Monday, December 26, 2016

FTLOFAOT with Aeropostale and POPxo

Over years I have gotten around to growing a thick skin towards winter. Every season I vent and go back to figuring out ways to battle a myriad of issues like a perpetually triggered off sinus, my urge to eat everything in sight and the most important of them all, the need to find innovative ways to layer my clothes. 2016 has been the year of a multitude of international clothing mammoths making their way into the Indian markets (and our hearts *hyuk hyuk*) and I was positively thrilled about Aeropostale headlining that act. And as we move towards a more digitally adept future, I love the fact that I can just hop online and buy me some Aeropostale. This winter I am all about the boyfriend and the mother jeans (yes, these are legit styles of jeans and not something I made up) and while you won't see me wear light blue denims often, these pair definitely felt right. I tried two looks with a total of six pieces and this should give you an insight on how to find a perfect balance of a sexy winter look alongside a more relaxed, languid sort. This is a piece in collaboration with POPxo along with Aeropostale for Amazon. Their caps and their logo jerseys are such a failsafe option but the real game changer for me are their cosy knits. Knits are the hot pants of winter. They are effortless and so so cozy and in the kind of silhouettes that make you think of the Swiss Alps. Fine maybe not the Alps but you get the point. They are warm, yet light so they are ideal for layering and people like me who are always on the go (gives me more room to pack in more shoes). The snoods and infinity scarves left me doing mental math, trying to figure out how I would accommodate all of them in my pint sized apartment/walk in closet. I could start living in the middle of all the clothes, that was always an option. Shamelessly plugging Aeropostale, I must admit that I feel very vehemently about shopping for my winter essentials with them and maybe pick a few more plaid shirts too while I'm at it. Just spreading the festive cheer (and monetary woes) guys. You're welcome.

Photography by: Saumya and Shiva of The Open Art Project

Monday, December 12, 2016

FTLOFAOT takes on Seoul with Korean Air

You remember that bucket list you made last New Year’s after a fair few number of drinks when you decided that this was your year of travel? It’s like God wanted me to most definitely strike out South Korea off mine before the end of this year. My trip to Seoul, South Korea has been nothing short of a magical ride; beginning with finding myself on Korean Air on the second day of its commencement of flights from Delhi to Seoul. 
Korean Air has been around for 47 years and connects 129 destinations in 46 countries. Factual overloading aside, the hospitality of Korean Air would definitely be something I would cherish for a long time to come. With plush interiors and a more than fabulous First Class, Korean Air's A330-200 was every bit worth the wait to begin operations from Delhi. The leisure flyer (and mind you, mostly on a budget) has a great economy seating where I especially love the fact that tall people like me still get ample of leg space.

For business travellers and holidayers alike, I cannot think of a better news that you can now fly directly from Delhi to Seoul, all at such well timed flights that you never end up wasting a day travelling. We also had the privilege of visiting the Korean Air hangar in Seoul during the course of the trip and for an aviation noob like myself, it was quite an eye opener to see all that went into smooth, seamless operations of such a vastly successful airline.
The new aircraft
So thrilled to share with you the top 10 things you should definitely do and not miss out on, on a holiday to Seoul, South Korea. Luckily for me, Acumen Overseas- GSA for Korean Air in India and Korean Air ensured that most of these things were covered in an itinerary chalked out for me. The remaining came out of my own research and trial and error.

  • Gyeonbokgung Palace: Gyeonbok palace as it is more popularly known is the largest and most magnificent of the five palaces in Korea and is the perfect place to get an insight into the architecture, design and life of the Joseon Dynasty. This is where the guard changing ceremony takes place which holds its own grandeur of course. The palace is beyond stunning and if you had a guide as thorough with his history as ours, well you’re in luck. You can book your tickets online in advance or even book at the spot.

  • National Palace Museum of Korea: I have to admit that I’m a bit of a history buff and a museum geek but that shouldn’t come as a surprise to you given my old travelogues. The National Palace Museum of Korea is a no miss for two big reasons: FREE entry and the fact that it is right next to the Gyeonbokgung palace. Everything from historical texts to scriptures and artifacts of the many Korean empires is housed here. I had quite a few moments of revelation and since the museum is not too big, a few hours would suffice to cover this and the National Folk Museum located next to it too. 
  • DMZ or the Demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea: This little beacon of peace and hope between North Korea and South Korea is a must visit. The disturbed relations between the north and south are documented in the form of an AV followed by the visit to the third secret tunnel which was dug by NK to attack the south and is now a part of the demilitarized zone. By the means of a mono rail, going down the cold, harsh tunnel definitely gives you gooseflesh. The Korean war of 1950 was incidentally something that left the South of Korea indebted to India for their military medical support offered. Many a mines have been uncovered as a means for North Korea to attack South Korea and as a part of this tour, they arrange for a stop at the Dora Observatory from where on you get a glimpse of a village which is a part of the DMZ with a lot of flora and fauna and people residing alike. It also includes a trip to the station wherein hopefully the Unification train from South Korea to North Korea would ferry people one day.
Important to remember that the visit to the DMZ requires a special permit and a compulsory ID proof (preferably passport) on you at all times when you visit it. 

  • Korean Food: There is absolutely no point of making a trip to a beautiful country like Korea and missing out on the incredible local food it has to offer. An immense amount of sea food, great meat and fabulous desserts are a must have. Bibimbap is a hot stone pot that includes rice, veggies, eggs and meat that I personally love. Get one of those table tops where you can barbeque your own meat and try all kinds of kimchi and don’t forget to have it with a drink or two of Soju (the most popular alcoholic beverage made from rice traditionally and now possibly potatoes, that locals drink). There is honestly not one particular place I would tell you to look out for since almost every locality has its own small restaurants and little hole in the wall style places that serve some immaculate local food. 
  • Meoyong Dong: Korea is a land of beauty and skincare junkies and their love for plastic surgery aside, Meoyong Dong is the best place to shop all your crazy masks and haircare products from. Every big Asian brand from the Face Shop to Etude House has a store here (at great prices too) and they have all kinds of discounts and deals on at all points of time. Plus they give you tons of free samples and that is a big up from a shopper's perspective. This market also has an entire row of street vendors and food hawkers set right in the middle for people to eat and walk and shop, all at the same time. You can get anything from oysters to lobsters to a special kind of potatos on a stick and baked sweet potato here. Don’t miss the ’32 cms’ ice cream and the beautifully lit up trees during the festive season. It also has a beautiful cathedral that I could not take my eyes off. Psssst…the shops and vendors are open almost till 10 pm or 11 pm on most weekdays! 

  • Itaewon: A serious popular spot with the expats, Itaewon was the most ‘happening’ area in Seoul that I came across in my time in Seoul. I would accredit it to the fact that I went there over the weekend and it had almost everything you could imagine. From a street, leading into alleys full of bars and restaurants that were filled to the brim with crowds spilling over to the streets to ample of shopping. The market stays open till late too and gives you enough opportunity to do street shopping and shop at the regular stores there till late. Love the fact that it has every kind of international food joint and some seriously adorable bars here. 
  • Lotte World: If you are the Walt Disney World kind of a person then the world’s largest indoor amusement park should obviously be high on your list of priority. Lotte World is just as magical with a gazillion rides, shopping arcades, larger-than-life stage performances, magic island and a large ice-skating rink. While the rides on a normal day have a waiting queue for at least 20 minutes, the restaurants, shopping arcades and some of the rides outside have relatively shorter queues. 
  • Insadong: There is no trip really complete without a whole bunch of souvenirs and artfully curated set of gifts for back home. While most things are slightly expensive here, Insadong happens to be the one stop shop for all things art and porcelain in Korea. If you follow my personal facebook page, you would have caught my live session from Insadong wherein I interacted with quite a few of you while showing you the sights and sounds of the souvenir shops, antique collections and art galleries of Insadong. All in all, worth the few extra thousand wons to buy a set of nice take-backs from here. Also, a great place for some seriously good Korean street food.
  • Hongdae: The area around Hongik University in Seoul is called Hongdae and is definitely on the radar of the tourists and locals alike when it comes to partying. While we made the mistake of heading there on a Sunday (Sunday is quite dead in the city), we still managed to find a few bars that were living up the acclaimed indie-music and hipster crowd scene.  We went to one such underground bar and apparently the place also holds a lot of underground live gigs on other days. Make sure you head there on a Friday or Saturday. 
  • N-Tower: N-Tower or Namsan Tower as the full name goes is the highest point of Seoul. It is a communication tower built over a mountain and offers some of the best views of the city. Unfortunately, we didn’t find the best views on the day we went because of the thick fog so we hung around at the bottom and saw the love-lock bridge (much like the one in Paris, just smaller). The top of the tower also has a restaurant and a few souvenir shops. All in all, a great experience and one that offers a lot of opportunities for photography and if you happen to make your trip in the last week of March and first week of April, then the cherry blossom views with dots of pink everywhere will greet you. Definitely something to keep in mind while planning your trip. 

There are a ton of other things that I packed into my 3 day trip to South Korea and yet another few that I could not in this trip. But hopefully now with Korean Air’s direct flight from Delhi, I’m going to be heading there again sometime.
A special mention to Mr. Pukhraj S. Chug, Managing Director of Acumen Overseas- GSA, Korean Air and Mr. Sang Wook Han, Regional Manager, Korean Air for all the courtesies extended and a fabulous visit to Seoul.
For any questions, queries, ideas on South Korea, Korean Air, my itinerary, don’t forget to get in touch.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Music festival dressing with Kanelle

The first edition of EDC India just transpired over the last weekend and if you follow me on instagram then you definitely know about our fabulous 'glamping' experience with Budweiser India and Food Talk India at EDC. Apart from the brews, the musical line up (which was insane, by the way), a very essential component of a successful stint at a music festival is the right look. The power of fashion is insane. Imagine you fall in love with a woman only to realise that she is the kind of a girl who wears floral crowns at music festivals. *barf* That bit of anticlimactic scenario aside, there are definitely a few things you could keep in mind when you create your music festival look.

  1. I rant about this like it's my religion but yeah, it probably is. Be original. Think about what you find fun and work around it. Pick a piece of clothing you love and create a look around it. Never fails.
  2. Stay comfortable. I cannot possible emphasise this enough. Music festivals tend to turn into a breeding ground for insane dancing, singing, head banging and anything else that floats your boat. It is key to wear clothing that is not too tight, allows for movement of arms and legs and does not run the risk of leading to a wardrobe malfunction (unless that is a part of your look of course!).A good idea is to wear distressed shorts, knotted shirts, funky psychedelic tee shirts, maybe tee shirts of your favourite band, fringed denims, vests and jackets to layer. If you must wear a dress then ensure it is not too tight or too short in order to allow for ease of movement.
  3. People tend to forget that it is your feet (and the soles of your shoes) that carry you through a music festival. Avoid heels of any kind even if you feel comfortable in those since most music festivals tend to be held in mushy grounds. Sneakers are probably your best friend or comfortable flat boots, if you may.
  4. Keep your accessories minimal but a statement sling is always a good idea. You could stack up on your wrists too since that kind of a look works well with a music festival's colourful vibe.
  5. And lastly, bring a little bit of madness to your outfit. It could be a randomly slashed teeshirt, a glittery hairband, a scarf. a leather jacket, spiked boots, a metallic sling or anything else that you feel defines your style and carries with it an element of a music festival's madness and colour.
I put together this outfit in association with Kanelle by Kanika Jain whose Fall Winter, 16 collection Blue Jean Baby is truly after my own heart. The half slashed tunic with the geometric foil print, the fringe detailed jacket and the bootcut denims checked all the right boxes when I had to put together my look for Day 1 of EDC India. The techniques used to convert the classic 'ol denim into a piece of apparel more statement and definitely edgier is what makes me love Blue Jean Baby. It helps that the look is roomy, comfortable and gives my love for layering another outlet. Added these dusty rose suede block heels to spew a little colour into the look but of course changed into good old sneakers to go dancing like a mad person.

Photography by: Saumya and Shiva of The Open Art Project


Friday, November 11, 2016

FTLOFAOT with Jabong India for Republic of Denim

There are not too many ways to say this: e-commerce in India is such an exciting place to be at right now. Not only are all the players making the user experience so smooth, the kind of labels and brands they are bringing access to, for the Indian masses is insane. I am a huge proponent of the online shopping movement and have managed to induct my geriatric parents into the lair of online shopping too. And that is no mean feat. The safest, best online shopping experience in my family definitely rests with Jabong and that is not to say that I've not had great shopping experiences elsewhere. You have got to love the wide array of brands and the seamless customer service that Jabong gives but my ultimate clincher in favour of Jabong would have to be their seriously commendable efforts to stay ahead in the game with their quirky, yet fashion forward aesthetics. From the perspective of someone who shops with them and also works with them on a multitude of projects, the creative team has some serious drive to outdo themselves with each advertorial and editorial.
If you have not already seen the #RepublicOfDenim video here, then head to the website to find the entire series of denim stories that I shot for alongside some of the best bloggers in the country. Republic of Denim taps into every conceivable style of denims with ideas on how to style them by your favourite bloggers. Find all the denim styles up for sale on Jabong and key into the madness right here. I decided to ring in the seventies with my flared denims and a bardot top with serious bell sleeves.
Props to the entire Jabong team for a shoot that would definitely make it to my top ten crazy, fun shoots.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The ides of summer

Every time I sit down to get my outfit and style musings together, my brain tends to go into overdrive with almost everything else of significance around the world. It has been 30 minutes since I started on this piece (wrote the line above basically) and I have managed to read up on the American presidential poll, what the experts have to say about the smoke situation in Delhi, the effects of music on the growth of plants, the fibonacci sequence, you get the drift. 
Style that requires explanation is like a really bad joke: no one cares a hoot about it. Also, bad jokes> trying too hard in an outfit, any day of the week and twice on sundays. Exploring my easy peezy summer fashion vibe, my love for layering and the 50 shades of blue in this outfit. A good way to draw the Indian summer to an end after it has overstayed it's welcome. 
There is always something great to be said about minimalism.

Crop top: Zara
Denim vest: H and M
Pants: Vanilia (Hague, Netherlands)
Boots: Saint G

Photography by: Saumya and Shiva of The Open Art Project


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

FTLOFAOTxAmazon India x POPxo: India Modern at AIFW

There is something to be said about the massive number of women and men who have taken to digging out their old Indian archetypes for dressing up at Fashion Week. One in every five people at Amazon India Fashion Week was seen wearing a bindi or a pair of jhumkas. I'm no one to decide whether people all across the world wearing it accounts for cultural appropriation. But I do believe, for reasons right or wrong, we are seeing a massive wave of style currently that we love to call 'India Modern'. The 'India Modern' prototype understand the Indian weaves. He/she understands Indian fabrics. He/she understands what they see on the ramp and give it an interpretation they best deem fit in the modern day India. On day 5 at Amazon India Fashion Week, I had the privilege of attending the shows as a POPxo Super Blogger in collaboration with Amazon India. The one show that redefined the day's proceedings for me was the First Show: the accessory show. Accessories are having such a big moment in the Indian fashion scene currently and while we are keeping up with the world and creating contemporary pieces, it was absolutely heartening for someone like me to see collections that worked around the classic Indian motifs in jewellery pieces. The revival of the gold jewellery. The pairing of the glamorous diamonds with Indian clothing and western wear alike. The styling of the shows which included fluid drapes that appeared to be very fusion, with dull gold jewellery and flowers in the hair. My favourite would have to be the collection by Mine of Design; Ambar Paridhi Sahai's label
I also put together an outfit from Amazon India with a lot of influence of velvet since nothing spells old Indian regal charm like the use of velvet.
Find snippets from the three accessory shows and my outfit below.

Photography by: Saumya and Shiva of The Open Art Project

Teeshirt dress, slip dress, bomber jacket: Vero Moda (available on Amazon India)
Shoes: Clarks ( available on Amazon India)
Bag: Kenzo



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