Tag: indian

Ringing in a new trend: Statement Rings

When it comes to any kind of jewelry in 2016, bigger is definitely considered better. This holds true especially in the case of statement rings. Gone are the days of small delicate looking barely noticeable bands around your fingers. These days, the fashion forward brigade can be seen sporting huge finger adornments in various shapes, sizes and designs. These attention-grabbing styles attract attention and compliments, adding flair to your traditional Indian outfit. They also draw attention to your perfect manicure and slender digits. Statement jewelry can be tough to pull off, especially when it comes to making it vibe with your other accessories. However, rings can be easy to wear and usually go well with almost any of your other jewelry pieces without creating a look that is over the top.

Internationally, designers Roberto Cavalli and Elie Saab showcased single statement rings in their fall winter 2016 collections, using them as a focal point of interest. Gucci designers had their models sporting multiple art deco inspired pieces together for a richer and more opulent look.

Historically these rings were called cocktail rings and were worn during the prohibition period of the 1920’s in America, which was a time of breaking barriers and setting new trends and society. In traditional Indian jewelry, Mughal kings and queens were both known to wear large rings adorning one or many of their fingers. Tribal Indian jewelry also has many examples of large statement rings, some of which have a mirror embedded in the center.

These days the styles and designs of statement rings are extremely varied. Some are traditional Indian pieces embedded with stones, pearls and other ornaments.

Traditional gold pieces are also popular, and many have ghungroos or tassels hanging from them. On the more modern side there are many styles with eighties influences, animal faces , flowers and large ornate stones. Knuckle-dusters, originally a part of punk and Goth jewelry, have also gained popularity. Many rings cover the entire length of a finger, and some are even spread over the entire width of your hand or more then one of your fingers. The versatility of statement rings makes them easy to reuse. You can wear the same piece casually to work or lunch, in the evening for dinner, to a party and even to a wedding. This makes it a good investment and value for money.

At Pookaari we have beautiful Kundaan statement rings, pearl adornments and larger then life funky wheel designed pieces by designer Preeti Mohan, Ragini Mittal and Sneha Rateria. Each of these pieces has received a great response and would make a fabulous addition to your jewelry box.  So go ahead and buy yourself a few statement rings, and revel in the stylish and fashion forward look they add to your outfit.

Potli Bags: little bundles of embellishment.

From the viewpoint of convenience, every Indian outfit should be complimented with a small bag in which to carry your necessities such as your money, lipstick,mobile phone etc. From the bride herself to others, one such bag which is used very frequently is the much talked about Potli bag.  Usually small in size, these little pouches can be made to match a particular outfit and have the same colors and embroidery or contrasting pieces can be matched and teamed up with your Indian wear for a more varied effect. Rather then carrying a standard designer bag, such pieces also express a certain amount of individuality and sophistication in fashion sensibility. They speak of a woman who has moved beyond labels and is able to marry tradition with style.

Historically, Potli bags have been around in India since the Vedic civilization.  Mentions of these bags have been found in ancient literature and references are to be found in many paintings and artworks as well. Such bags were also used in the Ramayana and Mahabharata period. When Lord Rama went in forest on his exile for fourteen years, his brother Lakshman accompanied him along with a potli bag containing clothes, medicinal leaves, fruits, water and mud of Ayodhya.

In the Mahabharat, Arjuna used a potli bag to hide his weapons in a tree, and the Pandavas carried their personal weapons in such bags during their exile. Sudama was also known to carry a Potli of rice when he went to meet lord Krishna. Massages given with Potlis filled with herbs were famous during the Vedic period, a tradition that continues to be popular even today.

For the modern Indian women, these bags have increased their span of use from merely being a utility to a stylish fashion accessory. Many designer bags can be found made of various materials such as silk, brocade linen, velvet etc. 

The embellishments can range from Gujarat embroideries from Kutch, sequins, Zari, mirror work, beadwork, stonework, Chickankari and Phulkari to and endless list of traditional and modern embroideries. Adornment to the strings in the form of tassels, fringes, shells, pom poms and ghongroo bells further add a look of attention grabbing style to the Potlis. The closure for these bags is traditionally a drawstring, but for the sake of convenience in modern times zips and buttons are added to increase the utility .In Australia and New Zealand, large potli bags are being used as money swag bags.

These swag bags are also used by foot travelers or swagmen for carrying personal belongings especially bedroll.

In some countries, Santa Claus is also portrayed carrying a potli bag (instead of other type of bags) on his shoulder filled with toys and sweets to distribute on Christmas festival.

At Pookaari we have a special section of Potli style bags from various designers such as Aiyana, Karmic Kabira, Plumeria and Seetam. These bags are available in a varied variety of styles and colors to match your ethnic wedding outfits and can later be used with indo-western dresses or beach wear as well.

However you choose to use them, Potli bags are effective was to marry style and convenience in a stylish and memorable fashion.

References for historic and cultural facts: www.articlesbase.com

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


Jhumkas are perfect for the monsoon! There is a lot of history around this beautiful piece of jewellery. Jhumkas can be traced back to the era of the scriptures. If there ever was a piece of jewellery that can be called romantic and whimsical it most definitely is the jhumka.
There are myriad options to choose from. Pick from the different semi precious stoned jhumkas or the simpler two toned gold silver jhumkas. Wear a semi precious jhumkas in jade and crimson colors with an ethnic angharka. Another trendy way to style yourself is to wear a two toned jhumka with a simple solid colored burnt orange colored dress.  Sonam Kapoor the trendsetter seems to agree too! Have fun with beautiful traditional jhumkas during the monsoons!

Traditional Jewellery of Tamilnadu
Jewellery has always enjoyed a prominent mention in ancient Tamil literature. The five great Tamil epics of the Sangam period (3rd to 4th century BC ) mention the different types of traditional jewellery of Tamilnadu. It is indeed a pleasant surprise that most of the ornaments that have been mentioned in the ancient epics are still in existence today after many centuries. It is a clear sign that the women of Tamilnadu have had a lasting love affair with their jewellery and therefore managed to preserve most of the styles of the Sangam era. An important reason could be the dance of our state, Bharathanatyam, through which these precious styles of jewellery have been showcased and therefore have still managed to be around. Another reason for this could be that these timeless ornaments were handed over the generations and that is why they have stood the test of time. I think its a bit of both!
Chettinadu is a region in the Sivagangai district of southern Tamilnadu famous for its jewellery. The adigai is a very typical South Indian piece of jewellery typical of the Chettinadu region. It is  is a necklace that is worn close to the neck accentuating it. It is made of gold and red rubies otherwise known as kempu stones. Another common style of the adigai is the single stone diamond adigai. An adigai worn with your kancheevarams is the ultimate regal fashion statement. If you’re a South Indian woman worth her salt you definitely must own an adigai.
Contemporary fine jewellery from designer houses like Chopard and Bulgari are inspired by Mother Nature. The maangamalai and the kizhikaasu malai were no different. The mango fruit symbolizes fertility and the maangamalai was a must have piece of jewellery in Tamil families. It is a long necklace made of small gold mangoes threaded together on a chain with nagasau work on them. Nagasu work is a special form of intricate craftsmanship on gold jewellery found only in the south of India. The South Indian nagasu craftsmen are sought after by jewellery retailers from all over India for their beautiful handiwork on gold jewellery.
The kizhikaasu malai is an authentic Chettinadu necklace. It is a statement piece made with gold coins and a parrot on top of each of the coins. In the olden days, the women of the erstwhile families of Chettinadu had the goddess Lakshmi embossed on the front side of the coins. It was considered auspicious to wear the goddess of wealth and the popular belief still continues. Their family emblem, usually their fort, was embossed on the reverse side of the coins. One can order a kizhikaasu malai with the jewellery craftsmen of Chettinadu and you will find that even today an illustration of a fort is embossed on the reverse of the coins.
The odiyanam or the hip belt is a beautiful ornament that flatters the woman wearing it. It is made of gold and usually has goddess Lakshmi, parrots, peacocks and serpents (nagar) carved on it using the nagasu technique. Today in more modern designs you can find diamonds embellishing the front part of the hip belt called the mogapu. Personally I favour the old fashioned nagasu odiyanam. It is definitely a thing of beauty to treasure and hand it down to your daughters.
Popular earrings of Tamilnadu are the jimikis and the magara kuzhai. The jimikis are still favourites of the women of the South. You can choose between the big gundu gold jimiki or the diamond studded one. The magara kuzhai is a fish shaped earring studded with red rubies and pearls. Mookuthi and Besari are nose studs. They are usually studded with rubies and pearls or diamonds. You’ll find the women in the southern parts of Tamilnadu still wearing them on a regular basis.
The craftsmen of Chettinadu still hand make these precious pieces of jewellery. Since they are handcrafted there are bound to be imperfections. These imperfections are what makes these ornaments special, since no two pieces of jewellery can be the exact same. This is exactly why these pieces of jewellery are a pleasure to covet and own. Cherish and enjoy wearing these vintage treasures that have been handed down to you with your kancheevaram sarees.

-ShriVyshnavi Annush

Shop now for beautiful jimkis (or jhumkas) by Deepa Sethi on www.pookaari.com

Summer wedding chic is what is trending at Pookaari this month! The fashionable accessories of the season are haathphools, semi precious stones in 3 layer necklaces and kundan earrings. For the traditional mehendi, wear a statement kundan chanbali paired with a traditional ghaghra and choli to get noticed. Tassel earrings with a traditional twist and delicate haathphools (hand harnesses) are a huge trend at the moment. The haathphools are the trendiest accessory for a wedding. This look is perfect for a night of dancing and making merry at the wedding sangeet.

The Blouse – A style statement of its own!

Its the month of Thai and the wedding season is about to begin. What better to wear than saris for the numerous functions at a family wedding! A sari is never complete without a blouse.
Don’t we all remember our grandmothers obsessing about matching their blouse piece colour with the colour of their sari? The so called blouse piece has come a long way over the years.
The blouse is one metre of fabric that can transform your sari into a style statement. It can lend you the intrigue that no other garment can give. People tend to remember a stunning blouse much more than a dress or any other outfit you choose to wear for that matter.
You can pair different kinds of blouses with the same sari to achieve various kinds of looks. For work, wear a three quarter sleeved blouse with a closed neck. Blouses in cotton and linen keep you looking sharp and formal for a day at work. The same sari paired with a cap sleeved blouse in a shimmery fabric can be worn for a formal dinner. The “in” thing to do now is to work the sari with a variety of blouses.
Some of my favourite established designers for blouses are Sabyasachi and Manish Malhotra. Sabya’s blouses are a must own piece of clothing in your wardrobe. The best thing about Sabyasachi is that he uses different Indian textiles and hand embroidery to create one blouse that makes you feel like an Indian princess. Sabya’s blouses are a sure fire hit when paired with any of your Kacheevaram saris. I’m partial to Manish Malhotra’s blouses for the beautiful nets and chiffons that only he can create magic with. His creations will usually have either a sheer back or sleeves leaving you with a feeling of whimsy.
Among the emerging designers, I quite like blouses from Pallavi Jaikishan, Swati Ubroi, Shyamal & Bhumika and Sashikant Naidu.Pallavi’s blouses are heavily embroidered and come in vibrant colours. You can’t go wrong with her designs when you want to shop for a family wedding. Swati Uberoi’s blouses sport different cuts and the traditional gota work on silk. They are perfect for a mehendi ceremony. Shyamal & Bhumika are Ahmedabad based designers, who work with more classic colours like crimson and navy, giving the blouse the versatility to pair it with different saris. Sashikant’s blouses are made from luxurious fabrics like khadi and silk. He is famous for his kalamkari handworked and silk khadi pin tucked blouses in various solid colours. It was a revelation when Sashikant mentioned that his pin tucked blouses take up 5 meters of fabric to get the sort of finish that they have.
I, for one, have always liked to own versatile blouses that I can wear with different saris as the occasion demands. A good start is to buy a basic black blouse and a gold blouse. Make sure they are not very heavily embellished so that you can repeat them without being noticed. You can safely experiment with different cuts. Boat necks, elbow length sleeves, shirt blouses and collared necks are fashionable right now. Invest in a handful of blouses that fit you well and keep you looking trendy.

-ShriVyshnavi Annush for The Hindu Metroplus


Surukku Pai

Surukku pai is a small bag usually made out of fabric with drawstrings used as a closure. This could easily be one of the oldest accessories in the South of India. The surukku pai culture began in Madurai. Most of us will remember our grandmoms or their friends sporting a surukku paitucked into their sari at their waists. A vivid memory I have, is of the elderly ladies who were regulars at the Jaganatha Perumal temple, fiddling with their surukku pais. It was an accessory with a lot of utilitarian value. Usually the ladies would wear malli poo in their kondai and carry their Vethilai paaku and some money in their pais. Those were the good old days when cellphones didn’t exist and nobody carried their makeup around. So you didn’t need a huge bag. The surukku pai was a much more aesthetic and handy version of the manja pai.
Chenthamarai, a tailor in Papanaickenpalayam reminisces that he used to stitch the surukku pais from the left over bits of cloth given to stitch blouses at no extra charge. In more recent years the paati’s surukku pai has transformed into a more contemporary fashion accessory. The surukku pai has given way to the chic potlis or the batwas of today.  Younger women generally tend to pair a polti with a sari or a salwar kameez. The potlis come out in a rainbow of colors during the wedding season when they attend many a muhurtham. Designers have also made the batwa an accessory to own. My favourite designer duo of the batwa are Chamee & Palak. More widely known for their lehengas, their batwas are unique and ornate.
A temple border kancheepuram sari paired with a simple mangalagiri cotton potli for a morning function is elegance personified. On the contrary, carry a hand embroidered batwa made of benares silk fabric for a night out to feel luxurious and grand. The beauty of the modern surukku pai lies in the fact that you can use it to dress up or dress down as you deem fit for the occasion. The potli is also a good gift to give your family and friends. It is indeed a lovely piece of handcrafted art that represents our culture and heritage and therefore the most appropriate gift to give your friends from abroad. It shows them our diverse crafts and the variety of textiles our country has to offer. Be a fashionista and carry your surukku pai with pride!

– ShriVyshnavi Annush for The Hindu MetroPlus  


India has a myriad of fabrics and weaves to offer from every nook and corner of the land. There is a mention of the art of weaving in the Rig Veda. The oldest Indian fabric can be traced back to the Indus Valley civilization. History shows us that Indian cotton and silk fabrics have been sought after by foreign countries for centuries. And there is a wealth fabric for us to choose from.

To deal with the heat and humidity of Indian summers what better than the cottons and linens of our nation? My favourite summer picks are the Ikats and Madras checks and as for the fabrics, the Chanderis and linen.

The Ikat is primarily from Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. The Sambalpuris from Orissa, the Pochampally from Andhra and the Patolas of Gujarat are the most popular Ikat varieties. From the runways of Missoni to Anita Dongre, the Ikat has been widely used across the world. A few high street brands like JCrew and Aldo also have collections inspired by the Ikat weave. Jonathan Adler designer crockery and Steven Elmer wallpapers also proudly bear the Ikat design.

The Madras Checks is a lightweight cotton fabric that has a woven plaid pattern. It comes in a variety of bright colours and is another trend that has taken the world by storm. Every summer the runways go berserk with Madras Checks and its no different this time. Be seen in a bold Madras Check saree to stay fashionable during this season! Paul Smith and Gant, popular men’s clothing brands have also incorporated the Madras Checks in their summer collections. So now even the men have reason to stay trendy.

Chanderi is a village in Madhya Pradesh, well known for its lightweight cotton and silk fabrics. The Chanderi dates back to the Vedic period. It is born out of a special art of weaving with fine textured cotton and silk yarn and embellished with zari borders. It has always been patronised by royalty. The Chanderis hold a special place in my heart for their sheer texture. It is by far the most comfortable fabric to wear for our summer season. The luxury of the transparent Chanderi is like no other.

It has come a long way from its traditional floral and peacock motifs. The more modern versions feature tie and dye, geometrical patterns and moustache prints. My favourite Chanderis are from Vishal Kapur.

Linens are always associated with crisp shirts and leave you with a sense of austerity. Handwoven linen sarees are soft and feel wonderful to wear during summer.

Anavila makes the most luxurious linen sarees in a range colors. You’ll find pastels, all shades of beige, charcoal and black too. She has indeed given the otherwise plain linen saree a contemporary edge and made it fashionable to be seen in.

So promise yourself to experiment this summer and stay trendy with the traditional fabrics of India. Let us be proud Indians.

– Shrivyshnavi Annush for the Hindu Metroplus, 25th April, 2015

Khadar  – Then & Now!
Khadi or Khadar is a hand spun and handwoven fabric primarily made out of cotton. Khadi can be traced back to the 6th century AD. The Romans were our main customers during those times. It is a versatile fabric that keeps the wearer cool in summers and warm in winters.
Khadi is a revolutionary fabric that we as Indians, will always associate with Gandhiji , Swaraj and the Swadeshi movement. The mere mention of Khadi conjures up an image of the Mahatma sitting at a charkha(the spinning wheel) and spinning Khadi. The truth is that, it is as relevant today as it was during the Independence movement, especially since the “Make in India” campaign is top most in all our minds. It is a fabric that will forever be intertwined with India’s past, present and future. Khaddar is no longer the redundant fabric that only our politicians wear. Once  thought of as a simple man’s garb, it has now been reinvented in so many different avatars. The credit goes to a handful of our fashion designers who have made Khadi trendy. Their creativity has given birth to more contemporary and stylish versions of the fabric, the we can relate to and wear proudly.
The trendsetting designers of the modern Khadi movement are Ritu Kumar and Rahul Mishra. While Ritu Kumar’s creations are more traditional, Rahul Mishra is a master couturier known for his minimalistic silhouettes. A handful of emerging designers who work with Khadi are Neeru Kumar and  Shashikant Naidu. Neeru Kumar’s “khadiwear” comes in both vibrant and sombre colors depending on the season. At Lakme Fashion week this year, Shashikant Naidu’s khadi creations were very elaborate and luxurious. A chat with him revealed that his pin tucked khadi tunics consumed 12 meters of khadi. They were the most sought after occasion wear. These designers have indeed played a key role in the West viewing Khadi as a fabric that lends itself to being young, modern and fashionable.
A starched khadi shirt slightly crushed at the elbows has more character than a shirt in any other modern fabric. On the other hand, soft khadi is luxurious and drapes like a dream. It is in a way a sublime fabric! Flaunt a Khadi sari or a khadi tunic with palazzos and you’re sure to stand out in a crowd.

-As written by ShriVyshnavi Annush for The Hindu Metroplus, in October 2014