Handloom Love: Why this Gorgeous Saree is a Lovely Present

What makes a fabulous present? With age, one quickly learns that cost, size and name brands do not automatically a great present make. A great present is one that delights the recipient and brings an instant smile to the face and a warm glow to the heart. In my opinion, a heartfelt present demonstrates the givers understanding of my likes and dislikes and their intuitive ability to transform that knowledge into a present that will knock my socks off!

This stunning saree was the perfect present from a perfect lady who came to visit this summer. G, maybe my husband’s cousin but our mutual love of fashion makes us soul sisters.  The saree in this lookbook is a linen Jamdani saree hand-woven in a village called Phulia in Bengal. The talented weavers of Phulia are applying the Jamdani technique on linen fabric to stunning results.  Dola Mukherjee is the force behind these sarees – she is passionate about the weaving crafts of India and works directly with many clusters in India to preserve and promote their crafts.

My reaction to this present – I almost keeled over in delight when I saw this saree. The colours are exactly up my alley and I had no such saree in my wardrobe previously.  Furthermore, the saree was a delight to wear, the fabric moved with graceful ease and felt fabulous against the skin.  Here, I have paired it with my trusty Indian pink blouse to make the outfit pop (also because I love to mix and match from my wardobe) and these gorgeous gold and pearl earrings from Torran.

Thank you G for this thoughtful present – it has taken place of pride in my saree cupboard and I look forward to wearing it for years to come!

I hope you have a great weekend, perhaps receive a present or two and as always, thank you for reading my blog.

Accessories:

Earrings – Toraan 

 

‘Toraan’ Jewellery: Two Ways with a Saree and a Pleated Blouse

What’s not to love about Indian-inspired jewellery! From delicate filigree work to rich Kundan work – ethnic jewels are splendid and I am constantly amazed at the beautiful designs I come across. I am always keen to acquire Indian jewellery but it can be hard to find pieces that effectively balance quality, design, and craftsmanship with a price point that is not going to cripple your bank account.

It almost seems miraculous when you come across a company offering gorgeous designs at amazing prices – proving that ‘exclusivity of design shouldn’t come coupled with unaffordability’. This describes the essence of ‘Toraan’ – a jewellery and art store founded by the lovely Purti Bhatia. Toraan offers beautiful jewellery ranging from bridal sets to everyday wear that is not only gorgeous to look at but the quality of the pieces makes it a pleasure to add them to your jewellery box.

I love my Indian jewellery pieces and every time I wear them with Asian clothes, I am reminded that I must try harder to pair them with Western outfits.  I am a great fan of ethnic jewels paired with non-ethnic clothes and I think this combination creates a unique fashion statement that delivers the unexpected.  I have spoken to many of my friends about this and they all concur that we need to work harder on the above. This is why I decided to try something a bit different in this blog post. I have paired this beautiful green Kundan set from Toraan with a saree as well as with a pleated blouse and leather jacket.  I wanted this lookbook to deliver the message that Indian jewellery is exceedingly versatile and looks great with so many outfits.

I hope you enjoy this post and would love to hear how your thoughts on fusion pairings of jewellery and clothes. With summer approaching – I am planning to incorporate more of Toraan’s beautiful jewellery with my dresses so watch this space for more of her beautiful pieces.  You can view her range of jewellery and art at www.Toraan.com

As always, have a great day and thank you for reading my blog.

 

Clothes and Accessories:

All Jewellery by Toraan

www.toraan.com

Jewellery Set As Worn – Green Three Flower Kundan Choker with Earrings (£68 – also available in red) 

Pleated White Dress – Zara

Black Leather Jacket – Massimo Dutti (similar)

 

 

The Gift That keeps on Giving: Shopping in my ‘Indian Wardrobe’

I recently pulled this outfit out of my wardrobe and it got me thinking.  When it comes to Indian clothes, I find myself more precious about giving them away.  Having accompanied my husband on a 5-year assignment in Mumbai a few years ago – I have more casual and formal Indian clothes than I probably need. As a result, unfortunately, the less formal ones do not get the repeat wear they deserve.

I have always enjoyed wearing this outfit.  I bought this simple kurta and a set of matching bottoms at Westside in Mumbai many years ago (I love the Zuba brand of clothes in there which are beautifully composed and pocket-friendly).  Both the fabric and the pattern appealed to me and I thought I could match it with a dupatta I already owned. This traditional dupatta was a part of the goodies I received at my ‘mehndi’ when I got married and it has always had that special feel-good factor about it.

Indian outfits can be expensive and range from simple to the most complex of designs and handiwork and who am I kidding – I love them all.  Today, however, I wanted to give a shoutout to those more humble pairings that we all have in our wardrobes and pull out occasionally.  These ‘simpler clothes’ are a great reminder that an effective fashion statement is not dependent on how much money you spend, designer brands or the latest trend. I find that my personal fashion statement is most effective when I like what I have styled, I am comfortable in it and the clothes make me feel happy when I am wearing them. Wearing this outfit again was a great reminder that a simple style statement can be every bit as effective as a more complex one.

I hope you like this ‘lookbook’ and have a great week ahead.  Thank you for reading my blog and please don’t forget to follow it if you enjoy it.

 

Designer Lookbook: VIVA-LUXE for Brown Girl Magazine

I recently had the pleasure of working with VIVA-LUXE, an on-line Asian Designer-Wear clothing brand, for a sponsored article in Brown Girl Magazine. I spoke with the Co-Founder oF VIVA-LUXE Mr. Jay Chawla, about their vision, their offerings and what makes them stand out from the crowd. Please read the full Brown Girl Magazine article below for what he had to say:

Shopping South Asian Wear Just Got a Whole Lot Easier With UK’s Fashion Brand Viva-Luxe

South-Asian fashion holds a very special place in my heart and in my wardrobe. I am a desi fashion blogger who loves wearing Indian clothes so much that I devote an entire section of this blog to look booking ethnic fashion on a regular basis. As a woman of Indian origin, a fashion lover and an online shopping enthusiast, I am constantly on the hunt for online sources of curated South-Asian fashion.

So, as a woman who enjoys the latest trends and designs in South-Asian clothes, what am I looking for when I go online to purchase? I want to browse the latest designs by a variety of talented designers, I want to see quality fabrics and trimmings, I want to be able to have them delivered to my home hassle-free and I want to be able to buy them without breaking the bank.  In addition, I want them made-to-measure so that fit is not an issue and last but not least, in the event that there is a problem, I want to be able to talk to someone about it.  In a nutshell, I want variety, quality, accessibility, affordability topped off with excellent customer service.

Now, I admit that this is a big ask but I think it’s exactly what the South Asian online fashion market is crying out for.  VIVA-LUXE is an e-commerce platform for outstanding South-Asian fashion that ticks all the boxes!

Below are some photographs that were taken with me wearing outfits from various designers carried by VIVA-LUXE.  I hope you enjoy the lookbook and thank you so much for visiting Isha’s Verdict.

These pictures were taken by my photographer – Camera & I – website www.cameraandi.com and instagram @camera.and.i

Websites:

www.vivaluxe.com

www.browngirlmagazine.com

www.cameraandi.com

Beautiful Jewellery and Vibrant Sarees: In Collaboration With Soignné (Part 1)

I am a great admirer of Indian inspired jewellery and nothing captures my attention quite like a beautiful saree and blouse combination.  I remember spotting a vibrant floral saree blouse on my Instagram feed one day and taking the time to stop, admire and comment on it.  The next day I saw another stunning dhaka cotton blouse on the Soignné feed and I have been following Niru Keshwala’s elegant collection ever since.

Niru set out to create feminine clothes that could be worn to any occasion and would stand out without falling into the over-dressed or under-dressed category.  This is a concept close to my heart and one I can identify wth completely.  Soignné stocks ‘effortlessly elegant’ clothes that are uber feminine, easy to wear and timeless in their appeal. Her designs are unique and completely hand crafted  – every bead is stitched by one of the finest karigars in Nepal.

I found the quality of the blouses to be fantastic – well made, lined properly and they fit me like a glove. Her sarees and blouses allow for a variety of mix and match fashion; another concept that I am a great advocate of in all clothes. Her jewellery range is gorgeous, comprehensive and perfectly in-line with modern Indian fashion.

In this post, I am lookbooking a gorgeous floral blouse and saree in,  you guessed it, my favourite colour yellow.  I hope you enjoy this look and I look forward to presenting the next Soignné look in the coming week.  Have a great weekend and thank you for visiting Isha’s verdict. I would also like to thank Soignné for collaborating on this post.

All clothes and jewellery are from Soignné  – you can shop the range at:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SoignnebyNiruKeshwala/

Instagram: @soignne

Email: soignne@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Summer Clothes: Casual Indian Wear With Capri Pants and a Salwar

It seems like nature decided to announce the approach of summer in spectacular fashion by giving us a few gloriously sunny days in London (with a lot more sunshine due this long weekend). I am someone who loves truly warm weather and can’t remember uttering the words ‘it’s too hot’ more than three times in my life (two of which were probably said after wandering around Chor Bazar in Mumbai for four hours without food or drink but it was worth it!).

Hot weather also brings with it the season for probably my favourite kind of Indian clothes  – summer Indian fashion. Summer heralds in beautiful Indian clothes in summery fabrics like cotton, mal and chiffon.  Combine these fabrics with delicate embroidery such as Chikaankari work and embellishments like mukaish and the clothes become beautiful pieces of art. Formal summer clothes are gorgeous, however, there is a distinct beauty to completely casual summer Indian wear that really appeals to me. The fabric, designs and colours always remind me of summer in my grandparents house and evoke memories of lassi, mangoes and the comforting noise of a ceiling fan.

Casual Indian wear doesn’t have to be bling and its everyday simpleness makes it extra special.  I have lookbooked two casual Indian outfits in this post that I enjoy wearing.  The first is a pale blue handloom kurta with some white roses embroidered on the yoke.  I would always wear this with a white chikan-cloth pair of pants and a white dupatta to ward off the heat in Mumbai.  Here, I have paired it with a pair of woven silver slip-ons that I would normally not associate with Indian clothes but they seem to work and add to the overall comfort quotient of the outfit.  The second outfit is a typical summer salwar kameez with a short kameez and a Patiala salwar.  Nothing sings summer like a white patiala salwar and the lovely colours and patterns of the embroidery join in the chorus. Juttis are my flat footwear of choice here but I am partial to a pretty pair of kolapuri chappals in high summer.

I enjoy combining a variety of casual summer kurtas with various trousers, palazzos, salwars and churidars. I would love to hear about your favourite outfits to wear in the summer.  Thank you so much for visiting my blog and have a fabulous weekend!

‘Rescue Mission Series’: Floral Sari With a Crop Top Blouse

Over 16 years ago, I remember going to ‘Redondo Beach’ Swap Meet (like a flea market) in California because my mother and I happened to be in the area and decided to pop in as one does.  I remember wandering around and then stopping at a stand that seemed to have some interesting fabrics. At the back of one of the stall owner’s many rolls of fabric, was this stunning pure silk crepe yellow fabric with beautiful flowers that felt like butter in my hands.  I asked my mother what I could do with it and she suggested that it would look great as a sari.  I asked the man how much material he had and it must have been my lucky day because he had just enough for one sari.  I bought it on the spot!

Originally, this sari had a matching yellow blouse.  Like many women, I have been a variety of sizes through various phases of life and the blouse unfortunately, did not survive the many changes that I inflicted on it in the way of alterations. As a result,  I have this lovely sari with no blouse and I did not want to go to the effort to get another blouse made for it.

Given the abundance of beautiful crop tops that are currently on the market, I thought a contrasting crop top was the way forward . As the saying goes, ‘Somebody’s crop top is somebody else’s sari blouse’ – ok perhaps there is no such saying currently but there is always a first for everything.  I thought I would experiment with this green crop top as I especially like the full sleeves on it.  I loved the way it looked together and it was a great solution to my missing blouse problem .  This is a simple crop top, however there are some beautiful crop tops in the shops that I think would make great sari blouses.

Of course, a custom-made blouse for a sari is a match made in heaven and that is hard to beat. However, if you have a sari lying around that needs a new blouse or you just want to try something different with a sari in your closet, then a crop top from the hight street may just be the answer.

I hope you have enjoyed this lookbook and as always, thank you so much for visiting my blog.

(Clothes and Accessories: Blouse – TopShop , Bracelet – Ishariya, Earrings – H&M)

 

Below are some crop tops that I think would make fabulous sari blouses.

Mango Crop Top
Zara Crop Top
TopShop Crop Top

 

 

 

 

 

Indian Fashion: Colourful Blouse With a Cream and Gold Skirt

Happy Saturday my dear readers! The warm weather is propelling us towards those most glorious of social celebrations – summer weddings! Living in the UK, Indian summer weddings when the weather is warm, the countryside resplendent and all the young ones are off school, are always such great fun. Unfortunately, I must admit that I am currently not invited to any summer weddings; however, I do have the necessary wardrobe incase the status quo was to suddenly change!

Today, I am lookbooking an outfit that I would love to wear to an Indian summer wedding.  I have lookbooked this lehenga before in an earlier post (Diwali Celebrations: In A Yellow And Pink Kurta And Cream and Gold Skirt) with a different kurta. This time I have paired my versatile cream and gold lehenga with a colourful embroidered blouse and two different dupattas. What I love about this blouse/koti is that is works equally well as a choli, sari blouse or as a small vest worn on top of a kurta.

I love the idea of ‘mix and match’ Indian fashion that allows us to get the maximum wear out of our Indian clothes.  This outfit is easy to wear, easy to move around in and easy on the eye; all of which would work fabulously well for that Indian summer wedding that I have not been invited to!

I hope you like this outfit and have a fabulous weekend. Thank you for visiting my blog and please tell a friend to visit if you think they would enjoy it as well.

(Clothes and Accessories: Outfit – The Silk Tree (Contact: darshan@thesilktree.in, Instagram: @the_silk_tree)

Easy, Breezy: In a Patterned and Striped Kurta Top

A few weeks ago, a friend came over and after a while when we contemplated eating lunch, I realized I had nothing substantial in the fridge to offer.  “No worries”, said my friend, “I will make a sandwich with this tub of hummus and cheese”. She proceeded to make both of us sandwiches with crusty bread, hummus, cheese and hot Sriracha sauce.  I am so glad that she made the sandwich (my hostess skills left much to be desired at this point) simply because I loved the way it tasted! Now I can’t stop eating that sandwich and I would be happy to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner (it is a pity that my husband is not as enamoured by it as I am).  It would seem that my tastebuds are having a torrid relationship with these ingredients but I have been here before and the love affair usually ends as quickly as it starts. One morning soon, I am going to wake up and want a pastry for breakfast and the Sainsbury’s hummus suppliers are going to see a dip in their profits!

I have had similarly intense love affairs with certain clothes – I find myself wearing them all the time and then one day I put them away and don’t want to see them again for a while. However, when I rediscover them, that love returns in droves as I marvel at my good fortune for buying that particular item of clothing. That is exactly what has happened with this kurta top!

I loved the bright stripes on this kurta and wore it all the time when I first purchased it.  Then, I was bedazzled by others that came after and unfortunately it was cast aside for a while.  Recently, when I pulled it out from the box under my bed (I desperately need one of those glamorous walk in closets I see in all the home magazines) I fell in love with its beautiful embroidery and vibrant pattern all over again. It is such an easy breezy kurta top to wear and despite wearing it so often, I always feel feminine and pretty when I wear it.  In my opinion, that is the hallmark of a successful purchase!

Have a great weekend and thank you for taking the time to visit my blog.

(Clothes and accessories: Kurta top – Ahilaya, Jeans – Zara, Clutch – Topshop, Ring – Isharya)

Weekend Vibes: In a Red Tie-Dye Kurta and White Palazzo Pants

Happy Saturday my dear readers! The anticipation of spring and warmer weather has me giddy with joy.  I am expressing my elation by pulling out the more casual Indian outfits that can be worn on a weekend to a casual ‘get together’ or just because they look so pretty and feminine.

I saw this beautifully bright red silk material in a shop in Mumbai and thought it would make a lovely kurta.  I had it stitched with silver piping in the traditionally men’s style of kurta making with the patch under the arm.  It is striking, comfortable and easy to wear; it turned out exactly as I had hoped.  I have paired it with lovely over the ear cuff earrings I found in Delhi.  The vendor went to great lengths to explain to me that the ‘fashionable’ thing to do was to wear only one.  I think he was a bit disappointed with my fashion acumen when I insisted on buying two.  Finally, my wool poncho does a great job of warding off the nip in the air while adding a relaxed and destructured layered effect to the overall outfit.

Have a fabulous weekend and thank you so much for visiting my blog!