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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Farah Talib Aziz - My Review

FTA - Farah Talib Aziz is a brand Ive been a fan of for quite sometime which you will be very much aware of if you follow my Facebook Page - hint hint if you haven't liked AND followed yet please do so :)

Their designs and colour schemes are classic and beautiful with an eternal charm about them - I know this sounds like a rather tall description but thats what the designs say to me.
I decided to go with them when I required a new outfit for a friends wedding. I am struggling with the clothes addiction and the cost of attending weddings and outfits does add up so the best way for me to justify new stuff is to go for classic designs that I know I can wear in years to come...

I got in touch with FTA through their FB page and was then directed to whatsApp where the lovely Maliha sent me designs that could be worked within my budget; I had just over £300 + shipping to spend which is not an amount they usually work with but I twisted her arm and she agreed!!

My outfit is beautiful - its one of the few (this and the Ayesha Yousaf one - review to come folks!) that my husband actually likes!

The work on it is intricate and neat, fabric is lovely zari which is patterned and also full of Mukesh work and fitting is just right. For once I was very hands off with this outfit - I only specified the colours, chose the design from the numerous photos I was sent but left everything to them.... okay doesn't sound that hands off however the vendors I usually order from will vouch for how specific I am with every tiny little detail! I went for a straight calf length kameez with a churidaar; they added a beautiful latkan to the back which just dresses it up that little bit more. The dupatta and churidaar are Orchid Purple in shade which sets of the green really well. 

The other thing I have noticed since wearing the outfit is that the work hasn't tugged at the fabric at all - This issue is the bain of my life! Metal wire from such embroidery usually sticks /rubs against my sleeves literally destroying the fabric - however after two wears... so far so good. I suppose this is the sign of extra good craftsmanship when the work doest do this. The mukesh does stick a little but nothing that will damage the fabric.

The order arrived on time, I was able to pay to a UK bank account which was useful and I have a new classic and beautiful outfit in my wardrobe. I would highly recommend ordering from them for anyone looking for something special.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

SuperSummer's Top tip - Sell OFF all your super long shirts!! - Frugal Fashionista

Hello everyone!

Hope you're all good and if you're in the UK hope you had a super fabulous bank holiday weekend!!

So, I had a wonderful reader email me asking if I had anything I wanted to sell clothes wise as she needed something to wear to an upcoming wedding and was looking for something which shouted out 'high end' but was pocket friendly too... I get asked this a lot and I've always been a bit reluctant but the tides are changing....

We all know what its like, especially if you mix in the same circles all the time, although there is nothing wrong with repeating outfits at all but understandably no one wants to repeat too close to the last wear and sometimes by the time you feel its okay to repeat the outfit it may not be in style and so you've just spent a fortune on something and not really been able to get full wear out of it.

Or it could simply be that the style didn't suit you or you have changed shape and it doesn't fit

Personally I am reasonably lucky - I have a few different sets of circles so usually am able to wear outfits quite a few times which helps make me sleep better at night!!

Anyway - back to the topic! The lovely Zee who emailed me initially has set up a page doing something similar to what I've been thinking of for a while called 'Desi Frugal Fashionista'- A place to buy and sell gently used outfits whilst they're still in fashion but also at a reasonable price so you are able to actually SELL the stuff - her three main rules are:

1. You must list the outfit for half price or less than what was originally paid. It may hurt to sell something for half the price if you have only worn it once but on the flip side if the discount you're offering is only nominal why would anyone buy something that's already been worn and they haven't seen the condition of either?

2. Must still be in fashion - lets be realistic no one really wants to buy something which looks dated

3. Must be in excellent condition

So ladies before it goes totally out of fashion or just sits in your wardrobe until you're bored of it why not sell it on, make a little bit of money and use that towards your next purchase??

Sell OFF all your super long shirts!! - Okay style comes from within and we must not let trends dictate but whether you like it or not we will all be in short shirts pretty soon; well actually, will probably take 12-18 months for full transition but why not try and sell off the super long ones whilst you still can?? What do you think????

This is slightly controversial and its meant to be to get you all debating - I know we will see floor length maxi type dresses for a while yet but for the on trend fashionista its time raise the hemlines?

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Asian Designers UK - Agha Noor Kurta


I thought I should nip in this quick review in case any of you still have last minute Eid outfit requirements - my bad - probs not possible to get anything in time for Eid now but maybe you can still squeeze something in for Post Eid events this weekend??

I was just browsing FB as I do when I came across a few Kurta's for sale from Asian Designers UK - it was listed at £30 which is a pretty good price for a silk embellished Kurta in my opinion especially when you don't have to add high shipping and money transfer costs so I got in touch.

Marwa was incredibly helpful, answered all my sizing queries very promptly over whatsApp and sent me suggestions for another outfit I was also interested in - the second outfit didn't work out but she still remained very helpful and even later sent me some alternative suggestions. She wasn't pushy at all, just came up with suggestions suited to my requirements.

I transferred the money + shipping costs (3.99) and received the kurta by first class post the following day - such a simple process :)

I would highly recommend having a look through her page if you are after casual/semi formals

The Kurta it self is lovely, looks exactly like the pics and actually for the price quite dressy too - I'm happy!!

Please do 'LIKE' my Facebook page in case you haven't already, regular updates on it! Do also tick the 'Get Notifications' option which appears when you hover over the 'Like' button. THANKS!! 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Deepika Chadha - My Lehnga review

Hello Peeps

Long time no seee???!!!!!!

I've been a bit hectic! Wedding season hit my husband and I full on; we attended 5 weddings in four months (we still have 4 to go!), two of them abroad and obviously the desi weddings all had numerous events so I'd barely had time to digest the biryani when the blessed month of Ramadan started. Now I don't have the energy to blog... but here goes!!

For my very special cousins wedding I was informed I needed a lehnga for the Mehndi. I love leghnga's and although I LOVE Pakistani designers and style, when it came to a lehnga I knew it had to be Indian!

I had my parents do a quick search for me whilst they were in Delhi but as I had a limited budget and they didn't have much time... we didn't have any luck.... then whilst searching through instagram I came across Deepika's page. I know; I am the first to warn people to never order of randoms and never order unless you have a recommendation; my other rule which I always harp on about is never order a replica but I was desperate and decided to break ALL my rules!!

Deepika was so lovely to deal with and so reassuring; she sent me samples of the types of kaam she had, colours, sketches and everything else I fussed over that I knew that I could place my trust in her. I was also relieved to see she only posts photos of her own work on her facebook page, always a good indicator in my opinion.

I paid her only half up front which as around £90 and the rest once the outfit was ready to be shipped and she had sent me photos of the finished garment. The lehnga was £180 with shipping, she knew I was apprehensive and agreed to make it within my budget as a first time order.

I knew I wanted something a little toned down, not too heavy and very elegant. I had set my sights on this Shyamal & Bhumika Number which at around £700 was totally out of my budget

I've ordered enough online not to expect a replica of this and its not what we wanted either, I worked with Deepika in developing an inspired version right for my budget and the occasion.

I was VERY pleased with the final outfit, it looks really elegant as it has just the right amount of work and the colour combination is just perfect; muted with a pop of bright colour. Initially I wasn't too happy with the size of the motifs on the dupatta, I had been sent photos of them in advance so couldn't complain and thought they were too big when I saw it in person however when I wore the lehnga the large motifs actually 'made' the look and are probably the highlight of the lehnga.

The quality of stitching and finishing on the garment is superb, The fabrics used are of a high standard; the blouse is raw silk fully lined and the skirt also has a silk cotton lining, netting then a second lining to protect my legs from the netting.

I had a sizing issue but that was due to miss communication, Deepika had assumed an open back and the blouse had been cut accordingly, however it was only later I clarified I need a more modest version... for those who don't know open backed blouses are cut differently and it alters the sizing massively, its actually not so easy to fix and took a few visits to a local tailor from my end and if I am honest the fitting of the blouse is a bit weird now but again to point out that wasn't really the vendors fault as in India open/low backs on blouses is pretty much standard and as I was going against the norm the onus really was on me to point this out :)

The quality of kaam is nice; its a lot thicker and less fine than what I usually go for but it looks good and to be honest stands out a lot more; it works well with the overall look so am more than happy.

I would certainly order from Deepika again, I loved the fact she was always available on whatsapp and we could exchange photos and ideas instantly. My outfit was delivered on time, is good value for money, is beautiful and I honestly cant wait to wear it again! I've found a new trusted designer to order from. All is well!

Deepika Chadha Designs can be found on Facebook.

My Bathroom selfie...!

Photos Deepika sent me before I made final payment

Friday, 6 June 2014

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Rana Noman - Short(er) Shirt Inspiration

Personally I've started moving my hemlines up... Yes I am a sucker for trends and fashion I also know a longer silhouette suits me a LOT better but this is the way I am!! I need change!!

This particular one is gorgeous! Its not quite the fitted shirt and churidaar look which was my staple for years and years but a more loose cut with cigarette pants - a look I like very much!

I spotted this on the following instagram account which I love to follow - Saira has a great eye and posts all the best pics!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Aishwarya is BACK!

How hot does she look???
I hate the way she was slated for her weight gain and her resistance to the unheathy fad of getting back to size zero as soon as baby is born. A woman should be allowed to take her time and focus on her child! Anyway! Respect to her!!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Kalah - Very much the house of craft..

I have a treat in store for everyone!!

I know its a bit lame going back to work after 4 days off but you know what - we gotta keep the economy going!!! Anyway, to cheer us working folk up I have some beautiful photos to ogle at accompanied by a very insightful interview of the extremely talented Mubashra Najm, the creative brains behind the 'Kalah' brand.

I am actually totally in love with her work. I almost placed an order but as she was a little busy and I am a control freak (she wasn't able to send sketches in advance) I didn't go ahead but I massively regret this now - I can honestly say in my opinion this is THE brand to look out for and every pic I see of her bridals just outdoes the last one which trust me is a tall order!

Tell us a little about yourself and how did your label start? 
I graduated around 4 years back from the Indus Valley School of Arts & Architecture in Karachi. i did my Bachelor's in Textile Design which helped build a very strong foundation for drawing out patterns and designs and helped me develop an understanding of colors. i feel these were the two core ingredients which have greatly helped me in my line of work. I'd always been interested in fashion but after completing my bachelors i wanted to apply whatever i had learned during those 4 years and put my skills to work. I also wanted to launch my own brand because I did not wish to work within the restrictions of someone else's design choices. I wanted to design clothes which were consummate with my creative vision. That is how Kalah was born as a brand of formals and bridals.
Where do you find inspiration? 
My philosophy of work has always been to provide exclusivity and customization which is why I've always believed in designing one off pieces. My inspiration are usually my clients, because whenever i design an outfit i design it according to what would suit a particular individual. whatever you choose to wear defines your taste and style; If I know my clients' personality and taste when designing a customized outfit for them, the process becomes that much easier. That's why I like to simply talk to my clients about their vision about their perfect dress before I actually start the design process. I then take them along with me on the whole process of designing which makes it interesting for us both and the end result is always very satisfying. 

You use a lot of pictorials in your outfits - how did this come about?
I use a lot of pictorials in my outfits because they require detail in terms of work and color and make the outfit more interesting. but thats a personal choice. a lot of people share that taste but some of them don't and i like keeping all options open for my clients. 

Your outfits have amazing work on them, how do you source your kaarigars and maintain such high standards?
Ive been lucky enough to find a reliable and a dedicated team of workers who have been with me from the start. it requires time and patience for your craftsmen to understand your tastes and the quality of work you expect them to do. This process no doubt has been challenging but rewarding at the same time.

Which region is the best for crafts?
Pakistan having a rich cultural heritage has the most talented and skilled craftsmen you can find. I've witnessed the crafts of Punjab and Sindh as part of school projects which has led me to appreciate and acknowledge the level of skill present in our country. I honestly cannot pick a favorite since I think they all have their own unique place.

Which trend do you dislike? Is there a style which you think is particularly unflattering?
I think whatever you chose to wear should compliment your body type and age. One particular style which i feel didnt flatter any body type were the dholak shalwars with short fitted shirts. that for me was a complete no no!

Which designer do you feel really sets the stage for Asian fashion? There are a lot of great designers doing some excellent work but my personal favourties are Zuhair Murad, Ellie saab, Naeem Khan, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, Ritu Kumar, Bunto Kazmi & Umar Sayeed.

What is your favourite type of embroidery? i love doing embroideries which involve a variety of stitches in one design, so you'd see a lot of resham work, pita work, load ka kaam, mukaish ka kaam, sitay ka kaam, sequins, swarovski work etc.

Are there certain things you will refuse to do in an outfit if you really believe the end result wont work?
During my discussions with a client if i feel strongly about something not working in an outfit i usually explain why it won't work. Although i incorporate my clients input into my designs but ultimately every dress is a reflection of my design aesthetic hence the responsibility of it looking great is also mine. it is very imp to trust your designer's sense of judgement because they can probably visualize the complete product and if they feel that something is not going to work, its best to stick to what they're suggesting. you should let your designer know exactly what you expect from the outfit and the necessary elements and then leave it upto them.

Give us your style prediction for this year
We're starting to see shorter hemlines making their way back. Although when speaking in terms of couture lots of volume always looks more graceful. people have become more experimental in terms of cuts now so you can chose whatever length and style suits you best!
Lastly, some words for anyone thinking of ordering from you…
Kalah is one of the few fashion houses where the clients can get one off customized bridals. Every Kalah bride is adorned in a dress created especially for her and one she has always envisioned herself wearing on her big day.

Friday, 21 March 2014

My Wedding Choos!

Just thought I would share some details!

For my reception I went for Jimmy Choo!

I am not a heels kind of girl, just cant walk in them which is why I chose the brand as great craftsmanship means their shoes are that little bit easier to cope with! I opted for something not too high - these are pretty comfortable and I can last a few hours in them before I need to slip into some flats!

My Tip: If you struggle with heels then either practice till you can do it or seriously stick to what you can manage - I've seen the odd bride hobble around and its not a good look!

 I believe these are still part of their bridal range and a great option for that special wedding treat!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Kerastase VS Redken - Coloured hair

Shampoo is a subject very close to my heart. I am very particular about what I put on my hair,who cuts and colours it so naturally what I wash it with is of the upmost importance especially now that I have the Balayage look to maintain... too harsh and the toners gone and colour looks tooooo stark - tooo gentle and its not getting clean and I walk around looking like a greasy monkey...

I have been a fan of Kerastase for years and have been using it for about 7 years now - I try and interchange with cheaper brands in between purchases as its quite expensive and because I am of the school of thought that you should occasionally change and using a clearing shampoo just to make sure there is no build up.

I decided to try Redken for a change  - well mostly because Im a sucker and the packaging says 'Color extend Magnetics' and I thought 'OOOhhhhh Colour will last longer - less trips to the salon - Im gonna save me some cash!!' Yes I work in marketing and I should be fully aware that what they say may not be true but i did not care and bought myself the whole package - two bottles + conditioner and you know what it was a big fat mistake!!!

Its just not suitable for my hair - lots of people love it - my hairdresser likes it too so I am sure its a great product but for me it has the greasy monkey affect :( My hair just looks lank and greasy - Im talking greasy by the end of the day, not day 2!!

I still have another bottle sat spare....

Friday, 14 March 2014

Friday Guldastaa

I love florals - Have done so since I was a little kid. When we used to go to southall back in the day to pick fabrics for my desi wear I would always pick the florals and my mum would comment there is a granny inside waiting to get out!

The shift from motifs to floral designs has been on the horizon for some time but was fully stamped this week at Lakme India Fashion week - its everywhere from mens wear to printed floral lehngas (Which I LOVE)

Some of my fav botanical looks...

Shruti Sanchetis collection for Lakme India Fashion Week

Kalah - House of Kraft

Manish Malhotra

Lavanya London

Ayush Kejriwal

Minaxi Daboo

Zehra Saleem