Month: September 2015

Festive Chic!

Dussehra is just around the corner and you can already sense the festive spirit in the air. Trending big for the winter festive season is Ethnic Indian jewellery. Every woman wants to wear different pieces of jewellery on different occasions and rightly so! Forget about your precious jewellery and have fun with costume jewellery in traditional Indian designs. The must have earring for the poojas is a pair of chandbalis. Heavy chandbalis with kundan or polki stones paired with an anarkali is instantly fashionable. For the day, accessorize your kurtas with a pair of simple and elegant chandbalis with intricate peacocks. Experiment with a fusion of your own with a Rajasthani  intricate silver cuff with kundan stones worn with a kancheevaram saree during the poojas. A sure fire way to make a style statement! Stay stylish during the poojas with these trendy accessories!

Making a mark at LFW

I loved the buzz and energy at the recent Lakme Fashion Week. Since the focus was on winter, the fabrics on show were pashmina , jamdani , wool, gingham, mul and, of course, silk.

The silhouettes ranged from fitted to free-flowing bias cuts. The popular trending colours were deep reds like Marsala and ox-blood, ivory, black, teal and jewel-toned blues.

In the gen-next category, my favourites were Kriti Tula of Doodlage and Sidhartha Bansal. Kriti’s designs were quirky and yet very wearable and ranged from dresses to separates.

Sidhartha’s clothes were full of refreshingly fun prints. His milk-bottle printed shirts are sure to be very popular.

Among the emerging designers, Armaan Aimaan, Swati Vijayvargie and Sreejith Jeevan made a lasting impression. Armaan’s clean silhouettes in black and white were trendy. If you’re looking for smart Indo-Western clothes for an occasion, this designer duo’s creations are must-haves.

On the other hand, Jaipur-based Swati’s creations were in bright jewel tones. To me, the Ikat knee-length jackets and palazzos were instant picks for formal dinners.

Sreejith Jeevan is based in Kochi and his ivory collection would have been the perfect choice for Onam. His contemporary tunics were made out of ivory cotton mul with zari borders.

The designers who caught my eye for prêt and casual wear were Aartivijay Gupta and Ilk. Both had very different design sensibilities. While Aarti played with prints of kitchen vegetables on fabrics likejamdani and pashmina , Ilk had minimalistic designs in mul .

Camouflage prints were a huge trend and Theorem by Nitin Chawla and Munkee See Munkee Doo used these in innovative and fashionable ways.

For most of us, our main priority is to get through a regular day. Fashion trends may not loom large in our lives but we can experiment with prints and silhouettes in our own ways. Being well-dressed and well-groomed is a sign of self respect. Don’t we always remember the well-dressed person at any gathering?

Also think about the positive impact of fashion on artisans and weavers. Isn’t that reason enough to take it a bit more seriously than we do now?

– ShriVyshnavi Annus for the The Hindu MetroPlus

One can say that Onam is the beginning of the festive season in south India. Most people associate Oname with elaborate pookolams (flower rangolis ) and sadya (the traditional feast). My favourite memory of Onam is a day-long celebration ending with a delicious sadya at 5.00 p.m.

Of course, for most of us, a festival means time to dress up. And Onam is unique when it comes to clothes. No other festival in India has its own colour.

The colours of Onam — ivory and gold — are derived from the kasavu sari and look wonderful on all skin tones. A more contemporary way to dress up this Onam would be to retain the colour palette and experiment with fabrics and accessories.

If you’re a fan of the sari look, go for a soft ivory Chanderi with a gold border instead of a traditional Kerala cotton sari. Even better would be an ivory Chanderi with a Ganga-Jamuna border or a gold-and-silver border. Two tones are trending so this is your chance to shine.

The blouse that goes with a Kerala sari needs a special mention. A decade ago, most women wore a red or a green blouse with the kasavu sari. But, now, the blouse is the mainstay of the look. What I love about the kasavu sari is the different looks you can create by just changing the blouse. Scout for a variety of fabrics to make a set of perfect blouses for different occasions. The morning look can be a simple geometrical patterned blouse and, in the evening, the same sari can be paired with a brocade blouse with lots of embroidery.

Time for a temple visit? Pair the kasavu with an arakku (deep red) kalamkari blouse. The traditionalannapakshi pattern will set off the plain sari. Patchwork blouses are also very fashionable now. You can mix and match vintage brocades with Mangalgiris to create unique blouses.

Those who are more comfortable in a salwar-kameez can experiment with an ivory anarkali and a gold Chanderi hand-embroidered dupatta . The latter accentuates the entire ensemble. If you want to give the salwar a modern twist, wear it with palazzos and a dupatta . For a formal look, you could wear the top over a pair of coloured cigarette pants in gold Tussar. For a more fun look, wear an ivory tunic with a gold border over a crushed silk full-length skirt embellished with tiny pom-poms at the bottom.

Accessories are very important to get the Onam look right. Traditionally, women wear gold jewellery but you can be trendy and experiment. Those wearing the anarkali can wear big bold gold-dipped jhumkasand dainty pearls. But keep the necklace simple and elegant. Another way is to pair the salwar-kameez with a beautiful gold-dipped cuff and a pair of simple earrings. Or make heads turn by wearing an edgy statement necklace with your Kerala sari. A finishing touch is a strand of fragrant jasmine flowers in your hair.

Onam has also inspired film fashion. In movies like Aisha and Dil Se , Sonam Kapoor and Preity Zinta looked stunning in ivory saris and gold-toned jewellery.

-ShriVyshnavi Annush for The Hindu MetroPlus on 27th August 2015