Chic OMGs: Venus Williams in lace jumpsuit at Wimbledon, Sephora coming to India?

In yet another tennis fashion disaster of the Venus Williams kind (ahem!), the American player has got fashion critics wagging about her new on-court outfit. Here’s what it looks like:

DV_To_Getty_5044692_0 venus williams jumpsuit back

The outfit is a very low neck sheer lace jumpsuit (or playsuit, as some would say) with a gold zipper in front, crest on the upper left, coordinated innerwear, and cut-out sleeves and back. Accessories are dangling earrings and a superthin belt.

And then the lady says:

“Right now I’m really trending towards simplicity. I’m not sure why. It’s just how I feel right now. Everything is getting more simple.”


We’re not anti-trends, and while we think a lace jumpsuit is actually quite sporty cool, we don’t like:

a) Its presence on the tennis court (sheer is a look ALL sportspersons should avoid.)

b) Trying to make making it work too hard with too many trends

c) The cut-outs are a bit too glam to be on a tennis court

Not sure how long it will take us to get over this one.

Sephora coming to India?

Ladies, we’re not sure when this will happen, but the corporate grapevine has it that LVMH is in talks with Reliance Brands to bring Sephora (one of our favourite beauty stores) to India. (FYI: LVMH owns Louis Vuitton, Sephora and a gazillion other fashion and beauty brands). They’re even scouting for store locations!

It’s been a while since Reliance Brands jumped on to the retail bandwagon, tying up with foreign brands and retailers interested in paving their path to India. Cases in point: Diesel, Steve Madden and Timberland.

No news yet of how long this will take to materialise (if it does at all), so keep your fingers crossed! Meanwhile, here’s couple of photos of my recent Sephora makeup haul:

Sephora makeup haul

NARS blush from Sephora

Chic News: Manish Malhotra & Shaina NC’s charity fashion show; meet Ford’s new Indian supermodel

Two of Mumbai’s leading fashion designers Manish Malhotra and Shaina NC joined hands for the sixth annual Caring with Style fashion show for Cancer Patients’ Aid Association (CPAA) hosted by Pidilite.

What made the fashion shows different was that the “models” were not professional ramp scorchers, but women from various walks of life. There were actors, business persons, doctors and even outstanding students.

I loved both the collections and some outfits were especially gorgeous. Take a look at some of our faves.

From Shaina NC’s show:

Shaina NC with models Divya Dutta, Tisca Chopra

Shaina NC sari Shaina NC pink sari-- Tisca Chopra

From Manish Malhotra’s show:

Simone Singh in Manish Malhotra Manish Malhotra sherwani

Manish Malhotra model

Manish Malhotra lehenga

And we couldn’t help thinking when we saw Sheetal Mafatlal, “Here comes the queen of all pouts!” Check her out and decide!

Sheetal Mafatlal in Manish Malhotra

Meanwhile, Kajol attended the event looking resplendent in a beige sari, while Nita Ambani wore a superlong printed kurta. Vivek Oberoi (CPAA brand ambassador) walked the ramp in a Manish Malhotra outfit.

Kajol in sari, Shaina NC, Manish Malhotra, Nita Ambani, Vivek Oberoi

Vivek Oberoi in Manish Malhotra sherwani

Delhi girl named Ford Supermodel from India

Delhi lass Ninja Singh was named Ford Supermodel of the World—India couple of days ago. The young woman won the contest after she walked the ramp with other finalists. The Indian, evening and swim wear collections for the finalists were designed by Gauri & Nainika, and Shrivan-Narresh.

Here’s Ninja in her winning moment with her father Dr Jagan Singh. Awwwww!

Ford Supermodel winner - Ninja Singh - Supermodel of the World - India

Ninja will now be a part of Ford Supermodel of the World (the prestigious global contest), where she could win a contract of a whopping $250,000. She will also walk the ramp at FDCI’s next Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week.

Among the jury members were Bipasha Basu, Manish Malhotra, photographer Bharat Sikka Leila Alaoui of Ford Models, FDCI’s Sunil Sethi and model Fleur Xavier.

Bollywood beauty ads: Bipasha Basu (Wella Kolestint) and Dia Mirza (The Body Shop)

The Bollywood bandwagon is on the endorsement spree yet again (eg: Sonakshi Sinha for D’damas), and the beauty brands are signing them on.

This time Bipasha Basu is promoting Wella Kolestint, a DIY hair colour brand, while Dia Mirza is the face of The Body Shop’s Moisture White range of products. And both actors are looking gorgeous!

Bipasha Basu for Wella Kolestint Dia Mirza in Moisture White ad for The Body Shop

We applaud the choice of ambassadors and visual treatments of both Wella Kolestint and The Body Shop, unlike earlier bloopers (a whitewashed Kajol!). Bipasha Basu has always experimented with her looks, especially her hair (remember she went super short once?), and we’re certain her healthy flowing mane will make women all over the country want to try Wella Kolestint at home. Check out her gorgeous hair at a recent Wella Kolestint event:

Bipasha Basu hair Wella Kolestint event

(Picture from Wella Kolestint Facebook page)

Meanwhile, just-turned producer Dia Mirza has always had clear glowing skin, and folks at The Body Shop India seem to have known that. We love the pristine imagery of the advertisement and Dia’s angelic radiance. I’m sure the photoshop guy didn’t have to “enhance” her complexion too much (thank god for that!).

Our verdict: Finally some sensible brand endorsements on the Bollywood scene! Thank you to both product/ brand managers for giving us a refreshing take on beauty. 🙂

What do you think? Which Bollywood actor makes for the better fit—Bipasha Basu for Wella Kolestint or Dia Mirza for The Body Shop Moisture White range?

Chic video: Imran Khan drops his jeans for Levis, oops… we mean dENiZEN

Levi Strauss Signature is now dENiZEN, and who better to announce it to the Indian youth than Bollywood’s chocolate boy Imran Khan?

In this cute advertisement, Imran drops his Levi’s Signature jeans at a public walk-in laundry for a wash, sitting in his underpants. As a coy Monica Dogra (another customer) gyrates to the music, a baffled Imran looks on. The ad ends with Imran pulling out dENiZEN jeans from the machine, and enjoying the comfort they bring.

Our verdict: Cute advertisement, intelligent casting, good choice of music and even better chemistry.

PS: dENiZEN is a recently-launched mass jeanswear brand in Asia (especially for upwardly mobile youth from 18-28), and will soon be introduced in the US as well. The dENiZEN Spring-Summer line is available at dENiZEN and multi-brand stores across India. Denim bottoms range from Rs 799 to Rs 1399. Also available: casual tops and shirts.

Chic news: Ford Fiesta inspires fashion, Sonakshi joins D’damas

Earlier this week, designer Swapnil Shinde presented a collection in Delhi inspired by a car– the Ford Fiesta. Based on the concept of “Energy in Motion”, the main themes of the fashion collection (and the car, we suppose) were use of strong colour, flowy silhouette with some modern and futuristic elements.

Models with Michael Boneham of Ford India showcasing Fiesta Futuristic Collection designed by Swapnil Shinde

Swapnil explained that through the collection, he translated the car’s bold kinetic design theme into his creations. While that’s an interesting spin, we would also have loved to see a cooler interpretation of the high-tech stuff used in the Fiesta (we hear it’s got voice control!). Like using entwined wires with tech charms as neckpieces or Blackberry-shaped clutches? (Interesting necklaces and odd clutches are hot trends currently.)

BTW, the fashion show was held not in a five-star banquet, but at a mall where the car is on display currently. Here’s a thought: why not let us girls shop at the mall for the collection/ similar clothes and accessories immediately after the show? And that could get us some freebies if we book the Fiesta? Sorry ladies, too much wishful thinking! 😉

Sonakshi Sinha joins D’damas

Speaking Chic is not a Sonakshi Sinha fan— so what, right? It seems plenty others like her, so she’s got yet another big endorsement, soon after the Provogue Spring/Summer 2011 gig. D’damas, a popular jewellery brand, have just signed on Sonakshi as their brand ambassador. The D’damas people believe Sonakshi’s got the qualities that modern Indian women possess (confidence, self-belief, charm and grace). Most importantly, they say—she “exemplifies the true Indian beauty.”

Take a look at the just-released image below and tell us what you think:

Sonakshi Sinha in D'damas campaign

What interests us most is the campaign theme—it’s based on memorable moments in a woman’s life. Like being a bride, celebrating Diwali or just simply enjoying the first rays of sunlight. Frankly, we’re bored of the typical jewellery-celestial-dreamy association, so we’re looking forward to some hatke advertisements from the D’damas people.

Fashion News: Master of textiles Neeru Kumar to open WIFW

Designer Neeru Kumar WIFWVeteran textile designer Neeru Kumar will open Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) Autumn/Winter 2011 (begins April 6).

If you haven’t heard of Neeru Kumar, you’re not the only one. Even though she has been in the industry for more than three decades, Neeru has made her mark in the world of textiles. She works with traditional Indian crafts such as kantha, khadi and ikat, creating weaves that are suited to contemporary sensibilities and can be made into wearable garments.

Her versatile fabrics are made into saris, Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Weekscarves, shawls and even home furnishing products. Neeru is known for experimenting with weaves, and her products are sold throughout the world under her eponymous label.

No designer profile is complete with some name-dropping, so we might as well tell you that Neeru Kumar’s client list includes Sonia Gandhi, Shabana Azmi and Arundhati Roy.

There aren’t too many fashion designers in India who go beyond mere lip service to India’s crafts and textile traditions. And that’s exactly why we’re looking forward to Neeru Kumar’s show early next month!

Chic Guide: Be summer-ready, get silky-smooth hair and give the gift of water

TGIF—yup, it’s that day of the week again. If you’re confused about weekend plans, let Speaking Chic be your guide.

Chic Thing No 1: Gear up for summer!

Its’ getting warmer, so it’s time to do some spring cleaning. Purge your wardrobe of clothes that really really need to be discarded: the sweatshirt you wore almost every week in the past few months, or the sweater you’ve had for years. Then reward yourself with a trip to your favourite store or mall for a spot of window shopping. New collections are in stores (Esprit, French Connection, Vero Moda, Chemistry), so take a look at the trends before you decide on the clothes you really really want this summer.

Lakme Studio Sleek mystique - Creative LookChic Thing No 2: Get straight silky hair, go to Lakme fashion week!

Lakme Fashion Week starts March 11, and it’s going to be fashionable fun! Not got an invite to fashion week? Not a problem—just visit any Lakmé Salon or Studio in Mumbai, ask for the Sleek Mystique service. If you’re one of the first 500 customers, you could get into one of the LFW fashion shows!

There are four looks you can choose from. I liked the Creative Look (picture on the left)—great for layered hair like mine. (The service costs Rs 950.)


Chic Thing No 3: Buy a perfume, donate clean drinking water to childrenGiorgio Armani perfume Acqua Di Gio (Homme)

It’s simple actually—every time someone buys one of two Giorgio Armani fragrances (Acqua di Gio and Acqua di Gioia), they generate a donation of 100 litres of drinking water per year to children and their communities.

Once you buy the perfume, you can log on to Facebook’s Acqua for Life application, enter the code on the perfume carton, and build your own community with friends.

FYI, this campaign was showcased at Giorgio Armani’s Fall/Winter 2011 show at Milan Fashion Week recently. The Acqua for Life project is part of Armani’s partnership with  Green Cross International and the Unicef Tap Water Project. (Hey, this is a great piece of trivia the next time you want to silence a pretentious hobnobber).

Fashion News: Sabyasachi is Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week finale designer

Sabyasachi Mukherjee will be the grand finale designer at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) Autumn/Winter 2011. WIFW kicks off on April 6, 2011 and the grand finale will be held late night April 10.

Arguably Bollywood’s favourite designer (Rani Mukherjee and Vidya Balan are his diehard fans), Sabyasachi will also create an exclusive line for Wills Lifestyle that will be available at the brand’s stores across India.

Our request to Sabyasachi: We know you’re a design genius, but please please please, could you shock and awe us this season? We’ve got sore eyes from seeing your same ol’ designs at every wedding, sangeet and Bollywood event. Thanks already.

FYI, Tarun Tahiliani was the finale designer at the previous season of WIFW, with Shilpa Shetty as the showstopper. Here’s a peek to refresh your memory:

WIFW finale Tarun Tahiliani Shipla Shetty

Fashion News: Japanese designers at upcoming LFW

Eight Japanese fashion designers will showcase their collections at the upcoming Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2011 (to begin March 11). The designers/ labels include Somarta by designer Tamae Hirokawa; Motonari Ono, and Araisara by designer Sara Arai.

(Below: Japanese fashion designer Tamae Hirokawa of Somarta)

Japanese designer Tamae Hirokawa of Somarta

This is the result of a cross-cultural exchange initiative, Tokyoeye, between Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan. The government-aided project aims to create enterprising relationships and provides access to international collections to buyers from India and all over the world.

What we’re looking forward to:

Sara Arai’s “araisara”; inspired by culture, scenery, natural surroundings, and spirit of the Orient. Take a look at her Spring/Summer 2011 collection:

Designer Tamae Hirokawa of Somarta is already famous for her ‘skin series’, which was based on the concept of ‘the possibilities of apparel for a body’ (aka really cool and chic body suits). Here’s her latest collection from Japan Fashion Week:

And why we’re excited:

  • Japan is known for its cutting-edge technology and fashion, and we’d love to see that rub off on Indian designers.
  • Collaborations are usually good news. This season Japanese designers, tomorrow …? Fingers crossed. 🙂

Lakmé Fashion Week: Gauri & Nainika are grand finale designers

Feminine, glamourous, wearable, Bollywood favourites… Gauri & Nainika will be the grand finale designer for Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/ Resort 2011.

The designer duo’s eponymous label will draw inspiration from Lakmé’s upcoming Fantasy Collection. Gauri & Nainika are hoping to tap into the rich colour palette and the other-worldly dimension to create their upcoming collection.

“[The Fantasy Collection] is an exploration into the feminine and almost dreamy influences that drive the many moods of all women. With its fresh, vibrant colors of nature, Lakmé’s summer palette provides that element of richness and a touch of idyllic that every woman craves for. We hope that our collection will unfurl a whole new world of sparkling fantasies for women,” they said.

Going by the wonderful, yet wearable creations of Gauri & Nainika, we’re looking forward to the Lakmé Fashion Week already.

Below: Gauri & Nainika with Lakmé models.

Gauri & Nainika Lakmé Fashion Week finale