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Making a mark at LFW

I loved the buzz and energy at the recent Lakme Fashion Week. Since the focus was on winter, the fabrics on show were pashmina , jamdani , wool, gingham, mul and, of course, silk.

The silhouettes ranged from fitted to free-flowing bias cuts. The popular trending colours were deep reds like Marsala and ox-blood, ivory, black, teal and jewel-toned blues.

In the gen-next category, my favourites were Kriti Tula of Doodlage and Sidhartha Bansal. Kriti’s designs were quirky and yet very wearable and ranged from dresses to separates.

Sidhartha’s clothes were full of refreshingly fun prints. His milk-bottle printed shirts are sure to be very popular.

Among the emerging designers, Armaan Aimaan, Swati Vijayvargie and Sreejith Jeevan made a lasting impression. Armaan’s clean silhouettes in black and white were trendy. If you’re looking for smart Indo-Western clothes for an occasion, this designer duo’s creations are must-haves.

On the other hand, Jaipur-based Swati’s creations were in bright jewel tones. To me, the Ikat knee-length jackets and palazzos were instant picks for formal dinners.

Sreejith Jeevan is based in Kochi and his ivory collection would have been the perfect choice for Onam. His contemporary tunics were made out of ivory cotton mul with zari borders.

The designers who caught my eye for prêt and casual wear were Aartivijay Gupta and Ilk. Both had very different design sensibilities. While Aarti played with prints of kitchen vegetables on fabrics likejamdani and pashmina , Ilk had minimalistic designs in mul .

Camouflage prints were a huge trend and Theorem by Nitin Chawla and Munkee See Munkee Doo used these in innovative and fashionable ways.

For most of us, our main priority is to get through a regular day. Fashion trends may not loom large in our lives but we can experiment with prints and silhouettes in our own ways. Being well-dressed and well-groomed is a sign of self respect. Don’t we always remember the well-dressed person at any gathering?

Also think about the positive impact of fashion on artisans and weavers. Isn’t that reason enough to take it a bit more seriously than we do now?

– ShriVyshnavi Annus for the The Hindu MetroPlus

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/making-a-mark-at-lfw/article7634328.ece

The buzz around The Minions got me thinking about fashion inspired by cartoons. Of course, pop culture has always been a major source of inspiration for designers both here as well as abroad. Believe it or not, the most popular cartoon characters spotted on the ramp have been Mickey Mouse, The Simpsons, the Disney princesses and, more recently, The Minions. The toons we grew up with are a huge fad in the world of fashion. After all dressing up should be fun and what can be more fun than good old Mickey Mouse?

In India, Masaba is one of the younger designers known for her cartoon-inspired prints. Her collaboration with Satya Paul resulted in fun and quirky crepe saris with Mickey Mouse prints, thereby making old-fashioned sari hip and trendy. In world fashion, big names like Moschino put Spongebob Sqaurepants on their Fall Winter 2014 coats. Suddenly Mr. Spongebob was a celebrity again. What a fun way to bring in winter!

Maleficent was another huge source of inspiration. The most noteworthy Maleficent collaboration was Stella McCartney’s line of children’s clothes and accessories. My favourites were the sneakers with wings. I wished I were old enough to wear them.

While on the subject of cartoon fashion, I cannot forget The Minions. Although a little annoying initially, they grow on you after a few days. For the movie premiere, Sandra Bullock wore a pair of Rupert Sanderson’s Minion pumps and the fashion world predictably went gaga . This pair of yellow shoes was trending on social media for a couple of weeks.

Charlotte Olympia is one of the more popular designers who is hugely influenced by pop culture. Her accessories are always quirky and charming. My favourites are the Sleeping Beauty pumps and the Pumpkin Pouch. Her creations are a reminder that fashion is fun and original.

If you are interested in shopping for cartoon-inspired fashion, try online sites like Opening Ceremony, Hot Topic and, of course, Charlotte Olympia. The traditional retail stores rarely stock these pieces. Have fun while playing dress up!

-ShriVyshnavi Annush for The Hindu MetroPlus, Coimbatore on 13th August, 2015

http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/cartoon-characters-and-fashion/article7535218.ece

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

-ShriVyshnavi Annush

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

The monsoon has set in and all the trees look lush and healthy. Hurrah! Actually we in Coimbatore, have nothing to complain about the weather since there was really no summer to speak of. Monsoon is special to the Indian subcontinent and there is something very romantic about it.

Fashion wise, the biggest monsoon trends are all about carrying tote bags, colourful umbrellas, fun wellingtons, jolly flipflops and nice big ethnic jewellery.

Tote bags

Forget the boring brown and pick bold printed totes. The tote bag is the best fashion invention because you can fit pretty much everything that you need for a day. A versatile tote will fit in your wallet, stationery, books, medicines and the mobile battery bank that you just cannot live without. For me, the tote is the quintessential fashion buy. Look for quirky prints or florals. The quirkier the bag the more eyes it will draw and who doesn’t want to be looked at?

Umbrellas

My first childhood memory of the monsoon is a green umbrella with cartoon elephants printed all over it, and of course, jumping in puddles which was strictly forbidden. Therefore, I can’t imagine not having a stylish umbrella to get me through the monsoon. Neon umbrellas are a big trend at the moment. You can also pick up the transparent ones to add to your style quotient. My personal favourite is the Alexander McQueen umbrella that comes with a skull handle. Tres chic .

Wellies

Wellies short for Wellington boots is the most practical fashion trend of the rainy season. They usually are made of rubber. Forget buying the boring black ones that will make you look like a construction worker. Look for neon wellies in pop colours like fuchsia and orange. They will most certainly brighten up your outfit in this weather. Also, you can actually go for a stroll anywhere in the city without stressing over getting your feet muddy in the puddles. Wellies look best when worn with a pair of skinny jeans tucked into the boots, and a shirt.

Ethnic Jewellery

Movies are a huge influence on fashion. So, flaunting Indian jewellery during the monsoon is a must. Bring out the jhumkas and big hoop earrings and wear them with your palazzos and tunics. Ghunghroos are also very fashionable during this season. They lend you a delicate look. Wear them in your anklets or earrings. Even a necklace with ghunghroos on an indigo saree will make a style statement. Make some noise and have fun with ghunghroos!

Flipflops

Last but definitely not the least, the flip flops are a must have. All of us grew up with the memory of the white and blue rubber chappals. It is indeed a relief that we now have access to more stylish looking flip flops. The choice is abundant. Havianas are my favourite because they offer all kinds of floral prints and pretty colors. Wear flip flops with a casual outfit. A major fashion faux pas is to wear them with a dressy outfit for a formal occasion. Stick to wearing them for casual brunches on your deck or pool parties no matter how pretty they are. Of course, you can wear flip flops to the kai vandis selling the delicious molaga bajjis that are so very tempting during the monsoon.

Experiment and have fun with fashion!

An article by Shrivyshnavi for The Hindu MetroPlus, on June 29th, 2015

5 Accessories Every College Girl Must Own!

Summer vacations are coming to an end and it’s “Back to College” season now. College is an exciting phase where trying new trends and making new friends are foremost for everyone. Since college is the time you experiment with different styles, and develop your style, it’s important to have a list of things you must own before you head for class. Here are five accessories every college girl must own.

Tote Bag: The tote bag is the one that will carry everything that a college girl needs. Books, stationary, make up, phone, charger, medicines et all get dumped into the tote. So it must be big enough and not too over sized to stay on trend. Prints are trendy this summer and what better way to flaunt this trend than by owning a tote that has prints on it. Prints can range from florals, checks to downright quirky. Quirky prints tend to get noticed more. So if you want to catch someone’s eye, be bold and go for a quirky printed tote bag.

Scarves: The scarf is a clever piece of fabric that only a few know how to wear. A scarf, if worn the right way can accentuate your look tremendously. A printed silk scarf is a perfect accessory with a white T-shirt and a pair of jeans. It can also be worn with a solid coloured salwar kameez. A hand block printed cotton scarf is also a classy option to own. You’ll find that it’s the easiest way to look instantaneously stylish. 

Dainty Earrings: It is best to always own a few pairs of simple and elegant earrings. Buy them in neutral colors so that you can wear them with all kinds of clothes. Gold and silver colored earrings with simple detailing are the best to wear daily to college. Pink gold is another colour that is fashionable this season. If you have a round face, wear studs and small earrings. If you have an oval face and a slender neck you can pretty much wear any earring. But the rule of thumb is to stick to something not too elaborate.

Statement Necklace: A statement necklace is a must-have piece of jewellery in every girl’s wardrobe. You have to pick the right necklace in order to complete your look. Tassels are trending big this season. Another trend seen on runways is the layer necklace. You can work this look in different ways. One way is to wear a long beaded necklace wrapped around to create two or three layers. Another more contemporary look is to flaunt a multi chain necklace in gold or silver. A fashion rule that will do you good to remember is when you wear a statement necklace keep the earrings minimal. Pair a statement necklace with ethnic wear or western wear as per your taste.

Body Chains: College days are a lot about partying just as much as studying! The trendiest accessory to wear at a party is a body chain. Wear it with a little black dress be rest assured that you’ll be the most stylish girl at the party. If you’re aiming for a rocker chic look, wear the body chain with ripped jeans and a black top. Make sure to wear the body chain with a figure hugging top or dress. If not, you will end up looking shabby.

Remember to experiment with fashion and stay stylish!

– ShriVyshnavi Annush for Fashion101, Jun 17 2015

http://english.fashion101.in/news/FAS-BLOG-5-accessories-every-college-girl-must-own-5025265.html?version=3

The Blouse – A style statement of its own!

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

-ShriVyshnavi Annush for The Hindu Metroplus

http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/fashion/the-blouse-versatile/article6869017.ece