Check Mate

Hollywood beauties are smitten by Louis Vuitton’s latest checkered offering. And they all seem to instinctively pick up a version that’s most suited to their personality…

Super babes Miranda Kerr, Kristen Stewart, Jessica Alba, Kirsten Dunst and Isabelli Fontana seem to have something apart from a million women wanting to be like them and more than a million men wanting to be with them. Binding all of these beauties together is a checkered Louis Vuitton dress as each of them has been recently spotted donning one of the iconic brand’s Spring Summer 2013 offering.


Kirsten Dunst got comfortable in a long dress with oft white and caramel checks and to say that the dress seemed to just glide like honey over her milky complexion, would be an understatement. Check out the picture and you’ll know what we’re talking about. Lol… did I just say Check… Must be the LV effect!

Kirsten Dunst in a honey and cream version of the LV dress

Kirsten Dunst in a honey and cream version of the LV dress


Kristen Stewart looked smashing in a bold white and black checkered number. While she would look gorgeous in the caramel outfit that her namesake donned too, we’d say the black does justice to her goth look. Interestingly, given the controversies she’s been in and out of lately, people seem to be judging and categorizing her purely as Good and Bad – White and Black. Spooky!

K Stew -- matching outfits with personalities, perhaps?

K Stew — matching outfits with personalities, perhaps?

Miranda Kerr’s structured shirt dress is less caramel than Kirsten Dunst’s. Thumbs up from us — the soft nude checks make her look less of an ice queen and more feminine.

Miranda Kerr opts for soft nude and white checks

Miranda Kerr opts for soft nude and white checks

Brazilian model Isabeli Fontana teamed her LV checkered skirt with an all covering white top. While we’ve nothing against the top itself, can’t say we’re a fan of the combination… just falls flat and fails impress, doesn’t it. On the bright side, thank God for her vibrant smile, it can set any wardrobe disaster straight.

Isabeli Fontana: Love the skirt, not so much the top.

Isabeli Fontana: Love the skirt, not so much the top.


We know Jessica Alba’s tired of the cute tag, but that doesn’t mean she steps out in this!!! Black and white checks are not meant for everyone and we think Jessica’s helped send that message out successfully.

Black and white's just not for cutesy pie Jessica Alba

Black and white’s just not for cutesy pie Jessica Alba

Guys and gals: Get a pair of Dhoti pants!!!

Actor Sangeeta Bijlani goes for the androgynous look with a vest and dhoti pants ensemble. How cool is that!

Actor Sangeeta Bijlani goes for the androgynous look with a vest and dhoti pants ensemble. How cool is that!

While a dhoti can make you look incredibly sexy, the undesired folds and creases after 5 minutes of roaming around in a dhoti can  make the outfit look very drab. The solution? A ready to wear, pre-stitched dhoti!!! Yes, as simple as that. Fashion designer Anita Dongre dolled up actor Purab Kohli and sultry siren Sangeeta Bijlani in dhoti outfits. Take a cue and follow suit…

Follow actor Purab Kohli's 'dhoti pants' style file to stand out at a family function

Follow actor Purab Kohli’s ‘dhoti pants’ style file to stand out at a family function

Pippa is back. But we’ll look at her from the front…

Pippa Middleton rocks it in a Gucci bag in London. Pic courtesy: Splash News.

Pippa Middleton rocks it in a Gucci bag in London. Pic courtesy: Splash News.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, aka Kate Middleton, the now pregnant wife of Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge has a hot sister who is still unmarried and has caught the attention of several single men around the globe. And though mostly talked about for her posterior, the young lady does look dapper when fully clothed, flashing her dimples. Here’s a recent picture of Pippa, in London. Wrapped in trench coat style jacket, carrying a Gucci Fall/Winter 2012-13 brown leather medium Soft Stirrup bag with top-stitching and gold spur detail. Adorable, isn’t she?

Bikinis and more: James Ferreira rocks IRFW 2012

A model flaunting a dangerously cut bikini by James Ferreira at the IRFW 2012

Resort wear is a tricky business. Everyone thinks it’s the easiest thing to design in the world but there really are only a few whose creations catch your attention and fewer still whose designs make their way into your dreams, keeping you up all night. As I browsed through pictures of what was paraded on the runway on Day One of the ongoing India Resort Fashion Week, in Goa, I didn’t feel the need to stop and spend more than 5 seconds exploring a creations… at least not for the right reasons. That some of the models flaunted uninspiring body frames, didn’t help either. Then I stumbled upon fashion designer James Ferreira’s creations for IRFW. The show seemed like it was a hit, and James, as always, looked like he was having fun. The outfits were simple, flowy and most importantly, functional. There were reversible shorts in cotton crepe, languid dresses for swimwear covers, dresses and jumpsuits for women. The male models strutted in black cowl jumpsuits, swim trunks and white sheer trousers and shirts. We’ll leave the pictures to do the rest of the talking…

A model in James Ferreira resort wear for IRFW 2012

A male model wearing shorts and a sheer shirt designed by James Ferreira for IRFW 2012

James Ferreira (centre) flanked by Isha Sharvani and models in his creations at IRFW 2012

Ritu Beri opens up on criticism for her opulent designs, the most expensive book authored by her and more…

Based in New Delhi, Indian fashion designer Ritu Beri is the first Asian designer to head the French fashion brand, Scherrer. We caught up with the style guru when she came to Mumbai to promote her festive collection for the season. She discusses her new line, future plans and one of the most expensive books, authored by her…

In conversation with Ritu Beri…

Model Lisa Haydon in a Ritu Beri design

Your appearances in Indian fashion events are far few and in between. Why do you keep your fans here waiting so long to catch a glimpse of your work and you?
Ritu Beri: Firstly I love Mumbai, so I am always happy to be here. My schedule has kept me very busy and I have been away travelling, hence I have not been available in the past and I’m now showcasing in Mumbai.

You wanted to start lifestyle stores. What’s the update on that?

Ritu Beri: I intend to establish “Cultural Embassies” representing the Exotic, Mystical and Magical aspects of Asia in Various Forms. The affinity between various cultures culminates in a miracle of perfection and I want to show this to the world.

Whose style sense impresses you — in Bollywood and Hollywood. Why?
Ritu Beri:
Amongst the Indian celebrities, Rekha is who I admire as a person and her charismatic and sophisticated style. Lady Gaga and Daphne Guinness is another favourite.

Your designs have sometimes met with criticism, that they’re too opulent or over the top. Your take…
Ritu Beri:
I love to explore the impossibilities and work in an inspired mode while mostly designing to satisfy myself. I love to work with rich brocades, jacquards, chiffon and georgettes, fabrics that lend sensuality to any look. I try to blend the old world charm of traditional embroideries with modern day patterns and shapes to create interesting textures that allure any look.

You are showing your festive wear line in Kimaya. Can you please describe your line, your inspirations, target audience, etc…
Ritu Beri:
The collection is inspired by our rich culture and heritage. The line comprises of opulent and elaborate silhouettes. The spirit is intrinsically feminine, romantic but flamboyant; the collection is about rich, artistic hand work modelled into contemporary silhouettes with subtle details of embroidery to enhance the soft feminine appeal. Our brand has the same spirit ‘The essence of art meets the divinity of designer couture’ and our target audience is the same.

You wrote and published the most expensive book till date — Firefly – A Fairytale. Any plans to unleash the author in you again?
Ritu Beri:
Firefly is about my experiences in the fashion industry. It is not an autobiography and I prefer to call it a fairy tale. I enjoy exploring the impossibilities and like to work in an inspired mode only to satisfy myself and my passions. I love doing homes and furniture. I dream of writing many inspirational books and more than anything else I keep on doing my charity.

If you don’t mind me asking — why was the book so highly priced (Rs 1 lakh each)?
Ritu Beri:
Firefly was a limited edition of 100 copies. The book release was a great success. It sold out in hours and we went in to print the second edition the very next day.

Ritu Beri

Sridevi shines in coral: The grand return of pop hues

Bollywood actor Sridevi with daughters Jhanavi (in beige) and Khushi

It’s official. Pop colours are back. Designers have been harping about pop shades, bright candy hues and fluorescent tones staging a comeback for a year now; almost every brand worth its salt has introduced slim fit pants in a variety of colours – but when it was when I saw Sridevi attend the Blenders Pride Fashion Tour in Mumbai, with her two daughters in tow, dressed to kill in a flowy coral hued strappy Nandita Mahtani gown, that I realized color was here to stay for quite some time.
Mandira Wirk, Nandita Mahtani, Vikram Phadnis – the designers unleashed colour heavy lines on the runway. And the tones had a fluorescent edge to them.

Mandira Wirk’s collection, inspired by London, had bold cuts and shades that would make the person donning it make heads turn on a summery day, lending depth to the pleasant, soft sun rays.

Model wearing Mandira Wirk

Nandita Mahtani’s creations had glamour, and an indulgent trait to them, thanks to the fluorescent hues.

Model wearing Nandita Mahtani outfit

Vikram Phadnis’ line had Indian clothes, with strong Turkish influences. He teamed muted kurtas with netted skirts in bright peach and bubbly butterfly greens. I can already see the trend being a rage with the swish set, soon trickling down to the masses as well. Bring it on!

Pakistani designers showcase festive wear in Mumbai and Delhi

Indian fashion is being influenced by Pakistani designers. In fact, most of our designers are borrowing elements from Pakistani fashion to give a tweak to bridal and festive wear. The salwar kameez is now ankle-length and the silhouette is flowy, long at the back and slightly short in the front. The salwars range from fitted churidars to loose pant styles. The gowns also have lots of embroidery and gota work. The colour palette is rich and colourful, with ample shimmer and little scope for subtle and toned down and beaten hues.

Pakistani designers Umar Sayeed, Sana Safinaz, Nida Azwer and Maheen Karim among many others, part of the Soiree Boutique in Dubai will be showing their festive collection for the season at Hemant Room, Four Seasons Hotel, Worli, Mumbai. Today is the last day of the showing. Check them out.

Maheen Karim teams a jumpsuit with a rust jacket with embroidery on it for a festive touch

Umar Batul creation

On the other hand, two designers from Pakistan Fashion Design Council have just arrived in Delhi and will be showing their creations and guiding brides to be on their trousseau. Maheen Khadar of Karma and Khadija Shah of Elan will be in the Capital till October 26, 2012 and available for one on one interactions at The Boulevard, M4,  South Extension, Part II, New Delhi, in between 11 am and 8 pm.

Red gown by Umar Sayeed



Designer Rahul Mishra speaks his heart out on grabbing eyeballs with his new collection, the fashion fraternity in the country and on planning a family with wife Divya soon

Rahul Mishra’s version of the Indian sari at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, Spring Summer 2013

Top designers from the fraternity attended your show this time at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week 2013. What was your reaction?
Rahul: I was amazed! Rajesh Pratap Singh, Rohit Bal, Rohit Gandhi, Rakesh Thakore — it was a humbling moment for me. Honestly, I’ve never even spoken to Rohit Bal before, we rarely bump into each other because I am Mumbai based and he is from Delhi. But he made time to watch my show! David Abraham messaged me that he hoped the show would begin a bit late, because he was stuck in a jam and wanted to make it for my show. These are the biggest compliments of the season for me (laughs). My friends who were in the audience tell me that these esteemed designers had good things to say about my collection too. All this makes the struggle in the industry worth while. A lot of fashion editors also praised the line…
Tell us about your new line…
Rahul: The collection is inspired from 2013, the age of Mother Earth. The idea was to look at how consumerism is depleting our resources. We are trying to make more houses and products and end up taking a lot from mother nature in the process. We have to slow down the process… and that’s where the concept of slow fashion was born in my head. The line has handmade fabrics, cotton. I used khadi, one of the oldest fabrics and put modern graphics on them, the kind that will remain stylish in 2012 and 2020 also. The thought behind such futuristic silhouettes was to promote mutual coexistence. I believe that this era is about that, we may make sky scrapers but we have make them green and in a way that it helps conserve energy. The collection has that synergy. At the same time it has drama too.

Not too long ago, you were a rank newcomer in the fashion industry. How do you think the fashion industry in India treats newbies?
Rahul: I feel that our industry is the best for newcomers. If u have talent, you will get all the support required. Every industry has good and bad people and murky politics. But the good part about the fashion industry is that it is full of artists, they are bound to have good in them (laughs). Insecurities may crop up occasionally, but this industry definitely greets new designers with open arms.

Indian model Alesia Raut walks the ramp for Rahul Mishra’s show at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, Spring Summer 2013

Your wife Divya often models for your clothes. What does she get in return, a few free dresses at least?
Rahul: Hahahaaa. My entire office is open for her. She can take whatever she likes. Divya is the best muse and a very simple person. I get very emotional whenever I speak about her, she never demands anything from me, except for spending quality time together. She’s so content about everything.
Your line spoke about slow fashion. When are you planning to slow down…
Rahul: Very soon. Fingers crossed, we’re thinking of starting a family, probably next year.

Most couples don’t like to work with each other, least spending too much time takes a toll on their relationship. Have you felt that way too?
Rahul: I think if you are passionate about something, it adds to the relationship instead of taking away from it. Divya is an amazing designer, I’d say even better than me. Looking us work together backstage, someone once commented that he was reminded of the camaraderie that Rajesh Pratap Singh and his stunning and super-talented wife Payal share, and they always worked together. I don’t mean to compare myself to them, but I guess there are couples who are exceptions to the rule… 🙂
Touch Wood.

LOVE STRUCK: Rahul Mishra with wife Divya

Nachiket Barve and wife-to-be Surabhi Lokre slogging it out at Wills Fashion Week in Delhi

Nachiket Barve

Guess who is giving fashion designer Nachiket Barve company at the ongoing Wills Lifestyle Fashion Week 2013 in Delhi. It’s none other than his wife-to-be, fashion merchandiser Surabhi Lokre! The lovebirds, however, barely have any time to themselves, thanks to the hectic FW schedules. The wedding, Nachiket confirms will be in January. “The exact date is not confirmed but it will be in January,” he says.

We got the lovely and shy Surbhi to open up…

Who is your favourite fashion designer?

Surabhi: That would be Nachiket Barve.

Did he hold a gun to your head and ask you to say that?

Surabhi: Lol. No. Honestly, I’ve been a fashion merchandiser even before I met him and I’ve always identified with his fashion ideology and liked his designs a tad bit more than the others.

Whose design do you plan to wear for your wedding?

Surabhi: Nachiket’s… but of course!


Over to Nachiket for some serious fashion talk:

What is your new line about?

Nachiket Barve: Hacienda, my line is inspired by old restored Spanish villas. The colours, the artists, the architects who restored them for their own use – all these people breathed life into these villas and gave them an esteemed chic value. The local textiles, flora and fauna inspired me to translate these observations into various garments.

Nachiket Barve design (from a previous collection)

How is this line different from your previous collections?

Nachiket: The palette is very different from what I usually play with. Cantaloupe, Flamingo, Melon, Avocado, Papaya, Paprika, Olive, Chalk, Ochre, Mimosa Green, Lilac, Apricot, Chartreuse, Mustard, Lotus Pink, Maroon and accents of black and metallic burnished gold and bronze. I’ve adopted a new way of mixing tonal colour schemes, where colours with varying intensities and hues from one family are put together with a sensual effect rather than sharp contrasts. The fabrics used are georgette, chiffon, crepe, shot silk, raw silk, organza and the like… Having said this, the collection is ME in many ways, so you will find typical Nachiket signature elements in terms of drape and structure.

Narendra Kumar Ahmed aka Nari was full of praises for Rahul Mishra and your work. Do you think you are ready to take on the big guns?

Nachiket: I don’t think in that way at all. I mean I’m Zen in that sense. I would like to believe that I’m competing with myself and I say this in the most non-filmy way! Yes, at the end of the day, we’re all here to do business and grab the bigger share of the pie, but in a very healthy manner. We cannot control our own fate or anyone else’s. I just want to keep moving on, it’s all that matters to me.

That did sound a bit filmy. In your opinion, are the established designers supportive of new entrants in the fashion industry?

Nachiket: Anyone who is in love with fashion has a sense of joy when they see good work. I think there is a a lot of appreciation from the ‘big’ designers when they see new talent present something refreshing and nice. Frankly, none of us (the new lot) would be here without the support and appreciation.