Posts

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.

Day 4 AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

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

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.

Reynu Taandon AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries(Photo: Amlan Paliwal/IANS)

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. 

Richa Chadda - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

ACTRESS, RICHA CHADDA

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

R&H AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

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 & Harpreet - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

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.

Rimple & Harpreet Narula - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

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

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.

Debarun - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries (Photo: Amlan Paliwal/IANS)

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.

Aditi Rao Hydari - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

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.

ROHIT BAL

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.

Rohit Bal - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

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 garmentsRohit Bal - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries 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.

Rohit Bal - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

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?

*Content and images courtesy of Elevate Promotions,Vogue India, Amazon India, FDCIHarpers Bazaar India, Instagram, Verve Magazine IndiaIndian Express and BoldSky.

DAY 2 AICW2015 - Mishra:Gupta

DAY 2 was all about generation next featuring stunning collections from International Woolmark Prize winner, Rahul Mishra and trend-setting couturier, Gaurav Gupta.

RAHUL MISHRA

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.

Rahul Mishra - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

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. 

Rahul Mishra - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

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.

Rahul Mishra - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

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

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.

Gaurav Gupta - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

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

Gaurav Gupta - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

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. 

Gaurav Gupta - AICW15 | The Maharani Diaries

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?

*Content and images courtesy of Vogue India, Amazon India, FDCI, Amlan Paliwal/IANS, Harpers Bazaar India and Instagram. 

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

India Couture Week is returning tonight promising to be bigger and better than ever with a few exciting surprises thrown in. The event hosted by the Fashion Design Council India in association with title sponsor, Amazon India, Amazon India Couture Week 2015 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 audiences and the designers are set to mesmerize on this occasion with glitz, glamour and Bollywood showstoppers. Here are a few things we are looking forward to covering from Amazon India Couture Week 2015.

You could say for us Aussie-Indian brides, we are fairly limited with choice when it comes to high-fashion Indian couture. We either have to turn to online shopping book a flight to India. I suppose you really have to turn to social media sometimes to discover what hidden talents are out there. I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled across young designer, Kiran Lally’s Instagram account a few years back. The first thought that sprung into my mind was, “wow, an Indian fashion designer in Australia!”