TV Review: Trinny & Susannah’s India mission is kinda disappointing

TV Review: Trinny & Susannah’s India mission is kinda disappointing

So Trinny and Susannah, those cheeky, Brit gals with a great sense of style, came to India on a fashion mission (Trinny & Susannah Makeover Mission India, to be precise). They found some interesting “subjects”, and worked their magic on them. But the magic didn’t work much for me as a viewer. Maybe I had high expectations from their India season, since I’ve been a fan of their UK shows. Despite my obvious disappointment, the ladies did make an effort to put together a good show for our style-challenged audience.

Here’s what worked for me, and what didn’t.

The Good:
Trinny and Susannah chose some interesting subjects. Like an odd couple or two, plus-sized men and women, and even a female wrestler! It was great that they travelled to different Indian cities, and visited several local hotspots. I spotted Pizza By the Bay and Fab India in the Mumbai episode. And I saw a Delhi mall too (sorry, can’t remember the name). And I must they had done their homework to understand Indian culture and fashion, and especially our attitude to clothes. For instance, Trinny commented that most Indian men kinda had a uniform for everything- formal shirt and trousers! Couldn’t agree more. 😉

Trinny & Susannah’s approach was not just about looking great- it was an exercise to address the subjects’ fears, insecurities and lack of confidence. They spoke to the men and women about their life, their work, their aspirations. They seemed genuinely interested in helping the subjects make an impact and feel confident, rather than just wear branded clothes.

The Not-So-Good:

The styling was quite uninspired. True, for most Indians, any type of basic “styling” or even thinking about clothes or makeup is a BIG THING, so maybe it WOWed several people. But the choices they made didn’t really excite me. And I absolutely didn’t like how they styled one of the plus-sized women. A maxi that further increases the hips– not exactly my first choice for that lady!

I noticed a couple of ill-fitting outfits and some “subjects” who looked uncomfortable with their new clothes. Now that’s not good news, is it? And I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks the show was a bit watered down, partly it was too short (barely 22 minutes!). So there wasn’t too much time for Trinny & Susannah’s witticisms that’s their trademark of sorts. And I certainly missed the motivational “session” they have with women to make them feel comfortable in their own skin. And I’m not even talking about getting the women to undress in a window display of a high-street store! (Yes, they’ve really done that a number of times in the UK show).

But hey, Trinny & Susannah came, they stayed, they styled. Mission accomplished.

Trinny & Susannah India

What did you think of the Trinny & Susannah’s Makeover Mission India? The show airs Monday to Friday at 9PM, only on TLC.

Chic Recap: Sabyasachi is okay with fakes, wants to be more affordable

Chic Recap: Sabyasachi is okay with fakes, wants to be more affordable

It’s not often that a seemingly-reclusive fashion genius steps out of his workshop to share philosophy on work,  design and life. Last night, Sabyasachi Mukherjee had a heart-to-heart conversation with Boman Irani on Teachers’ Achievers’ Club (Star World). Take a look:

The designer, in his trademark white kurta-churidar and black waistcoat amazed me with his bluntness, sharp wit and unconventional views.  Some fun fashion-related tidbits from the show:

After Sabyasachi’s first collection, ace designer Rohit Bal complimented him, saying Sabyasachi was “the best designer ever”. Unfortunately, his second show got bad reviews and Sabyasachi made sure that didn’t happen again.
As we already know, Sabyasachi is a proponent of Indian textiles and handicrafts and has always said that Indian women look better in saris. He insists our traditions and past should be embraced, and more Indian women should wear traditional garments and weaves. I’m inspired, really. I’ve promised myself I will wear a sari on one day of Lakme Fashion Week.

During the interview Sabyasachi panned the West’s over-arching influence and approach to fashion. He said: “[I don’t like] the West’s patronising attitude just because they’ve mastered marketing and packaging.” That’s perhaps the most politically incorrect statement a designer could make.

Sabyasachi’s five-year plan is to make his label affordable for everyone in India. Can’t wait for that day!

He also hopes to direct a movie some day– and the costumes may not be designed by him.

The designer may be dressing Vidya Balan, Rani Mukherjee and Sridevi, but his mom doesn’t wear his saris. She says they’re unaffordable, especially “when there are other good saris available for Rs 800”.

Sabyasachi knows there are tonnes of fakes floating around, but he doesn’t mind that, as long as it “empowers karigars in some way.” Noble thought, no?

Sabyasachi-Star World

One word for this creative genius: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

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: 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 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.

Chic Guide: Top 5 things to do this week

Chic Guide: Top 5 things to do this week

Watch: BE BLUNT with Adhuna Akhtar

Every fashionista loves a makeover show. This time, celeb hairstylist Adhuna Akhtar, along with Osh Bhabani wield their styling tools to transform girls from across India. The women get a fab hair makeover and a new look in this six-part series. And they get to meet their fave Bollywood stars too. 😉

BE BLUNT with Adhuna Akhtar 2

BE BLUNT with Adhuna Akhtar will air every night, 10 pm starting July 16- only on TLC.

Buy: Batman tees

Batman fans are in for a double treat this week. First, The Dark Knight Rises releases this weekend, and second- exclusive Batman tees! French Connection’s limited edition range of Batman tees feature comic book illustrations that fan boys will love (sorry, girls- tees are for guys only).

FC City Scape Bat universal teeBatman FC Fight Universal Tee

Batman tees are available at select French Connection stores across India for Rs 1699. Limited stock available.

Look After: Your leather bag

A wet leather bag is never good news. Here’s what you can do to keep it looking as good as new in the monsoon:

  • Pat your wet leather with a soft cloth.
  • Let your bag dry out in a naturally dry place or air-conditioned room. Don’t leave it under direct sunlight!
  • Invest in an appropriate cream or wax for your bag- choose one that actually “moisturizes” your accessory. Use it after the bag is completely dry.
  • Store your leather bag in a cloth bag to protect it from dust and moisture. Do remember to air it once in a while.

Hidesign leather bag

(Tips from Hidesign).

Shop till you drop: 50-50 at Oberoi Mall

This Wednesday, Mumbai will head to Oberoi Mall for its bi-annual 50-50 sale. During this one-day-only offer, 50 brands at the suburban mall will offer FLAT 50% off on their merchandise. There’s fashion (Jack & Jones, Wills Lifestyle, Jashn), beauty, department stores (Lifestyle, Central) and even food counters participating!

50-50 sale is on Wednesday, July 18 only at Oberoi Mall, Goregaon.

Talk about: Superdry coming to India

Superdry is not a new dry cleaning service. It’s a casual wear brand with unique urban clothing that’s set to enter India in partnership with Reliance Brands. Superdry fuses design influences, from Japanese graphics and vintage Americana, with the values of British tailoring, and has got unmistakable branding. Superdry offers mostly casual wear- t-shirts, jeans, sweaters, joggers, shirts, rugby shirts, polo shirts as well as bags and accessories. They have a premium approach with vintage detailing, tailored fits and bespoke fabrics- so expect higher pricing than other casual and sports wear brands Jack & Jones, Levi’s, Puma, Adidas etc. BTW, celeb fans of Superdry include David Beckham and Zac Efron.

Superdry in India

What are you planning to do this week?

Chic Guide: Top 5 things to do this week

Chic Guide: Top 5 things to do this week

Get the look: Cocktail fashion @ Myntra

You know the fashion, now it’s time to get the look. Using Speaking Chic’s introduction to Cocktail fashion, shop for Cocktail-inspired fashion on As the official online shopping partner of the movie, the dedicated Cocktail section features clothes and accessories inspired by three lead characters. Check out the dresses, hot pants, prints and play suits for women. For guys, there are plaid shorts, shirts, blazers, casual jackets and aviator sunglasses.

cocktail 6

Watch: Jhalak Dikhla Ja

True, Jhalak Dikhla Ja is not the kind of show a fashion blog would recommend. But the judges’ wardrobe is a fashion treat. Madhuri Dixit’s experimental saris and sari gowns by designers like Gaurav Gupta are a must-watch, along with her anarkalis.  Karan Johar is quite the fashion star too, wearing sharp jackets and blazers with interesting detailing (zips, embellished lapels). He’s being dressed by Shiraz Siddique.

Jhalak Dikhla Ja airs on Colors, Sat-Sun 9 pm.

Madhuri Dixit in Jhalak Dikhla Ja 5

Jhalak Dikhla Ja 5

Try and buy: Zovi

If you hesitate to buy clothes online because you’re not sure they will fit, try shopping on The Zovi Eye feature is a virtual trial room, and is a webcam application that lets you view yourself in an outfit of your choice. And if the right shoe size is as elusive as the Indian tiger, the website’s “Try N Buy” is just what you need. It’s simple- try on the shoes you ordered at time of delivery, and return them if they don’t fit correctly.

PS- Try out the Zovi Eye feature here.

Grab cult flip-flops: Havaianas

Havaianas are now available in India! With their secret rubber formula, these colorful flip-flops are soft, light, durable and super comfy. I wonder how many Indians would want to spend Rs 790-3800 on chappals, but since the brand is almost a cult, I guess there should be some takers.

Shop for Havaianas at Vama, Mumbai or The Beach Company.

Havaianas Women Style _1Havaianas Men Style_1


Block your dates: LFW W/F 2012

Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2012 is less than a month away. So block your calendar from August 3 to 7 to get a taste of the upcoming festive season’s trends and collections. This season, Kallol Dutta and Pankaj-Nidhi will close the five-day event, while several leading and emerging designers will present their collections. Some shows to look forward to: Wendell Rodricks, Ritu Beri, Pallavi Jaikishen and Drashta.

New Ads: Flying Machine’s jeans ads are all about kissing an a**

New Ads: Flying Machine’s jeans ads are all about kissing an a**

Flying Machine ad1

Denim brand Flying Machine’s new campaign hit the papers recently, and it’s a complete tease! Each ad in the Flying Machine campaign makes use of a shapely rear and a catchy line that seems to say one thing but mean something else. 😀

Take the above ad, for instance: You see a great-looking derriere in a flattering pair of jeans with the punchline “Spank them!” Before you can get all excited, read the rest of the ad copy. The girl seems to say: “I’d like to spank those who think I needed a makeover, said I was size L, and those who considered me unsexy.”

And here’s another cheeky one:

Flying Machine ad3

‘Well-known agency Lowe Lintas has created the campaign for Flying Machine and we’re not surprised to hear that the ads are already drawing flak from “women’s rights activists”. We find these tongue-in-cheek ads brilliant and twisted, and we’re sure a lot of young men and women across India are loving them as well.

Ultimately, the campaign is about jeans made of stretch denim that flatter your body and they speak to chic Indian girls who’ve got attitude, don’t have perfect bodies, and don’t care about exes, fake friends and the rest of the world.

Since decades, denim brands have been courting controversy with their advertising, from Brooke Shields’ famous “Nothing comes between me and my Calvins” to Diesel’s “Be Stupid” that was banned in the UK.

Despite the criticism they get, jeans companies want to do it again and again. After all, you can’t always sell a universal wardrobe staple with boring advertisements, can you?

What do you think about Flying Machine’s new “a**tastic” campaign—is it too good or just titillating?

Bollywood Fashion: Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan wear velvet on KBC

Bollywood Fashion: Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan wear velvet on KBC

Now here’s a Bollywood and TV fashion trend we didn’t see coming: Shahrukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan wearing velvet on consecutive episodes of Panchkoti Mahamani Kaun Banega Crorepati!

On Thursday October 20, Shahrukh Khan played KBC with Big B wearing a black velvet waistcoat over a classic white shirt and black trousers, along with his oversized watch and still-cute dimples. We couldn’t help but be charmed with his self-deprecating humour and the ease with which he wore velvet.

ShahRukh Khan in KBC5

The following Monday (October 24), host Amitabh Bachchan appeared in velvet, though wearing it in a completely different way. While the shirt’s yoke had horizontal pleat detailing, the rest of the shirt was completely velvet. Take a look:

Amitabh Bachchan in KBC 5

FYI, Mr Bachchan’s wardrobe designer for KBC 5 is by Delhi-based designer Rohit Bal.

This is not the first time Amitabh Bachcan has worn velvet on KBC. We spotted him in the premiere of KBC 4 in a velvet suit designed by Vikram Phadnis.

The inevitable question here is: will velvet become a larger trend among men, or will it remain restricted to ramp shows and Bollywood stars?

What do you think of the velvet trend, especially for men?

Chic Ads: Giselle Monteiro plays fashionista for Westside’s Endless Possibilities

Now here’s a fresh approach to Indian fashion advertising. Westside  (the Tata-owned department store) has just launched a brand new campaign featuring Giselle Monteiro. You know Giselle— she’s the gorgeous Brazilian lass who made her  debut in Love Aaj Kal opposite Saif Ali Khan.

Westside ad with Giselle Monteiro

(From Westside website)

In Westside’s new TV commercial, Giselle Monteiro plays multiple roles as she walks on the streets of Prague, dressed in different looks. So you see her as boho chic, androgynous, flower girl and smart city girl. As old men and teens swoon over Giselle, the gals all drive off together. And then we know it’s just one girl with an enviable wardrobe and lots of options to choose from.

The whole vibe is fun and flirty, while the music is Indian retro. 🙂 Here’s the ad:

After watching it once, we wanted to watch it again! While we’re not big fans of Westside’s western clothing options for women, maybe it’s time to pay another visit to the nearest store for a look.

What say, ladies? Do you like the fashion collection at Westside?