Beautiful Jewellery and Vibrant Sarees: In Collaboration With Soignné (Part 2)

Hello everyone! Last week, I featured a beautiful saree and blouse combination, with stunning jewellery, from Soignné elegant range of clothes and accessories.  This week, I am proud to lookbook yet another gorgeous combination from Niru Keshwala’s offerings.

There are saree blouses and then there are saree blouses that stop you dead in your tracks! I absolutely adore this saree blouse with slim cut outs at the shoulders and contrasting sleeves.  It is stunning in design, vivid in colour and the organic handwoven Dhaka cotton fabric is what my ethnic fabric dreams are made of.  The versatility of this blouse is plain to see – it would go beautifully with so many different coloured sarees and would also work fabulously as a crop top in a boho inspired look.

I am wearing this saree with Soignné classic chandbali earrings and their beautifully intricate oversized kada.  This magnificent creation puts the statement in statement cuff and is made of oversized pearls, cubiczircon and kundan work that come together to make a stunning piece of jewellery in an antique gold finish.

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

Have a fabulous rest of the week and thank you so much for visiting my blog.  A big thank you to Soignné for collaborating on this post.

 

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

 

 

 

Indian Summer Wear: Cotton Sari With ‘Khari Print’ Insect Motifs

Happy Friday everyone! It’s going to be a short one today – I find myself in that usual predicament of having too much to achieve and not enough hours in the day to actually achieve it.

The intense heat that we have enjoyed over the last few days in London has required ‘proper’ summer clothes. This heat wave reminded me of that lovely Indian garment that comes into its own in the summer – the cotton sari.  I have always loved the look of summer saris and the whimsical print on this one makes this sari both unique and delightful.

I bought this sari on my last trip to India when I was out shopping with a childhood friend.  She took me to a shop called ‘Nicobar’ in New Delhi and we were both drawn to this sari like ‘a moth to a flame’! It was a lovely shop filled with beautiful things and I would highly recommend a visit next time you happen to be in India or on-line. I have worn it with a blouse from a different sari that has a strip of Zardosi work on the back that adds to the overall charm of the look.

I hope you enjoy this lookbook and have a great weekend! Thank you so much for visiting my blog.

Clothes and Accessories:

Sari – Nicobar (www.nicobar.com)

‘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

 

 

 

 

 

Designer Lookbook: Indian Wear With Jewellery From Kyles Collection

I first had the pleasure of being introduced to Kyles Collection and meeting Rav Dadi at the Asian Bridal Show last year. As I meandered around their booth and admired the jewellery on display, I got the opportunity to speak with Rav. When I explained that I was a general ‘jewellery enthusiast’, he was happy to tell me about their offerings as well as invite me to visit their workshop to see the jewellery being made.

Recently, I took up Rav’s kind offer to visit their showroom and workshop in Forest Gate, London. Visiting the workshop was a unique experience and gave me a real glimpse into the intricacies of making jewellery from scratch. Kyles Collection offers a large variety of fusion jewellery including their signature bridal collections as well as ranges suitable for brides on a budget. They also sell ranges that are perfect for parties and other events.

I am impressed by Kyles ability to cater to the individual needs of their customers and offer a truly bespoke service. They are a great example of what true customization of a product entails. Kyles offer Swarovski crystal combinations in over 80 colours and they are happy to craft their jewellery pieces with the crystal colours that compliment your outfit perfectly. Add to this the 7 plating finishes they offer (all nickel free for sensitive skin) and frankly I am not sure that it gets better than this! This is especially true for Asian brides who may have multiple bridal outfits, with multiple jewellery pieces, to contend with. Kyles encourages brides and their families to make an appointment and bring their bridal outfits into their bridal lounge at their showroom. In this way, they can provide an individualized service to help brides determine the exact jewellery pieces that will work for them, within the confines of their personal taste and budget.

A key factor that is instrumental in Kyles being able to offer this level of customization, is the fact that all their products are made in their London workshop. This has a tremendous impact on them being able to deliver your customized jewellery on time, exactly when and where you need it. Rav told me some hair-raising stories of helping frazzled brides with their jewellery when their original providers had let them down days before the wedding!

What I admire about Kyles is that the passion for their craft is clearly visible in your interaction with them. If you can dream it and articulate your vision; they will try their best to turn your vision into reality. They enjoy what they do, cherish their customers and have a genuine desire to help – that is exactly what I am looking for as a customer!

In this post, I have ‘lookbooked’ two of my favourite Indian outfits with pieces of jewellery from Kyles collection. I adore this pale green and blue suit as it brings together the unusual combination of Lucknow chickankari work with a bandhini dupatta. The pale green beads of the Kyles passa, earrings and hand piece match my outfit perfectly. I can imagine wearing this outfit to one of those ‘minor’ morning wedding functions that are invariably a part of so many Asian weddings. I bought this sari in Delhi on a trip and I absolutely love the bright pink and clean cut crystal work on the sari. One of my special tailors in Mumbai made this lace blouse and I have to admit that it might be one of the best fitting blouses I have ever owned. Unfortunately, he told me that he was going home to his village for a few weeks and then completely disappeared – hope it wasn’t me! Kyles statement crystal chandelier earrings and bracelet are exactly what this sari needs to make a bold style statement.

A big thank to you for visiting my blog and a big thank you to Kyles Collection for collaborating on this post with me!

www.kylescollection.com

Telephone Number:+44 (0) 208 586 0204

 

Sari Nostalgia: In a Checked South Indian Silk Sari

There is nothing overtly distinct about this sari – many of you or your relatives will own similar silk saris.  What is unique about this sari, however, is that I vividly recall being drawn towards this particular sari, belonging to my mother, as a young girl.  I think it was the checks – I found them unusual and eye catching and  I vaguely remember finding the colour combination a bit unusual and not being able to decide if I actually liked it or not.

I believe it was last year that I spotted in a paper, a Bollywood celebrity wearing a traditional check silk sari. It turned out that it was from Manish Malhotra’s  latest collection and within a few weeks I had seen quite a few celebrities wearing them on the web. I was instantly reminded of my mom’s check sari that had always stood out from the crowd for me. Who knew that Manish Malhotra and I had a mutual appreciation for check silk saris!

Now that I had been reminded about this particular check sari – I asked my mother if I could have it the next time I visited home.  She told me that it was bought in 1971 by her Masi at a shop on Commercial Street in Bangalore and was a part of her wedding trousseau. She seemed hesitant to hand it over so I presented her with a deeply persuasive argument  that went as follows; ” Mom, if you wear it, you are just wearing one of your old saris.  However, if I, your one and only daughter, wears it – the sari takes on a vintage aura that elevates the status of the sari by adding to its traditional allure.  I think the brazenly ludicrous yet creative nature of my reasoning must have amused her as she laughed out loud and subsequently handed it over.  Unfortunately, its original blouse was nowhere to be found, so I had a new one made.

Nostalgia is a curious beast – it can arrive roaring out of the blue and knock your proverbial socks off. Wearing this sari reminded me of visiting my grandmother’s house in Punjab, India in the winter. A distinct memory I have from childhood  is that in the winter women wore silk saris and I was instantly transported to my nani’s verandah with various aunts walking around in lovely silk saris.  I find that clothes are as powerful a medium as any in resurrecting memories that instantly transport you back in time.

I hope you enjoy this ‘lookbook’ and have a lovely rest of the week!

 

‘Rescue Mission Series’: Blue Sari with Kashmiri Hand Embroidery

This month, I waded a year deeper into my forties.  I am not quite sure what to make of aging physically – it seems slow and steady but then you wake up after a night of minimal sleep and lo and behold  – you look like you have aged 10 years overnight! On the flip side, ageing mentally is proving to be an enjoyable experience that only seems to get better with every passing year.  Age has  brought about a deeper admiration for the beauty and brilliance of human ability and innovations. I have a greater appreciation for history, including my own, and the need to preserve ‘beautiful things’ that have been acquired over time and serve as symbolic markers of my life.

I have spoken about the concept of ‘Rescue Missions’ in my previous ‘Rescue Mission’ series posts:

‘My mother would often take some of her older clothes with her on trips to India and return with new outfits that were different permutations of an older outfit or two. As a teenager, I dubbed these her ‘Rescue Missions’, where she would salvage elements of an older outfit by pairing it with something new. I must admit I thought it was a waste of time and would tease her about these ‘projects’! However, as I grew older I realized that Indian clothes are so beautiful (and often so expensive) that they cannot be left to languish in a suitcase simply because the style may have gone out of fashion. The gorgeous handiwork that makes Indian wear so beautiful rarely changes; it’s the cut and style that fluctuates and then the outfit is relegated to the back of the closet and forgotten about. During my time in India, I decided I was going to embark on some of these ‘Rescue Missions’ myself!’

This crepe sari was a gift from my mother-in-law when I got married and is over 15 years old. The sari was plain blue crepe with no border or embellishments except for the column of beautiful Kashmiri embroidery on the pallu (long trailing end of the sari). The Kashmiri embroidery is truly a work of art and I would admire it every time I saw this sari in my ‘sari suitcase’ (as I always say – you can never have too much money or closet space and sadly I don’t have enough of either). Despite my admiration of the handiwork, the sari with its plain blue blouse left me uninspired every time I contemplated wearing it.

Then one day, while living in India, I decided that the time had come to perform a ‘rescue mission’ on this sari.  The sari and I went to meet a lady tailor recommended by a friend and after much deliberation she convinced me that the sari needed a border and a new blouse to increase its ‘wearability prospects’.  I wasn’t sure I fully bought into her vision but I am so glad I went with it because I think the dual coloured border and the self-embroidered blouse surpassed my expectations.  I think the ‘rescue mission’ was a success and brought this dull sari to life.

The sari is a rather unusual blue and I love the colour combinations used in this sari. The handiwork on it is exquisite and the there is a certain nostalgia associated with it as it was a wedding present .  I hope you enjoy this renewed version of this sari and thank you so much for reading.  Have a great weekend!

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My Boarding School 25th Anniversary Reunion: And a Beautiful Handloom Sari

As a child, I attended the Lawrence School Sanawar in India. The school, founded in 1847,  is considered to be one of the oldest coeducational boarding schools in the world. I recently returned from attending my year’s silver jubilee reunion at the school nestled amongst the hills. I think as we grow up, the memories of childhood diminish in their vividness and the pains and pleasures of childhood are overridden by the trials and  victories of adulthood.  Wow – talk about an instant magic carpet ride (OK British airways helped) back to the literal  ‘child – hood’,  the original ‘hood’, home to my early formative years.

Visiting Sanawar was a piercing reminder of the origins of the journey of ‘me’. It forced me to analyze the then, the now and all the life lived in between.  Around every corner, on random slopes and in beautiful  old buildings, I ran into memories – some good, some bad and some just down right hilarious. It struck me that childhood friendships may be formed by young immature individuals but the foundations of these friendships are embedded in the soundest of principles: the  pleasure of each other’s company, shared experiences and loyalty.  This is what makes childhood friendships so easy to resume regardless of the time that may have elapsed since one last met.  What else did I learn you make you may ask?  I discovered that drinking too many rums and coke is always a bad idea!

Boarding school fosters friendships that by the very essence of boarding together, are unique.  It was so lovely to see class mates (and their respective life mates), rehash old memories and renew old  friendships.  I knew that attending the reunion had been a great idea when a dear old friend and classmate, who I have not seen in multiple years,  said to me,  “one of the things I was most looking forward to was meeting you after all these years”. I second that and look forward to fostering these friendships through the coming decades.

What did I remember about fashion while revisiting my childhood? I  remembered observing the teachers and visiting mothers  at school,  lovely grown up women dressed in their elegant saris and thinking that I could not wait to grow up and wear one. I think my love affair with saris started in school as I have always associated wearing a sari with impending adulthood.

I bought this sari at Delhi Haat many years ago and I can confidently say that I never tire of wearing it.  It was as if the beauty of the handloom, the colours and the design were all singing in unison,  “Isha is going to buy you and give you a loving home in her closet”.  In fact, I remember walking away from it as my bargaining prowess had proved unsuccessful and the vendor and I had been unable to come to a mutually acceptable price.  Then, as I had walked a short distance and the reality of the situation struck me – I had returned and admitted defeat (the shame). The seller had the last laugh but I had a beautiful sari and I found comfort in the fact that my joy would outlive his.

Thank you so much for reading and have a great week!

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A Salute To The Sun: Bright Yellow And Pink Sari

It is only natural during the last few days of summer holidays to think about all the lovely things you have enjoyed in the past few weeks of vacation. Other than the obvious pleasures of good food, entertainment and time well spent with family, the thing I have enjoyed the most in California are the endless days of sunshine. The sun has been wonderful, however, I am now looking forward to the seasonal change in weather I will experience once I get back to England.

This is the last sari I bought in Mumbai before moving back to the UK.  My love of yellow is no secret and the beautiful combination of yellow and pink in this sari instantly called to me. I think this combination of bright colours symbolizes the vibrancy of hues that can only be witnessed in India! I feel instantly cheerful when I wear this sari. I love the two halves of this sari and the middle cream net portion works perfectly with the yellow and pink to keep the colour palette proportionally balanced.

I hope you enjoy this look and have a great rest of the week.  As always, thank you for reading!

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Beauty in Simplicity: Vibrant Cotton Sari

I am constantly amazed at the ability of clothing to evoke strong memories from days and events gone by. I last wore this sari a few years ago in Mumbai. During our five year expat stint in India, our children attended an international school there.  Every year the school held a special day long festival that celebrated the diversity of the many nations that made up the nationality of the students of this school.  On this day, children and parents were encouraged to wear costumes from any country they identified with or one of the many attires that make up the beautiful clothing heritage of their host country, India.  It was a beautifully sunny day and I remember thinking this was the perfect sari to wear to the festival to showcase the beautiful weaves and colours that make up the very foundation of traditional Indian wear.  When I put this on, it reminded me of that lovely day in Mumbai, but more importantly it reminded me of just how relevant the ethos of that festival is in this day and age.  Given the deep divisions we are witnessing in the world today, events that celebrate diversity and impress upon children that the differences between us are not only OK, but are something to be celebrated can only be a good thing!

I loved everything about this sari the moment I laid eyes upon it. I had gone sari shopping with a cousin who was visiting me in Mumbai and it was chaos in the shops as it was pre-Diwali season. As most customers were checking out bling saris given the season, I wandered into the cotton sari section as it seemed rather deserted and the elderly man behind the counter gave me a sweet smile. I spotted the white of the sari and asked to pull it out so I could take a closer look.  The moment he spread the sari out on the counter and I saw the vibrant borders and the gorgeous blouse – I was sold!  The potential purchase became a guarantee when I asked him how much it was and he said, ‘after sale mam – it is only Rs. 3,000’. That seemed like a bargain to me – given that I thought the sari was stunning – and so I ensured that the sweet old man could also say that he had sold something that evening! What can I say – doing good deeds through shopping just comes so naturally to me.

I hope you like this sari as much as I do and thank you so much for reading!  If you enjoy this blog, please do tell your friends and family about it if you think it is something they may like – much appreciated!

On a side note, I won these earrings in Mumbai as best dressed at a ball where the theme was the 1920’s.  I would be happy to share a picture of my outfit from the ball if it would be of interest.