Tuesday, May 26, 2015

FTLOFAOT x LetterNote

Back in the day when Hauz Khas Village was on the verge of a cool hipster break out and hanging in its by-lanes wasn't as common as owning a Gucci bag in the city of Delhi, I enjoyed my occasional trips there. It helped that I lived close by and was always on the look out for niche boutiques and small labels that created interesting products. Not just to admire but to well, shop from since I self-diagnosed a serious case of a shopping disorder. Amongst my precious finds was the little boutique called LetterNote where I could spend countless hours just soaking in the the cool and aesthetically pleasing designs and their fun, inspiring design messages. It helped that I have and will for the foreseeable future be a stationery buff and obsessively collect notebooks. It was then, a delightful surprise to hear from them a few years later now to work with them on this post and shoot. I could not have been more pleased, and to have Jagrati Marwaha on board to do the photos just made my life easier. Breaking down the vibe of the concept and photography for you in common parlance would in my opinion, break the spirit of it all. Take a moment and savour this.

Black bodysuit: C/O Stalk buy love
Denim cut offs: Forever 21
Oxford platforms: C/O Clarks
Oversized coat: H & M , France.

Find all the LetterNote goodness right here on their website and also on facebook.

Photography courtesy of Jagrati Marwaha, more of whose work you can also find on winterynights.tumblr.com and jagrati-marwaha.tumblr.com


Friday, May 22, 2015

Grace Kelly in the times of the Myntra app

There isn’t exactly a lot that can go wrong with you if you’re born into royalty. But that’s the thing with style, it isn’t your birthright simply by being born with a silver spoon. However, privileged are those who are born with the utmost understanding of fashion and style and not mentioning Grace Kelly in the same sentence would do her injustice. This Princess of Monaco definitely wrote her own fairytale with her impeccable acting career graph and her innate sense of style.

But in this day and age, all your fashion woes are a question away. Just sit back and think, 'what would Grace Kelly do' and the answers would come to you. This absolute looker would definitely have jumped on to the game changer that is the Myntra app for all her sartorial woes. A normal day in the life of this Principessa, would probably go something like this. A day parading around the royal courtyard and tea with the ladies? Worry not, hop on to the Myntra app and your next stylish buy is just a click away. But you cannot possibly compose that perfect Grace Kelly look without the right accompaniments, could you? It’s a good thing then, that the Myntra app takes care of your shoe needs too. But even if Grace needed to get her A-game on for say, something as dynamic as the Academy Awards, there isn’t nothing that a perfectly good shopping app like Myntra couldn’t do, along with her classic string of pearls of course. It’s nigh impossible for Grace to have ever got a foot wrong and in this modern day and age, I feel almost jubilant for the blessing that is technology. Fun, eclectic styles of clothing and accessories that are merely a tap away on your swanky gadgets.

Did I mention, I feel like a modern day Grace Kelly with all these styling options on the cool apps like Myntra, so accessible to me? #ItsPersonal

The cool, minimal Myntra app design totally gets our generation. Definite potential for creating quite a few geek chic princesses. Take a look at a few features I have highlighted for your benefit.

Grace Kelly would be proud of this modern day fairytale.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sitara by Shalini: Lookbook shoot

The thing with beautiful jewellery, is that it's a joy forever. Much like any other thing of beauty, only more timeless. In a market where every designer, every mammoth of a design house is trying to carve a niche for themselves by creating products to cater to all levels of the market, Sitara by Shalini Bakliwal does the same thing with the utmost ease. When I first met the gorgeous Shalini of Sitara fame, I stopped in my tracks by the amount of knowledge she had amassed about every stone, every string that goes into making her line of precious jewellery. The label caters to the creme de la creme of Delhi city and is already making waves in the exhibition circles within a few years of its birth. I personally am the kind of target market Sitara jewellery is created for. The market who does not just believe in chunky kundan sets. The kind of market who believes in styling versatile looking kundan drop earrings in five different manners, as opposed to predictably wearing them with my handloom saree. In a situation where you are looking to make a huge investment in a stunning pair of say, polki chandelier earrings that you hope to pass on to your children one day, how great is it that you now have the option of reaching out to smaller designers who will ensure every bit of your earrings is customized to your liking, without leaving you to a 'soup kitchen' kind of a life forever. I, for one am sold on all her cocktail pieces that play with the likes of sparkling sapphires and rubies in wonderful modern looking constructs.
It was a pleasure styling and modelling for her first lookbook of the season, with the best team I could ask for. You can satiate all your precious bauble cravings from Sitara here on Sitara.fine jewellery by Shalinibakliwal and on instagram Shalini Chopra Bakliwal.

Modelled and styled by: Shreya Kalra
Make up by: Sakshi Malik
Photography by: Arjun Mehta Photography


Friday, May 15, 2015

What to do in Banaras

Not exactly your tropical weather, lounging around aimlessly kind of a holiday but Banaras has been one of my most enriching vacations. A four day trip to the state of Uttar Pradesh, to the holy city of Banaras or Varanasi as it is now known has managed to create for itself a large sketched heart over my virtual travel map. And no, it is not because I belong to the generation which tries too hard to be Indie-cool. I genuinely believe that unearthing the history of your own country and learning about its beautiful people is just as important as jet setting off to another continent. My trip was not propelled by the over simplified 'India is the land of yoga and god's men' belief but it definitely had an element of curiosity about how people who believe that, absorb Banaras. I do believe in the healing powers of yoga. I definitely do believe in a superior omnipotent power that looks over us all. But most importantly, I believe in the beauty of ancient architectural set up along with its mystifying creations. I believe in exploring and tracing my roots while absorbing the wafting aromas of the Indian palette on the way. From the famous Benarasi kachori to the Ganga Aarti by the banks of the River Ganga held at sunset, I managed to scale the entire city in a span of four days and in the the manner which is succinct and easy for you to refer to, I will give you a low down on all the do's and don'ts for your trip to the city of Banaras, whenever you decide to go. It helps that I got you a lot of photographs to incentivise your next holiday in Incredible India.

  1. It is ridiculously obvious that you would want to spend most of your time in the olden part of the city, close to the popular Ghats. Let me still, state the obvious. There are 365 ghats around the river Ganga in the city but only a handful are really significant. Dashashwamedha, Asi, Kedar, Munshi, these should be at the top of your list.
  2. The evening aarti at Dashashwamedha Ghat. No amount of photographs can do justice to the soulful experience of a gazillion temple bells and conch shells going off with the pandits performing the puja with an entire squad of lamps and diyas, in unison. The smell of incense soaks your senses and it is best to just be in the moment, at the evening aarti which starts off at nightfall. Find yourself a good spot and also, don't forget to let off your plate of flowers and a diya in the river to make a wish.
  3. A boat ride across the ghats. If you heard me on instagram then you know how despite the intrinsic touristy value of a boat ride, this one you will not regret. Also, it creates a great wonderful photo op.
  4. Food is beautiful in Benaras but if you do not believe in literally taking to the streets, some of your best bets for the sweets and savoury treats include Ksheer Sagar sweets. I could also dedicate a whole blog post to the amazing guys at Baba Lassi but let me just leave you with the thought that every conceivable lassi flavour to the power awesome infinity can be found here. It also helps that the owner is a chiller who you can have friendly conversations with over *ahem* lassi. You will see more of him in another blog post. 
  5. The hipster experience. I really do enjoy breaking free from the crowds and the social protocols and hanging loose and sometimes walking off the trodden path. It makes me an occasional hipster and I tend to be happy with it. Get lost in the lanes of Munshi Ghat. Take some time to admire the wall art or the beautiful carvings on the tiny colourful doors. Stop to talk to the locals or even buy some local incense. The Mona Lisa Cafe and German bakery is wonderfully nice with great wifi access but the food was not as great. For the great traveller cafe food experience, hit Pizzeria Vatika at Assi Ghat for fresh juices and authentic wood fire pizza. The cafe overlooks the ghats and is right next to a wonderful little bookshop that also sells beautiful postcards. What's not to love.
  6. The silk shopping. The best places and also with the most competitive pricing, to buy your stash of Banarsi silk sarees would have to be at the Chowk. From highly exclusive work that is supplied to the biggest retailers across the metropolitans to the smaller shops that cuts the cost of the middle men, this is your one stop shop for your silk shopping. Of course, shops are dotted across the entire city selling you silk sarees from as little as Rs. 500 (INR) to as much as Rs. 1,00,000(INR) but from our painstaking research and experience, this market should suffice.
  7. Do not trust the auto wallahs and rickshaw wallahs (the public mode of conveyance) in the city, with all your heart. We faced a small incident of petty undue pocketing and were more careful thereon. There are arbitrary rates with the rickshaws but try and establish that you know your way around and you would be less likely to get taken for a ride. Also, these are your best choices for transportation since the culturally rich parts of the city are made up of thin alleyways. 
  8. While a lot of websites point you towards, 'Open Hand cafe' and ' Baba Black Sheep', I would not put them on my list of 'cannot possibly miss' in the city. In one word: overrated. 
  9. Go to Banaras with the understanding that the entire city does not look like a postcard. There are parts of the city which would probably make you feel like you were in any developing city with its sprouting malls and a host of international stand alone stores. 
  10. If you plan to pick souvenirs or even trinkets or artefacts that would serve as constant reminders of your holiday, it is best to try the rows of small shops near the ghats (try Munshi Ghat). The cafes and emporiums will almost always have the same kind of products but with a higher price tag.
Pizzeria Vatika

Street art depicting the 'fearless' woman

The time I attained a little insight into peaceful living

Pizzeria Vatika

The jolly 'ol chap at Baba Lassi

Jumpsuit: C/O Stalk Buy Love

A few blogposts are on their way. Till then, I can't wait to address questions from you guys about this sojourn in Banaras. Ask away in the comments. 


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Where is the style

Style is fluid. Not only does it vary from individual to individual, you also eventually realise that it varies from time to time. I believed I was as sure of what my stand on personal style was, as sure as I am of the fact that we are a nation of slightly weird people celebrating the birth of the Royal baby like it was of the utmost consequence to us. But without taking a detour to what I believe is one of the most over-hyped events of the year, let me quickly get to the point that I am attempting to establish here.

Not every day is about hours of conceivable permutation combinations of clothing before the decision is made. Not every woman is of the belief that style comes with extreme effort. This post is my ode to omnipresent style. The kind that exists in the mundane. The kind that goes ignored by the millions who do not stop to look for it. As a part of my production, I have obviously modelled fully aware of the camera but we have tried to create prototypes for my personal concepts of what, in the large scheme of things could silently, in a subtle manner of sorts, qualify as mundane yet stylish moments. The outfit is very downtown New York, incorporating a cool idea for summer layering yet keeping it nonchalant by slinging the jacket on the shoulder. The tan prairie boots and the delicate gold chain with a fine cotton boxy dress with bare make up give you the idea that the woman believes in comfort and colour without accentuating her appearance too much with any kind of artifice. I have tried to create a contrast of colours and moments. From hints of music to a breakfast on the go. From colours of red and blue against the green palette of the dress and a moment of pure comfort and ease where she decides to put up her hair on the go, sans any mirror, hairbrush et al. It is this that strikes me as the reinforcement of the belief that style is as style does.

Photography courtesy of Jagrati Marwaha, more of whose work you can also find on winterynights.tumblr.com and jagrati-marwaha.tumblr.com

Dress: COS (Spain)
Jacket: Forever 21
Boots: Forever 21
Necklace: c/o Miss Flurrty

Now for a foodie rant. I recently stumbled upon Foodpanda which is a website that essentially gives you the service of ordering take out from the cozy confines of your house in more than hundred cities in India. In the market where food apps and websites are bourgeoning by the minute, Foodpanda struck me as one of its kind mainly because of its cool filters that allow you to specifically look as particularly as 'late night delivery of food'. It also gives you every possible detail from what your minimum order should be to how much time they usually take to deliver. But my favourite part has to be their discount codes and vouchers which are privy to only their users. You can understand why I would be sold on such a concept given that my tales of laziness run all asunder. Have you tried it yet? Share your experience with me.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...