Posts

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.

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.