Chic Review: Bombay High’ s work wear is for everyone!

Chic Review: Bombay High’ s work wear is for everyone!

A Bombay High store is like a large, ambitious project. The three stores I have visited in Mumbai (Warden Road, Linking Road and Oberoi Mall) are spacious, have clearly-demarcated formal wear sections, and start with the relaxed wear line (Bombay High Sport). In the past couple of years, Bombay High has been building its image as the first and last word on work wear.

Bombay High store window

Executive Summary/ The Bombay High Look

Bombay High is about looking smart at office, with a focus on subtle style and tailored looks. Their dresses and shirts are apt for Indian work places, so there are no plunging necklines and too-short skirts, nor super slim and flamboyant shirts for men.

Bombay High AW 2012

Transmittal Letter/ First Impressions

I’m not a stranger to Bombay High, since I bought a blazer from them last month. The blazer fits me snugly, has the right length (I’m on the shorter side), though I needed to get the sleeves shortened (the store did it for free).

On my return visit for this review, the male mannequin near the door was surprisingly styled in a casual look. My guess is that the brand is trying to push its casual wear line, since they are easier to sell. There were jeans and tees for guys, and casual shirts for women.

Bombay High store

Core Competencies/ Best Finds

As you move deeper inside the store, the product becomes more formal. The blazers and suits section houses some of the best pieces in the collection. The blazers’ fits and designs make them worth every buck you spend. They may be a tad more expensive than Mango, and are mostly available in neutral colours, but with one classic blazer you can cover all bases. I flipped for a linen blazer for women, and would have bought it immediately if I hadn’t bought one already. The checkered and patterned blazers are perfect work wear pieces, and not boring!

Bombay High collection

Waistcoats for work may be hot on the ramps, but they haven’t picked up in India yet, and Bombay High has a few in their current collection. I particularly liked one style– it was formal enough, but the neckline added a fun twist.

Bombay High waistcoats

For men, the shirts and trousers are the biggest draw, with some good colour and styling options to choose from. There are dozens of neck ties as well. There are no particular favourites, it’s all about finding your colour and pattern! Accessories have just launched, so expect to see wallets, women’s bags, card holders and folders in the coming months.

SWOT Analysis/ Trial Run

I tried on a couple of monotone formal dresses, and found them affordable enough to be bought at least twice in a season. Unfortunately, some dresses required better fitting on the shoulders and chest.

Bombay High dresses

The best-selling women’s shirts are available in a whopping range of colours, from green to blue, so you can take your pick every morning depending on your mood. The casual shirts seem to be fun too.

Bombay High womens shirts

Men’s shirts have a wider range with lots of styles, colours, fit and fabric variants. With a wide price range from Rs 1199 up to Rs 6000, corporate slaves from across the food chain would find a shirt for them. A guy friend who owns a pair of Bombay High trousers says they are quite good with a different colour, the classy inner seam adds a luxurious feel, and they are comfy all day long.

Footnote: A Word on Design

The Bombay High design team has played safe with styles that would appeal to most working class citizens of this great country- by which I mean those who take few fashion risks. The experimentation in the collection has been limited to higher-priced products and has given good results (like the waistcoat above and patterned blazers).

Inferences/ Parting Thoughts

Bombay High is a one-stop shop for all work wear needs, and you would be happy with the selection, prices and fabric quality. But the brand team will need to carve a niche for Bombay High in a crowded market, and try to make the product more distinct from competitor brands. They can begin by turning formal fashion into a more exciting proposition for 21st century slaves like us!

Bollywood Fashion: Raghavendra Rathore suits up Akshay Kumar in OMG!

Bollywood Fashion: Raghavendra Rathore suits up Akshay Kumar in OMG!

OMG Oh My God is one of those movies you can enjoy with your family, have a good laugh, and come away with an important message or two- this one is about religion and how we practise it.

As a regular movie goer, I wasn’t expecting much from the movie, and as a fashion watcher, I expected even less. Both ways, I was surprised. The movie is worth a one-time watch though the production values could have been better. And as a fashion lover, Akshay Kumar’s dapper look is something worth writing about (hence this post).

Akshay Kumar in OMG Oh My God

Akshay Kumar’s costumes

Akshay Kumar plays God (Lord Krishna) in human form, choosing to play a dude who rides a super bike and works as a “consultant”. He’s always wearing wears a peacock pendant and his laptop is embellished with studs in the same motif.

Akshay Kumar in OMG Oh My God

As Akshay Kumar’s costume designer for OMG- Oh My God, Raghvendra Rathore has used his fine tailoring skills and refined taste to give the actor a polished yet approachable look. It’s a pleasant surprise to see Akshay Kumar dressed like that, given his usual OTT and mediocre on-screen outfits, much like his acting. But in this movie, Akshay is much more restrained and so is his character.

Key outfits

Several pieces in the movie are typical Raghavendra Rathore creations, such as the black single-button achkan in Akshay Kumar’s introductory scene and the military-inspired jacket toward the end of the movie. My favourite is the raw silk purple waistcoat Akshay wears on his first day to court, worn over a checked shirt and with a blue pocket square. The crisp white cotton shirt and linen pants were some of the all-time classics I spotted in the movie. I spotted several separates that would be a great addition to a modern man’s wardrobe.

Akshay Kumar in OMG Oh My God

The most surprising look though, is the suited Lord Krishna. When he introduces himself as God, Akshay dons a brown checked suit and tie worn over a formal blue shirt, with a red square in the breast pocket. That’s a carefully mismatched colour and pattern combination, but it seems to work for Lord Krishna (warning: may not work in real life!).

Akshay Kumar in OMG Oh My God

Contrasts work well- in fashion and films

Given his flamboyant, extroverted, and affectionate character, the choice of clothes isn’t surprising, though Raghavendra Rathore as Akshay’s designer is certainly a surprise choice. The two men have starkly different personalities and takes on fashion (or so it seems). Raghavendra Rathore’s style is dignified, his silhouettes quite fuss-free, and clothes are tailored with minimal embellishments. Akshay, on the other hand, is prone to flamboyance and exuberance. But given his super-fit bod and the height advantage, he carries off Raghevendra Rathore’s clothes with ease.

The final set of looks in OMG- Oh My God is perhaps the outcome of both men meeting halfway – Raghavendra Rathore adding eye-catching colours, buttons and piping, and Akshay Kumar “growing up”.

Chic Looks for AW 12: Is the Indian man ready for Van Heusen’s World Traveller?

Chic Looks for AW 12: Is the Indian man ready for Van Heusen’s World Traveller?

For Autumn Winter 2012, the Van Heusen man travels across the world through his fashion choices. He takes his pick from Milan’s creative sensibility, Costa Brava’s party spirit and New York’s work ethic.

Van Heusen lookbook AW 12

So how and where does the Van Heusen man fit into the Indian man’s fashion aspirations?

Can the Indian man mix dusty pinks with steel greys like the well-styled Milan man? Not really. Does he have the charisma to carry off evening wear with engineering patterns, and matt and sheen contrasts? To some extent, maybe. And what about the no-nonsense New Yorker’s sharp and minimalistic look? Hmmm… unlikely.

Van Heusen suit AW 12

Van Heusen shirt AW 12

Yet- I think the Indian guy is ready to learn. India’s the land of travellers (ask the travel agencies) and armchair travelers, and the man in the cubicle is enjoying the new Mad Men season, looking forward to James Bond in Skyfall, buffing up at the local gym, and dreaming of a holiday in France with a special someone. Why then should he not relish and adopt sophisticated global fashion?

Yes, Indian men are gearing up for international fashion. Hopefully retaining their local styles.

This post is the first in a series discussing the AW 12 campaigns/ collections of various fashion brands.

LFW W/F 2012: Embellishments on ethnic wear

LFW W/F 2012: Embellishments on ethnic wear

Pallavi Jaikishan

Loved her trademark rosettes, flowers and crystal embellishments.

Pallavi Jaikishan at LFW W/F 2012

Pallavi Jaikishan sari at LFW W/F 2012

Bhairavi Jaikishan

Resham work done only on net!

Bhairavi Jaikishan show at LFW W/F 2012

Shyamal & Bhumika

Opulent zardosi embroidery for men gives a rich look.

Shyamal Bhumika at LFW W/F 2012

Debarun

Blue and crimson thread embroidery on beige and black.

Model in Debarun LFW W/F 2012

Model in Debaruns colleciton 8

 

PS- Happy Independence Day!

LFW W/F 2012 Preview: Debarun

LFW W/F 2012 Preview: Debarun

Collection theme: Debarun’s interpretation of divinity and the omnipresent Almighty.

Designer Debarun Mukherjee LFW W/F 2012

 

Inspirations: Iznik tiles of Turkey for the texturing and embellishments.

What to expect: Fusion Indian silhouettes (flared, layered and dhoti-inspired skirts) and saris for women. Sherwarni with flair and shirt kurtas for men.

Debarun Mukherjee preview for LFW W/F 2012

Key trends:

  • Cobalt blue mixed with beige- loved the combination!
  • Layering with prints, embellishments and accessories.
  • High collared necklines

Watch out for: Mix of print and embellishments and playing with textures. If you’re Bollywood inclined, you’d be happy to see Richa Chadha as the showstopper.

It’s Women’s Day today! So let’s talk about men

It’s Women’s Day today! So let’s talk about men

It’s International Women’s Day today, but I’m not one to celebrate it. You can read my rant against Women’s Day here.

So to “celebrate” Women’s Day, I’ve decided to focus on men. This is a special post especially for men, based on inputs from girl friends and Speaking Chic readers. They’ve shared their views on what they like best about men (from the fashion POV). In short, they answer the question—when and how do men look their best?

This post is meant for the guys, so I’ve addressed the men, not the ladies.

Guys, here goes:

Start with the jackets: Women love men in dinner jackets, formal jackets and stylish casual jackets. My personal favourite these days is the light linen jacket like the one SRK wore in Don 2. Tres chic! (Below: Jacket from Zara)

 Zara jacket with buckle collar

Impress with your fragrance: Not one, not two, but three women told me they love fresh, clean, aquatic scents (I do too)! Which means CK’s Eternity for Men Aqua is a hands-down winner.

CK Eternity for Men Aqua

Dress down once in a while: While women love men dressed formally, they also like the guys to chill out once in a while. So wear casual shirts with sleeves rolled up, geeky tees with reference to popular culture and coloured polo tees. (Below: T-shirt from Guru).

Guru tshirt A/W 2011

Don’t forget to groom yourself: Well-groomed nails are a must. One reader even recommended manicures for guys. Also on the list are soft hands, shaven face and moisturised lips. (Below: L’Occitane Shea Butter hand cream, The Body Shop lip balm).

Body Shop lip balmLOcccitane hand cream

Hair is important: Shiny, glossy hair is awesome. So is the neat and clean gelled look. But not too spiked, thank you!

Accessorise: Sport classy belts with brands/ logos, and wrist accessories like bracelets/ kadas. My current favourite is an oblong dial watch with a leather strap. (Below: Watch from Fossil)

Fossil Roman Leather Watch Black

Rock those jeans: If a guy can pull off well-fitted jeans (not the skinny ones), the woman will be super happy! That’s because it shows the guy is healthy and fit. And we all like that, don’t we? (Below: Look from Diesel)

Diesel jeans

Try on new trends: Women like to see men who are “with it”. Think coloured shoes, boots, fresh colours, slim fits, grunge and lots more.

Health is wealth: Toned biceps, flattish abs, muscular legs. A good body and confidence can pull off almost every look. So being healthy and strong will make you look young, haute and happening! Drool… 😉

Models at LFW S/R 2012

Ladies, what are your fashion and style tips for men?

PS—Thanks to Florence, Tanveer, Harlein and Kanika for their inputs.

PS 2 —There’s a hidden message in this post. Can anyone find it?

LFW S/R 2012 Day 4: Models dance for Narendra Kumar (video)

LFW S/R 2012 Day 4: Models dance for Narendra Kumar (video)

I’m super excited. This is my first video for Speaking Chic, and it’s straight from the ramp! I shot this video at Narendra Kumar’s show at Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2012 (Day 4). The Mick Jagger-inspired show was great fun, with Narendra Kumar as the DJ and the models (mostly hot guys) in Jagger wigs!

Enjoy this glimpse of the show:

LFW S/R 2012 Day 4: Shows to watch today

LFW S/R 2012 Day 4: Shows to watch today

It was a fashion-packed weekend that ended sooner than I wanted. But hey, it’s another day at Lakme Fashion Week Summer/ Resort 2012!

Bodice by Ruchika Sachdeva: The young designer has been tweeting extensively about her upcoming collection for her label ‘Bodice’, and the designs seem to be an interesting amalgamation of vintage influences and menswear tailoring, while being futuristic.

Eina Ahluwalia: Eina’s accessories are bold, in-your-face and don’t hesitate to call a spade a spade. Her collection based on domestic violence last year had made quite a mark, and I spotted some good pieces at her stall yesterday.

Below: Eina Ahluwalia at LFW S/R 2011

Eina Ahluwalia at LFW S/R 2011

Swapnil Shinde: Last season, Swapnil used folds, pleats and drapes in materials like acrylic, PVC and leather to interpret sound waves. The “rolls” and tubes made quite an impact on the ramp.

Narendra Kumar: There’s only one word for Narendra Kumar’s shows—fun! One of the few menswear designers at LFW S/R 2012, I’m expecting a stellar collection from him this time as always. And of course, lots of eye candy and an entertaining show. (Last season, he got models to do little jigs and dance steps on the ramp!).

Below: Narendra Kumar at LFW W/F 2011

Narendra Kumar at LFW W/F 2011

Fashion week news: Arjun Khanna to open Van Heusen India Mens Week 2011 with high-on-action collection

Renowned fashion designer Arjun Khanna will be the opening designer at Van Heusen India Mens Week 2011 (VHIMW 2011) this September.

Arjun Khanna’s collection is about action men, as imagined by the designer. “I am very excited to showcase at VHIMW,” Arjun Khanna said. “I have been recognized and appreciated for my work in men’s fashion and it couldn’t get any better than opening the VHIMW 2011… My collection is … not [about] Batman or Superman but Arjun Khanna’s imagination about action!”

Van Heusen logoShivaraj Subramaniam, Marketing Director, Van Heusen said, “Arjun Khanna brings alive the classy drama through his exquisite collection and retains a sense of Indianness in his collection. His signature style of fusing colour and decorative detailing with contemporary styles make him one of the leading designers of the country.”

About Van Heusen India Mens Week:
The three day men’s fashion fete will be held from September 2-4, 2011 at The Grand, New Delhi. Van Heusen India Mens Week has cemented India’s position as the fourth fashion destination for menswear in the world. Van Heusen is the world’s No.1 dress shirt brand. The brand entered India in 1990.

Synergy1 Delhi Couture Week highlights: Manish Malhotra re-creates early 20th century Indian royalty

Ace designer Manish Malhotra’s collection at Syngergy1 Delhi Couture Week 2011 sought inspiration from Indian royalty’s fashion choices from the 1920s to 1940s. Indian princes, princesses and maharanis largely stuck to traditional Indian wear, but their style was marked by a distinct British influence for at least a couple of decades.

Bollywood actor Sonam Kapoor kicked off the show:

Sonam Kapoor for Manish Malhotra at Delhi Couture Week 2011

The colour palette for women included cherry reds and burgundys with tones of mint green, aqua, and off-whites. The heavily-embroidered lehengas and kurtas were easy and voluminous, while the highly structured hair provided a contrasting look.

Manish Malhotra lehenga at Delhi Couture Week 2011  Model in red lehenga at Manish Malhotra Delhi Couture Week 2011  Model in mint green lehenga at Manish Malhotra Delhi Couture Week 2011 Model in red and purple lehenga Manish Malhotra Delhi Couture Week 2011

The color story for menswear comprised blacks, burgundys, royal blue, beiges and gold—all very royal colours!

Model in black sherwani at Manish Malhotra Delhi Couture Week 2011  Model in gold sherwani at Manish Malhotra Delhi Couture Week 2011

The final walk down the ramp with Manish Malhotra was a dazzling visual!

 Models at Manish Malhotra Delhi Couture Week 2011