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How would you describe your personal style?

Comfort first! In terms of my clothing, it’s relatively classic and simple for the most part. My thing is cool jackets and accessorizing, I splurge on these two. My style does change according to my environment: if I’m on vacation I’ll tend to put more “outfits” together. In my daily life I have to be comfortable and not worry about creasing or something being too tight or too short. I’m more of a jeans and trousers kind of girl as opposed to dresses and skirts. I don’t keep up with trends, but if there’s something that catches my eye that I like then I’ll definitely go for it. For example the fringe trend in fashion — I bought some fringe jackets, and although they’re “trending” it’s sort of a classic trend, the kind of thing that I’ll hold on to and will always look great to me.

My go-to outfit is a pair of skinny jeans or leather trousers (also love a good boyfriend jean) and t-shirt with a cool jacket, paired with either sneakers or heels and some great arm candy and a shoulder-strap bag. I always say, as long as my hair and shoes are on point I can work with everything else.

Your favourite fashion designer?

It’s hard to say, I don’t have one particular favourite; I like different designers for different things. I love Ginavito Rossi and Manolo Blahnik shoes, I love Alaia, Chanel, Saint Laurent, Acne, Balenciaga, Alexander Wang, Celine, The Row for just about everything! I love Maxmara for their coats, Balmain for their blazers and jackets.

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“Fashion everywhere right now is about comfort”

Where in Pakistan do you love to shop?

To be honest, I don’t really shop in Pakistan, but I do love going to Al Fatah’s makeup section and looking at the local lipsticks brands. I always find a shade that I haven’t seen anywhere else, and I’ll buy a pack of Hashmi Kajol, and sometimes I’ll go to Liberty and walk around with my mum. I might pick up some cute costume jewelry, or hair clips but that’s really it.

What is the oldest item in your closet?

I have some very old jewellery given to me by mother which was given to her by her mother. Besides that, I have a few vintage Chanel bags and jewelry, and an Escada fur from the 70s.

What do you think are must-have items that are essential to a great closet?

A chic black blazer, a solid leather jacket (for those of you who like wearing them) black/white/grey T shirts, and jeans (my favorites are skinny and boyfriend from J Brand and Paige), a pair of leather trousers (I have an amazing pair from J Brand and Saint Laurent), Nike sneakers, Manolo Blahnik classic pointy pumps and some ballet flats or Tods.

What is the most prized possession in your closet?

It changes every now and then but I have a collection of rare Chanel belts I barely even wear because they’re so delicate and special, and obviously my fine jewelry and engagement ring are some of my most prized possessions!

Your favourite accessory?

My collection of Collier de Chein Hermés cuffs, I have them in different colors and wear them all the time.

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“the red sole on my Louboutins makes me cringe, but I own too many pairs — I’m talking around 50”

What item in your closet makes your cringe?

My Louboutins, the red sole makes me cringe, but I own too many pairs — I’m talking around 50 — and this was a lesson learnt. Still, some of them really work for Pakistani clothes. I think about selling some but it kills me to think how much I’ve spent on them and how much someone would be willing to pay.

I’m hoping my future daughter or niece is my shoe size! Oh, the only ones I still like the look of are the Pigalle’s but they’re too uncomfortable, and that to me is not luxury!

Any fashion regrets?

Not really; it must have looked great at the time.

How does style differ in the two big cosmopolitan cities you have lived in, London and L.A.?

Immensely! L.A. is sporty and more relaxed, London fashion is more refined, of course, more classy. But fashion everywhere right now is all about comfort so I see that in both places, which I love! The designers that are favoured in London are not necessary the same in L.A and vise versa. I love a combination of both of these cities in my style. Add some Parisian chic and you’ve got it!

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4. Deepak Perwani 

‘Everything but the Girl’

Deepak showcased a sharp and trendy menswear collection for FPW A/W 2014. The designs were chic, with edgy silhouettes boasting immaculate tailoring. An infusion of silk, chiffon, digital prints, wool, leather, suede and velvet, using a rich color palette, accentuated the jackets and waistcoats. The slim fit suits and sherwanis with fitted trousers had the makings of a novel and fresh collection. Sikander Rizvi & Adnan Malik made a celebrity appearance for Deepak and both men received a loud cheer from the crowd, as they rocked the ramp with their dashing looks glamorised by Deepak’s ensembles.

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3. Maheen Karim 

‘Ravissant’

An exquisite luxury pret collection, ‘Ravissant’ is a blend of chic evening wear with a splash of sparkle for the festive winter season. The collection adds elegance to the wardrobe of the confident modern woman. The silhouettes, constructed with plush fabrics and a hint of dazzle, convey sophistication. Maheen used black velvet, infused sheer netting, and the subtle use of gleaming bead-lets enhanced the ensembles. Bold lamés accentuated the lean feminine form. The ‘Ravissant’ experience was further glamorised by Sherezad’s breathtaking jewellery.

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2. Shehla Chatoor 

‘MISAKI’

Shehla’s creativity always lights up the catwalk. Her play on leather rendered a truly luxurious and stunning collection. Inspired by the autumnal landscapes on both Byobu — the Japanese tradition of artisanal hand-painted folding paper screens and Fusuma panels — Shehla incorporated intricate Japanese basket weaving techniques and the quilting redolent of Samurai warriors.

A wintry palette of black, beige, nude and gold together with leather detailing on luxe cape jackets, peek-a-boo cropped tops and mini-to-midi cocktail dresses, was juxtaposed with trendy voluminous ball skirts and floor skimming gowns. Sheer lace and printed sarees with edgy blouses, accented with leather fur accents added an eastern flair to the collection. Sporty T-shirts and  jackets worn with leather track pants which gave a very modern Tokyo vibe. The long skirts have already left a notable mark and are a must-have for this season.

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1. Ayesha Farook Hashwani

‘Baroque’

Ayesha Farook Hashwani certainly knows how to raise the bar. Her latest collection at the FPW represented the dream wardrobe for winter. Opulent blacks and maroons, golds and silver, textured fabrics and the interpretation of the kimono took the runway collection to another league. The ‘Baroque’ collection exuded elegance and sophistication. Capes, jackets and boots befitting winter, with waists made slimmer using leather belts, Ayesha gave a refreshing look to the catwalk and stole the show!

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Inside your Closet With

Sadaf Zarrar

founder of blog SiddySays

1. How did the idea of starting a fashion blog come to you? 

I started SiddySays.com as a personal blog during a career break while expecting my daughter in 2011. I had noticed that the majority of blog readers were young people, between the ages of 18-35, so I honed the content to “inspire,” and that shaped SiddySays as one of the first style blogs—which also covers fashion extensively. I aspire for SiddySays to be a window to the world out there for all our readers, opening their eyes to the stylish possibilities that exist in every facet of their lives.

2. How would you describe your personal style? 

I feel fashion is a way of expressing one’s self, so my style varies literally from day to day, I don’t take fashion too seriously. I have fun with it, I enjoy it. But I guess if I really had to sum it up in a word, I’d say chic.

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I love what Hedi Slimane has done for Saint Laurent since he took charge as the creative director. He fascinates me immensely

3. Your favourite fashion designer? 

I’d be lying if I said I have a favourite designer. I fall in love with pieces and looks all the time. I do however love what Hedi Slimane has done for Saint Laurent since he took charge as the creative director. He fascinates me immensely.

4. Where in Pakistan do you love to shop?

My go to brands are Sania Maskatiya, MUSE, Sublime and Khaadi. I wish I had more time to explore, but this is my comfort zone.

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I have stolen shirts from my father for as long as I can remember

5. Who are your inspirations when it comes to style?

I absolutely adore Yasmin Sewell and Leandra Medine. They are both so effortlessly chic, I wish the latter was a little less self-deprecating though!

6.What is the oldest item in your closet?

I love men’s clothes, I have stolen shirts from my father for as long as I can remember. I still have some of the shirts he wore when he was young. I absolutely love wearing them.

7. What is the most prized possession in your closet?

A beautiful hand embroidered shawl given to me by my mother-in-law. I look forward to winters only so I can wear it.

8. Any fashion regrets?

Anyone who experiments with fashion will have regrets. In my case it happens a bit more often than most, I almost always know how to make an outfit better after I see pictures of myself wearing it, but it’s a little too late by then usually!

9. Your blog has become pretty influential in terms of defining tastes in Pakistan. What advice would you give to bloggers struggling to find an audience?

Honestly, the blog is still very niche, but we found some very gracious patrons who work with us and have helped us put SiddySays on the map. Blogs, unlike magazines, are more personality driven; you don’t find an audience, the audience finds you. You just have to be true to your self and those who appreciate your perspective will slowly start following you. Also, I don’t think you should depend on blogging as a sole source of income. If you do, you will always find yourself compromising on content. Learn to say no. Sometimes it’s okay to say “this doesn’t work for me” so I won’t feature it.

 

 

A beautiful hand embroidered shawl given to me by my mother-in-law. I look forward to winters only so I can wear it.

1. How would you describe your personal style? 

Pretty yet precise, elegant but not excessive.

2. Your favourite fashion designer?

Valentino with the duo, Lanvin, sometimes Chloe, sometimes Dior with Raf Simmons. Actually many.

3. Where in Pakistan do you love to shop?

I buy MUSE, and sometimes white Bareeze fabric and that’s all.

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4. What is the oldest item in your closet?

My mother’s white shawl with blue thread embroidery all over it. I’m always tempted to cut it up and design something. I have this terrible habit of cutting up things and breaking jewelry to create new things.

5. What do you think are must have items that are essential to a great closet?

Dark jeans, a beautiful pair of ballerina flats in black, a pair of kitten heels in color, a black or navy skirt, a white oversized cotton shirt, and a cashmere sweater. A man’s watch.

6. What items in your closest do you love?

At the moment I love my new hot pink suede kitten heels that I picked up in Paris. They are adorned with huge colored crystals, and look fantastic with androgynous dark clothes. I also love this black sweater I got recently with holes in it.

7. Who are your inspirations when it comes to style?

There are so many stylish women. Some of the ones I love are: Jane Birkin, Elizabeth Taylor, Caroline De Maigret, Emanuelle Alt, Chloe girls (in the adverts), Pucci models (only on the ramp) and the Chanel girl (on the ramp) and of course Audrey Hepburn in her black cigarette pants and flats.

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8. Describe the look you would put together for a coffee with a friend?

Dark distressed denim, gold tie up ballerina flats, a black oversized cashmere sweater, a red envelope oversized clutch and natural hair with red lipstick.

9. What makeup do you wear?

I skip the foundation and go for a primer, eyeliner, mascara and a red or coral lipstick.

10. Your hair is your signature, how do you maintain the curls?

I wash it everyday and let it dry naturally with a leave in moisturizing balm by Shu Umera. I tie it up without looking and very quickly. That creates a some what disheveled look.

11. Would you prefer to wear fine jewellery or fashion jewellery?

I love both. Simple stud earrings and chains look elegant and the only fashion jewllery I really like is by Lanvin. At weddings I love big vintage necklaces and earrings.

12. A former editor of Vogue, Diana Vreeland once said, “Elegance is refusal.” Your thoughts?

Elegance is well thought-out simplicity, and to achieve that you have to say “no” quite a few times. Skip the blow dries, the screaming labels on every part of your body, a foundation caked face, rings on every finger.

How would you describe your personal style?
Classic, adventurous, feminine and edgy without going over the top. Life would be so boring if you only stuck to one style!

Your favourite fashion designer?
Yves Saint Laurent.

Where in Pakistan do you love to shop?
Khusa Mahal, Cochese for shirts, Bareeze man for classic embroiderred white kurtas, and antique stores in Lahore and Islamabad for interesting pieces of jewellery.

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What is the oldest item in your closet?
A vintage navy clutch that belonged to my dadi. Also my nani’s wedding dress.

What do you think are must-have items that are essential to a great closet?
A good white shirt, a great pair of jeans and a leather jacket.

What is the most prized possession in your closet?
An antique silver belt

Any fashion regrets?
Definitely my spice girls inspired block heels from high school!

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New Delhi and the Taj Palace hotel played hosts to a dazzling array of top Indian couture talent. Our fashion correspondent, Shazia Saleem, was soaking up the splendour to bring you the best highlights here, exclusively at GT

Top Indian couturier and tastemaker, Sabyasachi Mukherjee had the honour of opening India Couture Week 2014 (sponsored by Shree Raj Mahal Jewellers and Logix Group). If there was ever an award for Most Creative Set, it would almost certainly always go to Calcutta-based Sabyasachi. The meticulous attention to detail immerses one into the inspirational journey that the designer references each season and this year was no exception. All aboard the turn-of-the-century Sabyasachi Express!

With luxury sleeper compartments and restaurant cars furnished with the perfect silverwear and cut crystal table settings as the backdrop, Sabyasachi showcased exquisite creations in mostly muted tones for both men and women. The show was titled Ferozabad and included Parsi embroidery references along with his signature handlooms and chintz block prints. Parsi embroidery draws from Iranian, Indian, Chinese and European heritage. Said the designer, “I was doing research for my new store in Bombay and I got very inspired by Ferozabad where all the glasswork is done.”

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Sunil Sethi, Rani Mukerji & Sabyasachi Mukherjee
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Kangana Ranaut wearing Anju Modi
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Anju Modi

For an Indian designer, ignoring the lucrative bridal market is madness

I loved the styling and sophisticated hues with the brighter shades, such as Tuscan peach, saved mostly for the boys who sported the hipster bearded look to groomed perfection. The voluminous lehengas in tulle with traditional embroidery were full of understated luxury and extravagance. If this is your dream bridal trousseau collection, remember to book a whole extra compartment for your trunks!

The Manikarnika ghat in Varanasi provided the inspiration behind heritage designer, Anju Modi‘s striking and varied bridal collection. Modi’s collection captured the hues and majestic architecture of the Holy City. Featuring beautiful light and royal blue, cherry and champagne gold tones as well as refreshing contemporary pastel shades that capture sunrise on the Ganges, to the saffron and marigold tones that are reminiscent of pooja, worshippers, and their offerings cascading down the steps into the river every evening.

Delhi-based and founding member of the Fashion Design Council of India, Anju Modi seems to be riding on a wave of fresh energy at a time when many designers start winding down. Her growing confidence and experimentation with drapes and tailoring borrowed from Indian menswear is executed well and some of the bolder embroidery motifs were inspired by temple architecture.

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Monisha Jaising at the finale
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Rohit Bal at the finale
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Models wearing Rohit Bal

Indian men look so dashing in Jodhpurs in the same unique way that only Scottish men look truly fabulous in kilts. Is it in their DNA?

Sophisticated long sleeve handloom blouses were the strongest look with Bollywood celebrity and showstopper, Kangana Ranaut (heroine of the movie “Queen”) demonstrating this wonderfully in a backless midnight blue boat neck blouse with lehenga. Whether you’re the bride or part of the extended family, Ms. Modi showed traditional silhouettes that were injected with sharp contemporary details to give a confident and cool edge to ceremonial dressing.

The elegant and feminine head and hair ornaments on the female models, waxed moustaches on the men and sumptuous embroidered silk velvet shawls for both demonstrated that details do indeed matter in order to finish the perfect look.

Rock star couturier, Rohit Bal continued his bridal love story with ivory for women saving rich jewel tones for the majestic peacocks.  The show was titled ‘Indian Moderne’ although it was firmly rooted in a majestic Mughal inspiration and aesthetic. Layering is a keyword with Rohit’s collections and he is a master of it. The designer wanted to draw particular attention to his new jewellery designs and the monochrome canvas of ivory and gold did just that.

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Alia Bhatt, Manish Malhotra & Aditya Roy at the finale
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Alia Bhatt
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Manish Arora at the finale

Every Indian woman will carry images of her favourite Manish Malhotra design on her smartphone ready to recreate it as fast as her driver can get her to the bazaar

Further into the week we were treated to a tale of two Manish’s; celebrities in their own right with cult global followings albeit in very different ways. When Manish Malhotra shows a collection the impact on the mass bridal market is of immediate effect as if decreed from heaven. Every Indian woman will carry images of her favourite Manish Malhotra design on her smartphone ready to recreate it as fast as her driver can get her to the bazaar.

Manish Malhotra is a heritage designer with an expert eye to what women want and how to fulfil their bridal fantasies. Each season the couturier selects an Indian craft technique he wants to explore and this year’s couture collection showcased zari and mirrorwork. Manish is also very fond of Kashmir, Kashmiri motifs and its indigenous handcraft resulting in the entire collection being produced there. Gilt-edged glamour in every tone of gold imaginable was the message this year with mirrorwork detail on hems and collars for both men and women on an otherwise toned down collection by Manish’s standards. Showstopper, Alia Bhatt, walked down the ramp in a traditional ruby embroidered lehenga reportedly weighing a hefty 20kg. Despite the indulgence in this creation the look had a sophisticated vintage charm and the simple blouse was well balanced. If you’re a bridezilla who insists on matching embroidery motifs for your groom (as donned by Aditya Roy), Manish is already one step ahead to fulfill your every demand.

Manish Arora, on the other hand, had another vision in mind for his Indian bride. A staple in the Paris ready-to-wear seasons, it has been a couple of years since Manish showcased a brand new couture collection in Delhi which is often given an encore of the Paris presentation. For an Indian designer, ignoring the lucrative bridal market is madness so the designer created a special brand accordingly: Indian by Manish Arora.

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Gaurav Gupta & Shraddha Kapoor at the finale

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Showstopper, Alia Bhatt, walked down the ramp in a traditional ruby embroidered lehenga reportedly weighing a hefty 20kg

The intense motifs and rainbow kaleidoscope colour combinations are instantly recognisable as Manish Arora. Showing at the French Embassy instead of the Taj Palace, his collection featured five stories: iridescent sheer, prismatic festival lights, aristocratic Japanese chip embroidery, regal pearl embroidery and some signature multicolored kitsch for the collectors and original fans. A stratosphere away from traditional imagery makes it cleverly impossible to compare Manish’s designs to anyone else. With not a dupatta in sight, Manish Arora’s contemporary designs are bold, inimitable and not for the demure traditional girl.

Then there was London-trained designer with a growing presence in the Indian luxury segment, Gaurav Gupta. His latest couture collection comprised mainly red carpet cocktail gowns and contemporary saris with asymmetric draping and much less than the requisite six yards of cloth. Pared back embroidered detailing and dramatic ruffles added texture to the gothic black and teal shades that predominated the colour palette. The ray of white light and heavy embellishment was saved for his showstopper, Shraddha Kapoor, who carried the mermaid-cut gown well and guaranteed the column inches.

Dhoti pants appeared once more at Rina Dhaka‘s show, a designer with over twenty years of international fashion experience. Showstopper, Malaika Arora Khan carried the elegant nude appliqué sari well. Fellow actress, Huma Qureshi, showed the final look for couture house Harpreet & Rimple Narula. The earth coloured lehenga outfit with tonal embroidery was beautiful (if more mother of the bride) and the perfect setting for the diamond and pearl statement necklace by the couture week sponsors, Shree Raj Mahal Jewellers.

A new entry on the Delhi couture scene is a veteran of the Indian prêt collections. Sulakshana Monga‘s brand Solteeis one of the first Indian companies to launch a successful international franchise model in the UK and USA, and the designer finally felt ready to present her first couture collection this year.

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Sulakshana Monga & Ilena D’Cruz at the finale

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Bipasha Basu at the finale of Shree Raj Mahal Jewellers

Starting with a fail-proof inspiration in the couture world, “The Royal Opulence” and a beautiful set design, the contemporary designs aimed at a younger bridal party came one by one. The focus of the embroidery detail was refreshing on long cuffs and slim waistbands drawing the right attention. The playful and classic colour palette of metallics and fuchsia combinations are surely wardrobe staples of the subcontinent.

The designs and styling for menswear were smart and slimline with bold embroidered highlights and belted dupattas separating the men from the boys in sartorial style. Indian men look so dashing in Jodhpurs in the same unique way that only Scottish men look truly fabulous in kilts. Is it in their DNA?

Understanding the difficulties today’s generation of Indian women have with sari draping, Sulakshana Monga’s showstopper, Ilena D’Cruz, wore a stitched saree that simultaneously demonstrated its mainstream appeal and how you can’t beat the genuine article…patience with sari draping is a virtue and so worth it. Sulakshana’s prêt line has a loyal Bollywood following and I’m sure the young starlets will love her foray into couture.

The finale of India International Couture Week was unusual this year as the show sponsor, Shree Raj Mahal Jewellers took over from the couture designers to close proceedings. The focus firmly changed from clothing to jewels as in-house designers Svara and Sondaraya presented their collection entitled “Parinay.” All the jewellery pieces were inlaid in the finest quality diamonds and other precious stones like rubies, pearls and emeralds. International jewellery trends have been predicting a growing demand for coloured precious stones and how beautifully they compliment and maintain their illustrious presence even when styled with heavily embroidered ethnic designs and, in this case, not one but three Bollywood showstoppers! It’s not an easy task to outshine Bipasha Basu, Chitrangda Singh and Madhur Bhandarkar but somehow they managed. Shine on you crazy diamond.

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