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Top Bridal Lehenga Designer Labels for every Bride

As brides, our main sources of inspiration these days are Instagram and Pinterest. This entails spending endless hours, scrolling through pages of gorgeous lehenga designs and yet you’re still just as confused as you were at the beginning!

Step into the world of maharanis.. Sabyasachi’s back

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.

Fairytale Amsterdam Wedding: Ankita + Manmeet

Amsterdam couple, Ankita and Manmeet discovered soul mates in each other after months of long distance communication and weekend dates. Very soon after the pair embarked on an epic wedding adventure comprising a multitude of functions involving loads of family, food, dancing and all the beautiful things that tag along with big fat Indian weddings.

From the engagement to the colourful sangeet cruise party, bride Ankita credits her parents who had the painstaking task of planning the entire wedding.

GALLERY

Introducing ‘ Cuckoo For Colour ‘ – where fashion meets watercolour

Cuckoo For Colour | The Maharani Diaries

Self-taught artist, Aparna Ram had an interest in illustrating from a very young age. An investment associate by profession, she spent several years working in the traditional finance sector in London before moving to work abroad in India. Although this work was rewarding, she felt herself missing home and moved back in 2014. She returned to the industry but most recently decided to step back from the 9 to 5 routine to pursue her interests and focus solely on cuckoo for colour .

When we stumbled across her Instagram account not too long ago, we instantly fell in love with her work and commissioned Aparna to create some beautiful fashion illustrations for our Lakmé Fashion Week Spring/Summer features. Much to her delight, her work instantly captured the attention of well-renowned Indian fashion designers such as Anushree Reddy. Aparna has also been painting bridal portraits which we think make for such unique gifts for your friends or family members to treasure for a lifetime.

Now well and truly in the thick of the new year, Aparna is keeping herself busy with exciting new projects in the pipeline. 

We’re incredibly excited to be working alongside Aparna and are also pleased to announce that for a limited time only, Cuckoo For Colour are offering readers of The Maharani Diaries an amazing 15% discount off any order. Simply enter the promo code MAHARANIat the checkout. The perfect way to treat yourself for the new year.

Who or what inspired you to begin painting?

Aparna Ram | The Maharani DiariesDuring my childhood, my colouring books were my best friend. I remember having to spend summers at my grandmother’s house in a village in South India and there being not much in the way of entertainment. So I would bring colouring books and colour one or two pictures everyday. When I ran out, I would copy the pictures onto spare pieces of paper and colour those. So whilst my interest in colouring and painting had always been there, it wasn’t until high school, when my art teacher began to encourage me that I began to take it more seriously. Unfortunately I moved schools shortly after and the arts class was already full. Luckily my parents found me an after school art teacher in our local area. She was a sweet old lady and taught me to paint with pastels. I’ve painted on and off since then.

Tell us a little about the type of projects you work on.

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve officially signed a publishing deal with Rainy Day Reads Publishing who will be publishing my first book later this year featuring a collection of fashion illustrations inspired by Indian fashion and cinema.

When did you develop an interest in fashion illustration?

Even when I wasn’t painting, I was following fashion bloggers and illustrators online. I’ve always found fashion to be inspiring and a lot of fun to illustrate. I have been experimenting with my style since my twenties. I think it was only natural that when I started painting again, I leaned more towards fashion than any other subject.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere! I could be browsing through a magazine and find myself wanting to interpret an image using watercolour. I also find photography to be very inspiring and of course Instagram where I follow some brilliant photographers, trendy fashionistas, high end fashion designers, travel blogs and so on.  

Aparna’s India City Art Desk Calendar features custom illustrations of major cities in India.

What is your creative process when illustrating? How long does it take to complete one drawing?

I begin by warming up with some quick sketches to get the blood flowing to my hands. If I’m doing fashion illustration, I’ll look up some poses online and start by breaking it down. Once I have sufficiently warmed up, I’ll reference the outfit I’ve bookmarked and sketch out the illustration in pencil. At this point, it’s still rough, so I’ll trace it and then trace it again onto watercolour paper. Then I’ll go in with the paint. I don’t time how long it takes for each one, but 2-3 hours from warm up to scanned image is probably not far off the mark.

Aparna Ram | The Maharani Diaries

Are there any artists or fashion illustrators whose work you admire?

Katie Rodgers from Paper Fashion is someone who’s work I’ve been following long before I picked up painting again. I’ve seen her work evolve and like her, I’d love to be experimental  and try adding mixed media to my work. Megan Hess is another artist whose work I just love.

Who are your favourite Indian fashion designers?

It probably comes as no surprise but I’d definitely put Sabyasachi up there as one of my favourites. I couldn’t have been more thrilled when he signed my illustration at the recent Aashni + Co Wedding ShowSome of my other favourites coincidentally have names beginning with the letter ‘A!’ I love Anushree Reddy, Anju Modi and Anamika Khanna.  

Great taste Aparna! Your illustrations have received much attention and praise from the likes of fashion designers, Anushree Reddy and Nishka Lulla. How does it make you feel?

My first reaction is usually one of disbelief followed by screaming! Once I have calmed down, I begin to experience a number of emotions. Firstly, gratitude that they’ve noticed my work and appreciated it and a little pressure which in turn strives me to work harder.

I absolutely adore your bridal portrait paintings, invitations and the greeting cards you have created in the past. Will this be ongoing work for you? What are your future plans?

I love illustrating bridal portraits especially for brides whom I know personally. It’s such a unique gift to give and I love seeing their reactions. I recently worked on another Indian themed calendar which is currently available to purchase online through my website.

The next couple of months will be dedicated to working on collections of fashion illustrations. I’m also keen to work on more bridal portraits, so will be promoting that side of my business as well. 

Aparna, thank you so much for taking the time out to chat to us. We wish you lots of success with your future endeavours. What’s the best way for people to get in contact with you for custom designed paintings or illustrative work?

They can reach out to me via Facebook or direct message me on Instagram. Email me of course at cuckooforcolour@gmail.com.

My work is available to purchase through my website or via Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/cuckooforoclour. If you don’t find a print you like there, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Aparna has a beautiful range of photographs, illustrations, cards and a gorgeous Indian themed desk calendar available to purchase via her website, Cuckoo For Colour. Don’t forget to enter the promotional code at the checkout!

For further information, follow the links over in our vendor directory.

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.

Amazon India Couture Week – ‘BATER’ by Sabyasachi

Sabyasachi for AICW15 (via The National AE) | The Maharani Diaries

Fashion aficionados rejoice!

Day 1 of Amazon India Couture Week opened in a spectacular manner with one of the most anticipated runway events in recent years.

In a world first, one of India’s most acclaimed fashion designer’s and a favourite of ours here at The Maharani Diaries, Sabyasachi Mukherjee joined forces with red-soled shoe powerhouse, Christian Louboutin to produce one exquisite and unforgettable collection.

Social media was abuzz with bloggers, the press and audience posting regular updates throughout the stellar show. “Breathtaking,” “mesmerizing” and “decadent” were just some of the words being uttered.

Drawing inspiration from the Indian hunting bird, the bater, Sabyasachi and Louboutin conjured up glamorous gothic vibes with a vintage, primitive like backdrop. The setting was an abandoned crumbling mansion of some sort with soiled windows, distressed fabrics hanging from the ceiling, mood lighting, smoke and creaky floorboards. If that wasn’t enough, the show began with the loud chirping sound of crickets. The stage was set for one mind-blowing theatrical production. 

With references to India’s imperial royal hunts, ‘Bater,’ takes a dramatic shift from Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s previous work.

Sabyasachi - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

Sabyasachi and Louboutin took the audience to the dark side and this theme was reflected in the beautiful silhouettes and motifs in colours such as muted golds, blacks, gunmetal, ivories and hints of greens and blues. Of course, last but not least, in true form and rather characteristic of the two couturiers, they closed out the show in style with classic reds. And how about those iconic red-soled heels? Delicately hand embroidered Parisian footwear complementing Indian baroque, striking a perfect balance.

“Words that come into my mind to describe the collection are – dark, dangerous, and predatory. It is sexual. The historical references came from the royal hunts, which were channelised into shredded, burnt and layered textures.” – Sabyasachi

‘Bater’ was sensuous, ethereal yet edgy. Sabyasachi’s modern and contemporary line included oversized capes and jackets, bralettes, classic sherwani suits and lehenga-cholis, high neck sari blouses, figure hugging salwar suits and opulent 1920s style gowns with trains. The ensembles were beautifully complemented with fierce shoe wear and spiky clutch bags.

Sabyasachi - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

One may call ‘Bater’ too bold, too daring, too risqué and over the top, but in signature Sabyasachi style, he has managed to retain the old-world charm, luxury and opulence that he is so well renowned for. Understated and timeless elegance highlighted by impeccable craftsmanship and professional design elements. From the heavy and elaborate sequin embellishments to the gold and silver zari and resham embroidery, this was a carefully crafted collection that is bound to lure the fashion conscious bride or groom who dare to be different and are ready to make a statement.

In keeping with the dramatic theme, hair and makeup looks were also spot on with female models sporting intense makeup looks featuring slick low hair buns, hazel coloured lenses, voluminous lash extensions and marsala/deep red lips.

Sabyasachi Makeup looks AICW 2015 | The Maharani Diaries

It was difficult to choose a favourite from the night. We certainly could not go past the radiant red lehenga-choli. This regal and sensuous ensemble could certainly become a favourite amongst Indian brides. Some what unconventional and bold, this classic and intricately embroidered red ensemble is perfect for the quintessential modern maharani who doesn’t wish to compromise her style.

AICW15 - Sabyasachi | The Maharani Diaries copy 16

This was one runway show that certainly lived up to its expectations. Both Sabyasachi and Louboutin are forces to be reckoned with in the fashion world. Their dream pairing is one that we’re sure lovers of couture will be talking about for years. The ‘Bater’ collection is a perfect amalgamation of traditional, Sabyasachi, old-world charm combined with new-age aesthetics and one that has added a new dimension to the more conventional South Asian bridal wear.

Exclusive highlights from the show can be viewed here –> http://bit.ly/1SoJ8Rd

More images from the event courtesy of Vogue India, FDCIMs Coco Queen and Instagram.  –> 

Coming up on The Maharani Diaries, a full wrap up of DAY 2 of Amazon India Couture Week featuring more sensuous and modern designs from talented young designers, Rahul Mishra and Gaurav Gupta.

What were your favourite outfits from the Sabyasachi/Louboutin show? Let us know in the comments below. 

*Content and images courtesy of Vogue India, FDCI and Indian Express and Sabyasachi Mukherjee

Things to be excited about for Amazon India Couture Week 2015

AICW Event | The Maharani Diaries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A pure genius. Cannot wait!

Manish & Aishwarya | The Maharani Diaries

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

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

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

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

Rohit Bal | The Maharani Diaries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monisha Jaising | The Maharani Diaries

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gaurav Gupta couture.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lakmé Fashion Week – Spring/Summer 2015 – Sabyasachi

Lakmé Fashion Week SS15 | The Maharani Diaries

Earlier this year, I promised to run a feature about India’s exclusive fashion event, Lakmé Fashion Week. So, without further adieu, I present to you the best of Lakmé Fashion Week Spring/Summer fashion featuring stunning artistic illustrations from talented London based fashion illustrator, Aparna Ram.

Lakmé Fashion Week is a coveted fashion event which every up and coming Indian designer dreams about. It is the only fashion festival which brings credibility to the flourishing Indian fashion industry and integrates India into the global fashion scene.

The first season of Lakmé Fashion Week took place earlier this year in one of India’s biggest fashion capital’s and the home of Bollywood, Mumbai. Lakmé’s spring/summer festival celebrated 15 years of showcasing inspiring Indian fashion to India and the global fashion world. The event brought together emerging talent alongside veteran designers to showcase some of the most inspiring fashion India has ever seen. Designers pulled out all stops and they presented their collections in stylish and elaborate manners. Their designs certainly matched the grandeur and scales of the event as you will be able to see in the images and videos below.

Lakme Fashion Week - Aparna Ram | The Maharani Diaries

“BACKSTAGE GLAMOUR” BY APARNA RAM – LEHENGA CHOLI ENSEMBLES
FROM ANUSHREE REDDY, MANISH MALHOTRA AND SABYASACHI SITTING
SO PRETTY ON THE RACK. THE LINE UP AT THE WEEK LONG FASHION FESTIVAL
WAS POSSIBLY THE STRONGEST EVER.

The lineup at the week long fashion festival was possibly the strongest ever, with the likes of Sabyasachi, Manish Malhotra, Anamika Khanna, Suneet Varma and Tarun Tahiliani all presenting their breathtaking collections.

Lakmé Fashion Week opened with a showing from the inimitable, Sabyasachi Mukherjee. His unconventional runway show, titled ‘Big Love’ was an extravagant display of seventies retro ensembles brought to light with high tech laser beams, drones and even balloons. Retro Indian fashion? Who knew right?!

In possibly one of the most opulent openings for a fashion show ever in India, Sabyasachi showcased his ‘Big Love’ collection in front of the creme de la creme of the city. Bollywood actresses such as Sridevi, Rani Mukherji, Deepika Padukone and Kajol were all out in force to support their friend and dream designer.

Sabyasachi paid tribute to the seventies era with his own signature style. He translated it effortlessly in his creations which featured a variety of different colours, fabrics and textures.

The designer shifted his dimension from the traditional sari to give them more boldness and edginess. Sabyasachi also featured jumpsuits with bell bottoms, brocade sherwani mens suits, sheer net capes, shimmery gowns, boleros and stunning printed lehengas. Fabric texturing ranged from silk, tulle, crepe, georgette, to satin and taffeta. From stark black and gold to vibrant floral prints to iridescent metallics, Sabyasachi’s ensembles were the first of its kind to come out of India.

Sabyasachi - LFWSS15 | The Maharani Diaries

Sabyasachi’s collections certainly set new summer fashion trends. ‘Big Love’ had a very international feel about it and the flowing, light weight lehengas would suit any destination or resort style wedding.

Sabyasachi - LFWSS15 | The Maharani Diaries

“Lakmé Fashion Week holds a special place in my journey as a designer other than being my debut platform. Our success stories resonate and have been parallel. It gives me great pleasure to open the season that commemorates 15 years of LFW in India and be a part of this milestone.” – Sabyasachi Mukherjee.

Sabyasachi LFWSS15 | The Maharani Diaries

The runway show was epic and you can view exclusive highlights from the event here: http://bit.ly/1BRpDqz 

What were your favourite Sabyasachi looks from Lakmé Fashion Week Spring/Summer week?

*Images courtesy of: Lakmé Fashion Week