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All eyes were on this, few seasons old designer’s show, ever since she showcased in Berlin Fashion Week last year around the same time and scored the Vogue Fashion Fund mid last year. Inspired by the Circus, Pero by Aneeth Arora, presented an organic collection that was far removed from Nomi Ansari’s circus or Karma’s Mad Hatter tea party. Sashaying down a striped runway, models seemed to have fun on the stage being in-character, which reminded me of Sabyasachi’s Parisian inspired show.

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For someone who had seen her last A/W show, where her play with indigoes with layers channelling bohemian vibe drew unanimous praise, I was pleasantly surprised by the presentation. Though Ms. Arora continued her run of channelling the bohemian vibe through her collection, she showed what a master art she was at layering. Fashionably comfortable was her word for the night. She conjoured up a collection that evoked the image of a carefree yet effortlessly fashionable girl. The collection rich in textiles yet contemporary in its outlook, featured checkered loose dresses in pashmina, balloon tops, loose trousers, shapeless tunics, wool jackets, striped and checkered cotton shorts, pinafores, pleated dresses, wool jumpsuits and hand knitted sweaters. These fun seperates are sure to fly off the racks once they hit the stores.

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Styled perfectly, the layered garments were finished off with colourful knee socks, striped and dotted bow ties, oversized bags and boots. Add to that top hats, balloons, cherry noses and juggling pins. For the first time probably, I saw Pero come out with a collection that played so much with the element of color and visual texture. The color palette comprised of  green, black, red, orange, maroon, mustard and white while the textile vocabulary was made with cashmere, wool, cotton, silk and pashmina as well as lots of central asian Ikats, stripes and checks.

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There are so many pieces I like from this collection that everytime I look at it, I would have a new set of favorites. A few of the favorites included a brown tunic look paired with a grey checkered lined jacket and colorful trimmed pants, a teal jumpsuit, a coral red top combined with a delish striped jacket and teal skirt. The list also includes, a striped onesie that slashes across the front, a teal and checkered tunic paired with fun ikat pants and my absolute fav was this delightful striped button down shirt with its sides taken up to reveal a checkered one underneath.

Take a bow Ms. Arora! your whimsical offering was well served.
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Dev R Nil

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892312_10151288159451607_2365417_o Before there was the wild Masaba, there were quirky Dev R Nil. A silent duo of designers from Kolkata, Dev R Nil have always managed to keep it simple, effective and yet up the garment with their quirky signature prints. Been around the block for a while now, it’s surprising they do not get the kind of press that Masaba would generate due to her fun work. Unfazed by all that, this duo of designers lets their work do all the talking. Of their past works, since I have been following them for quite a while now, many prints have made to my favorite list. It was actually them, who’s understated, quirky, organic and kitschy design sensibilities appealed to my own and their prints were such which, if they would not have done it, I would have made it for myself and worn it. Now that I am done saying that how much I drool over their stuff, and being an admirer of their work, I was excited as ever since they released a teaser for their show.

Aiming to go understated, the ‘in silence’ collection was just that. Picking up elements of Zen, the designers indicated a silent autumn/winter in a spiritual space. That explains the colour story too, lots of calming monotone, some pale blues and minty greens but not without a sudden splash of red. As described by their press release ‘The coldness of the icy blue, mint and the teal….The indifference of the grey, black and white are warmly hugged by the olive and the Red.  Merging of faiths in the fading of colors through Ombre.

Though I could not spot any menswear, the womenswear didnt disappoint either. Doing this for a very long time, the duo knows how to strike a balance between the prints and the silhouettes. Simple shirts, some dramatic onesies, some cool layered looks crafted in silk, wool, crepe and their “favourite” wispy organza, comprised off in the collection.

Maintaining their mainstay of prints, the duo “developed fern, bamboo and dried roses in screen printing. The theme is primarily monochromatic and we have tried to keep it simple yet different.” With a track record of fun quirky, this was a rather understated pleasant surprise coming from them (though i cant say the same for someone looking at their collection for the first time).Taking a calming outlook towards florals (which at occassions did seem like the cellular print they did last season), we also get fun fern patterns which look tribal, circular doiles . Heavy doses of ombre effect combined with sheer effects (looks like a trend), to create peek a boo, rounded off their looks. Bringing out the Japanese theme, the duo worked with beading, threaded textures, cutwork and applique techniques. The biggest challenge according to the designers was “to combine print with embroidery and make it look more evenings and dressy, to move away from the casual vibe a print is associated with.” I liked most of their looks, except for a few, as they were fuss free and simple. However I had to mention this kurta paper-bag silhouette which I found quite interesting to say the least with inverse sides of sorts in the fern print.

P.S. this time around I layouted this post in this certain way because i felt this collection is much more enjoyable to see in continuity.

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Not-so-Manish Malhotra???

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mm1 mm2 mm3 1875_10151817695432785_212338582_n 65543_10151817696247785_696073584_n 69830_10151817695942785_701810388_nWhile this bollywood designer is known for his extravagant bling and anarkalis, Manish, surprisingly, brought more than that to the forefront in this show. Adorned with Phulkari and Bagh embroidery, Manish continued his run of being an advocate of promoting the Indian crafts on an international circuit through fashion. While his last few shows resided in zari work from kashmir and chikankari from UP, this time around he found his inspiration in Punjab.

Not veering away from his signautre silhouettes, Manish put up an impressive display of craft infused garments. Elongated silhouettes as well as loads of sheer play was incorporated along with the craft weaving it into an contemporary context. Jackets, kurtas and anarkalis for women while men sashayed in bandhgalas and kurtas. In bright and spunky colors, combined with rich mustard yellow, navy blue, deep rust, earthy olive and intense red. Apart from that he just had to have his signature bling in his show, though am glad this time it was toned down. Being a graduate in the discipline of textile design, I felt that craft intervention was commendable in commercializing the craft. Though its about time he has his fun with fashion and plays with a variety of silhouettes too.

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Loads of texturization on georgette, net and raw silk was done. However, what caught my eye were two phulkari embroidered shawls, A beige mustard bandhgala paired with a navy blue kurta and deep red turban, the black n white phulkari embroidered kurta (coz it stripped the phulkari off one of its basics i.e. the color), and the long jackets one in deep mustard and ochre tones and other the bright one worn by jacqualine fernandez.

And how could the show not have Bollywood presence. Siddharth Malhotra, Eesha Gupta and Jacqualine Fernandez graced the ramp.
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Mash-up Modi

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Anju-Modi-at-Wills-Lifestyle-India-Fashion-Week-Autumn-Winter-2013-28   Replacing Sabyasachi in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film, Anju Modi’s show by some (read me) was something I wanted to see. Seeing her earlier works, Anju Modi comes across as a traditionalist yet with her contemporary quirks. Its a pity whatever one see of this designer on celebrities, which is usually the bling, one tends to associate it with the designer. Modi however proved she is far from that. The replacement however showed she had potential but hasn’t fallen far from who she replaced.

The collection was a heavy dose of creative patriotism. Titled ‘Steel Mangolia’, the collection was inspired by Indian Military and feminity. Though she did show a few menswear too including a fun elephant printed sherwani, her main focus was womenswear complete with accessories like caps, emblems and the ubiquitous aviator glasses. Though the collection at some occassions did feel like Yousuf Bashir Qureshi’s collection combined with one of Sabyasachi’s earlier shows, Anju Modi did seem to show her own voice as a designer as well.

Bringing on her detailings in the form of embroidery, Modi created embelms and badges over  pashmina, chanderi, cotton and Banarsi to show feminity and power in the same breath. Apart from that Modi used a lot of wool and silk too to complete the modern day soldier look, defying gender bias. The color palette comprised of a smooth coexistence of dark maroons, indigos and foliage green to light greys, beiges and ochre tones.

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The long jacket-style kurtas with detailing on the lapels and worn over full skirts, structured short jackets over flared woollen pants, the berets and Nehru topis reflected the ethos of the collection. A few looks that were my picks from the collection included an elegant navy  pleated embroidered khadi trenchcoat with printed khadi wide legs, a white on white look with a white long jacket paired over a white printed saree. The list also includes a foliage green check wool short jacket teamed with a printed shirt and woolen wide leg pants. From the menswear, a woolen sherwani-esque jacket in fierce maroon stripes paired with green khakis as well as a green check jacket paired with a plain shirt and grey slim trousers were my picks. A special mention to those corset blouses with boleros.

Her effort to give the structured military trend a fresh outlook for pret was commendable since she did it without moving away from feminine clientele and bring sexy to the androgynous.

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Colorful Craziness

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One of the most heartfelt projects that I came across. The activities done by Emaan Mahmud and Momin Zafar, who conduct art classes with children on the streets of Karachi every week. Their motivation? The chance to share what they love with other people. One day I would like to see them do it, in person and am sure the experience is going to be nothing less than surreal

Masaba for Satya Paul

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A first for Indian Fashion Industry, where a fashion designer from one brand is also appointed as the creative director for another brand. Masaba Gupta, one of the youngest fashion designers of India was appointed as creative director at Satya Paul. Now, having a liking for Masaba, as well as Satya Paul, the collection was a keenly anticipated one for me since she was appointed by the fashion house late last year. How the young 24 yr old Masaba Gupta would fare in combine the Satya Paul abstractness and silhouettes with her quirkiness? One did get a sneak peek when Sonam Kapoor wore the lipstick printed sari last week. That, however was just a beginning.

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Satya Paul is an established fashion house, who’s clientele included women from ages 30 n up, who were wanting to experiment without being too much. Masaba, through this collection, gave Satya Paul a much needed youthful, quirky makeover. Trying to reposition the brand, as Masaba said,  ‘with the collection that is meant for young girls’.

Masaba, known for her quirky prints, showed exactly that and more. The collection was divided into four parts – the firs t consisted of lipstick prints, the second part was ink blot on garments, the third section had abstract designs created by overlapping of maps and the last part had her take on the trend of british prints through telephone booth imprints. For Masaba however the collection symbolizes the journey of a woman. “The lipstick symbolises femininity, the abstract stands for basic way of life of a woman, the telephone booth stands for a constant wait and the ink drop for the various changes in a woman’s life,” Masaba said.

Masaba-for-Satya-Paul-at-WIFW-Autumn-Winter-2013-32 (1) knot masaabaThe silhouettes ranged mini and maxi dresses, gowns, sarees teamed up with printed blouses, jackets, palazzo pant sarees, tunics, kaftans and trench dresses. Being sucker for fun and quirky prints, I liked quite a few looks and one of my favorite looks was the black and pink saree teamed up with palazzo pants and neon pink suspenders. Another few of the favs were a telephone booth printed knot front open dress and the lipstick saree (of course).  Accustomed to straighter silhouettes for her eponymous label, Masaba showed her flare for drapes and variety of silhouettes through this collection.  Using fabrics like tulle, crepe, georgette and chiffon on color palette that goes ahead from signature “earthy tones” of Satya Paul, Masaba aimed at showing another varieties to the brand’s signtaure.

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Styled minimalistically to a T, so as to keep the focus on the youthful vibe of the show, the looks were paired with printed luggage bags of different sizes.  Furthermore the use of black ear cuffs was just oh-so-chic and the perfect detail to accessorize the look with, without jarring in your face. The designer had more hits than misses for the show, raising anticipations of what she does for the show of house of Masaba at Lakme Fashion Week.

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Spring Awakening Art Fair

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IMAG1089The recently held Spring Awakening Art fair was aimed at the collaboration between Fine Artists and Graphic Designers. The particiapants were none other than students of Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. The products, paintings and prints definitely showed promise by these young ones. The range of products included from coasters and postcards to (my fav) bright truck arty chairs. From social comments on namaloom afraad and present situations, to displaying their quirkiness, there was a wide range displayed there. Though the exhibit, sadly, didnt gain as much momentum as the annual art bazaar at the second floor, was on for two days.

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Once my friend told me ‘you think you know a man’..  Raf Simons through his second collection for the house of Dior explained exactly that. Taking ealy drawings of Andy Warhol as his muse, Simons presented his second pret-a-porte collection for the house of Dior. As Simons continued his run at the heritage house of Dior, he’s created Dior thats wearable beyond the red carpet. A certain reverbration at the show of kinship between himself and Mr. Dior was in the air which Simons presented through their love of fine art. While Simons is famous amongst art circles, Mr. Dior, in his time was a gallerist, for the likes of Dali and Giacometti.

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Now merging the signature of Dior, minimalism of Simons and quirkiness of Warhol is no mean feat, Raf Simons however achieves that very seamlessly. Taking the sensitive spin towards Warhol, Simons rattles the pop icon to suit his minimal design aesthetics. The show seemed to be like his satire towards Warhol, who everyone thinks they know, and then he breaks the very notion of what Warhol is through his own take towards the artist. What results in, is a collection that is brilliant, fun and has every look as impressive as the previous one. Using the artists drawings as repeat patterns as well as embroidered details on dresses, Simons never quite lets go of  his control to the artist. 

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While Dior’s signature silhouettes were there, they were brilliantly translated by Simon’s sensibilities, to make way for a contemporary collection. The feminine collection had lady silhouettes very visible in flirty leather dresses, while the coats transpired into contemporary coat dresses (do i hear a trend alert). Silk shift dresses, embroidered peplums and a certain houndstooth bustier with skirt were another few of the brilliances one got to see during the show. Simons is here to stay and despite having certain guidelines to follow through for the fashion house, he made sure he is going to do that on his own terms. He is not going anywhere and by the time he retires from his time at the design house, he would have left a legacy he would certainly be proud of.

P.S. Dior to take over iconic London department store Harrods for 1 month with exhibitions taking place.

Kam Sukhan

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860412_10151743700699196_932708332_o Aptly titled ‘Kam Sukhan’, the launch of a photography book celebrating nine women photographers on Women’s Day, timed it perfectly to explain a woman’s silent strength. Kam Sukhan is one who speaks less but meaningfully. Since a photograph is worth a thousand words, what better way to celebrate, than through a photography book and that too by women photographers. The introduction of the book states and interesting thought, ” A woman’s soul carries her deepest glories. Disguised, subdued or neglected, this hallowed space is seldom known, sometimes even to a woman herself. Neither a map nor a guide exists for her journey there, But if she is true in her quest, she shall not escape the fiery tenderness which lights her beacon. Bright and proud it shines, vibrating in silence and song.’

The event that took place at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, also marked and celebrated ninth year of Kiran Fine Jewellery. The courtyard was lit up and converted into an exhibition space for the photographers whos work was on display. These women explored different facets of their personalities and subject matters. From exploring silence and existentialism to strength, identity and adaptibility, these women photographers in turn explored themselves as artists. I was lucky enough to get a copy signed by most of these extraordinary women. Of the popular of the night, Mahwish rizvi and Shalalae drew quite a crowd and admiration for their work. Actress and model, Aamina Sheikh, gave a heartfelt speech about being a woman and the celebration of womanhood.

About the works, I liked one or the other. While Mahwish Rizvi’s work on existentialism blew me away, Khaula Jamil’s Shana Bashana ode to women brought a smile. Shalalae’s woman’s interaction with the camera to develop a narrative, with the photographs with an old world charm was another favorite for me of the night.

In attendance were also Tapu Javeri, Freiha Altaf, Fareshte Aslam, Fayyaz Ahmed, Adnan Pardesy, Maheen Khan to name a few. I couldnt help but notice fashion spottings at the event. While Mahira cut a pretty picture in a vintage offwhite saree and a maroon blouse, Feeha looked fierce in a printed jumpsuit. One of the markings team member Tuba Arshad, wore a specs printed kurta by me :). A special shoutout to her for sporting it. Another pretty one in the offiwhite saree was the photographer Shalalae while the photographer Nazia Akram, was seen sporting an ensemble from Daaman’s formal line. With the turnout of the number of people for the exhibition, it was safe to say, the event was a resounding success and a befitting celebration of KFJ’s nine years. Heres wishing to them all the success in the coming years.

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 IMAG1051 Adnan Pardesy was particularly impressed by Mahwish Rizvi’s exploration of existentialism
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IMAG1070 The Markings Team

IMAG1073 My signed copy of the book 🙂

Fashion For a Cause: the day

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Ensemble’s venture for the Abbas town victims, to donate a part of the sale towards these people, saw quite a few people from the fashion industry making their way towards the store to check out the latest stock. Apart from clothes, there were offerings by okra which included bread baskets as well as homemade cheese and chillies in oil, which were too irresistable to miss. Also on sale were movie tickets for Jack the giant slayer on discounted prices. Making an appearance were Mohsin Saeed, Feeha Jamshed, Wardah Saleem, Tapu Javeri, Sania Maskatiya, Umair Tabani, Anoushey, Nomi Ansari to name a few.IMAG0972 IMAG0967IMAG0966  IMAG0969 IMAG0970 IMAG0971