September 16, 2014

Stylin’ Part Three : Gautam Kalra

We wrapped up our stay at The Treasury of Trousseau with a fun chat with Gautam Kalra, the third and final stylist we interviewed at the event. Gautam started out with an advertising agency from where he moved on to open a conceptual fine dining restaurant cum store called Grasshopper. He has been the official stylist for Wills Fashion Week for four years and has worked with the top fashion designers and photographers of the country – creating unforgettable campaigns and photo shoots over the years.

Rohit-Bal-Gautam-Kalra With Rohit Bal. via

A&K – Do you feel like the brides you’ve met at this event are very specific about what they want? 

 GK-  It’s been mixed, I’ve met two brides who knew exactly what they wanted. On the other hand, I don’t know if it’s like a play on the stylists psyche or what it is, but they definitely know what they ‘don’t’ want.
For example, styling my friend would be easy, but, these are people I don’t personally know! I definitely feel like it helps to really spend time with people and try to understand them so that you can figure out what they ‘do’ want.
I’ve also had cases where the whole family has come in and been really overpowering and influential in the decision making process so, it’s not always up to the bride to choose what she’d like to wear. I’ve also met people who have no clue what they want – sometimes, from a stylists perspective, those kind of clients are the most fun. I sit with them, ask them questions – which is the only way, really, to figure out what will be the best fit for them 
 
 
 A&K – What is your styling process? 
 
GK- I’ve been to all the stores and taken photographs of a lot of key pieces and divided it up into lists like traditional, modern etc. So, as I ask questions and  begin to get a feel of what kind of look a person is after, then it’s easier to match them with an outfit because honestly, there’s so much out there and a lot of factors influence the decision to eventually buy the outfit. Factors like, price point, of course, and the name, the versatility of the garment, the location of the event, day event or night, season – all these come into play. Of course, I have my own personal style. However, I have to be very careful not to impose that on someone else and really try to find out what the person is all about. 
Sometimes, the reputation of the designer can be a hindrance in a way. People see a Tarun Tahiliani or Manish Arora store, and they are scared to walk in because they expect exorbitant price points! Actually, they’ll be surprised to know that a lot of famous designers have pieces which are very affordable. It might not be the lehenga you’ll wear to your wedding but you could definitely find quality pieces for your trousseau. In fact, a lot of the previous seasons outfits are now marked down to sixty or seventy thousand which isn’t bad at all. 
 
 
 A&K – Have a majority of brides been coming to you for assistance with all the wedding events or just the wedding? 
 
GK- Well, some people have come for just the engagement, or just the wedding. You see, selecting clothes is not only a very big decision, it’s also very tiring. After two or three hours of looking at clothes, you’re experiencing sensory overload, we’re all tired – so it’s best to spread the shopping out over a couple of days in order to keep your mind fresh and make the best decisions. Thats why we have a lot of brides coming back on day four and day five. 
At the beginning of the meeting, we decide exactly which event we are planning for – for example, for a sangeet, people are very open to the idea of something unconventional like a piece from Manish Arora, but for the actual wedding they tend to stick to more traditional styles. 
 A&K – What do you feel is the most common mistake that you see Indian brides making?
 
GK- Thats easy – christmas cake; it’s just way too much. I mean, I understand it’s your special day and you want to stand out but sometimes, simplicity is the most elegant option. Our mothers wore Kanjeevaram and Banarasi sarees and minimal jewellery and I think they looked fabulous! 
I think that’s why a lot of people like Sabyasachi because he’s understated and slowly this sensibility is catching on. 
When I meet brides I tell them, I know you’ll want to wear a lehenga for the wedding but if that is heavy, perhaps the blouse and dupatta, hair and make up can be a bit more toned down. That way one can maintain a balance and not look over the top. A simple trick is to divide your body in half, if your lehenga is heavily embellished, and you are definitely going to wear heavy jewellery, then let those things balance each other out and go easy on the veil and blouse. 
Minimal make up is a much better alternative to caking layers and layers of matching glittery elements on to your face. 
 
 
A&K – What do you think is the strongest influence on Indian brides? 
 
GK- Definitely Bollywood, whether you like it or not. And now that Bollywood is becoming less flashy and more elegant, that effect is trickling down to brides and the masses in general as well. If you look at pictures of actresses of the 90’s and look at the ones at present there is a marked difference in style and that’s a really good thing. 
 
A&K – Do you think people hire stylists for their weddings on a regular basis?
 
GK- There is a really big market for that actually, but, also, everyone is a stylist nowadays. I’ve heard of a lot of wedding planners who also offer styling services. However, I don’t think that’s a very effective approach. For example, at fashion shows, we all have our roles cut out. If I am not a choreographer, I’m not going to interfere with the choreography – it’s just not my job! 
Similarly, the hair and make up artists, the set designer, the models all have their own roles and we’ll all talk to each other so that we can put on a good show but, if we fight amongst ourselves it will be visible in the final production – everything has to be in sync right down to the music. I don’t know how wedding planners work – whether they make stylists a part of their package or whether people actually think of hiring stylists but, they should. From what I’ve heard, the wedding planners are the ones taking the couples shopping and suggesting designers and that’s all very well but every designer will want you to wear his or her creation whereas a stylist will give you an unbiased opinion on what suits you and the occasion. 
 
 
A&K – What are the essential things every bride should include in their trousseau which they might neglect to think of?
 
GK- The time period that I’m talking of, where these things will be of use, is right after the wedding – the endless parties and dinners. A really comfortable pair of gold or copper shoes because they go with everything – maybe not stilettos, but wedges instead, because they are more comfortable.
The same applies to a nice clutch which is gold or nude. 
Every woman should have one beautiful traditional saree, a Kanjeevaram, a Banarasi or even a Bengali cotton and some contrasting elegant blouses to go with them because one can’t always be in an ornate lehenga.
As far as jewellery is concerned, a nice pair of uncut diamond earrings, jhumkis or baalis, no coloured stones, just one beautiful piece which can match everything.
 
A&K – How do you think grooms can make their outfits more interesting?
GK – The kind of clothes grooms usually pick, with a lot of gold zardozi work and embellishment – I’d suggest they go with a nice pintucked sherwani instead, which they can use even after the wedding is over. Maybe play around with the colour of the churidaar? Perhaps a pink or turquoise churidaar and contrasting scarf. The material and the texture of it, in my opinion, should be given weightage over embellishment. So many menswear designers are doing nice sherwanis which are elegant and classy – there are a lot of options out there. 
 
 
A&K – Do you think the bride and groom should match each other or offset each other?
GK – I wouldn’t suggest matching outfits but yes, one or two elements in the grooms accessories that match the bride make for a pretty picture. 
 
A&K – Are you for or against the new concept of the bride matching the decor?
GK – Against! She shouldn’t blend into the decor, she should stand out. If your decor is maroon and you are also wearing maroon you’ll be invisible! 
 
A&K – What is the thing that you feel is missing from the modern brides’ wedding trousseau which was present in generations past?
GK – Tradition. When it comes to Indian wear, nothing like raiding your moms closet. If you look at style icons of the past,for example, like Waheeda Rahman or Meena Kumaari,  you’ll notice a certain balance there which is missing in todays generation. 
Whether you look at their hair and make up or jewellery – they had it all right – it was much cleaner. Somewhere along the line, in came swarovski and killed everything. It’s everywhere and it really needs to be toned down. 
 
A&K – Why do you think wedding lehengas are so heavy?
GK – I think the minute the work on the lehenga goes beyond gota and zardozi, once pearls and beads and crystals come into play – that’s when the piece becomes really heavy with the weight of embellishment. A lot of people are starting to think more practically and don’t want to be weighed down and designers are responding to it. Most designers now offer light as well as heavy lehengas as far as the weight is concerned, and even the light lehengas look very rich. 
It’s probably the brides who usually want heavy lehengas because they want more and more of everything or maybe they feel like they’re not getting their moneys worth. I’m not sure what it is but, I think that trend is changing with time. 
 
So there you have it folks! Advice, tips and tricks from the best in the field! I think we can safely deduce from all these conversations that less is sometimes, much much more. Happy wedding season planning! 
September 12, 2014

Stylin’ Part Two : Niharika Khan 

The second stylist we met up at the Treasury of Trousseau in DLF Emporio was Niharika Khan-a costume designer in Bollywood , and is most known for her work in Rock On!! and The Dirty Picture , for which she won the National Film Award for Best Costume Design as well as Filmfare Award for Best Costume Design. Thanks again , Wikipedia! It was a pleasure to catch up with her- unfortunately we didn’t get as much time as we would have liked. Like I mentioned, their schedules were packed  so whatever time we did get , was a bonus!

Moving on to our chat with Niharika.Niharika Khan 1

A&K- What , according to you , are the essentials a bride should have in her trousseau?

NK- A really sexy set of lingerie is a must and everyone should have it. Comfortable shoes to change in especially after the ceremony gets over, a really good looking pair of shoes apart from your wedding shoes. Pocket mirror because one should constantly be in the know of how they look. A great piece of jewellery should also be part of this that you can have forever with you. This may or may not be your wedding jewellery. A perfume is also a must -with so much happening during the wedding one must have easy access to it.

A&K- What is the most common mistake an Indian bride makes?

NK-One mistake Indian brides often make is going over board with their makeup and hair. ( Do you sense a pattern here? Seems like everyone seems to feel the same way.We sure do! Keep it minimal and simple!)

A&K- Do you have any suggestions on how grooms can make their outfits more interesting?

NK-Just stepping out of your comfort zone and by trying something new and different. But make sure you don’t go over board with it. Like I said before one should be comfortable in whatever they wear.

A&K-.And last but not least-should the bride and groom match their outfits to each other?

NK-You know the norm is that you should have similar kind of energy. Your outfits can be synced with each other rather than matching each other.

The one thing that we have picked up from our conversations is that bride’s seem to be overdoing their outfits on their wedding day- and everyone seems to agree with it! If you are wondering what we were doing talking to these different stylists , you can catch up by reading this post and this post.

vidya_balan_wallpaper_in_saree_dirty_picture_bollywood_movieThought it would be fun to add a picture of Vidya Balan, from Dirty Picture, a movie Niharika was costume designer for. Via 

September 10, 2014

Stylin’ Part One: With Aki Narula 

This is kind of in continuation to my last post where I had mentioned the Treasury of Trousseau that was held in DLF Emporio the week we were in Delhi. What is the Treasury of Trousseau? In simple words, it’s where you could find three super stylists who were at your disposal (by prior appointment of course) to help you with all trousseau related issues- not all the stress related, hive inducing , lets-just-elope issues that come with wedding planning – just the outfit part. Which, if you ask me, is a HUGE deal and if I had any one of these three stylists helping me out- I might have not greyed prematurely.wedding plannin 1

Via

Aki Narula, Gautam Kalra and Niharika Khan were all at the DLF Emporio for 5 days and saw quite a few brides and grooms (and extended families) over those days- and helped them decide their various outfits for their weddings . It definitely helped that they had at their disposal outfits of some of the greatest designers’s in the country at Emporio.

Let me tell you some of the names of the designers who the stylists had access to- AM:PM, Abu Jani–Sandeep Khosla, Anju Modi, Ashima Leena, Ashish N Soni, Ensemble, Ganjam, Gaurav Gupta, Indian By Manish Arora, Janavi, Kotwara By Meera&Muzaffar Ali, Malini Ramani, Manav Gangwani, Monisha Jaisingh, Namarata Joshipura, Neeru Kumar, Ogaan, Peacock Bride By Falguni& Shane Peacock, Pashma, Raghavendra Rathore, Ravi Bajaj, Rina Dhaka, Rohit Bal, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Ranna Gill, Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna, Rose, Shantanu&Nikhil, Signature By Satya Paul, Suneet Varma, Surekha Jain, Tarun Tahiliani, Turquoise & Gold, Varun Bahl and more. If that didn’t make you wish you were there too, I don’t know what will.

Between their appointments that lasted any where from two hours to five hours (seriously hard work-all that walking, talking, and deciding!) -the stylists were kind enough to give us some time to answer our questions.

Our first conversation was with Aki Narula- he is an Indian fashion designer and costume designer and wardrobe stylist in Bollywood, who is most known for films like,Bunty Aur Babli , Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and Dostana . His brand label “AKI” was launched in 1996.(Thanks Wikipedia for the info!) It’s his first time styling wedding clothes which gives him a nice raw and fresh outlook.Wearabout_Ak

Found this nice shot of Aki shot by Wearabout when he was guest editor for Wallpaper.

We really enjoyed our conversation with Aki, he sums up his style and aesthetic sense (which we totally agreed with ) when he says, ‘Keep it honest, true to your personality,and keep it simple.’ Chic and sophisticated- that is the key!

Our questions to him were simple (hopefully not boring) and his answers were so sensible that it almost makes you wonder- if the answers are so clear, why don’t more people see it that way? Anyway, enough babbling- to our ‘interview’-

April & Kismet (A&K hereon-now)-  If you could choose a colour aside from the typical red, pinks and oranges for a bride’s wedding outfit , what would it be?

Aki- I don’t really want to propagate any colours or trends because I feel it’s so personal bride to bride . The most important thing is for the bride to feel comfortable and beautiful internally . It’s not fair to say wear a canary yellow or a red because that’s whats in trend these days – a bride needs to choose colours that suits her. A true winner comes out when you choose a silhouette that suits your height and body type with a colour that works with your complexion.

A&K- What , according to you , are the essentials a bride should have in her trousseau?

Aki- A trousseau should consist of things that you are going to use within SIX months of your wedding. Don’t go with the idea that , ‘Maybe I will wear it when my husband’s sister gets married…’. Who knows what will change by then?

The trousseau should be all about yourself . Focus on your honeymoon- whether you are going to a hill station or a beach.It should be about everlasting memories and happiness you had while shopping for your trousseau.

A&K- What is the most common mistake an Indian bride makes?

Aki- When brides consider their outfits as jewellery and their jewellery as more jewellery! Don’t let yourself end up looking like a Christmas tree or an advertisement!

Focus on vintage pieces , minimise your jewellery and let your outfit speak for itself. Most importantly let your personality come through. People should leave saying, ‘ The bride looked gorgeous and she was wearing so & so designer’ instead of ,’The bride was wearing so & so and looked nice.’

A&K- Do you have any suggestions on how grooms can make their outfits more interesting?

Aki- Definitely don’t match your outfits to the brides! Don’t be overtly metrosexual-there is no need to wear a long chain of emeralds or a stole/scarf that just ends up looking like a rats tail!

Dress like our Father’s did- stick to off whites and beiges- bring back the man of the 60’s and 70’s. Stay far away from sky blue sherwanis and minimal embroidery on the collar or the cuff is as much embroidery as you need!

A&K- Our last question is whether you think the bride’s outfit match the decor? We are pretty certain what your answer is going to be but…..

Aki- Do you dress up matching the upholstery in your house?? ( ha! we pretty much LOVED this answer!)

We will end with some wise words from Aki- Keep it classic and keep it beautiful. Clothes are an emotional journey. Channelise your choices!

I hope you enjoyed our little chat with Aki as much as we did- there is some great advice out there- take it- the man knows what he is talking about. Simple, elegant, true to yourself and sensible. That’s what it should be about!

Next stylist… Gautam Kalra!

September 4, 2014

Getting bloggy with it!

(Be warned!! This post is LONG !!) 

There comes a time in every blogs life where they must decide how to deal with it- go commercial or keep it real? I think it’s evident the direction we have swayed towards. I will not lie though- there have been many times we have thought it’s time to monetise this- make it full time but then there is no denying the truth- other things are full time- this has always been our ‘fun thing’. Trying to make it something else would mean taking the joy out of it .

So many blogs have appeared now and are doing things we wanted to do , had planned to do and are doing it better than we would ever do. That helps in our decision to stay the way we are. We may only post once in a blue moon but that’s only because that is the best we can do. We can’t keep up with this intense blog race but we don’t want to NOT be a part of it . We have made so many friends along the way and have received so much love that we cannot separate from the unreal bride and this little world we have going on here! We very rarely have thought about the numbers behind it all and when we are asked about them, don’t be surprised if you get a shrug of our shoulders as a reply. We appreciate all the people who read our posts and keep coming back-we want to hold on to YOU guys!

A quote from Seth Godin comes to mind-‘Quality is now a given. Quality alone is not remarkable.Surprise and delight and connection are remarkable.’  We want to be that surprise, delight and connection in your lives and our own!

Seth-Godin-on-Being-GenuineVia

Having said that ( I hope you all survived that long speech), we had such a wonderful week meeting all sorts of people- from bloggers, to stylists, designers and to women entrepreneurs who were all so inspiring -seriously! Some of these ladies are doing such fantastic stuff that I don’t think the word ‘inspiring’ cuts it!

Let me try and sum up the few days we had in New Delhi with a few words and a  pictures!

We began our trip by meeting up with the lovely founders of  POPxo , Priyanka and Namrata. They had organised a blogger meet up at The Lodhi in Delhi and there we met up with Akanksha Redhu, Shalini of Stylish By Nature, Style Coquettes and Ms.Coco Queen.

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 presetThanks Akanksha for the good ol’selfie!

 We went on to going to DLF Emporio which was one of the bigger reasons we were in Delhi- to see what was happening at the Treasury of Trousseau- an uber luxurious wedding extravaganza! What was this show about, you ask? Basically, brides and grooms had access to three awesome stylists (with a prior appointment obviously!) who help them put together the perfect trousseau! The three stylists were Aki Narula, Niharika Khan and Gautam Kalra.

Since it was at the Emporio Mall where loads of designers have their stores, the stylists had access to the latest bridal couture collections by the  designers in India post Couture Fashion Week and Indian Bridal Fashion week.The DLF Emporio Bride in Tarun Tahiliani Couture

A pretty neat idea and I am pretty sure a lot of brides (and grooms) had their wardrobe dilemmas solved over those five days while the show was on. Who wouldn’t want a professional stylist to help them with their wedding outfit woes? Honestly,I think that might be the next big thing for weddings-hiring stylists! We got to chat with the three stylists who despite having chocobloc full days (this is hard work!), took some time to talk to us.Wait for those posts-they will be up in the next day or so. And thank you to The Communication Council for calling us over!

Apart from chatting with the stylists, we wandered around the stores picking our favourite outfits and once our eyes had adjusted to the over the top blingity bling stuff, there were some real beauties in there. It’s hard to pick favourites but I think we really loved A LOT of stuff at Rohit Bals, one particular lehenga at Manish Arora’s really caught our eye , Varun Bahl’s stuff and of course Anita Dongre! Her shop is like stepping in to a Rajasthani fortress and the clothes just add to the entire feel- wanted to try everything in there(and run away whilst wearing them).

Our (very long) day ended with a party thrown by the Pink Post-it girls- Sharnamli and Mitali. They started Pink Post-it as a platform for  fresh and  young talent from all over India  to showcase their innovative designs through a series of tailor-made shopping experiences. And they are doing a fab fab job! I missed their show in Chandigarh but April played a huge part in it and we hope to see them in Chandigarh again! pink post it

We also bumped in to some Bene-babes at the Pink Post-it event who were dying to get my brows in order! (They have a new Brow bar in Delhi!).

pink post it benebabes

Thank you Shriya for the photo!

Of course each step of the way, we found  a Chandigarh connection. You can take out the girl from Chandigarh, but you can’t take Chandigarh out of the girl! Speaking of which, you must check out Needledust, another venture started by a friend, Shirin , who we bumped in to as well ! needledust (1)

That was JUST our first day out of four in Delhi. Now you know what I mean about being surrounded by super inspiring women the entire time. It is so great to know that so much is happening out there and that people are really putting their heart and souls in to what they are doing !

Talk about one LONG post- I am going to stop now but watch out for the stylist’s interviews we did at the Treasury of Trousseau. We promise you some fun tips and serious advice from them!

July 24, 2014

If you’re happy and you know it: twirl !!  

Noorels

You know you have a happy bride on your hands, if all they want to do is twirl! And, why not? It is their  day after all!

Hope you all are having a beautiful week x

MansiSee more photos here : Kismet Jewell Nakai Photography

 

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