Chic Workshop: Ten things I learnt at Vogue School of Style

Chic Workshop: Ten things I learnt at Vogue School of Style

I was lucky enough to attend the Vogue School of Style last evening, hosted by Priyanka Khanna, Priyanka Kapadia and Parizaad Khan. The three ladies shared fashion and beauty dos and don’ts with plenty of examples, and some neat tips and tricks. While I took lots of notes, here are my top ten lessons from the workshop.

Three New Words
Cost to Wear Ratio: Price of a piece divided by the number of times you wear it or are likely to wear it. Use this to know whether buying those hot pink pants will be a worthwhile purchase.
Hero Piece: The great piece you love that should be the focus of your ensemble, like a necklace, big tote or printed blouse. The hero piece should  ideally be a trendy one, and everything else should highlight that accessory or garment.
CSR: Comfort, Style and Relevance.  That’s the formula for putting together a work look.

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Three Trends
Asian influences: These could be prints or accessories like obi belts or simple touches like a Chinese collar or kimono tops.
Green: It’s all about green this season. Pair light mint with a darker shade of mint, it will work!
Safari: Wear linen, soft cotton and neutral separates with lots of pockets for a utilitarian look.

Three Hot Fashion Tips
Shop smart. Make at least three outfits in your head before you buy a piece.
Have fun with staid corporate wear by playing with colours. Use pop shades and mix and match separates like pants, blouses and jackets, while keeping the look very formal.
Give up black for the weekend. Wear prints to spread the cheer!

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Great Beauty Tip
A combination of matt and highlighted skin is in right now. So don’t powder all over your face, and let your natural glow shine through.

Chic 2012: Best fashion ads of the year

Chic 2012: Best fashion ads of the year

Fashion ecommerce sites ruled the fashion ad space in 2012. And they caught attention with the decades-old funda- Sex sells!

Myntra-Lisa Haydon-a

Myntra’s Hottest December Sale promo had gorgeous Lisa Haydon doing a striptease on primetime television. I’m sure I’m not the only one who initially mistook it for a Fastrack commercial.

The BeStylish promo was about sexy shoes and seduction. Enough to excite shoe lovers and then some!

And Tanishq brought in a refreshing change to boiler-plate jewellery advertising with their Mia commercials. Go-getter office girls dealing with real problems like parking space and not-so-good appraisals.

Special Mention: Fashion videos

Anita Dongre’s Jaipur Bride was beautifully shot and made every woman want to be an Indian bride.

Fastrack’s Like Bunnies We Multiply was funny, irreverent and unconventional. Just like the brand!

Which fashion commercial / video did you enjoy this year?

This is the first in a series of posts rounding up the Indian fashion scene in 2012.

Bollywood Fashion: Student of the Year is all about the brands

Bollywood Fashion: Student of the Year is all about the brands

Karan Johar’s movies are not known for portraying stark reality, but Student of the Year is based in a hyper-real world. The “school” in the movie (St. Teresa) is perhaps the size of Hogwarts, houses students who are impossibly multi-faceted, good-looking and rich, and even the “Bata” gang dresses in premium brands.

Student of the Year fashion

Brands, brands, brands!

Alia Bhatt is Shanaya, the vain bimbo, who marvels at her beauty and pampers herself with brands. You name the brand, and it’s there. Her introductory song (Gulabi Aankhein) has a chorus which mentions and features luxury brands like Manolo, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Stella McCartney. Really! Take a look:

And then begins a game of spot-the-brand. Rishi Kapoor, for instance, pops open a Burberry umbrella in the sun, and reads notes from a Louis Vuitton case/ folder. Alia Bhatt totes a Dior bag and an Hermes Birkin. Even the sportswear is sponsored- the football uniforms by Puma and the triathlon clothes by Fusion (a UK brand specialising in triathlon clothing). As for the men in the movie—they are walking-talking Ray-Ban advertisements. 😀

Student of the Year

Key Looks

Shanaya is a feminine girl who wears mostly dresses and skirts, sometimes hot shot pants. On a normal day, she carries a Birkin, and brings a Dior bag to her school canteen. The lucky girl also wears Manish Malhotra outfits to a wedding. Her wardrobe is so out of touch with reality that she doesn’t have “hospital” clothes.

Alia’s makeup (done by Mickey Contractor) is only about red lips, and her hair is straightened and slicked back with a cutesy hairband. This lucky young lady has got to wear the best designers and brands, but it’s unfortunate to see her in a uniform look throughout the movie (pun intended).

Alia Bhatt in Student of the Year

Rohan (Varun Dhawan) and Abhimanyu (Siddharth Malhotra) are The Dudes At School, so they look good in every frame. Varun plays an aspiring musician, hence quirky prints like Mickey Mouse tshirts and the like are his statement. Siddharth Malhotra is dressed a bit more “serious”. Even so, his character is “poor” enough to be on scholarship, but can afford Quiksilver tshirts, Aviators and designer kurtas. The guys’ buff bods work well for them and are an essential part of their look, since they need to look sexy in their body-hugging sports gear.

Student of the Year - Varun Dhawan and Siddharth Malhotra

Meanwhile, Rishi Kapoor’s gay character wears polka dotted and pink ties with mismatched shirts and blazers with quirky brooches on the lapel (like a koala bear and crystal-encrusted reptile!).

Student of the Year- Rishi Kapoor

The Coolest School

The uniform of this cool “school” is pretty awesome- you can wear anything you want, as long as you wear the school blazer over it. Manish Malhotra has styled the lead actors while Shiraz Siddique and Archana Walavalkar have worked with the supporting cast.

Alia Bhat Varun Dhawan in Student of the Year

Being a Karan Johar movie, all characters look good, wear cool clothes and are quite trendy. If I went to such a learning institution, I’d either die of brand envy or spend an hour a day choosing my wardrobe and fixing my hair and makeup. Not to mention I’d end up draining my family’s precious money on clothes. And of course, there wouldn’t be time to study. 😉

While Karan Johar has attempted to make the movie as slick as possible, but the high dose of fashion seems looks almost implausible in real life. So yeah, if you like good-looking movies, Student of the Year is for you. If you like good movies though, then you can bunk this class.

All Pictures Courtesy: Dharma Productions

Bollywood Fashion: Heroine fashion is dull and uninspiring

Bollywood Fashion: Heroine fashion is dull and uninspiring

When I watched Heroine, I came back unimpressed- with the movie, most of its elements, and Kareena Kapoor’s wardrobe.

Kareena looks gorgeous for sure, and she has a powerful role as Mahi Arora the superstar, but her on-screen wardrobe is nothing to write home about. Manish Malhotra and his team have kept her wardrobe updated with some trends, but they mostly lack a punch. Most of the outfits fail to make an impression, while most are repetitive.

Kareena Kapoor in Heroine

For instance, while depicting Mahi’s shoots, we usually see her dancing in heavily sequined dresses (like all Bollywood songs are like that!), though at a couple of film shoots she is dressed in ethnic clothes.

Mahi- not a style icon

A superstar in today’s times is not just an actor, but also a fashion icon and trendsetter, much like Kareena herself. She is known for making saris on the red carpet glamourous, staying covered up and feminine (she rarely sports cleavage or super short hemlines). She carefully steers clear trends like bodycon dresses (though she has a lovely figure), and likes to have fun once in a while with prints and silhouettes.

Kareena Kapoor at Indian Idol

Mahi, on the other hand, makes no style statements, though she does dress well and looks gorgeous almost all the time. Mahi’s off-screen avatar is a tad more interesting, like the blazer she wears to a store opening in Delhi and the long kurta-churidar at a wedding (obviously designed by Manish Malhotra). And the resort look for the yacht getaway with hottie Randeep Hooda.

Kareena Kapoor in Heroine

Mahi’s at-home clothes are a tad more interesting, like the black top with shoulder holes paired with dark green skinny jeans, and the printed long top she wears as a dress.

Fashion repetition

A word on red carpet dressing- while Kareena looks stunning in the red gown and statement neckpiece at her movie premier, the look reminded me of the auction scene from Agent Vinod- from the silhouette to choice of accessory. Oh, and the semi-sheer Halkat Jawaani blouse reminded me of the red blouse Kareena wore in Chammak Challo (Ra.One).

Kareena Kapoor in Heroine

A word on Kareena Kapoor’s makeup

The winner in the movie is Kareena Kapoor’s makeup (done by Mickey Contractor). Not only does the actor look gorgeous in every scene, the no-makeup looks are almost realistic. You can see her under eye dark circles when she is home, and her chapped lips when she shuts herself at home for several days.

Chic Launches: British fashion invasion with Lipsy, Dune, Hackett London

Chic Launches: British fashion invasion with Lipsy, Dune, Hackett London

This week there have been three big announcements in Indian fashion retail. Three new brands are joining the great Indian retail bandwagon with local partners, and all three are British.

Here’s the dope on all three brands:

Lipsy

Lipsy, a London-based brand for fun-loving young women and part of the Next Group, will enter the country with Brand Marketing India.

Lipsy VIP Sequin Bust Dress

In three words: Affordable, eclectic, glamourous.

Save up for: The “VIP” range (for red carpet looks), trendy dresses and cute blouses.

How much: Dresses start from GBP 35 (approximately Rs 3100) and can go up to GBP 175 for VIP dresses (approximately Rs 15,500).

First store expected: By early to mid-2013

Dune

Dune is the flagship brand of the Dune Group, and offers distinctive fashion footwear and accessories for women and men. Dune has joined hands with Reliance Brands for their India foray.

AW12 Dune

In three words: High on design.

Save up for: Comfy heel sizes (for women), cool brogues (for men) and awesome boots (for both).

How much: Rs 4500 to Rs 12, 000 for a pair of shoes.

First store expected: Spring/ Summer 2013 (February or March 2013)

Hackett London

Hackett London is a true-blue British formal brand for men. In India, Hackett London has entered into a joint venture agreement with Aditya Birla Group’s Madura Fashion & Lifestyle.

Hackett London AW12 look

In three words: Sophisticated British luxury.

Save up for: Sharp and stylish formal shirts, jackets and suits.

How much: Rs 8,000 for a formal shirt, Rs 50,000 upward for a suit.

First store expected: This month at Emporio Mall, New Delhi and UB City, Bengaluru.

Chic Review: What Not to Wear India

Chic Review: What Not to Wear India

Where are Trinny and Susannah?

Imagining What Not to Wear without Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine is a tough task. No fashionista duo comes a close second to these outspoken ladies. Who else can say, “Blondes and shiny fabric equals hooker” and “Cropped pants make any woman look like a stunted man” while keeping a straight face and meaning every word of it?

So the BBC folks (producers of What Not to Wear) got Soha Ali Khan and Aki Narula to play the style police for the India edition.

what-not-to-wear India Soha Ali Khan Aki Narula

Of course, they are no Trinny and Susannah. And then they aren’t that well-known either. Soha, for instance, has never been hailed as a fashion diva by the media or fans, and Aki Narula has more or less hung up his designing boots to focus on styling. But then, Trinny and Susannah became mini celebs after the show.

Bum shorts, anyone?

I had several initial apprehensions about What Not to Wear India. Firstly, would Indian women be willing be paraded on national television for their lack of style? Would the producers get interesting participants? And, most importantly, would the hosts be able to get across the much-needed fashion and style tips to us?

The answer is mostly yes. For instance, there’s a middle-aged mother of two who wore drab unflattering kurtis, and an aspiring model who only liked to wear “bum shorts”. Yeah, really!

Adopting the international format of the show, Soha and Aki first accost a subject nominated by friends or family, then put her in a “360-degree room” (completely surrounded by mirrors) in her favourite outfits. The duo then break down each outfit, explaining what works and what doesn’t. Explaining basic concepts of styling and fashion (like body types, prints, colours), a couple of sample outfits are demonstrated and explained. And then they both trash her earlier wardrobe. The “bum shorts” girl squealed as Soha and Aki dumped her entire hot pants collection. Then the participant is off on a shopping spree while Soha and Aki give their nods of approval or exclamations of disdain. Of course, it all ends happily ever after. 🙂

what-not-to-wear India Soha Ali Khan Aki Narula

Yeah on fashion, meh on drama

Makeover shows are always fun to watch when executed well and so is this one. Soha may not have been a stylist but she’s got screen presence and explains style concepts well without talking down to the participant. My only grouse is that her look is the same throughout the few episodes I saw (feminine dress or blouse or with fitted skirt and heels). Aki Narula is his usual experimental style and though he doesn’t speak as much as Soha, his inputs are incisive. I especially liked his idea of using old saris to make stylish kurtas.

The show is a good pastime, though it doesn’t rank too high on the entertainment factor. I didn’t end up making a connection with any of the participants and there wasn’t too much “drama” to keep me hooked. No tantrums, no “I give up” moments, just a few tears of happiness on realizing the magic of dressing right. And the few opportunities for some cheeky moments are lost, perhaps to avoid offending sensibilities. So while Trinny and Susannah would have pronounced a certain participant’s style “slutty” without batting an eyelid, Soha and Aki were a tad more diplomatic.

Meanwhile, the fashion and style tips are quite handy for women watching the show. Even a self-confessed fashionista might get a pointer or two from the show if she watches carefully. What the show does miss out on is on the importance of accessorizing- it only gets a passing mention.

what-not-to-wear Soha Ali Khan Aki Narula

Our Verdict

What’s important about What Not to Wear India is that it’s got an Indian perspective on styling- such as the right kurtis for you- which foreign makeover shows skip. We’ve always needed a reality makeover show of “ordinary people” so this show (along with Be Blunt with Adhuna Akhtar) will be counted as the early ones. And BTW, if you’re bored of Grey’s Anatomy (Season 1 -yawn!) and Vampire Diaries (teenybopper stuff), you should switch to TLC (they all air at 10pm).

Meanwhile, I hope for another season with some drama and outrageous makeovers.

Bollywood Fashion: An introduction to Cocktail style

Bollywood Fashion: An introduction to Cocktail style

Talking fashion with Anaita Shroff Adajania is fun though a bit overwhelming. After all, she is fashion director for Vogue India and costume stylist for a bunch of movies, which kinda makes her an industry veteran.

So of course I was nervous when I spoke to her about fashion in Cocktail, her latest movie project. With her insights, I’ve put together a primer on key looks in the movie. Enjoy!

Cocktail- Deepaika Padukone, Saif Ali Khan, Diana Penty

(Psst… This is just a look-see into the movie, stay tuned for more Cocktail fashion over the next few days.)

Veronica (played by Deepika Padukone):

Deepika Padukone in Cocktail

Veronica is a fashion forward gal, though she doesn’t follow trends blindly. She enjoys looking good and being the centre of attention, even though she makes her style look completely effortless. She experiments by mixing high street fashion with designer wear and dressing according to her mood. So you never know what she’s going to wear next!

What she wears: Being a fun-loving girl in the movie, you will spot Deepika wearing off-shoulder tees, bold colours and prints, shorts, distressed jeans, designer bags and stacked accessories.

Deepika Padukone in Cocktail

Style in five words or less: Unpredictable, whimsical, fun!

What I like: The animal print cardigan and gold party dress.

Veronica’s fashion tip: Be your own person, folks! Pick up things you like- they could be from anywhere- and put your looks together.

Meera (played by Diana Penty):

Diana Penty in Cocktail

Meera is a middle-class girl from Delhi, hence her dressing style is a bit conservative- so you will see her in kurtas and patialas, and she probably still wears butterfly clips! She wants to blend in with the crowd, and will keep her arms and legs covered as much as possible. Even though she dresses for comfort, the layering makes her wardrobe exciting.

What she wears: Meera’s staples are a simple cardigan with chinos or flared jeans. Her prints are simple too- nautical stripes, polka dots and delicate florals.

Style in five words or less: Muted, feminine and understated.

Diana Penty- Saif Ali Khan in Cocktail

What I like: Layering cardigans over tees with skinny belts, comfy blouses and tees.

Meera’s fashion tip: Simplicity is never boring. Being conservative can be cool!

Gautam (played by Saif Ali Khan):

Gautam’s got a very casual approach to life and fashion. He wears a jacket to work only because he has to, and pairs it with a skinny tie. He probably doesn’t iron his clothes, and keeps it casual most times. He’s got the “lived-in” look.

Saif Ali Khan in Cocktail

What he wears: Saif’s character enjoys wearing old t-shirts, easy shirts, shorts and subtly distressed jeans.

Style in five words or less: Easy dressing!

What I like: Worn-out tees and shorts.

Gautam’s fashion tip: Wear your clothes with a bit of carelessness.

Which character’s look would you like to try?

Coming soon: Bollywood Fashion: The Anaita Shroff Adajania interview! stirs a heady fashion mix in Cocktail

Sports Fashion: Of LBDs, fashion disasters and more

Sports Fashion: Of LBDs, fashion disasters and more

LBD makes a (clay) court appearance

Maria Sharapova completed a career slam by winning the French Open 2012, in an LBD (aka Little Black Dress).

Maria Sharapova-Sara Errani final

Picture courtesy: Getty Images

With a grey panel for some relief, Maria’s classic style statement was completely off for the European summer. Maybe she could take a leaf from her opponent Sara Errani’s fashion diary- wearing a more upbeat colour (purple mixed with lilac).

The Spanish Olympic outfits are as bad as their economy

The Spanish economy is down in the dumps, to put it mildly. That may be the reason they hired Russian fashion house BoscoSport to design their Olympics 2012 outfits for free. Take a look:

Spain Olympics team

Picture courtesy: El Pais

If the Spanish outfits are so bad, wonder what the Greek uniforms would be like. Hmmmm….

Euro Cup 2012 sees some serious fashion risks

I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks the diagonal stripe across the Russian football team’s uniform is confusing. What say?

Russian football team

Chic Trends: 4Ps for summer fashion (Part 1)

Chic Trends: 4Ps for summer fashion (Part 1)

Ladies, I’ve just coined a simple term to remember the hot trends for this summer: the 4Ps (not to be confused with the 4Ps of marketing!).

And the 4Ps for summer 2012 fashion are

Ta-da!

  • Pleats
  • Peplums
  • Pastels
  • Printed pants

Now, repeat the 4Ps over and over again till you know the list by heart.

In this post, I’ve highlighted the first two trends (or Ps): pleats and peplums.

Trend 1: Pleats

Pleats this summer are all in the skirts! Long or short, bright or pastels, regular hemline or asymmetrical, wear pleated skirts with grace. The other day I saw a woman wearing a maxi pleated skirt that was transparent below the knee, and it didn’t look as funny as it sounds. Really!

How to wear: Wear a bright pleated skirt with neutral or printed blouse.

Chic tip: While accordion pleated skirts are hot right now, they may be fashionably far-fetched from some. You could opt for a formal box pleated skirt or a pleated dress instead.

Skirt from Mango

Mango pleated flared skirt

 

Skirt from United Colors of Benetton

Pleated skirt from UCB

 

Dress from French Connection

 

French Connection pleated dress 

Trend 2: Peplums

Peplums came in to serious public view after Michelle Williams wore a peplum gown to the Academy Awards in February, and Kate Middleton has been spotted at least a couple times in peplum-ed outfits.

So what is a peplum? It’s a strip of pleated, gathered or flared fabric that is attached to the waist line of a skirt, dress, jacket or top. It could even be an overskirt of sorts.

How to wear: Wear a peplum on a dress or skirt that ends at the knee or just below. When wearing a solid dress or skirt, wear classic jewellery.

Chic tip: A peplum can be unflattering if you got zero curves around the waist and hip area- so wear with caution. Also, choose a peplum dress or skirt that is sleek and sculptured rather than slouchy or loose.

Dotty peplum dress from Fever London (available on Rock.in)

Fever London peplum dress- Rock.in

 

Zara skirt with frill

Zara Pencil skirt with frill

 

What’s your choice among the pleats and peplums?

Coming soon: The other 2Ps- pastels and printed pants!

Chic News: Junglee is here, brings limited fashion choices

Amazon.com’s Junglee is here! I was quite excited to know Amazon.com had finally made a foray into India so I’ve spent good amount of time over the past few days on the website.

junglee-logo

Junglee.com’s got over 1.2 crore products to choose from with over 14,000 brands selling books to electronics to clothes to garden furniture. But of course, I’m more interested in the fashion. 🙂

Brands, brands, brands

On the fashion front at Junglee, there’s not-so-good news- the fashion choices on the website are still limited.

Junglee-clothing

While there are quite a few big fashion and accessories brands on their seller list, Junglee still has a long way to go to make a mark. Especially if you compare it with amazon.com and amazon.co.uk’s brands- they’ve got some really cool brands like Mango, Desigual, Diesel, Gas and Esprit, among others.

Currently, the fashion (clothes and accessories) brands on Junglee.com include Label by Ritu Kumar, Satya Paul, Fab India, Hidesign, Gitanjali, Bata, Puma and a handful of others.

Facing the fashion competition

Junglee will have to face competition from the fashion and flash sales websites that have been around for a while (Fashion and You, 99 Labels, Myntra) along with the more recent launches (Freecultr, BeStylish.com).

I would love to see Junglee’s fashion section acquire a strong local flavour with focus on Indian brands and designers like Latin Quarters, Wills Lifestyle, Metro, AND, Seven East… you get the drift. Junglee could even seek to carve out a niche in this area as a supporter and an online store for several Indian brands.

Some cool international brands would be fun too! It would be good to see top brands on Amazon during the season throughout the year, instead of just seeing old maal on flash sales sites.

In terms of user experience, the website is easy to navigate, clutter-free and has a good range of filters—like price, colours, sellers and brand.

Junglee-clothing-filters

Waiting to grow

Of course, it’s still the early stages for the site and for Amazon in India (someone told me Amazon has big plans for India and Junglee is only a beachhead for them). I assume the folks at Junglee will be working hard to expand their fashion brand base… fingers crossed!

What do you think of Junglee.com?