Just in: Fantastic foursome at LFW

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The folks at Lakme Fashion Week are already gearing up for the Autumn/Festive 2010 edition, scheduled for mid-September in Mumbai. And to kick off the crazy preparations, they’ve just announced four new models who will be seen setting the ramp on fire and launching a thousand ships (or sales) this upcoming season.

The four gorgeous young women were selected at this week’s model auditions from more than 60 aspirants, thanks to their attitude, confidence, poise and individuality on the ramp. FYI, the jury that selected them comprised the who’s who of Indian fashion: Narendra Kumar, Monisha Jaisingh, Sheetal Mallar, Marc Robinson, Farrokh Chothia, Nonita Kalra and Sujal Shah (Vice President & Head of Fashion, IMG India).

Here are the lucky ladies (from left to right; Anjali Raut, Anuradha Nayudu, Marcela Rodrigues and Reyna Leyva): 

LFW model selected - Anuradha Nayudu, Anjali Raut, Rayna Levya and Marcela Rodrigues 

Speaking Chic says: Great bodies – check. International appeal—check. Not anorexic (as of now)—check! Can’t wait to see them on the ramp, draped in clothes that will set the trend for the next few months.

What do you think of these models? Tell us!

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Monsoon mini-guide: Part 2

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After part 1 of our monsoon mini-guide, Speaking Chic readers wrote in asking for more monsoon makeup and accessory tips. So here we go:

Makeup

  • Rule of thumb: Monsoon means minimum makeup. You don’t want your pancake getting washed away on your way to a meeting. So avoid the base if you can, and keep it basic.
  • Highlight your eyes with a white eyeshadow (very, very little) or one that is a shade lighter than your skin tone. You can dab some of it on your undereye circles if you don’t use a concealer. 
  • Use waterproof mascara. Try Maybelline or MAC—they really are water-resistant.
  • For lips, use a gloss that stays long, like Lancome Juicy Tubes. For an evening out, use a darker colour of gloss. And how about giving nude lipstick a shot?
  • An alternate evening look: nude look but with eye-catching lip colour (dare to use the red!).
  • If there’s one trend you don’t want to miss this season, it’s the pop colour everywhere, especially the nails! Try out pinks, purples and even blues! Yum!
  • pop colours nail polish

Hair

  • We can’t say this enough—anti-frizz is a must! Try L’Oreal’s anti-frizz shampoo and conditioner, or hunt for serums at your favourite imported goods store. If it suits your budget, ask for Kerastase Oleo Relax Anti-Frizz Serum (available at B:blunt and other salons).
  • On the days you don’t want to tame your mane, ditch the serum and let your hair behave the way it wants. After all, uncombed hair looks great this season, so if you’ve got a natural wave or loose curls in humid weather, use a dot of gel to take it a notch ahead.
  • For formal looks, try casual updos, for a more formal look. A few loose strands, a cute hair accessory like studded hair clips, and you’re all set.
  • If you’re having a hair cut this season, don’t go too short, or your mane won’t be long enough to for the upcoming festive season.

Accessories

  • Believe it or yawn, chunky is still in. Hunt for great bargains for chunky wooden/ lac bangles at local markets. These won’t strain your budget and will last the season.aldo_big ring
  • For a more sophisticated look, slip on an oversized ring. Guaranteed to draw attention to your bright nails. We like Aldo Accessories, trendy and complete VFM.
  • If you haven’t caught on to the chain reaction, now is the time. Multiple chains with charms and small crystals smarten up any outfit. BTW, all moms have long gold chains, so make sure your borrow those! Aldo_chain

What do you think of our mini-guide? Share your suggestions and tips in the comments box, or write to us at speakingchic [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Monsoon mini-guide: Must-haves and must-gags

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The rain gods have arrived, and they’re showering their love on us. It’s time to show some R.E.S.P.E.C.T. to them and to ourselves, overhauling our wardrobes for the next coupla months.

Here’s a handy tip: Come monsoon, and what you wear is not a question of trends, but of comfort and practicality with a chic factor. After all, no one wants to wade through knee-high water in six-inch stilettos.

So here’s our guide to monsoon wear must-haves and must-gags, with some super chic options marked with an *:

Clothes

Must-haves

  • Capris, foldable jeans for omniscient shallow puddles
  • Comfy blouses and shirts that don’t cling to you
  • Kurtas and churidars in georgettes (minus the dupatta)

Must-gags

  • Extra-long trousers
  • Transparent and translucent tops
  • Loose-flowing skirts (remember the strong winds?)

Don’t forget

  • To carry your windcheater. Umbrellas are useless in gusts of wind.
  • To bring out your boleros  and shrugs. They’re perfect for the now-hot-now-cold weather*
Shoes

Must-haves

Gum boots(if you can!) or non-slippery ballet shoes

Crocs* (not the ones with the holes, but the comfy chic styles; they’re a tad expensive, but worth every paisa)

Crocs for monsoon 

Must-gags

  • High heels
  • Your brand-new or old Jimmy Choos, Manolos etc

Don’t forget

  • You can always do what the New Yorkers do—change into your heels/ formal leather shoes in office*
Hair, Makeup and Accessories

Must-haves

  • Hair clips and pins to keep your hair in place*
  • Moisturiser

Must-gags

  • Layers of makeup
  • Too many hair products

Don’t forget

  • To use a good anti-frizz serum after washing your hair. It works wonders!*
  • To carry a comb with you, to smoothen our messy hair. Wet hair rarely looks good in real life.

What do you think of this mini-guide? Share your suggestions and tips in the comments box, or write to us at speakingchic [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Zara Review (with spy shots)

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I’ve just come back from a wonderful trip to Turkey, which included tonnes of shopping, including at Zara and Mango. So I thought it’d be a perfect time to test the Zara store in Mumbai. Here’s my honest review (with cool spy shots).

I’d heard scary stories the day before I visited Zara’s Mumbai store—there was a queue to go in, it was packed, long lines at the cash counter… you get the drift. But surprise! No lines to get in, enough elbow space, though Zara was a bit crowded for an Indian store.

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Zara is a sprawling two-floor store, with men, kids and women’s casuals on the first floor, and the ground floor dedicated to women’s wear. The men’s section was unexpectedly crowded, which is good news, because it indicates that Indian men are acquiring good fashion taste. I spotted some basic guys’ tees for Rs 895.

Coming to the casuals range (the TRF line), there were basic half-sleeve tees for Rs 445, jeans-like-leggings (Rs 1590; not called jeggings here), graphic tees, leggings, and a couple of really cool jackets. One was a pink cotton ruffle jacket (Rs 1790), and the other a smart short-sleeved blue leather jacket. A lot of the garments reminded me of the Istanbul store, indicating that they from the latest collection.

DSC02096           DSC02097

I brought out my camera, but I’d only taken two pictures before an Oriental-looking guy called Mike said, “Sorry, photo not allowed.” I mumbled a sorry and put it back inside. Moments later, I saw an Oriental-looking girl, and guessed that Zara has sourced staff from other stores in Asia.

On the lower floor, I spotted formal blazers (useful for formal meetings), cocktail dresses, tunics, blouses, jeans and trousers.  

The striking trends in the Zara collection were floral prints in easy, flowing silhouettes, whites, graphic prints, and a bit of lace and cutwork. And then there was the key trend this season—denim. Besides the jeans, there were skirts (Rs 990), shorts, a dress or two and even denim-look slouchy pants (Rs 2190)! The party dress selection was more classic than trendy, but very wearable.

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Among accessories, the stoles and bags didn’t deserve a second glance, but there were plenty of shoes to keep us girls happy, and several were available in my hard-to-get size (a tiny 36). Again, Zara had made an effort to stock the hottest shoes, such as strappy flats and gladiator-style stilettos. Unfortunately, the shoes are priced similar to or bit higher than Charles & Keith and Nine West. I even saw a pink pair for Rs 5000!

BTW, I noticed Zara had tried to give their collection a desi appeal with a FabIndia-like printed skirt on display and several tunics that were clearly India-inspired.

The Verdict:

Will I go to Zara again? Yes. Is it now my favourite store in Phoenix Mills? Nope, that’s still Landmark. Would I recommend the store to others? Yes.

BUT… Zara needs to get its pricing right, since I found prices undeserving, even surprising or just appalling! And if you’re an avid shopper abroad, then you don’t need this store.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping Zara’s mere presence in India spurs Mango to pull up its socks and give us better stuff.

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Curves are back, and how!

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I love curves. I heart Crystal Renn, my laptop’s rounded corners are a blessing in disguise, and I prefer dome-shaped structures to unseemly glass buildings any day.

So when I saw some very smooth and sexy curves on the streets over the weekend, I whistled. I lost focus and the model ran through my mind all day.

Stop thinking whatever you are, people! It was a four-wheeled beauty— a Volkswagen Beetle, bathed in red. It’s cute, yet smart. Powerful, but not intimidating. Strong, but curvy. If that isn’t sexy, what is?

As if reading my mind, Volkswagen today announced in a TOI ad: Curves are back.

The timing couldn’t be better. The car’s on my wish list now, and if anyone knows a way to make pots of money very quickly, please contact me offline.

PS—Volkswagen has not paid me for this blog post.

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Chic Reads: South Mumbai gets a Landmark

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South Mumbai bookworms, your book-hunting woes are over. For we have the mother of all bookstores—Landmark— within our reach now.

Located in the heart of Mumbai—the Palladium (Phoenix Mills), I paid a visit to the store soon after it opened.

I expected something a tad better than the unimpressive Crossword, and boy, was I wrong. For Landmark is at least a hundred-and-a-half times better than the puzzling bookstore (pun intended). And it’s not just to do with Landmark’s amazing collection.

There are rows and rows of books, encompassing genres and themes I never thought would find place in an Indian bookstore. And so, there’s something for everyone—kids, teens, music and film lovers, graphic novel fans, and even history and war buffs.

I was quickly lost in the store, as it surprised me with the width and depth of its collection. In the dictionaries and languages section, I discovered phrasebooks in the most unlikely languages, like Turkish!

I especially loved their Travel section, which wasn’t just about Lonely Planet guidebooks, but also travel books that bring a place alive with their words. Their fiction collection is humungous, to say the least. And the staff is helpful too.

So what’s in it for fashion lovers? Well, fashion books I never thought I’d see sharing shelf space in India—fashion marketing and design text books, fun books on fashion design and fashion illustration, books on luxury brands like Bvlgari, and even Scott Schuman’s Sartorialist (my heart leaped with joy on seeing this one). 🙂

A book lover could easily spend a day at Landmark, browsing through the store and unwinding at the gaming consoles. I’m marking such a day for when the rain gods pay a visit. 

Final word: Speaking Chic has a new favourite haunt!

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5 things that ruined the IPL experience

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Cricketainment (noun): A combination of cricket and entertainment.

Example: The IPL is to cricketainment what Burberry is to trench coats.

As a culture blog, we just had to know what the most overused concept this summer was. So we ventured out for a Mumbai Indians match to get a first-hand experience of cricketainment and the IPL.

And oh, what a pleasant surprise it was! It was organised well (we guess it’s to do with the foreign management), there was food aplenty, and the fans were cooperative. Sadly, there were a few things that threatened to ruin our IPL experience (and these need to disappear ASAP):

  1. Too much music: Team song played after every four or six, and between overs. How on earth do the players stay focussed? (No wonder some of the good players are out of form in the IPL!). And there was also some recent trashy hits that made us cringe.
  2. A very irritating emcee talked before and during the match. Between overs, he’d shout out, “Mummmmbaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiii!” And the shrill “horn” that suddenly rings out—URGHH!
  3. EVERYTHING is sponsored—from the timeout to a sixer.  Not so sure about the match results though (ahem).
  4. Cheerleaders were boring (and looked bored).
  5. Parties and after parties? Sorry, is this cricket season or Oscars season?

Nevertheless, we came home a happy bunch, and not just because our team won. It wasn’t the loud music, the cheerleaders or even the thrill of being part of the crowd. It was a good game of cricket. And that’s what we want. Nothing more, nothing less.

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