monica of Mango Luxe & Co.

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.

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.

‘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.

The National Wedding Show Ticket Offer

Win White Hot Tickets to the Wedding Show of the Season!

26 – 28 February 2016 London Olympia4 – 6 March 2016 Birmingham NEC

The National Wedding Show | The Maharani Diaries

This spring sees the return of the UK’s biggest wedding show, where you can experience every element of your dream day unfolding before your very eyes. From discovering your perfect venue and trying on the dress of your dreams to sampling delectable delights, eyeing up fabulous floral creations and seeking out your idyllic honeymoon hideaway; The National Wedding Show is the ultimate one-stop-shop to discover the wedding experts in every field. Endless inspiration and countless shopping opportunities to try, buy, book and hire everything you can imagine for your big day, all under one roof.

Jenny Packham | The Maharani Diaries

Kickstart the day by taking a seat at the renowned Catwalk Show to see the latest trends for all the bridal party brought to life on the runway. A showcase of the hottest collections of the season from the nation’s finest designers, boutiques and retailers, provides invaluable inspiration for not only the bride, but also mothers and fathers, beautiful bridesmaids, dashing best men and ushers and not forgetting the man of the moment, the groom. The must-see line-up includes designs from the likes of Jenny Packham, David’s Bridal, Qiana Bridal, Alfred Angelo, Allure Bridals, Beyond Burlesque, Nigel Rayment, Debenhams, Moss Bros and Young’s Hire, to name just a few.

Get up close and personal with the all-important wedding dresses by hitting the designated Bridal Boutique and Designer Boutique to browse and try on an unrivalled selection of dresses under one roof. From high street to couture, short and sassy styles to long, glamorous, show-stopping numbers, there is something to suit every style, shape and budget.

Head to the Wedding Theatre to discover all you need to know about big day beauty, hair and style. The National Wedding Show’s glam squad will share their Top 10 Tips for achieving your perfect wedding day look through demonstrations and revealing trade secrets for brides, bridesmaids and mothers of the bride and groom. During each session, one lucky bride will be selected for a makeover live on stage and presented to the audience in a breath-taking ‘big reveal.’

TNWS | The Maharani Diaries

Hear first-hand from plus size model and TV Presenter Nina Blakemore, who will return to The National Wedding Show this season with her popular body confidence workshops which include essential advice on everything from how to hold your bridal bouquet and achieve the perfect pose for the camera to ‘how to work your wedding dress’, as well as offering advice for bridesmaids, mother of the bride and even the groom!

You’ve nailed the look for you and your bridal party, now it’s time to turn your attention to the all-important venue. Transform your wedding destination into a spectacular backdrop for your dream day by seeking inspiration from The National Wedding Show’s host of wedding planners and stylists. Create the perfect ambience through clever lighting schemes, stylish tableware and signage then get the party started by discovering the ultimate DJ or live band and top it off by ordering a must-have dazzling dance floor or perhaps ensure the night goes off with a bang with some top-class fireworks.

TNWS | The Maharani Diaries

Floral fantasies become a reality at the Designer Flower Market, where you will find inspiration-a-plenty from the show-stopping displays together with expert advice from a line-up of top florists. Whether you are dreaming of a big, traditional fairytale wedding or planning an intimate summer garden affair, there are stylish solutions for all themes and colour schemes.

If you’re looking for something a little more alternative for your big day, head to The Rock n Roll Bride Collection. Brand new for 2016, the Rock n Roll Bride Collection will feature everything from bridal-wear and accessories to flowers, cakes and stationery, to make your big day truly unique in every way.

The Rock n Roll Bride Collection will also play host to the The Rock n Roll Café, the perfect place to unwind during an action-packed day of shopping, wedding planning and inspiration.

Destination Wedding | The Maharani Diaries

Round off the day by registering for your gift list and perhaps even booking the honeymoon of your dreams. Your high-street favourites will be on hand to help, including John Lewis, Debenhams, Sandals, Thomas Cook and Turquoise Holidays.

After an action-packed day of shopping and planning, make a beeline for the Champagne Bar to enjoy a well-deserved glass of bubbly and raise a toast to your exciting big day ahead! If you appreciate the finer things in life then get ahead of the crowds and enjoy the show in style with VIP tickets. The exclusive package includes fast track entrance to the show, reserved seating at the Catwalk Show, unlimited access to the VIP Lounge, a complimentary glass of fizz and a goody box containing beauty products to pamper yourself in the build up to your big day.

The Maharani Diaries has teamed up with The National Wedding Show to offer 1 lucky reader and their ‘plus one’ the chance to attend the year’s most prestigious wedding event in London or Birmingham, absolutely free! Tickets are valid any day and are limited to one pair per winner. Head on over to our Instagram account for further details on how you can win! –> https://www.instagram.com/themaharanidiaries/

Entries for the London show close Thursday 25th February 2016 at 6pm and Wednesday 2nd March 2016 at 9pm for the Birmingham show. So hurry! 

Don’t worry, if you are not a lucky winner, you can still book in advance and save up to £5 off the door price**. To book, visit www.nationalweddingshow.co.uk or call the ticket hotline on 0844 874 0486.

**Advance ticket prices revert to the on the door price of £20 (London and Birmingham) at midnight the day before opening.

For more information visit The National Wedding Show website at www.nationalweddingshow.co.ukFacebook – www.facebook.com/nationalweddingshow or Twitter – @nationalwedding / #TNWS and Instagram – @thenationalweddingshow

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.