My favourite shopping streets in Europe

Also read: Awesome shopping streets in Asia.

Strøget, Copenhagen (Denmark)

A gorgeous street in Copenhagen, but alas, the shops close by 7 pm and the prices are outrageous for tourists on non-European salaries. Strøget is one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe, and is lined with popular high street stores like Topshop, Zara, H&M and some local brands. There’s also a giant Lego store (yay!). The summer of 2014, Strøget was buzzing with tourists and locals enjoying the atmosphere, sipping coffee at outdoor cafes, and just strolling about. I especially enjoyed the walk on cobblestoned streets and checking out the heritage buildings, still in excellent condition.

Shopping Stroget in Copenhagen

Stroget shopping Copenhagen

Taksim Square, Istanbul (Turkey)

Back in 2010 when I visited Turkey, the famous Taksim Square was THE PLACE to be on a Saturday night. Crowded even in the day, the place came alive on weekend evenings, with thousands of people partying, shopping and grabbing a bite well past midnight. The streets off the square became a no-car zone, dozens of food and souvenir vendors set up shop and the “party” began. The atmosphere was pulsating with high energy, and I felt like I’d just had two Red Bulls. After a quick pizza, I made my way through the packed streets to go shopping, spending at least an hour at the multi-storeyed Mango store. The best part—shops were open till midnight!

PS- Due to the changing political situation in Turkey, I’m not sure if the late-night shopping continues.

Kurfürstendamm, Berlin (Germany)

Who would’ve thought that the staid German capital would have such wonderful shopping! Kurfürstendamm (quite a mouthful no?) is the center of most tourist activities in Berlin and a great place to shop. The street has all the high street brands you could name- Zara, Diesel, Uniqlo, H&M, Pull & Bear… you get the idea. I shopped till I dropped at Pull & Bear, and got a great leopard print backpack from Zara for just €10. I also bought kitchen appliances at the German department store KaDeWe, which was stocked with unbelievable appliances in the German aesthetic: clean design and high-tech precision. Also the souvenir shops are worth checking out for cool tees, shot glasses and Berlin messenger bags that look great and are easy on the pocket.

Berlin Kufustendamm shopping

La Rambla, Barcelona (Spain)

Being in Spain, you expect to see local fashion brands at every corner. And well, they are! In and around the 1.2 kilometre-long La Rambla, you have the choice of the world’s best-known fashion and beauty brands, and you will never want to stop. I shopped at Zara, Mango, H&M, Bershka, The Body Shop, Shana… This was in 2011, and the Euro was not as frightfully expensive as it is today. At the Plaza Catalunya end of the street (north end), there’s the Spanish department store El Corte Inglés, where I bought Bobbi Brown makeup and tons of accessories. El Corte Inglés is a quintessential part of the Spanish life and each store is different from the others. It’s a must-visit anywhere in the country.

Barcelona shopping La Rambla

Barcelona shopping La Rambla artists

Awesome shopping streets in South East Asia

Shopping (and window shopping) is one of my favourite things to do when I travel to a new city or country. It gives me a feel of the local fashion, an opportunity to discover ideas for new looks and a sense of how the people there like to dress.

I particularly enjoy walking through shopping streets because they’re so much more fun than malls. You get to the see the neighbourhood, the city’s architecture and of course, street life. In this two-part series, I’m listing my favourite shopping streets. The first part covers my favourite shopping streets in Asia.

Hang Gai, Hanoi (Vietnam)

Hanoi’s Hang Gai has everything a fashionista would want: cute boutiques, chic souvenir stores, French-style cafes, local art stores and even a tshirt-only store. I shopped all of these on Hang Gai and in the neighbourhood, stepping into side streets to discover embroidery stores, handcrafted goods and lots of silk! My top buys: A tongue-in-cheek Hanoi tshirt from Ginkgo (local fashion brand) and hand-embroidered pouches. Browsing at local boutiques in Hang Gai and Hang Trong for clothes and accessories is highly recommended! You may just stumble across some unique finds.

Hanoi Vietnam street shopping

Hanoi Vietnam street shopping

Hanoi Vietnam street shopping

Orchard Road, Singapore

Orchard Street is anyone’s dream destination to shop in Singapore, and the craziness begins when you step off the MRT. I bought two pairs of shoes right at the station even before I hit the shopping street above. 😛 The good news is that Orchard Street has a range of malls to suit different shopping budgets. The bad news is, you want to go everywhere. After a lot of disappointments at Orchard Street stores (international brands were cheaper in India and H&M was a disaster), I finally discovered a store at 313 Somerset called Valleygirl that had trendy dresses and tops at moderate prices.

Singapore Orchard Road shopping

Singapore Orchard Road shopping

Singapore Orchard Road shopping

Singapore Orchard Road shopping

Bugis Street, Singapore

Yep, two places in Singapore! Bugis Street is a delight if you want to hog while you shop! I shopped there late evening, and bagged cool bargains on tops, lingerie, nightwear and souvenirs. Then we had a very Singaporean snack right on the street- the icecream sandwich. The restaurants on Bugis Street serve good local fare as well. I didn’t venture deep inside the market, which is where the best deals are to be found, but the street-facing and ground floor shops have some great deals!

Bugis street Singapore shopping

Bugis street Singapore shopping

Bugis street Singapore shopping

Bugis street Singapore shopping

 

WINTER TIME: 20-plus chic essentials for the ladies

Ahh, the lovely winter days. The mercury dips, you pile up on the layers and sip on hot chocolate. If you hate the cold weather, why not let these stylish choices perk you up? Indulge in one of these stylish knits, jackets, coats or accessories and look chic!

Knitwear- The basics

Long camel knit from Zara

Zara camel long cardigan

Round-neck sweater from Arrow

Arrow sweater for winter

Zipped white knit from Calvin Klein Jeans

Calvin Klein Jeans _womencardigan

Funky sweaters- for the teenager in you

Animal print sweater from French Connection

FCUK animal sweater

Christmas hoodie from B: Kind

B Kind hoodie

Jackets that spell C-h-i-c

Jacket from Splash

Splash winter jacket

Puffed jacket from Guess

Guess winter jacket

Statement coats- The real head-turners

Edith Wrap Coat from Forever New

Forever New- EDITH WRAP COAT

 

Greene Coat from American Swan

American Swan Greene Red Blazer

Furry styles- Faux, of course!

Animal print coat from French Connection

FCUK fur coat

Abstract print furry jacket from Guess

Guess winter fur jacket

Camouflage print fur coat from Splash

Splash- Winter special party wear- Fuzzy fur coat

Cool leather jackets- ‘Coz biker chicks rock!

Leather jacket from Calvin Klein Jeans

CKJ_women leather jacket

Boots to make your feet look sexy

Thigh-high boots from Clarks

Clarks Kendra Candy Black Leather

Fur-trim ankle-length boots from Clarks

Clark Lisette Blues Black Leater

Blue boots from Metro

Blue boots- Metro Shoes

Accessories- To complete your winter ensemble

Hats, gloves, scarves and snood from Accessorize

Winter accessories from Accessorize

Bollywood Fashion: Sonam Kapoor’s designer explains her quirky look in Khoobsurat

A royal palace, a prince, and a very propah rani. That’s hardly the right place for a vibrant, quirky, almost boho clothes. But then there’s the movie Khoobsurat and Sonam Kapoor pulling off the most outrageous looks in this high-society setting.

Khoobsurat poster

Sonam Kapoor plays Dr Milli Chakravarty in Khoobsurat, and her hard-to-miss outfits will get your fashion radar beeping. There are quirky colours and prints, perfectly complimenting her candid dialogues. Karuna Laungani, who has designed costumes for Sonam Kapoor in Khoobsurat , explains how it all came together.

How did you go about creating the look for Sonam Kapoor in Khoobsurat?

I was inspired by her character Milli- she’s a very unique personality. She doesn’t care what the world thinks of her, and is bit of a tomboy. But she’s also feminine, a bit Indian and modern. Her look is therefore a bit androgynous mixed with prints. She has lots of things running though her mind at a time, which shows on her clothes. So she would probably end up in a pair of mismatched socks!

What did you keep in mind while designing Sonam Kapoor’s look?

The director Shashanka Ghosh’s brief was clear—Milli needed to stand out. The movie is mostly set in a royal palace, so everyone and everything there is very proper. With her kooky persona, the reaction she is mostly likely to elicit from people is: “OMG, what is she wearing?!” But Milli carries off the look and makes it her own. Sonam’s look by itself may not make sense, but with her character’s personality, it all falls together.

Khoobsurat selfie- Sonam Kapoor

So what is Sonam wearing in Khoobsurat?

Since Milli she expresses herself with what she wears, I’ve played around with androgyny that’s mixed with Indian prints. There is also plenty of layering, and mixing of colours and prints. Since she’s eccentric and experimental, she may not wear a typical salwar-kurta. Instead she’ll wear dhoti pants and a Rajsthani patchwork jacket. And she’ll wear boxers with cute onesies as nightwear.

Sonam Kapoor in Khoobsurat trailer

Where did you source Sonam Kapoor’s costumers from?

The sourcing was too much fun! We got to try a whole range of brands, looks and designers with all sorts of garments and accessories. I sourced a lot from Indian designers like Anupama Dayal, Karishma Shahani, and Pero (for scarves). From high Street, I chose Bhane for basics, and other brands like Vero Moda, Only, Zara and Asos. Her sneakers are from Adidas, worn with Happy Socks.

What about the accessories?

Milli’s accessories are fun, just like her. She wears Adidas sneakers throughout the film, they’re very sporty! You will also see her in jootis (since she’s living in Rajasthan) and her red watch. You would have already seen her maroon oversized spectacle frames in the posters and trailers. When it comes to jewellery, she’s wearing sensible studs (she’s a physiotherapist after all!), and there’s an arm party happening with lots of arm bracelets and arm bands! She probably got them on Friendship Day from her student days.

Khoobsurat-accessories

What is the one trend that you think stands out in the movie?

The Workout Look. Since Milli is a physiotherapist, she needs to wear practical clothes for working out. But she has fun even with her active wear. So she ends up wearing pink or blue tights with a striped sports bra, and interesting bomber jackets with floral prints.

What is the one thing you would to steal from Milli’s wardrobe?

EVERYTHING!! I like prints, colours, Indian textiles, and I love mixing everything up so it’s really difficult to say. But if I had to pick just one thing, I’d choose her sneakers.

Sonam Kapoor Khoobsurat poster

What is your favourite look from Khoobsurat?

It’s already on the poster. It’s a purple and pink cropped sweater with checked pants. Also, I like the dhoti pants with a blouse and blue shrug, with purple aviataors. It’s such a cool Indo-western look.

What advice would you give anyone who wants to take inspiration from Milli?

Think out of the box. You can clash prints and mix them up, or wear a fun tunic or kurta with denim and sneakers. You could try a printed skirt and printed blouse, but make sure they go together. It’s nice to wear Indian-inspired accessories (like silver jewellery) with skirts and shorts or even shirts. Electrical blue skirts would look great with sneakers and Indian kurtas.

All you need is the right attitude, and should know your style constraints. Of course, good taste in putting things together really helps. Most importantly, think about your personal style and what works for you and your body.

What was it like working with Sonam Kapoor, a fashion icon?

Sonam is an actor first, then a fashion icon. For her, it was getting into the skin of the character above anything else. She was very sporting and I loved how she could make every look work. She kind of inspires you to push the edge and try to do better. So when I would hesitate, she would say, “Come on, add another layer to this look”, and voila! It would look great.

Khoobsurat releases September 19 in cinemas across India.

Chic Trends: Spring summer recap in 2 minutes!

Chic Trends: Spring summer recap in 2 minutes!

It’s SALE time everywhere, which means the fashion season is coming to an end. I thought it would be the right time to look back at the fashion highlights and trends of spring summer.

Hottest summer colours: Neons
Almost every fashion brand had a hint or more of neon. I even spotted Indian wear with neon touches, from Masaba to Namrata Joshipura. They are such fun colours for saris!

Last summer hangover: Sorbet shades
The average girl on the street wore mostly pastel and sorbet shades, the delicate colours from last year. I was bored of the soft feminine look already, and it’s still around. Sigh.

Predictable summer trend: Sheer
We would have liked to see some cool options beyond sheer for summer. When a friend and I went looking for nice tops for work, we came home empty-handed because all we saw were transparent tops. Not cool for office, and layering is time-consuming.

Magazine and street faves: Lines
Thick, bold vertical stripes caught on and every gal wanted to wear black and white lined pants, tops and blazers.

In the mags, not on the streets: Crop tops, sporty chic
How many of us have the abs, confidence and the right audience to flaunt our midriff? And as for sporty chic pieces, I am still getting over the Juicy Couture track suit fixation (remember that fad?). So sporty looks for regular wear is not happening.

Old trend with a new twist
Florals with fresher prints like daisies and blossoms. From flowers, the focus shifted to leaves, grass, the garden, or the forest. And all very Oriental and tropical.

Most coveted fashion piece
Printed pants. I spotted floral, tropical and even animal prints on trousers and denim.

The new animal print…
Birds! The winged creatures flapped their wings on tops, dresses, pants… you name it.

Chic Accessory: 1 Versatile Bag, 3 Hot Trends, 6 Easy Looks!

Chic Accessory: 1 Versatile Bag, 3 Hot Trends, 6 Easy Looks!

A versatile bag is what every woman needs. The bag should be great-looking, spacious and compliment the trends of the season. I found one such bag at the Lavie store over the weekend, and the easy style, the comfortable size and the pop of colour made me want it immediately. I was inspired enough to pair this bag with the hottest trends (neutrals, prints and aqua) and the right occasions to wear them, with must-have add-ons and accessories.

Take a look.

Trend 1: Classic neutrals (for office)
The bag will hold your tablet, makeup kit and wallet. The sober colour scheme makes it an excellent pairing for classic and casual work wear, from blouses and trousers, to skirts and dresses.

Look1-Work

(Blouse & trousers from Arrow, dress from Mango, blazer from Vinegar, Earrings from Tanishq, Shoes from Tresmode).

Trend 2: Bold prints (for leisure)
Exotic, tropical, Asian, floral… wear these prints to a movie, lunch date or shopping, grab this bag, and your look is complete!

Look 2- Leisure

(Top from French Connection, pants from W, dress from Zara, cuff from Juvalia & You, earrings from Aldo Accessories)

 

Trend 3: Aqua (for holiday)
You need this Lavie bag for your holiday– to carry your sun block, documents, some shopping and even a snack. And the aqua colour scheme is a perfect contrast for your summery bag (and mood).

Look3 Holiday

(Tee from Forever New, shorts from Only, dress from Elle Fashionwear, Hat from Toniq, Sunglasses from Opium)

How are you wearing your favourite bag today?

Chic Shopping Guide: Where to shop for swimwear

Chic Shopping Guide: Where to shop for swimwear

After figuring out what swimsuit is right for you (from my previous post), it’s time to go shop for one! But if you’re bored of your neighbourhood “department” store, here are our suggestions where you could find swimsuits that are stylish, trendy and fun.

PS- You can buy some of the swimsuits online- just click on the image where the website is mentioned.

Bollywood Fashion: Wear Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola’s looks the easy way

Bollywood Fashion: Wear Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola’s looks the easy way

As expected from a movie based in rural India,  there’s not much fashion in Vishal Bharadwaj’s latest venture Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola. With costumes by Payal Saluja, the clothes are rustic and raw as they should be, with each key character having a distinct style statement. Here they are (and how you can wear them):

Matru (Imran Khan)
Matru is not what he seems to be. Though he serves the zamindar, his revolutionary spirit is camouflaged well. Hence his look is decidedly blend-in-the-crowd and inconspicuous.

Imran Khan in Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola

What he’s wearing: He dons a cotton kurta with sleeves folded or rolled up, teamed with worn-out waistcoat or leather jacket,  jeans and long scarf (the rural gamcha) wound around his neck.

How to wear: Both guys and girls can ape this ambiguous look, except perhaps for the gold balis and kada on his wrist. Instead of kurtas, try a long-sleeved tee for a more “cityish” look.

Recommendation: Kurta from Fab India

Men's kurta from Fab India

Bijlee (Anushka Sharma)
She’s cute but bold, and has got tattoos at the oddest of places to prove she’s rebellious.

Anushka Sharma in Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola

(Picture courtesy: Official movie page on Facebook)

What she’s wearing: Anushka is in chunky  knits/ shawls and oversized crochet tops over camisoles, with a skirt or hot pants and lace stockings. Her hair is usually a mess, but the eyeliner is never out of place. On her wedding day, she changes from shorts to a calf-length ghagri in what seems to be a jiffy.

How to wear: Baggy tops are hot right now so wear them much as you like, but skip the shorts and wear jeans with boots instead. It’s grungy enough without being inappropriate.

Accessories tip: Anushka’s accessories are quirky earrings (like the long feathers-on-chains in Oye Boy Charlie) and several leather bands around her wrist. All of these are easily available at local and high street brands.

Recommendations: Cable knit cardigan from Zara, Color Carnival earrings (available on ShopInOnIt).

Zara Cable Knit Cardigan

color carnival long earrings inonit

 

Mandola (Pankaj Kapur)
The most complex character in the movie, Mandola is the rich zamindar who lives a luxurious life. On an ordinary day, he chooses between a Rolls Royce, Bentley and limousine and has a guy to hold his sunglasses for him.

Pankaj Kapur in Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola

What he’s wearing: He dresses elegantly in tailored suits, complete with matching pocket squares and scarves. And oh, very British hats! Unfortunately his Haryanvi paunch requires him to wear unattractive suspenders. Pankaj Kapur may not be a handsome actor,  but his character’s irony is not lost given the context of rural India.

How to wear: Most men may choose to wear coloured suits now, but the best bets are still black, grey and navy. Ties are optional.

Recommendation: Suit from Anita Dongre

Anita Dongre suit

2013 Crystal Ball: Shopping trends, big fashion headlines

2013 Crystal Ball: Shopping trends, big fashion headlines

Loving the lingerie
Women are enjoying the sexy inner wear options they’re getting online, from lacy corsets to G-strings. And there are plenty of websites to choose from (Zivame, Peri Peri Skinwear and Straps and Strings). Now I wouldn’t buy a bra without trying it on first, but things like straps, stockings and free size tube tops can be bought easily!

(Lace leggings from Zivame.com)

Zivame-Caprice Designer Stretch Lace Leggings

My precioussss!
From a diamond engagement ring to a polki necklace,  people may  end up buying fine jewellery online.  I’m sure our moms would prefer to go to the trusted family jeweler,  but hey, who has the time, right?

Niche wins
If you’re a gothic-loving young lady, or a new mom, or a designer-obsessed fashionista, there are already brands (and websites) especially for you. And you will get plenty more options this year.

Your favourite brand- now a click away
More brands, big and small, will take the online route in 2013. Many Indian and foreign fashion, accessory and jewellery brands have already adopted online shopping (Bombay High, Forever New, Shoppers Stop, Metro) and many more will follow this year. Zara’s India website seems to just a payment gateway away from ecommerce.

Forever-New-homepage

Big news to expect in 2013:

“[Online brand] sponsors big fashion event.”
Online fashion brands have got big marketing bucks to spend, and they will. Zovi, for instance,  is sponsoring the GenNext show at Lakme Fashion Week coming season.

“Indian designers introduce affordable lines”
Anita Dongre ventured into menswear last year, and has several affordable options in waistcoats, bandhgalas and sherwanis. Sabyasachi, meanwhile,  has quietly launched a line of saris that are under Rs 10,000. Word is that he’s on the lookout for investors to expand this sub-brand (called Sabyasachi by Sabysachi), and it’s likely he will find some in 2013.

“H&M to open in India”
Now that single brand retail ventures can have 100% foreign investment, I’m hoping H&M, Topshop and others make their “We’re coming to India” announcements soon. I am very very keen on shopping at Dorothy Perkins!

Chic Guide: 5 things guys need this December

Chic Guide: 5 things guys need this December

Winter jackets and coats

Trench coats are classics, wool jackets are reliable, and shiny finishes are hot right now!

Trench coat from Zara

Zara Velveteen Trench Coat

Lined Reefer jacket from La Redoute (available on Rock.in)

LA Redoute  LINED REEFER JACKET

Jacket from Celio

CELIO_Purevers jacket

 

Party essentials

A fun evening shirt, smart blazer or coloured jeans- what are you wearing to the Christmas and New Year parties?

Shirt from Calvin Klein Jeans

CKJ- shirt

Blazer from Diesel

Diesel Blazer

Look from Rajat Tangri Lakme Fashion Week Winter/ Festive 2012

Rajat Tangri- blazer

Sherwani/ Bandhgala

There are plenty  of weddings to attend this month and the next, so an embroidered or brocade sherwani is a smart fashion investment. Gentlemen will also love the classic bandhgala in a contemporary colour.

Look from Debarun Lakme Fashion Week Winter/ Festive 2012

Model in Debarun LFW W/F 2012

Look from Anita Dongre

Bandhgala- Anita Dongre

Scarf/ muffler

Scarves and mufflers say a lot about you while keeping you warm. Are you Mr Safe Grey or Mr Experimental?

Decking stripes scarf from French Connection

FC Decking Stripes Scarf 1999

Scarf from United Colors of Benetton

aw12_ucbman_sl_44

The right shoes

There’s lot of places to go this month and the next, and you need shoes to take you there.

Hand woven shoes from RUOSH (for weddings)

RUOSH Hand woven wedding shoes. Rs 5490

Shoes from Kenneth Cole (for parties)

Kenneth Cole shoes1