Wednesday, May 25, 2016

MadSamTinZin: Tales of Brok-pa

While it may come as no surprise to many, my first reaction to being faced with anything alien is to read up on it. My first tryst (virtual, of course) with the Brok-pa tribe of Ladakh almost didn't seem to end. I went from one article to another. A documentary that I tried hunting down but landed on a thesis about them instead. A whole page full of notes. I forgot that I was to plan a shoot with the garments that had been so painstakingly created by the designer powerhouses behind the label MadSamTinZin. It was as if the garments came together with the original inspiration to create a whirlpool of sorts that only seemed to take me deeper. 
Veni, vidi, vici. I came. I saw. I conquered. It almost remains unchallenged that the Brok-pa tribe is the last of the Aryan Race. Four villages. 1800 people. Sharp beautiful features. Unfettered by modernity yet inspiring any modern day Shakespeare who dare lay their eyes on them. Tales of Brok-pa brings back Alexander's lost army to the present day and age. The unexpected drapes, the surface ornamentation, the coloured thread detailing on the bodice that makes you think of tiny little flags planted all across. The collection pulls you into a world of its own. A world where beautiful coin jewellery and head gears known as the 'tepi' not only serve as pieces of ornaments but serve to ward off evil and diseases. Mountains, trees, water and flowers. It's no wonder that berry blossoms find their way on to their head and flowers are an integral part of each household. If I didn't know any better, I would say that a tiny part of my soul flitted away to this Greek paradise as soon as I donned a piece so beautifully crafted by MadSamTinZin. Far from the maddening crowd.

Photography by: Saumya and Shiva of The Open Art Project

Dress, hand harness and head gear: C/O MadSamTinZin
Find them on Facebook

Till the next creative outbreak,

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ten pointers for a holiday at Seminyak, Bali

Seminyak is to Bali, what Paris is to France. Gather around for Bali's finest cafe culture, the pristine white sand beaches and an unparalleled nightlife. A five day holiday in Seminyak, a southern region on the island of Bali, Indonesia made me realise how the culture and vibe in all its regions was so different. I might have sold my soul to trade the Eat, Pray, Love experience for a beautiful tan and a very European boutique shopping experience but that is not to say that it does any less justice to a Balinese holiday. More on that later.
My first impression of Bali was that it was a very warm and welcoming city. It definitely has something to do with the fact that the people of Bali espouse a culture that is very laid-back and very dependent on ensuring the people in Bali, especially tourists are content.
Start off with booking a villa as opposed to a hotel while planning a trip to Bali. Villas give you a more authentic insight into the Bali life as opposed to hotels and are obviously more private (and that is never a bad thing). Look for one that is close to the Seminyak beach and the bars, preferably since that is the real essence of a Seminyak Balinese holiday.
For all those of you with attention spans shorter than a goldfish, here are the important things to know, places to go to and general pointers from my holiday in Seminyak, Bali:

  • The currency is a little complex and slightly confusing. First things first, if you have trouble doing mental math like me, you might want to practice a few basic conversions before you go to Bali. The Indonesian Rupiah includes notes of 5000, 10000, 20000 and so on and might take you for a surprise. I cannot even begin to explain how dreadfully rich I felt with lacs of Indonesian Rupiah just before I figured out how little that was in IDR. IKR?

  • Coffee and Cafe. Seminyak boasts of some of the best cafes in all of Bali and beautiful coffee. The Australian cafes have delightful breakfasts made with the freshest produce. Get your fill of eggs, avocados, organic cakes and even smoothies before you take off for a day in the smoldering town. Revolver for coffee and Sisterfields for breakfast would have to be my two DO NOT MISS choices. It helps that Revolver also has cute outdoor booths with the greatest interiors (For cool, rare weather) and brilliant wall art too. Sea Circus has great churros but the food was kind of disappointing.

  • Day bed and chill. Netflix and chill is so passé when you could be booking a day bed or cabana at Ku De Ta and Potato Head and chilling your day away. Not literally of course. Work on your Bali tan, order some great cocktails, smoke some cigars if you like, some of that great food and music to really get you into the holiday mood. The cherry on top, undeniably is the great view of the Seminyak beach and the infinity pool just before that. DO NOT MISS the beautiful legendary KU DE TA sunset. The best photo op and every bit worth the hype.

  • The local food experience. Personally, I am a huge fan of Indonesian food. Just something about it with its spices and fragrant rice and just the aromas of the meat makes my mouth water. Really not an Indonesian holiday if you do not get yourself some of that Warung. Aside from that bad joke, my best Bali food experience would have to be at Made's Warung, which just so you know is pronounced as Muh-day, not Made as in Maiden. It is this great restaurant (with an adjoining icecream parlour) with the greatest satay, nasi goreng, nasi lamak, randang and other such. 

  • Art and street art. A very essential part of the Seminyak experience, is the traveler's tryst with art. You need not necessarily be a serious, pensive art shopper to assimilate the beauty of fine Asian and Oriental art on display in the numerous art galleries in Seminyak. Apart from the art galleries (that also have some really affordable pieces of art by the way) there is also the street art that is a DO NOT MISS. Be it the graffiti outside Cafe Revolver or the famous one of Frida Kahlo with guns.

  • The Bali Rains. Although it is dry and hot all year around in Bali, occasional downpours are not unheard of. Incidentally, the first day of my trip saw a heavy downpour beginning in the afternoon extending all the way till the evening. While I was happy it cooled things off a little, be ready to find a plan B for the time being to make the most out of the rains. A Balinese massage at a Spa or some great seaweed facials are a great way to spend that holiday time productively. DO NOT MISS Bodyworks but make sure you book in advance. 

  • Visa procedure. This is stated often yet there seems to be some kind of apparent confusion about it everytime this comes up. So let me be your travel agent extraordinaire, un momento. The visa for Indians is on arrival in Bali. Also, since October 2015, it is now free of cost for Indians. All you need on yourself is a valid passport and your flight tickets to obtain a visa. 

  • Flea Markets. There are a lot of flea market options for the enthusiastic shopper in Bali. Not only are there flea market pop-ups, there are also some that are regular fixtures. DO NOT MISS the brilliant wristbands (ideal for stacking), funky necklaces with Hamsa charms and all kinds of stunning Dream Catchers. Not only will these serve as the perfect souvenirs, they will also always remind you of the Balinese beach life. There are also great bargains you can find on hand embroidered bags, pouches and home decor pieces. Interesting hangings, cute looking mirrors and even the ever popular Balinese soaps are great options to treat yourself to in Bali. Always remember to bargain when thrift shopping.

  • Beach please. It's almost hilarious to be mentioning it as a separate pointer but no really, what is life without some Vitamin Sea. Now that I have exhausted all my beachy puns, let me tell you about the cool Seminyak beach with a pristine blue sky and white fluffy clouds that should totally be hashtagged as #cloudporn. There is the option of drinking some Bintang beer and coconut water as you lie on the day bed and work on the tan. If you're feeling adventurous, get yourself a surf board or a boogie board and jump into those waves. Speaking of beaches, head to Jalan Mesari beach and DO NOT MISS this Spanish bar there by the name of La Plancha. With its colourful beanbags and colourful umbrellas, that sight is breathtaking by the beach at night.

  • Boutique shopping. If you're looking for investment pieces or have deep pockets in general, then the Seminyak shopping experience might be just what the doctor ordered. DO NOT MISS Jalan Raya (name of the road) dotted with the best designer boutiques on either side. A few that I personally loved would have to include Magali Pascal (easy breezy with a French sensibility), One Teaspoon (Those frayed denim shorts and their bikinis), Uma & Leopold (for their sexy beaded, sequinned shorts). 

Have questions?
Fire away. 


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sephora Delhi: The BIG Makeover

I might not be the ideal person to talk about the difference between contouring and strobing but I definitely know a good make up product from another. It has taken a few years but I can safely say that I have developed a few basic make up skills that work quite alright for me. Hell I don't think I could ever be as ingenious as Kylie Jenner and them (in)famous lips but let us take one baby step at a time. My self proclaimed make up hoarding ways meant that I would on all my travels, hunt down Sephora like a hyena but thanks to Arvind Brands, guess who lives 15-20 minutes away from a Sephora outlet!

There is not much I could say about Sephora that beauty bloggers have not told you before. But here is a perspective from a lazy fashion girl who spends all her time getting her look right and very little time applying make up. Sephora is like a super mart for all your make up needs. There is something for everyone. And there is everything for anyone. Housing international brands like Stilla and Benefit, Sephora manages to be your go-to place for every beauty skincare need. But here is the interesting part: 

Two days back was the official unveiling of the revamped Sephora in Delhi which means quite a few things for the Indian Sephora shoppers. Let me start by telling you that the feel and vibe of the place is so fresh and so in sync with the international outlets. The neon hoardings, the brilliant blow up art over the make up counters, the face lift in terms of layout and organization of products are just a few of my favourite things. My favourite feature has to be the newly established Benefit Brow Bar alongside a large section just dedicated to Benefit products. Waxing eyebrows as opposed to threading them is still a concept relatively new to the Indian market but the brow bar has experts who walk you through the entire process of determining what the shape of your eyebrows should look like and only on your approval do they go ahead with it. A highly clinical yet interactive brow bar ensures you get perfectly waxed eyebrows with inputs on how to maintain the shape, filling them etc.As per usual, I spent a lot of time browsing through the fragrance section which is beautifully bifurcated into Men and Women now stocked with every conceivable perfume. The large LCD screen behind the billing counter that has great videos from an assortment of runways with fun, upbeat music ensures that the shoppers have fun (and possibly break into a dance move or two) while buying their make up.
The fragrance wise coded and organized toiletries(obviously color coded automatically) with baskets of each collectively available now, at Sephora, was so soothing to my eyes and my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.Enjoy this visual treat.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

FTLOFAOT x The Pot Plant (The sustainable fashion story)

Let me start by telling you that it is definitely not a piece of cake for someone like me to write a piece on sustainable fashion in the context of making it consumable for the masses. For one, there are a gazillion thoughts dashing across my head about all that I read up and know about sustainable fashion  but I fear I might end up writing a blog post that resembles my law school thesis. 

Different people look at sustainable fashion in different light. There are those who believe that any kind of corporate consumer behaviour takes you miles away from sustainable fashion. Then there are others (possibly like me) who happen to be transiting through a stage where they don't have all the information to make a complete lifestyle turnover but they still believe that a few steps can go a long way in a greener, cleaner environment. When I read this piece on sustainable fashion on the Man Repeller, a lot of my beliefs were verified. We do not need to operate outside the realm of fashion to contribute to a heartier environment. The reason a few of us are beginning to see the serious cons of fast fashion is because a conscious decision to slow down your fast fashion consumption simply means you waste less, you consume less and as a result contribute lesser to the landfills that are dumps of the waste. 

If Emma Watson can do it, so can you. When I laid my eyes on Emma Watson's Calvin Klein dress on the red carpet of the Met Ball, 2016 I knew that it was clean and sophisticated. However, what I didn't know was that the fabric of her dress was made from 'Newlife: a yarn made from 100% post-consumer plastic bottles; and the detailing on the bustier was made with organic silk and cotton.' The fact that possibly the biggest event in the fashion world (it is chaired by Anna Wintour, don't you dare disagree) is giving a resounding yes to repurposing in your sartorial choices clearly means that purposeful living and spending is a choice a lot of people are making. And if you thought greener choices were only for the elite few strutting in their Calvin Kleins you could not be more wrong. Hennes & Mauritz, more popularly known as H & M , the Swedish clothing giant for the fast fashion lovers is working with an eco-conscious line for its Indian market and giving its consumers a chance to recycle their old clothes and get a discount while their at it. The only kind of corporate incentivization that I would not possibly mind.

The Pot Plant label tickled my green fantasy with their use of only natural fabrics and a very clear vision to create clothes that can be repurposed. From the colour scheme to the cuts and silhouettes, there is nothing fast and disposable about The Pot Plant. Fuss free clothing that takes you back to cleaner, greener times reminded me of all that remains to be done to find a little niche for sustainability in our lives. This summer they make their anti-fit dresses and shirt dresses a notch dressier with hand sewn embellishments that are made from recycled plastic. The best place for me to tell their story with my friend Cat, was my local nursery. 

Do little, but make it good.

Photography by: Saumya and Shiva of The Open Art Project

Dress: C/O The Pot Plant
Bakcpack: C/O p é r o 
Multistrap slider: Forever 21

I would love to hear your thoughts on my work with Indie labels that are making a difference and my little insight into sustainable fashion. Looking forward to hear from you.


Monday, May 2, 2016


The importance of good lingerie can never be emphasised enough. By good, I don't necessarily just mean pretty, lacey underwear that might look like the greatest thing to have struck you since Game of Thrones, but should also fit you like a dream and manage to give you the kind of coverage and support your body demands. If we think about it, there are quite a few must-haves and dos and donts as far as lingerie goes because believe it or not, one out of place bra has the power to break a perfectly balanced outfit. 
Amanté opened its door to the masses of fashionable lingerie loving women of Noida at the DLF Mall of India. Touted to be one of the largest malls in India, Amanté has found itself a nice little luxurious space and houses almost every kind of inner wear including some really interest swimwear options that I actually was not quite aware of. The launch saw the eternally fabulous Malaika Arora Khan in a ditsy ruffled in layers number by Gucci. She held a little one on one with us bunch of fashion connoisseurs about her timeless lingerie tips. Needless to say, she knew what she was talking about.
I was completely besides myself photographing these utilitarian chic bras and lacey teddies in an array of colours and fits. The colour blocked bikinis looked quite inviting and I am definitely eyeing those for my next beach holiday. If you haven't had a chance to go around an Amante store, here is a virtual sneak peek into what you are very likely to find and like in there. 

It is also quite interesting to note that they have a fully functional online shop for all those of you who do not have a store in your city. Regardless, a sexy, fun and rewarding shopping experience awaits you at the store.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...