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!
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We take you inside one of London’s most luxurious bridal shows. Now in its second year running, the Aashni + Co Wedding Show brings together some of the hottest names in Indian and Pakistani bridal haute couture.
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, Manish Malhotra and Varun Bahl.
Much like the business 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.
We recently had an opportunity to catch up with director of Aan By Arti, Ms Arti Badhwar, to discuss her journey into the world of Indian fashion design.
Amazon India Couture Week 2015 closed out amid much fanfare with two of the most glamorous actresses in Bollywood, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Kangana Ranaut both strutting their stuff on the runway for designer’s Manish Malhotra and Manav Gangwani respectively.
Manav Gangwani is one of the most promising designer’s to come out of India. At just 34 years of age he has already carved a niche for himself as a highly acclaimed fashion designer. Widely recognised for designing opulent couture, Gangwani is incredibly popular amongst high profile celebrities like Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, Preity Zinta, Priyanka Chopra, Shahrukh Khan and even Salman Khan. His label has become a force to be reckoned with in the high end luxury fashion market.
Heavily inspired by the French romanticism period, his aptly titled collection, ‘Le’Amoureuse,’ unveiled beautifully structured silhouettes fit for a modern princess. Gangwani has infused his designs with a lot of romance, elegance and vibrancy. His sensuous mens and women’s collection featured luxurious gowns with long trails, capes, sari gowns, tailored suits, coats and dhoti pants.
As like most designers at this year’s Couture Week, the pieces showcased rich craftsmanship and exquisite thread work with intricate floral embroidery and swarovski crystal embellishments. The rich colour palette was mostly comprised of jewel tones as well as bright corals and turquoise hues.
Bollywood actress of the moment, Kangana Ranaut wore a sumptuous, glittery purple gown complemented with bold and heavy smokey eye makeup and wearing minimal accessories. Her gown weighed around 30 kilograms, but the confident actress looked incredibly comfortable as she effortlessly sashayed down the catwalk.
Gangwani’s whimsical and romantic creations exude grace and royalty. He narrated a beautiful tale on the runway with silhouettes in many deep, contrasting hues, celebrating the sensuality and confidence of a woman. A woman who isn’t afraid to step outside her comfort zone and make a bold statement.
“When a designer chooses a colour palette, it reflects his mindset at that point of time. For me, grey is related to smoke which starts my creative journey. The colour story then leads to coral which depicts fire and moves to aqua that is used to extinguish the fire. It ends with purple which depicts victory and power. Therefore, against all odds, victory is achieved.” – Manav Gangwani
These bold and statement ensembles are perfect for the bride and groom who want to give their wedding the royal treatment. Manav Gangwani’s classic yet contemporary designs offer unparalleled opulence. Absolutely magnificent.
In what was a fitting grand finale, renowned fashion guru, Manish Malhotra wowed audience and celebrities alike with his charming display of old-world, 1950’s inspired silhouettes. As the man himself so eloquently put it, this was a time “when western fashion was being revolutionised and fashion shows had a sense of an intimate experience and luxury.”
Manish unveiled his newest collection titled ‘The Empress Story’ at an opulent offsite location with a select few from the Bollywood fraternity making a presence. Against a lavish backdrop featuring a beautiful ornate chandelier and luscious roses, models sashayed down the runway in a range of beautiful silhouettes in bespoke styles, cuts and vibrant colours.
Best known for his exquisitely crafted bridal wear, Manish’s dedication to his aesthetics are what has set him apart from other designers. This year he showcased intricately embellished festive gowns in rich textures and jewel-like tones. Each outfit was infused with Indian design sensibilities. The voluminous gowns, lehenga-choli’s and structured mens suits featured elaborate flora and fauna motif appliqués in delicate thread work and zardosi embroidery. The varied colour palette shifted from gorgeous jewel-like tones such as metallic silvers and golds, luscious burgundy’s, deep blues onto then the more subtle rose pinks, greys, blacks and coffee brown. Adding to the grandeur of the runway event, models wore handcrafted shoes and adorned masquerade masks designed by Nitya Arora of Valliyan.
Making some what of a mini comeback to the runway scene, Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan looked ethereal as Manish’s showstopper. After a 5 year hiatus, Aishwarya oozed confidence dressed in a striking heavily embroidered burgundy coloured skirt, matching top and sparkling gold shrug.
“2015 is a very special year for me as it marks 25 years as a costume stylist/director and 10 years of my label ‘Manish Malhotra.’ What makes it even more special is Aishwarya returned to runway after five years as the showstopper for my show. She is a style icon. She is beautiful and stunning.” – Manish Malhotra
Whilst many were swept away by Aishwarya’s presence and her wonderful ensemble, one of the most impressive pieces for us was the sensuous sleeveless deep red silhouette hand stitched with intricate shiny embroidery patterns. Understated elegance for the modern Indian bride, this gown would make for the perfect reception party wear. Menswear was just as classy, with the designer sharing a preview of his limited edition mens collection and for the first time revealing unique shoe wear.
As seen throughout Amazon India Couture Week, understated drama seemed to be one of the key recurring beauty trends with models wearing romantic, smokey eye looks, nude lips, contoured cheeks and shiny glossy hair. MAC‘s star makeup artist, Mickey Contractor added a new dimension to the traditional smokey eye look by teaming shimmery burgundy hues with thin eye liner and heavy mascara.
Manish Malhotra’s collection epitomises grace, mid-20th century splendour and royal opulence. These ensembles were a refreshing departure from his usual work, with the designer producing more restrained pieces that highlight and also celebrate the intricacies of traditional craftsmanship. He has proved once again why he is so popular with South Asian brides from all over the globe.
“2015 marks an important milestone as the ‘Manish Malhotra’ label celebrates 10 years and 25 years a costume director. ‘The Empress Story’ is a special collection as it not only ends the beautiful decade that was, but also represents the beginning of a new phase for the brand. It captures the excitement and thrill of taking the next step, while taking pride in its foundations. With ‘The Empress Story,’ I return to my love for timeless aesthetics and structure along with fine craftsmanship that has taken months to translate onto fabric. All the elements in the collection do speak a common, universal language of elegance and élan. Much like the power of femininity, these will never go out of style.” – Manish Malhotra
What a fabulous finale to this week long celebration of refined Indian couture. Don’t forget to stay tuned to the blog for the best trends from India Bridal Fashion Week and Lakmé Fashion Week Autumn/Winter.
Full highlights from the final day of Amazon India Couture Week can be viewed here —> http://bit.ly/1R9slxb
What were your highlights from the final day of Amazon India Couture Week?
All four designers took the vintage-glam route on Day 4 of Amazon India Couture Week. From the regal and luxurious, intricately embroidered bridal lehengas of Rimple and Harpreet to the alluring and graceful, structured silhouettes of Rohit Bal’s collection, it truly was an unforgettable day in the world of Indian couture.
Reynu Taandon’s collection titled ‘Shahbanu’ was like something out of a story book. A royal affair showcasing classic, elegant and timeless outfits fit for a modern maharani. Persian architecture, heritage and culture have inspired quite a few designers at Couture Week this year and for Taandon this was no different. She wanted to pay homage to the grandeur and royalty of the Persian empress and this was magnificently reflected in her traditional ensembles.
The stage was set for an enthralling presentation. Against a glorious palace-like backdrop, the audience were transported to the Mughal era with the captivating sounds of live Sufi Qawwali music playing in the background. Taandon’s contemporary take on the ancient period narrated a beautiful tale with models depicted as royal princesses gracefully strutting down the runway showing off their breathtaking beauty.
Taandon’s creations featured fine gold zardosi threadwork, mirror work and floral motif embellishments intricately embroidered on rich georgette and velvet fabrics. Models sashayed down the runway dressed in sharara’s, anarkali’s and lehenga-choli designs in royal blues, reds and blacks and wearing statement jewellery pieces. Their overall looks were enhanced with beautiful and glamorous makeup and hair tied back in slick and sophisticated buns.
Bollywood actress, Richa Chadda wowed the audience pulling off the Persian princess act with so much grace and poise. Dressed in a heavily embroidered red and gold lehenga and two sheer veils, she was also adorned with delicate jewels that included a maang tikka, jhumar, necklace and naath (nose ring). Richa looked resplendent in her regal avatar and this was definitely a signature moment of Reynu Taandon’s showcase.
“The Shahbanu muse is a dream-like vision straight out of the royal courtyard with mesmerising beauty reflecting through her accentuated eyes and statement jewellery. So I could only think of Richa when I conceptualised the show.” – Reynu Taandon
‘Shahbanu’ captured the grandeur, beauty and old-world charm of the Persian empire so well. All in all, Reynu Taandon presented a classy show. Her eye-catching collection is certainly befitting of the style conscious Indian bride who exudes modern elegance, and wants to look no less than royalty on her wedding day.
RIMPLE & HARPREET NARULA
Husband and wife team, Rimple and Harpreet Narula’s design aesthetic could be best summed up in three words; ‘elegant,’ ‘understated’ and ‘dramatic.’ The designer duo have an incredible ability to produce such diverse collections year after year and this year’s showing at Couture Week was no different, presenting well crafted silhouettes in an array of colours and textures. Inspired by the splendour and the magnificence of the Maharaja’s during the days of the British Raj, the designer’s weaved magic. ‘Maharadjah & Co’ was an amalgamation of design elements combining eastern and western aesthetics.
Set against a regal backdrop, they painted a story of royalty amidst western influences. A time when the classy maharaja’s and maharani’s would be highly respected amongst the European society and would hire photographers to capture all their glory with vintage cameras.
Rimple and Harpreet’s passion for diverse textiles and traditional craftsmanship is reflected in their use of various fabric textures and refined hand embroidery techniques. Heavily influenced by Islamic art, the designers created bespoke and sophisticated ensembles in muted undertones. Subtle shades of ivory and beige, burnished golds and velveteen ruby completed with intricate embroidery work and delicately cut Preciosa crystals.
“We have been using Preciosa Crystal components in our creations for quite some time now and their quality standards are par excellence. Their range, when it comes to colors, shapes and cuts is truly amazing. To be associated with a world leader in crystals such as Preciosa is a proud moment for our label and we look forward to bringing the best in Couture and Crystals to our consumers“. – Rimple and Harpreet Narula
The rich and ornate silhouettes, dramatic capes and robes, sheer billowy jackets, regal cloaks and classic lehenga’s were reminiscent of the majestic colonial era. Female models sported smokey eyes with bold lips and slick low buns and their looks were accentuated with exquisite Sunar jewels and statement accessories. The designer duo added vintage parasol umbrellas to appeal to the destination wedding market.
Ravishing Bollywood actress, Shilpa Shetty stunned as the showstopper, dressed in a gold and rose pink lehenga with a matching sequinned blouse. She stole the spotlight in the unique bridal ensemble and her overall look was enhanced (not that she needed it) with a heavy jadau necklace.
ACTRESS, SHILPA SHETTY
Shilpa’s sensuous number was one of many highlights of the show and a favourite amongst many fashion lovers. Whilst perusing through the mens ensembles, we came across a charming sherwani suit that would complement Shilpa’s lehenga beautifully.
Rimple and Harpreet’s stately collection is acceptable for the modern bride and groom who aren’t afraid to express themselves and love to make a statement. If you’re opting for a royal wedding theme with a palace-like or vintage backdrop, then these delicately embroidered lehenga-choli’s and sherwani suits are definitely for you.
Debarun Mukherjee, an up and coming designer based in Kolkata, surprised everyone with his contemporary Bollywood inspired collection. Aptly titled, ‘Heroine’ his bridal-festive showcase took the audience on a beautiful journey of Indian cinema through the ages whilst also paying homage to the modern Indian woman.
A self-confessed film fanatic, Debarun presented an array of colourful and timeless silhouettes in various textures and shades and matched them perfectly to the different era’s. From the black and white of the 30s and 40s to the technicolour and shimmer of the 70s and 80s and the subtleness of the 90s, his collection was an honest and fitting representation of the fashionable Bollywood heroine.
“This is my first couture week and it has finally given me space to stretch my creativity to a point where I feel I have arrived. A couture collection is like one’s first love and cinema is my first love.” – Debarun
Amid vibrant, multi-coloured audio visual screen backdrops and mood lighting, models strutted down the runway to the sound of songs and dialogues from popular Hindi movies playing in the background. ‘Heroine’ comprised of well hand woven, rich and diverse ensembles in beautiful, contrasting colour combinations. The silhouettes were accentuated with intricate zardosi, bead and thread work and featuring appliqués in floral and ornate motifs.
ACTRESS, ADITI RAO HYDARI
Showstoppers Aditi Rao Hydari and Chitrangada Singh opened and closed Dabarun’s show respectively. Aditi looked demure in a grey silk flared lehenga and shimmery dupatta. Representing the coy and shy heroine of the yesteryears, her ensemble looked fitting for a cocktail soirée or pre-wedding event. Chitrangada’s beige bridal lehenga-choli looked divine, complemented well with a green net dupatta. The quintessential bride of Hindi cinema. Both actresses sported side-swept hairstyles, bright pop lips and subtle eye make up.
It was rather difficult to highlight favourites from Debarun’s collection, but the red and beige floral lehenga that actress, Chitrangada Singh wore was a standout from the women’s line and as for the mens wear, the lightweight red and brownish sherwani suit teamed with mojari’s, exuded understated class.
Debarun made a strong debut at Couture Week with his flamboyant collection. A wonderful retrospective, recreating iconic moments from famous Indian movies spanning over eight decades. He has created effortless ensembles perfect for the free-spirited and artistic modern brides and grooms out there.
Wow, what can we say! Master couturier, Rohit Bal closed out day 4 of couture week in a spectacular fashion. Held at the exclusive 5 star luxury hotel, The Imperial, Bal weaved magic with his mens and women’s collection titled ‘Husn-e-Taa’iraat’ (translating to ‘beauty of a bird’), leaving the audience spellbound.
Excitement and anticipation for this runway event had been building for quite some time. In the weeks leading up to Couture Week Bal teased his fans with glimpses of his collection via social media. One things for certain though, his presentation lived up to expectations and the audience were witnessing something special unfold right in front of their eyes.
Bal’s runway shows are synonymous with entertainment having established a reputation for being more than just about the garments itself. There was something different about this show though. Set amid a garden setting with fruit trees bearing apples and pomegranates and the melodious sounds of soft orchestral music playing in the background, he evoked all of the senses and made everyone feel enamoured. A gorgeous backdrop and the perfect ambience making for a memorable showcase.
Known in the past for producing exquisitely crafted bridal couture, Bal certainly turned it up a notch on this occasion blending renaissance fashion with Persian influences as well as drawing inspiration from his Kashmiri heritage. What was noticeably different about this collection were the references to Persian art and culture with ensembles featuring intricate zardosi and resham embroidery. ‘Husn-e-Taa’iraat’ captured the natural beauty of wildlife, birds and floral through every ensemble. The hand-woven bird-life and floral motif patterns marked precision and detail.
The colour palette was infused with vivid shades of whites, elegant golds, royal blues, blacks and deep maroon hues. There were voluminous lehenga skirts, badhgala suits, jodhpur pants, classic sherwani’s, graceful and illustrious angrakha’s (similar to an anarkali suit), oversized jackets and sumptuous sari’s in numerous cuts, styles and textures. From velvet to chanderi and net to even brocade, the designer once again produced refined bridal wear.
Models took to the runway oozing confidence and flaunting their glamour with dramatic smokey eye makeup, soft, glossy lips and hair done up in perfect buns. They wore statement fabric floral headbands and some even sported beautiful yet subtle clusters of these fabric roses as neckpieces.
Adding to the grandeur of this magnificent show, models playfully flirted with guests, sitting on their laps, blowing kisses and toasting their master, Bal with champagne filled flutes. Everything complemented each other; the venue, the extravagant outfits, setting and theme. Bal’s clever use of imagery reflected the old-world Victorian and colonial charm of a bygone era.
The reception was incredible with applause and even whistles from the lucky audience. A visibly happy Bal couldn’t contain his excitement and once again broke out into one of his customary dance jigs.
India’s ultimate fashion showman, Rohit Bal continues to push boundaries, creating masterpieces, impressing fans and critics alike. The designer has effortlessly captured two cultures with so much finesse. Whilst critics will call this bridal wear somewhat unconventional, there’s no doubt these beautiful silhouettes will be a favourite amongst brides and grooms for the upcoming winter wedding season. Lavish, regal and opulent wedding wear. Make a statement on your wedding day with these eclectic ensembles.
“Design needs to be without reason – spontaneous, whatever attracts you at the given moment and time. I could be inspired by Persia or Timbuktu, but I will eventually turn it into something Indian. That’s my main aim… a strong Indianness in everything I do. “ – Rohit Bal
The 60 piece collection featured some stunning pieces. It was difficult to pin point a favourite, but of course, being lovers of traditional maroon and red bridal wear we simply couldn’t take our eyes off of these two ensembles.
Relive highlights from Rimple & Harpreet and Rohit Bal’s shows here –> http://bit.ly/1NKh6N6
Next post —> A final wrap up of Couture Week featuring every girl’s dream designer, the inimitable Manish Malhotra.
What were your favourites from day 4 of Amazon India Couture Week?
As each day of Amazon India Couture Week progressed, the production scales of the sets became more lavish. Day 3 wasn’t just about the flamboyant ensembles, but equal emphasis was placed on translating the designer’s vision into the sets.
From Persian folklore to boho luxe to vintage glamour, Anju Modi, Monisha Jaising and Varun Bahl all presented spell-binding couture collections infused with modern and traditional design sensibilities.
First up was veteran designer, Anju Modi whose costumes can be seen in director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s next magnum opus, “Bajirao Mastani” releasing later this year. Prior to her showcase, Modi spoke of the experience she had on the sets of “Bajirao Mastani” speaking highly of actress, Deepika Padukone and how she drew a lot of inspiration from her. She also spoke about how immersed she became in the colourful Persian culture and how she wanted to delve more deeply into researching about its influences on India. These influences are beautifully reflected in her collection which is an ode to Persian art, architecture and the philosophies of respected poet, Rumi.
“Since it is an ancient civilization, it has got a lot of heritage, tradition, great art work, architecture and mughal motifs, which are slightly different from our usual Rajasthani and Gujarati designs. All this mixed with the India ethos has given me ideas to make it a contemporary line.” – Anju Modi
Her collection, aptly titled ‘Kashish’ (meaning “attraction” in Urdu), conjured up images of the Persian princess pining for her loved one. The enchanting royal courtyard captured the regality and opulence that is associated with the Islamic heritage with princes and princesses adorned with turbans and embroidered veils. It was like being in the presence of royalty.
Known for her respect of India’s design legacies, Modi has cleverly fused Persian influences with Indian design sensibilities. Her design aesthetics are a true testament to India’s rich textile heritage and this is evident through each garment with the use of intricately embroidered Mughal motifs hand woven on rich textured fabrics such as chanderi, dupion, khadi, organza, velvet and georgette.
In a beautiful intimate setting with romantic mood lighting, Modi presented an array of voluminous lehenga-choli’s, sharara’s, anarkali’s, multiple dupatta’s and classic sherwani and pyjama suits in gorgeous hues. There were pinks, reds, blues, yellows and teal as well as soft and subtle pastel shades.
Models wore romantic make up and hair looks with minimal eyeshadow, red lips and soft hair-dos adorned with delicate fresh flowers.
A number of pieces stood out, but it was difficult to go past the rani pink and mint green bridal lehenga layered with two dupatta’s and accentuated with delicate accessories. As for the menswear, the classic red and beige sherwani suit shone amongst the lot, accessorized with a matching printed turban.
‘Kashish’ exuded modern regal romance and elegance. Contemporary in appearance with subtle hints of regal undertones, these timeless ensembles are for the modern bride or groom who isn’t afraid to make a royal-like statement at their wedding. The juxtaposition of the contrasting colours add further appeal to those who love the idea of mixing and matching separates.
Marking 25 successful years in the industry, eminent fashion designer, Monisha Jaising presented an ambitious collection titled, ‘The Sailing Bride’ featuring a melange of luxury sportswear, resort and evening wear as well as some alternative bridal wear.
A relative newcomer to the world of bridal fashion, Monisha’s ensembles take a dramatic turn from the traditional wedding attire to showcase more modern, unconventional and eclectic bridal wear fit for the adventurous bride, more commonly today as the ‘boho bride.’ Relaxed, frugal, yet artistic in nature and one who does not compromise on luxury or comfort.
Monisha took her audience to the sea with nautical themed sets. A luxury private yacht full of sun kissed models and chiseled male crew men.
The show featured the likes of popular fashion icon and designer, Pernia Qureshi (who will also be making her Bollywood debut soon) and actress, Kriti Sanon. ‘The Sailing Bride’ encompasses a broad range of well crafted Indian bridal wear featuring lehenga-choli’s, draped sari’s, tailored jackets and pants and cocktail gowns in a variety of playful and sophisticated colours. The ensembles were stitched in unique surface textures such as luxe silk jersey material as well as organza, georgette, soft chiffon, velvet, cotton, fur, tweed, leather and neoprene.
Pernia Qureshi surprised the audience, opening the runway show, dressed in an ice blue, woolen off-the-shoulder gown embellished with delicate mirror embroidered patterns. The showstopper of the night arrived with Bollywood actress, Kriti Sanon strutting down the runway flaunting an incredible grey, sporty-like lehenga featuring panels adorned with traditional zardosi embroidered elements paired with a ribbed tank top, contrasting red dupatta, heavy jewels and embellished Converse sneakers. Representing the runaway bride, Kriti also sported rebellious yet tasteful tattoos.
Makeup and hair looks were fresh with soft-tousled hair and matte finished lips in stunning dark red brick shades.
“The collection caters to the cool laid-back bride who wants to look luxurious on her special day yet prefers practical and fuss-free ensembles. We have constructed silhouettes which 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
ACTRESS, KRITI SANON
Kriti Sanon was undoubtedly the standout of the night dressed in that bespoke jersey lehenga complemented with the statement sneakers.
Resort wear has always been Monisha’s forte, but ‘The Sailing Bride’ has definitely added a new dimension to the term ‘modern Indian bride.’ A new era in bridal fashion wear, where haute couture meets hippie glamour.
Fresh, youthful, contemporary and edgy, today’s young and ambitious bride and her entourage want to be able to have the freedom to express themselves. These effortless and chic ensembles will no doubt redefine luxury for Indian women.
Glistening and ornate chandeliers, floral canopies descending from the ceiling, vine creepers and a runway lined ever so delicately with gorgeous red roses. The stage was set for a grand affair. Perhaps a lavish, high profile wedding? That indeed it was. Well, a teaser of some sort I suppose. It was the perfect platform and launching pad for Varun Bahl’s foray into the luxury world of wedding design.
Aside from the wedding venture though, designer, Varun Bahl’s ensembles identify with fashionista’s who love understated luxury. Opulent and extravagant in nature, his couture ensembles also strike a chord with lovers of romance.
Bahl has a penchant for florals. His collection aptly titled, ‘Song Of The Flower’ embraces age old, vintage handloom weaving techniques with garments well-crafted and intertwined with French inspired floral prints and patterns accentuated through every outfit. Pretty floral motifs were delicately woven on classic lehenga’s, sari’s, anarkali’s, blazers, wide legged pant suits, sleek sherwani suits, modern dhotis and flamboyant kurta pyjama suits.
The talented designer produced classic and vintage tailored couture exquisitely handcrafted with high quality fabrics such as tulle, georgette, plush velvets, satin and raw silks. The colour palette is infused with shades of romantic and sensual colours like ivory, pale pinks, rose reds as well as the more traditional and bold hues such as black and burgundy.
Varun’s silhouettes were reminiscent of the 18th century where fine lace detailing was used extensively to enhance the dress wear of men and women. The designer has cleverly drawn on European and Indian art forms to create magnificent ensembles. A beautiful representation of Varun’s design sensibilities and an ode to the modern bride or groom who lives for the moment and embraces beauty and romance.
“Couture is about the bespoke experience, both in make as well as concept.. Every piece of couture is like a work of art, created with great attention to detail with intricate handwork done on it.” – Varun Bahl
On the night, female models wore soft, understated romantic looks with nude makeup, elegant side buns, adorned with intricate and delicate silver and gold accessories.
The standout piece for us was the floral bridal lehenga which was beautifully complemented and balanced with a sheer net dupatta and slim high-waisted gold belt. As for the menswear, you simply couldn’t go past the slick and sophisticated black kurta pyjama suit featuring a red sequin embellished shawl.
Varun Bahl’s flamboyant ensembles will no doubt be popular amongst bride and grooms for the forthcoming wedding season.
Full highlights from DAY 3 can be viewed here —> http://bit.ly/1K5v1q7
What were your favourites from day 3 of Amazon India Couture Week?
DAY 2 was all about generation next featuring stunning collections from International Woolmark Prize winner, Rahul Mishra and trend-setting couturier, Gaurav Gupta.
We’re convinced that Rahul Mishra’s ‘Tree Of Life’ collection is one of the finest to come out of India Couture Week. Yes, it’s a big call and we weren’t there to see it in person, however after reading through several of his interviews in the past few days, we are incredibly awe-struck by his humble nature and his incredible ability to effortlessly fuse traditional Indian fabrics with modern, western aesthetics.
Originally from the Indian village of Chanderi (Madhya Pradesh), Mishra has reached great heights with recent presentations at Paris and Milan Fashion Week, earning him respect amongst the fashion elite around the world.
Mishra’s inspiration for ‘Tree Of Life’ was the fuss-free, multitasking woman. A woman who exudes strength and courage with a hint of fragility.
His inspiration was clearly reflective on the simple backdrop. Stage settings and props were kept to a bare minimum so as to not detract attention from the beauty and elegance of the ensembles.
Mishra hasn’t forgotten his roots though with elements of age-old handloom weave techniques highlighted beautifully in every silhouette. A tribute to the village artisans with nature-like motifs such as florals, stems and parrot detailing seen through structured lehengas, anarkalis, pant suits and gowns.
“Everything we do is by hand, it brings what I like to call an imperfection – in the sense that it’s like when you write a signature and you can’t repeat it exactly the same twice. It’s an imperfect beauty.” – Rahul Mishra
The sustainable collection had a monochromatic feel with soft whites and golds with a few pops of jewel-toned colours such as deep purples, blacks and golds. There were embroidered bomber jackets, sheer silk tailored capes, sheer overcoats, flowy voluminous skirts and and sophisticated gowns. The detail and craftsmanship were impeccable with ensembles featuring stunning fabric textures such as silk organza, metallic gold kasab work and resham embroidery threading.
Much like the sets, hair and makeup looks were demure with dewy tones, lightly glossed lips and models’ hair was slick and combed back for maximum impact.
Rahul Mishra’s collection is versatile and lightweight, suited for the care-free and modern bride who isn’t afraid to mix and match. The clever use of separates mean that they can even be worn after the wedding. Adaptable, comfortable, minimalist yet charming and stylish bridal wear.
The highlight of the collection was the gorgeous gold lehenga choli featuring the must-have wardrobe staple of today, a cape. Refreshing and ethereal, Mishra’s addition of a cape is certainly eye-catching and could well possibly become a wardrobe essential in the new-age bride’s closet.
Gaurav Gupta’s unique and trend-setting ensembles have earned him many accolades over the years and his collection at this year’s couture week is without a doubt bound for more praise.
The enchanted forest-like set conjured up a fantasy realm full of bronze-toned angelic, mythological goddesses with gold hair.
‘Silt and Cipher’ is an ambitious collection featuring dramatic statement silhouettes in subtle greys, dusty creams, soft pinks, ivory and champagne colours with a hint of autumn-like colours such as navy and burgundy.
Gupta is a master of innovative couture. In a recent interview, he stated that his inspiration is a “constant process” and that “monotony bores” him. He consistently re-invents his design style, producing contemporary Indian couture that has broad appeal in the east and west.
“For me if everyone is wearing the same thing it’s so boring, and when I came back to India I couldn’t do what was already being or had been done in Indian wear. It made no sense. I feel sometimes it’s almost as if I was a pioneer in global contemporary Indian couture. I like unusual shapes and I like things which are beautiful.” – Gaurav Gupta
He created luxurious and sophisticated body-con silhouettes showcasing sari gowns, overcoats, jacket lehengas, peplum cholis, mermaid skirts and pant suits most of which were infused with intricate zardosi threadwork. The showstopper on the night was Kalki Koechlin who waltzed down the ramp in an elegantly structured muted salmon pink gown with wide pleats.
Gupta collaborated with bespoke Indian jewellery label, ‘Outhouse’ which provided the models with exquisite metallic ear cuffs and headpieces.
Hair and makeup extraordinaire, Mickey Contractor gave the models sculpted and mystical looks using none other than MAC Cosmetics. Cheekbones were contoured, eyelids were glittery and the hair was spray painted, slick and tied back.
The collection stayed to true to Gupta’s tendencies to go beyond convention. Shades of extravagance and sensuality. Gorgeous wedding reception wear perfect for the bride who wants to make a statement. Provocative yet tasteful.
ACTRESS, KALKI KOECHLIN
The showstopper of the night for us was Kalki Koechlin’s stunning salmon pink, one-shouldered gown.
For Australian readers, please note that you have the opportunity of seeing Gaurav’s stunning ensembles on the runway at the Indian Film Festival, Melbourne Awards Night and Equality Fashion Show being held at the National Gallery of Victoria on Saturday, August 15th 2015. For further information on this exclusive event visit http://www.iffm.com.au/.
Full highlights from DAY 2 can be viewed here –> http://bit.ly/1Il0LHG
What were your favourites from day 2 of Amazon India Couture Week?
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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?
The audience were definitely in for a treat on day 4 of Lakmé Fashion Week. The line up featured the likes of Anushree Reddy, Arpita Mehta and Payal Singhal all showcasing their diverse, ethnic collections.
Designer of the minute, Anushree Reddy’s summery, princess-like lehenga-choli outfits featured her signature floral motifs adorned with intricate gold zardosi embroidery work. A relatively new designer, her elegant and romantic flowing lehenga’s have become an instant hit with Bollywood-town celebrities and Indian brides from around the globe.
The alluring ensembles featured refreshing summery hues such as blushing pastels, bright pinks and even bright reds. Anushree’s clever play on feminine colours in her collection, struck a chord with young Indian women from around the globe and the following week her work was tagged and credited all over social media.
‘The Royal Courtyard’ runway show closed out in a spectacular fashion with actress, Ileana D’Cruz dancing alongside Indian pop-star, Kanika Kapoor. A defining show-stopping moment of Lakmé Fashion Week.
Anushree’s classic and timeless ensembles are without a doubt fit for an Indian princess.
SINGER, KANIKA KAPOOR, ANUSHREE REDDY AND ACTRESS, ILEANA D’CRUZ.
“For ‘The Royal Courtyard’, I took inspiration from the home of Nizams, where ethereal begums redefined grandeur. Each design from this collection is soaked in nostalgia and each piece holds a piece of history within it.” – Anushree Reddy
Designer, Arpita Mehta presented a beautiful and neutral coloured collection featuring intricate accents of mirror work. ‘A Royal Summer Affair’ was stylish and youthful yet retained that traditional feel about it.
Arpita’s ensembles have become synonymous with mirror work. For this collection though, she opted for neutral toned sheer silhouettes with subtle, bright traditional accents.
Esha Gupta’s gorgeous and sensuous, high-slit netted gown was fitting as Arpita’s show-stopping ensemble.
DESIGNER, ARPITA MEHTA WITH BOLLYWOOD ACTRESS, ESHA GUPTA.
“Mirror work is my forte. I’ve always liked sparkle, all my collections have mirror work with a twist.” – Arpita Mehta
One of India’s most versatile designer’s, Payal Singhal showcased a collection which saw a modern take on western and ethnic outfits. Inspired heavily by the Sheesh Mahal in Amer Fort Rajasthan, ‘Palace Of Mirrors’ featured silhouettes with subtle, yet intricate work. Payal presented a modern interpretation of the famous, mosaic patterns on the walls of the beautiful palace.
Elegant fluid floor length lehenga-choli skirts and modern crop-top choli outfits in stunning pastel tones wowed the audience. Actress, Tamannah Bhatia turned showstopper for Payal Singhal on this occasion, dressed in a majestic peach coloured lehenga choli.
Payal’s metallic, intricate embroidered garments are what sets her apart from her counterparts. These beautiful bridal ensembles will without a doubt become an instant hit with South-Asian brides for the upcoming wedding season.
DESIGNER, PAYAL SINGHAL WITH BOLLYWOOD ACTRESS, TAMANNAH.
“I have grown up on the runway. I say that as a joke, but it’s kind of true. I was 21 when I started, and I am 38 now. I think I was really serious about fashion from the day when I joined the business.” – Payal Singhal
Payal Singhal’s runway show highlights can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/1O9w0c2
‘From Russia With Love’ is a stunning, vibrant, vintage collection showcased by new designer, Neha Agarwal. In her second season of Lakmé Fashion Week, Neha presented romantic and elaborate 20th century Russian inspired ensembles with an array of unique designs in a variety of colours.
The collection featured eye-catching gowns, intricately embroidered capes and denim crop tops. The silhouettes were adorned with Russian doll prints, intricately embroidered floral motifs, chains and even tassels.
The show closed with popular nineties Bollywood actress, Karisma Kapoor dressed in a sheer, peach coloured cape and beautifully printed gown.
DESIGNER, NEHA AGARWAL WITH THE BEAUTIFUL, KARISMA KAPOOR.
Neha Agarwal is without doubt one designer to watch. She has an incredible ability to fuse two cultures to produce show stopping collections with world appeal.
Talented designer, Suneet Varma presented a meticulously crafted bridal wear collection that exuded elegance. His grand runway presented entitled, ‘Decorative Arts Of India’ covered traditions of all the regions in India.
Suneet Varma pulled out all the stops here. The timeless collection featured an array of different fabrics, work and colours. From tulle sarees, heavily embroidered lehengas to intricate jaal mirror-work blouses, it’s no wonder why this designer’s outfits are highly sort after by Indian brides.
The outfits were complemented beautifully with delicate Reliance Jewels. No doubt though that the pièce de résistance of Varma’s show came when the gorgeous, Nargis Fakhri flaunted the show-stopping vibrant crystal encrusted red lehenga-choli.
DESIGNER, SUNEET VARMA WITH HIS MUSE, NARGIS.
“I use colour to express or communicate my ideas and will go to any length to find the exact shade that will make all the difference.” – Suneet Varma
I absolutely loved Suneet Varma’s modern bridal ensembles and if you did too, you can re-live the highlights here –> http://bit.ly/1Sq88lJ
What were your favourites from day 4 of Lakmé Fashion Week Spring/Summer week? Let us know in the comments below.
*All images are courtesy of Lakmé Fashion Week.