Behind the scenes of fashion.

Hello People,

It’s been a while since I have posted anything here and I have been feeling so so so guilty. Been caught up in packing my house, working at work (yes. FINALLY), and watching Game of Thrones. Woohoo!

How have you all been? Anyone else planning to shift house? Any packing tips you’d like to give me? Cause I am going positively insane trying to wrap things up, stealing and begging for cardboard boxes from anyone who’d listen, and washing my face a zillion times. Thanks to the year-long layers of collected dust on my bags. *sigh*

Last to last weekend, I attended (or rather volunteered) at an exhibition. Both Saturday and Sunday. My friend Pallavi Dhyani is the founder of THREE, a darling label of anti-fits, innovative cuts, cottons, linens, whites and stripes, and she needed someone to mind the stall with her. Now this exhibition was quite an interesting one. Firstly, the venue was unlike the usual hall or ground. It was held in the backyard of a colonial style bungalow; an area in Bandra, Mumbai called The Vintage Garden.

You can follow The Vintage Garden here.
Vintage Garden, Patkar Bungalow, 34D, Turner Road, Bandra (West)
Patkar Bungalow, 34D, Turner Road, Bandra (West)

Doesn’t this bungalow look cool?

So on the 23rd and 24th of April, I walked into the Vintage Garden for the first time. A sweltering hot day, with just some half-hearted floor fans for respite, I began helping Pallavi sell her gorgeous clothes.

Here’s a glimpse.

THREE clothing by Pallavi Dhyani at The Vintage Garden, Bandra West, Mumbai

A muted palette  of light greys, whites, off-whites and stripes met soft cottons, linens and cotton-linens, in a collection that instantly brought your temperature down by a couple of degrees. One look, and you’d feel easy-breezy, summery and happy, even as the sun scorched its angry rays, trying to get you to furrow your brow.

Pallavi Dhyani wearing her own creation from THREE at the Vintage Garden. Her collection is fabricated from cotton and linen and has plenty of stripes. She wears her THREE shirt dress with a striped under-slip and white sneakers. At the Vintage Garden, Bandra, Mumbai.

That’s Pallavi, the mastermind behind THREE. She’s wearing a light grey semi-sheer shirt layered over a navy and white stripes slip dress – an outfit from her creation. In fact, everyone who passed by our stall, wanted to wear what Pallavi was wearing.

I mean, what better brand ambassador than the designer, herself, right?

Her clothes are a delightful mix of wrap jackets, thin-enough-to-be-sheer cotton shirts, long dresses with slits,  button-down skirts with attached pants and more.

Pallavi Dhyani wearing her own creation from THREE at the Vintage Garden. Her collection is fabricated from cotton and linen and has plenty of stripes. She wears her THREE jumpsuit with white sneakers.

Pallavi wears a comfy overall on the second day of the exhibition. Once again, everybody wanted to wear what she was wearing.

Ratna Gupta and Pallavi Dhyani pose in front of the RESTORIES stall. RESTORIES is Artist Ratna Gupta's pet project. As the name RESTORIES suggests, she upcycles ordinary everyday objects and converts them into stylish extraordinary designs for your home.

Neighbouring stall owner and artist Ratna Gupta wore a THREE playsuit. It wasn’t long before the jailer stripes-meets-daddy’s shirt vibe had engulfed everybody present.

Mansi Kadne wears a long slit dress from THREE and geometric jewellery from her own label, at the Vintage Garden, Mumbai.

Manasi Kadne, a jewellery designer wore this THREE slit-dress with her self-designed geometric jewellery. You can follow her super-fun jewellery brand  here.

Mansi Kadne wears a long slit dress from THREE and geometric jewellery from her own label, at the Vintage Garden, Bandra, Mumbai.

The fabrics are so comfortable to wear and so loose and flowing, that the sweltering Mumbai weather doesn’t just ask for THREE, it DEMANDS it.

I mean, look how actor, TV host and anchor, Kubra Sait pulls of her THREE creation. This slip dress can be wore with shorts underneath (like Kubra) or even layered under THREE‘s semi-sheer button-downs.

Actor, TV Host and Anchor, Kubra Sait wearing Three at the Vintage Garden. Three is a label by Fashion Designer, LFW regular and Pearl Academy graduate Pallavi Dhyani.

The vibe of the place was so happy. There was music, jokes and a lot of mutual admiration with people buying each other’s creations.

Here’s an example. Pallavi of THREE wears a Manasi Kadne nose stud. And Manasi wears a THREE dress. 😀

Pallavi Dhyani of THREE poses with Mansi Kadne. While Pallavi wears jewellery by Mansi Kadne, Mansi wears a dress from THREE clothing. At the Vintage Garden, Bandra, Mumbai.

Well, well, it was indeed a lot of fun. So many well-dressed people in one enclosed space! Wow. 😉

Here’s a glimpse of artist Ratna Gupta‘s brand – Restories.

The Vintage Garden | Bandra | Exhibition | 2016 | Ratna Gupta | Restories | Upcycling the ordinary into the extraordinary | Recycle | Product Design | Creative | Mumbai | People

She creates these extraordinary products by upcycling the ordinary and the everyday, into gorgeous, innovative designs.

Artist and Designer Ratna Gupta poses in front of her stall - RESTORIES, at the Vintage Garden, Bandra, Mumbai. She is wearing a playsuit designed by Pallavi Dhyani of Three.

Well, with this, I come to the end of this blog post. Hope you enjoyed going through it. 🙂

P.S: I managed to shift my luggage today. Yes. I started this a while back. :/

Have fun. Tomorrow is Friday. So yayiiiee. 😀 😀

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The Indian trenchcoat by Shoulder Lab

When you think of a trenchcoat, chances are you imagine Burberry models huddled up looking at the camera straight in the eye, one among them the “latest face”  with dark natural-looking eyebrows.

Cara Delevingne. Emma Watson. Remember?

But how many of us have ever really worn a trenchcoat? And I mean the Burberry way. Bare legs, commando… get the drift?

Hmm… Not so many, huh?

The trenchcoat, at least the way I see it, is exciting. It’s covered. Yet there is a world of possibility concealed in its simple tie-up. One pull, and it’s a heap on the floor! 😉

So, don’t we deserve this garment?

Which brings me to the Indian trenchcoat.

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Designed by Aditi Holani of Shoulder Lab,  this trenchcoat is cotton-based and ornamented to suit different occasions in an Indian social circle.

 

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Most of these trenchcoats are reversible.  Some fall under holidaywear. And some can even be worn during weddings. You can choose to wear it with sarees, or as a light cover-up for strappy dresses.

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In fact, I think it would look good layered with a midi-skirt too. That is, if you want to stay up-to-date with the fashion weeks and trends of the world.

For the more classic among you, throw on the trench over a pair of black tights for an instant style upgrade.

And if you’re bold, you know what to do. 😉

We love how Shoulder Lab has brought the trenchcoat into India and made it look so indigenous!

I especially love the tie and dye ones. They’d look great with loafers and oxfords.

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In fact, here’s something really cool about this brand. Shoulder Lab follows a strict zero-waste policy. Which means they believe in sustainable fashion. And that they up-cycle excess cloth by crafting accessories and fanciful neckpieces out of it. Isn’t that amazing?

Also, they’re mad about experimenting. They have a separate sampling department where they try and create new surface techniques, and experiment using new materials.

Every. Single. Day.

In fact, if you see, even gota is used in the most unusual way in their collections.

 

 

All in all, if you’re looking for something different to wear in this mass produced, cluttered universe of ours, look at Shoulder Lab.

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Here’s a little something about the designer.

Aditi Holani is an alumni of NIFT, Kolkata and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London. She has trained under Alexander McQueen and Sophia Kokosalaki among others, going on to debut at the Lakme Fashion Week as a Gen Next designer in 2013.

Her label ‘Shoulder Lab‘ experiments with cutting styles, surface textures, patterns and embroideries to articulate free-flowing individuality.

She is based in Mumbai.

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To get in touch, email her at: shoulder.lab@gmail.com

Or connect through Facebook here

Tata,

and Happy Monday 😉

 

5 fashion labels to watch out for.

1. Jodi | Anything goes

So I was just scrolling through my news feed the other day, and this label caught my eye. Right from its distinct, minimalist logo in a gorgeous monochrome rendition, to the label’s clothing, a stark opposite with its vivid interplay of vibrant colours, I was enamoured.

So I found the link to their website, and in between my day job, took more than a couple of minutes off, to check this fascinating label’s work.

Well. I was impressed.

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Check  out their entire collection here

My personal favourite? This gorgeous choli top with a front tie. Buy it here

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The best thing is that the prints are all hand-block printed. So if you buy their products, you’re wearing something that encourages the craftsman to hone his or her skill. So, in other words, you’re supporting India’s fabulous heritage.

2. THREE | Borrowing Papa’s wardrobe

This label is for all the minimalists out there. Boxy silhouettes, unexpected cuts in patterns and a straight-out-of-prison or daddy’s-nightsuit chic sensibility. Oversized, comfortable and breezy, this collection is designed for all the no-nonsense, comfort-seekers out there.

Here’s a sneak-peak from their SS16 collection.

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Follow them here on Facebook.

My personal favourite is this gorgeous charcoal grey skirt.

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Available at Second Floor Studio, Khan Market, New Delhi.

 

3. Anavila | The democratic saree

So, with everyone trying to fit into the signature black Zara leggings/tights/jeggings (yeah you know what I’m talking about), here’s a designer whose broken out of the mould by doing the seemingly obvious. It’s so simple yet so glorious that you can’t help but wish you’d done it first. She’s created the first linen saree. A saree that shatters your perception of the, well, saree.

No longer is it the dreaded 6-metre-long fabric threatening a wardrobe-malfunction, should you choose to trip or fall or get caught in a nail.

She’s made the saree low-maintenance, no-nonsense and oh-so comfortable, you wouldn’t want to wear anything else. Yes, she’s made the saree compete with lazy boy pyjamas and the LBD together. Like it was even possible. “Ek teer se do nishaana”, if you may.

Ladies, say hello to this fabulous innovation. Handwoven by men and women in rural India, sustainably manufactured and beautiful to look at, you’d want to ditch your favourite blue denims for these.

Do take a look at some of her fabulous work.

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My personal favourite? The second saree from the left. Isn’t it just dreamy?

She also does amazing blouses. Like this.

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I love everything about her collection. I mean who would’ve though, sarees could look so comfy? And could be worn with something other than a tiny blouse? A blouse that you need to prep days in advance for?

By teaming sarees with loose-fitting kurtis, she’s definitely brought the whole 6 yards back into daily dressing.

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P.S: I love her kurta-pyjama combos too.

To get in touch with her, click here

To shop for Anavila, click here for Ogaan, and here for Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop

4. Mogra | SID or the Sexy Indian Dress

By this time, you must have a clear idea of my aesthetic sensibilities. It’s natural fibres all the way. So, before you yawn or snort or turn up your nose at this edit, take a look at yet another designer who’s making waves with her seemingly-simple yet beautiful approach to design. Sheena Roy of Mogra.

She takes your traditional handwoven sarees and indigenous Indian textiles, and makes gorgeous dresses out of them. Dresses you can wear on and off duty.

Her boho-chic aesthetic coupled with sharp western silhouettes brings in the surprise to every creation. Take a peek.

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To see more from Mogra, click here

5. Jappi | The Kitsch-Kitsch Jacket

Last but not the least, is Jappi. The brainchild of Parineta Borah, this label brings together a kitsch sensibility with a distinct urbane touch. From sarees to mekhlas to beautifully bizarre jackets, this label is not for the faint hearted.

Parineta experiments with embroideries and traditional Assamese silks to create outfits suited for India’s burgeoning audience. Think eye-popping hues, contrasting textures topped with a swag, only a true desi can pull off.

 

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Check out the rest of her collection here

To follow Jappi on Facebook, click here

Well, that’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed reading this post. And do spend the rest of the week checking out these very talented designers and their very-covetable clothes.

Love,

Shivani

‘Effortless’ style and how to get to it.

Ok. So a lot of people comment on my “unique” sense of style. They say it’s distinct. A lot have even used the word “fashionable”. And of course, there are others who turn up their noses and coax me into wearing something more “normal”. Normal meaning tighter pants, asset-enhancing dresses and shinier Indian-wear.

That’s not “me”. My standard reply. And of course, people don’t get that. After all, how can a material thing be you? Come on Shivani, aren’t you “deeper” than that? How can your outfit be “you”… is what they’re probably thinking as they roll their eyes and smile disdainfully within.

1912032_10152177620796878_1524289218_oI’m wearing Skirt: Forever 21 | Jacket: Pret, GK-I | Boots: An exhibition at DLF mall, Vasant Kunj | Neckpiece: Lifestyle | Camisole: Lifestyle

Buying an outfit is an action. You pay money. Money that exchanges hands. That goes from the retailer right down to the dexterous eye that picked the fabric amongst hundreds of swatches.

The act of picking and choosing an outfit is literally paying homage to the designer who visualised the outfit, pattern-master who used his years of perfected skill to draft the pattern, the craftsman who laboured for hours on his sewing machine, no thought to trends or design, food for his family being the only motivation, and the smiling sales lady determined to not sit at home and be just a “wife”.

And yes, you could say that applies to every other thing we consume.

Maybe being a fashion student opened my eyes to the hard work that goes behind every glittering red carpet appearance that people so easily dub as “shallow”. The hours spent draping and re-draping an outfit, months before a Sonam Kapoor wears it to Cannes. The long hours spent by junior designers for a meagre salary, all justified because of their passion for fabrics, embroideries, craft and art. The multiple sampling and redo’s, the search for the right colour combination, fit and finish…

There is a story behind every outfit, no matter how seemingly insignificant.

Which is why, what you wear could be an expression of you. It could be your way to show your support towards a certain striving group of talented professionals toiling to create a piece of art, that you’re going to strut around in.

Which is why, when I pick an outfit, I make an experience out of it. I touch the fabric, feel it, try it on… It’s not as easy as going to Hill Road and picking up a zillion tops just because they’re ‘cheap’. Though, I can’t deny there’s a charm in getting something stylish for less, but it should be driven by a quest for art rather than a mad scramble for a bargain. Or, that’s just how I feel. And I bet, others who you think have a “unique” sense of style feel.

We make an event out of our fashion. It’s something to be cherished. Which is why, owning a saree from your mother’s trousseau is so special. There’s a story to it. A legacy. Which is why, the dress you wore on a special date always holds a dear place in your heart. Which is why you never part with certain old t-shirts and warm mittens.

They’re special. And they deserve more than just a cursory glance. Which is why, each time you buy an outfit, you need to really feel it. To be it. Until you and the dress are one. United in that brief moment of passion. And not every store or boutique has the power to make you really connect with a dress, a top or a scarf.

11751878_10153380165531878_706715836365228757_nI’m wearing Maxi dress: Cottons Jaipur | Bag: New Market, Calcutta | Neckpiece: Lifestyle

I personally love plaids, loose silhouettes and natural fibres. I love clothes I can breathe in and float about. I like contrasting styles, textures and breaking mental blocks in daily dressing. I like glamming up a ‘sack’ of a dress with bright beads or giving it some seriousness by pairing it with brogues. I love baggy denims, oversized boots and ultimately breaking its androgyny with a fluttery chiffon top. I like playing with my outfits. I love walking into the big fat Indian wedding wearing a cotton backless choli with a Nagaland hand-woven skirt and a Kalimpang fabric as dupatta. And to arrive to raised eyebrows as everyone has piled on more glitter than they can handle! Ha Ha!

There’s beauty in fashion, no denying that. But there’s more beauty in being creative on your own. By carefully handpicking pieces that connect to you. And then putting it all together in a flawless display of art.

So enough of the jargon. Should we get down to business? Here are a few designers, brands and stores that I love. I have covered all price ranges and all kinds of looks for a holistic approach to dressing. Don’t claim you’ll find your “The One” here but no harm in looking. Right?


SHOPPING GUIDE

Cherry Fig | assorted

This Mumbai brand sources outfits from all over. Slashed labels, minor defects, Global brand redo’s… you get the drift. But, and I am serious, if you really look, you will find some adorable clothes. I got myself a faded plaid ‘Vero Moda’ dress, some quintessential ripped denim shorts and an embroidered mini dress. Needless to say, I am very happy with Cherry Fig.

Addresses:

Dr BR Ambedkar Rd, Pali Village, Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400050

Hill Road, Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400050


Khara Kapas | for dresses and contemporary Indian wear

If you love cotton and long flowing silhouettes, this is the place to shop from. I haven’t bought anything yet (I am on a budget), but if you have money to spare and a style sense to create, here’s where you should go. I absolutely love everything on display.

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Khara kapas

To shop Khara Kapas, click here

Mohh | for jewellery

Wedding or no wedding, festival or no festival, this collection of Indian-heritage inspired silver jewellery is going to leave you gasping for air. Yes, it’s that good. And I think Khara Kapas and Mohh are two brands that go well together. So, the next time you’re looking to give yourself a new look, you know what to do.

mohh

To shop Mohh, click here

Forever 21 | dresses and basics

Well well. It’s a cliché and you’re already probably shopping from here. But, I couldn’t help myself as I absolutely adore this brand. From basics to not-so-basics, their dresses and ganjis are just fabulous. The piles of clothing and jam-packed aisles may be a deterrent, but if you can muster up some courage and grab a bottle of cold water to keep dehydration in check, you will love what you get. In fact, even if something seems too blah at first, once you’ve got it, you will end up wearing your Forever 21 dress more often than any other dress. Just make sure you buy something simple and wearable rather than an over-short number that you’ll wear just once.

For instance, don’t you just love these plaid numbers?

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To shop Forever 21, click here

SSS OR Street Style Store | for shoes

Whether you’re on a budget or not, this is the place for shoes. I got myself a nude pair of Oxfords and they are extremely comfortable. And I paid just 700 bucks! It may take time to arrive and you may need to call them up a dozen times, but rest assured when it does come, it’ll all be worth it.

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To shop SSS, click here

Well, that’s all for now. Happy shopping. 🙂

Fashion. Style. And why rental is the hot, new way to nail the two.

Fashion. Hmm… what is it exactly? Art? Style? Or just plain advertising? Here’s what I think.

It is art at her vainest best, amidst trumpets, drums and all that finery. The sparkle of an earring, the shimmy of feathers, the rustle of silk…

It is Art’s dramatic outburst on stage. A tantrum that inspires millions. Crop tops, palazzos, leggings, culottes… A gust of wind that goes as swiftly as it comes.

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 1.04.38 pmPhotography by Saurabh Dua | Click here for more of Saurabh Dua’s work…

A stubborn bang of the judge’s gavel. Order, order. A summer fling, tugging at your heart-strings (and budget), until you’re exploding into 50 shades of desire. *Sigh* those butter-hued platforms

It is art that lasts a season. “The only thing constant in fashion is change.”

Fashion is art that cannot be ignored. Because it’s been worn, carried, walked-in or slung-on by your friend, neighbour, colleague or the boy you brought home…

Until finally… wait for it… finally you jump onto the bandwagon only to find your mother already there and heck, it’s too late to jump off now!

elle-india-5Editorial Photography by Tarun Vishwa for Elle IndiaClick here for his portfolio

Fashion doesn’t last. It is not an investment. Unless you’re purchasing it as Art. Then feel free to hang it in your living room mantelpiece out for display in all its lace and net glory, fast gathering dust. Visitors and guests can be encouraged to admire it for hours… Or not! Considering you wore it last year AND uploaded pictures for your 1079 Facebook friends to see.

In which case, you could choose to retire the once-in-vogue masterpiece to your gigantic walk-in closet, reserving an entire corner for ‘Costume Art’ or ‘Fashion’. Yes, doesn’t sound half bad, right? Except, that you probably don’t have a walk-in closet. 😛

13_04_2009_0289344001239576745_craig-mcdeanPhotography by Karen Elson |  Click here for her work

So what do you do with all those gorgeous, expensive once-‘in’ dresses already worn enough to make a collective impression?

Unless you’ve got a truly eclectic sense of style handed to a chosen few who can manage to snip, cut and transform old clothing into new styles, you’re stuck!

Which is why, fashion rental.

“Fashion doesn’t last. Style does”

While basics and classics can still be considered an investment, anything else qualifies to form a giant show-piece in the drawing room of your wardrobe.

So, yes go all out and buy white shirts, blue jeans and black tanks. For everything else, look to fashion rental.

11694142_1700654610170289_2756000955207278483_nRent this outfit on Flyrobe

Going out? Order a dress 3 hours before. Not sure if the midi skirt is right for you? Rent one to try out. Have a meeting to nail, date to impress or are just feeling happy, sad, excited or experimental, rent an on-trend outfit and get ready to feel heavenly.

Because, there is nothing more liberating than seeing a newer, happier and more empowered version of yourself.

And of course, the joy of an unlimited wardrobe online and a clutter-free one at home! 😉

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Some fashion rental sites you can check out:

FLYROBE  | http://flyrobe.com/#/home

SWISHLIST | http://www.swishlist.in/

KLOZEE | http://klozee.com/

SECRET WARDROBE | http://www.secretwardrobe.in/