The Expat Life Episode 4

The fourth and last episode of the short TV Series The Expat Life broadcast in Singapore a couple of months ago. Hope you enjoyed it. Looking forward to your comments!

Power Recipes

Power Recipes is a TV series featuring me and other prominent business women of Singapore, on how we find time for our friends and family despite our busy schedules. I thoroughly enjoyed doing the show. Here it is, just in case you missed the show.

The Expat Life Episode 1

Expat Life is a short TV series that was broadcast in Singapore a couple of months ago. I appeared in many of its episodes, with my take on fashion and fabrics. I will post them on this Style Trend Setters blog for you.

Tarun Tahiliani at Lakme Fashion Week

Reliance Trends presented Tarun Tahiliani at Lakme Fashion Week 2015. Tarun’s pet collection has always been with digital prints. The bright colored imperial prints in soft flowing drapes and high head gear…

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The sun glasses were definitely needed, the colors were so bright and beautiful, definitely had a summer resort feel. They certainly put you in a holiday mood. Here are some of my favourite looks:

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Tanya at Lakme Fashion Week 2015

Tanya at Lakme Fashion Week 2015

Tanya does Singapore proud! Our own Singapore girl, Tanya Graham, walks the runway for Lakme Fashion week. Her mixed background of Scottish and Indian decent adds to her allure and exotic looks.

Tanya at Lakme Fashion Week 2015 Tanya at Lakme Fashion Week 2015 Tanya at Lakme Fashion Week 2015

Tanya lived and studied in Singapore before perusing a career in modeling in Mumbai. She debuted on the runway at Stylemart’s 2014 Sept Goddess Collection, and in just a few months has made a mark for herself in Mumbai India.

Way to go Tanya! Tanya at Lakme Fashion Week 2015 Tanya-2 She was featured in numerous editorials on Elle and Vogue. Lakme Fashion Week 2015 marks another iconic moment, as she walked the Main Stage for established designers.

Finale – Lakme Fashion Week 2015

The Grand Finale of Lakme Fashion Week 2015 was an ABSOLUTE success story that needs to be shared.

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The venue for the Grand Finale was carefully chosen to be the Bhau Daji Lad Museum and everything was planned, set and rehearsed for the 9:30 show.
At 4:30pm (5 hrs before showtime) I got an SMS message from the organizers that the venue has been moved to the Palladium Hotel due to unforeseen circumstances.

Lakme Fashion Week 2015

I heard that someone important had apparently objected to the use of that premises for a fashion show. I could hardly believe this… and more than anything, I was amazed at how well the organizers and Lakme team went about regrouping and executing Plan B. In a matter a few hours the entire lobby of the Palladium and its majestic grand staircase were transformed into the show venue. I saw the plan put into action and watched from afar how calmly the organizers in charge of this grand affair handled the situation. Kudos to you my dear friend and your team. The show did go on and it was nothing short of an ABSOLUTE success.

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Lakme Fashion Week 2015
Lakme Fashion Week 2015
Famous celebrities such as Deepika Padukone and Kareena Kapoor and many others set the stage for a star-studded affair.

The grand staircase was a beautiful backdrop to the collection of whites and ivories on stark black – by Anamika Khanna.

Suneet Verma

I have always been a fan of Suneet Verma’s work. The showcase at Lakme Fashion Week 2015 was a tapestry of various techniques of Indian embroidery.

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However, the use of mirror work with thread is nothing new to the scene. Mirror work was already introduced and the trend has trickled down to the mass manufactures. So this was a bit of a look that has been seen and done. But being being a fan of Suneet Verma, I’m a bit biased and I’m willing to overlook this.

Sumeet Verma's collection

Suneet Verma’s lineup seemed to take us through a kaleidoscope of time with old English charm of Victorian inspired motifs artfully combined with traditional Indian mirror work.

Sumeet Verma's collection

Sumeet Verma's collection

Although this fad of mirror work has never been my favourite, the collection by Suneet was not like no other.

Lakme Fashion Week 2015

I am at Lakme Fashion Week 2015, and here is my take on day 4. It was an exciting day of back-to-back fashion shows with celebrity stars like Jacqueline Fernandez and Karishma Kappoor stealing the show as guests to the event. On the fashion front, prints are back in a big way this season. The Sabyasachi collection of print on print highlighted with sequencing is one example of this trend. The floral motif on the print and mirror work is another big trend.

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My favorite collection of Day 4 of the event on the Jabong Stage was designer Sonu Dharnidharka for her Rriso line. Using a soft neutral palette of beiges, mixed with crochets and gold embroidery, the collection resembled ethereal Grecian goddesses, floating on the runway in soft georgettes.

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Outfits by designer Neha Agarwal used Russian Dolls as her inspiration. The Dolls are printed on the garment combined with pure georgette coordinates.

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Hits and Misses of Fashion Trends 2014 – Sonam Kapoor

My favourite gal who can do no wrong in the fashion scene is Sonam Kapoor. On every single picture from tabloid to movie premieres to award ceremonies, she always looks fabulous. Her taste is impeccable and exciting. I like it that she always looks comfortable and chic. It seems so effortless on her, and yet she always surprises you with something exciting. My favourite look for the year 2014 is Sonam in an Anamika Khanna couture saree at her appearance in Cannes for the movie premiere ‘Foxcatcher’.

Sonam Kapoor at Foxcatcher Premiere
Sonam Kapoor at Foxcatcher Premiere

Sonam Kapoor was a definite fashion hit last year.

Hits and Misses of Fashion Trends 2014 – Aishwarya Rai

Former Miss World Aishwarya Rai has made an emphatic comeback in 2014 starting with her Cannes 2014 appearance. The last couple of years have been so bad that fashion police would have had her behind bars. Thankfully she has turned it around, looking better then ever, wearing a golden Roberto Cavalli gown that accentuated her curves. She is one hot mama now.

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Aishwarya Rai’s best in 2014 – a hit

But this look is definitely a miss. She should be arrested by fashion police for public display of sluttiness!

Aishwarya Rai
Aishwarya Rai’s worst in 2014

The Saree — What Makes it So Special?

India is indeed the world’s repository of art and culture, so there is no dearth of exquisite sarees that any collector would love to own.
A saree is not just a piece of garment; it is a work of art. It is a little piece of that timeless culture, and the traditional artistry that gave us the Taj Mahal. I know fashion enthusiasts as well as art connoisseurs that takes pride in collecting these exquisite pieces of art from Stylemart.

Claire in a Saree

My favourite saree till date is still the Keralite Kasevu and I made all my friends wear it to the temple in Bali on my birthday. The authentic versions of this saree is 100% pure cotton, and has has pure silver dipped in gold (real gold) on the borders. Its the simplest saree on earth, and to me the most beautiful.

One of my favourites weaves is the silk jamdani. This handloom has a blend of both cotton and silk along with jute and zari – this blend is quite unusual and has been one of my favourites for many years and I have many different versions. And there are only a few handloom houses that still practise this blend of silk and cotton Jamdanis.

A Banarasi and a Kancheepurams are the other two sarees that I would consider a must-have to complete any saree collectors’ wardrobe. They are considered the Mother of All sarees.

Of course there are many versions of the saree, the bollywood versions such as nets, crepes and chiffons are favourites to many as well. They are trend-related, so it is a matter of choice.

But it doesn’t end there. The beauty of a sarees is that each state and region , across the length and breath of India, has a distinctive weave or embroidery. And these handlooms and embroideries are a tradition passed down from one generation to the next over many centuries. And some of these exclusive sarees take months of hard work to make just one piece.

So you can only imagine, the variety in sarees is limitless and you are spoilt for choice. I am so fortunate that I am born to do what I do. Travelling across India and being introduced to this world of textile from the age of seven, I was intrigued by the intricate looms, colours and master pieces of art. Almost every time they would open a saree, my heart would skip beat.

I know of a few European fashion houses that have tried to launch their brand on sarees. However , the status symbol or the brand is not enough to make a saree special. It is the artistic skill craftsmanship and quality that puts a price tag on a saree and that makes one saree distinctive from another.

Expat Life

Here is a video clip from a TV programme called the Expat Life in Singapore. On this lively show, I was asked to share some of my fashion savoir-faire. Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Stylemart Fashion Show 2014 – Gaia

The inspiration for the first segment of my Stylemart Fashion Show 2014 comes from nature, and I call it Gaia. Nature is down-to-earth in her simplicity, but intricate in her beauty. So is this collection with its exquisite and intricate thread (ghara) embroidery. It features different techniques from various regions of India, from Parsy to Kashmiri, mixed with matte gold and bronze sequences giving it the aura of agelessness as well as the oomph factor.

It is hard to overstate the exclusivity of this collection. The techniques used in the outfits are painstaking and time-consuming. There are only a handful of embroiders left who can work this magical level of intricacy on a single-thread (dhaga) embroidery, and I am proud to house a selection of such exclusive outfits. Naturally, these outfits tend to be expensive. They are like collectibles, like pieces of art that can be proudly passed from one generation to the next. There are machine-embroidered versions that look similar, but those with taste seek out the pure and authentic ones. As time goes by, this art from is doomed to disappear from the face of the earth along with these master craftsmen. So grab one now if you can afford it. It will become a proud heirloom in your family.

Before anything came the goddess Gaia, Mother Earth, who created herself out of the primordial chaos. From her fertile womb sprang all life, and unto her must all living things return. Gaia, as Mother Nature, personifies the entire ecosystem of Planet Earth. Mother Nature is always working to achieve and maintain harmony, wholeness and balance within the environment. Mother Nature heals, nurtures and supports all life on this planet. The way of Mother Gaia is passive, but her passivity belies the awesome strength and power of creation as well as destruction. When she smiles, it is all sunshine and joy. When clears her throat, we hear earthquakes and volcanoes. When she sniffs, we see hurricanes and tsunamis. We don’t want to make her angry! Here is my tribute the best qualities in women — motherly love and infinite patience.

Stylemart Fashion Show 2014 – Kali

Stylemart Fashion Show 2014 featured a beautiful collection in black. This collection is dedicated to the Goddess Kali. My designs in this segment use black as the predominant color, with gold, silver, beiges and greys embellishing and complementing it.

You can expect long straight cut suits that are making a big come back this season. You can combine the straight cut suits with a churidar, wide-leg trousers, or even a flared skirt or lacha, giving you a multitude of combinations to choose from depending on your personal preference.

For a fashionista that is always looking for new twists, these saree-inspired gowns are sure to be a big hit this season.

The most mystical of all our goddesses, Kali represents all things fundamental in our existence. In her eyes, we see the black beauty that existed before light came to be, and shines through in the eyes of every woman. She represents the feminine form of Time, and existed before time. She represents fire, and the life force. With her many hands and formidable posture standing over a vanquished male form of evil, she represents femininity at its fiercest. She lives beyond our understanding of good and evil, space and time. She is the pure primordial force. Here’s to eternity and beauty beyond words.

Stylemart Fashion Show 2014 – Athena

Western style long gowns are in demand these days, especially for formal events like wedding receptions. In this segment of Stylemart Fashion Show 2014, I present a collection quite different from the run-of-the-mill evening gowns produced by the international designers.

With an ethnic touch, inspired by the saree drapes with a rouch or wrap around the hips and drape over the shoulder, these creations generate elegant silhouettes that perfectly complement the Indian figure.

I dedicate this collection to Athena, and attribute the element of wind and sky to her. And the collection is soft and fluid with colors mirroring the hues of the sky and the clouds.

Athena is the virgin goddess of all things good. She is stands for wisdom, the better part of bravery and heroism. She represents courage in our battles that we wage everyday to protect and nurture our homes. She is the inspiration behind all our creativity. Plato calls her the divine intelligence, and she who knows divine things. The favorite child of Zeus, Athena sprang full grown in armour from his forehead, and was allowed to use his weapons including his thunderbolt. To bravery, wisdom and intuition, our best qualities — this segment is my homage.

Stylemart Fashion Show 2014 – Durga

Here is another short video clip from my annual Stylemart Fashion Show 2014.

Durga is another eternal source of inspiration; she is the very image of positive feminine energy Shakti. My collection for this segment represents the beauty, strength and perfection of the goddess in each one of us. Associating it with the fire element, this collection features the ever-popular hues of red, fuchsias and oranges. These are the colors that complement the Indian skin tones and bring out best features of the Indian woman. They are also considered auspicious and remain a favorite to many Indian brides.

To give it a new twist, I experimented with these three colors, putting them together in one garment. The creation looks stunning, as a wedding lehenga or Kancheepuram saree.

The latest trends for this season are embroidered jacket style saree blouses, with plain sarees as well as with dhotis or cowl style pants. With so much variety in style this season, you will be spoilt for choice!

This segment opened with the following video that explained the inspiration, and formed the backdrop for the catwalk. Enjoy!

Durga is the quintessential goddess known simply as Devi (the goddess). She is also Shakti (the strength or energy). Legend has it that she emanated from the trinity of existence, wisdom and the circle of life for conquering evil. Although a derivative of the male divinities, Durga embodies their collective energy (Shakti) and is the true source of their inner power. She is also greater than any of them. Born fully grown and beautiful, Durga presents a fierce menacing form to her enemies, and a kind and nurturing image to under her protection. I dedicate this segment of the show to the beauty, strength and perfection of the goddess in each one of us.

Stylemart Fashion Show 2014 – Kwan Yin

My last fashion show was a grand affair. Stylemart Fashion Show 2014 featured collections inspired by the Goddesses of our mythos from all over the globe. I believe the goddesses represent our qualities. Here is a short video of one of the segments.

Strength and compassion are our finer qualities as women. Personifying these qualities, the Chinese Goddess Kwan Yin is an inspiration for me. She showers compassion over the world. She is flexible and adaptable.

In my collection for this segment, I chose a palette soft water colors of aquas and ice blues mixed with pastel pinks and soft lemon yellows. I incorporated oriental motifs in the embroideries using applique and thread work. To highlight the Chinese culture that forms the backdrop of Kwan Yin, I splashed a bit of red representing hope and prosperity.

Such fusion of cultures is a natural outcome of our life in this multi-cultural, multi-racial melting pot that is Singapore. I love this fusion work that is uniquely Singaporean, and it has become my signature style. Fusion style lends versatility to the outfits — you can wear it more occasions. People appreciate the uniqueness your dressing represents.

This segment opened with the following video that explained the inspiration, and formed the backdrop for the catwalk. Enjoy!

Pouring compassion over the world is Kwan Yin, the goddess of mercy, compassion and sacrifice. Like water that she holds in her hand, Kwan Yin personifies purity, strength and the essential element of life. Like a willow, she is adaptable but strong, willing to bend, but not break. She embodies the spirit of forgiveness, and her presence can make flowers bloom even in hell, and compassion grow even in the hardest of hearts. Every woman is like Kuan Yin. We may not have a thousand eyes or a thousand arms, but our compassions transform us into a Kuan Yin. With our compassion, we bring peace and tranquility to this troubled world.

Stylemart Fashion Show 2014 – Gallery

Here are some photos from the annual Stylemart fashion show on the 15th of September 2014 at the Fairmont Hotel, Singapore. It was a huge success, with exquisite designs on the catwalk, sumptuous cuisine by a gifted chef, and flawless execution by my dedicated team and friends. A big thank you to all!

The theme of this year’s show was Goddess; it is my tribute to the best qualities in women that are personified in the images and allegories of Goddesses throughout the ages, all over the world. I will write more about it in the coming days and weeks, and post more photos and even videos of the show and the inspiration behind it. Now it is time to sit back and enjoy the gallery!

If you would like to get hold of any items showcased in the Stylemart fashion show, please visit contact us.
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Manish Malhotra Goes Grey

Manish Malhotra collection at Lakme Fashion Show 2014

Manish Malhotra, Bollywood’s favourite go-to fashion designer, presented his latest collection at the finale of Lakme Fashion Week 2014 in Mumbai on a stage elegantly decorated with fresh flowers, creating a scene from the story of the Secret Garden. The collection itself was a stunning potpourri of deep wine tones, and glossy shades of purples. Throughout his line, the color grey looked like the predominant shade for this season.

Manish Malhotra at Lakme Fashion Show 2014Kareena Kapoor at Lakme Fashion Week FinaleManish Malhotra at Lakme Fashion Show 2014

There wasn’t much change from his usual elegant designs in the general cuts and styles, from floor length anarkalis and lengha cholis and the sherwani style lachas, and the silhouettes are still pretty much the same.

The embroidery was mainly sequins, combined with “Ghara” thread embroideries and mirror work using nets, raw silks teffettas and velvets. All put together the collection was exquisite and you couldn’t take your eyes off the runway from beginning to end. The effect of the silver sequin on the sheer fabric was like a cascading waterfall. It was an absolutely spectacular finale, and a treat to the eyes. Kareena Kapoor Khan pulled all the stop and closed the show for yet another spectacular season.

Kasavu for Onam

Deepika Padukone in Kasavu

Kasavu for all agesKasavu saree is the ivory-colored, hand-spun cotton saree with gold Zari border, especially popular in Kerala. Event though I own a store full of sarees from all over India in every possible shade and fabric, the Kasavu is still my top favorite. I absolutely love the natural white pure cotton handlooms. I have over twenty Kasavu sarees and two-piece sets, all with different border widths in gold and silver etc.

Many get the Bengali handlooms mixed up with the Keralite Kasavu. They may look quite similar but as someone who loves and wears Kasavus for the last 26 years, I can tell them apart quite easily. You can tell just from the color of the gold border if it’s pure or synthetic. The Kasavu sarees of natural handlooms cottons and the zari on the borders should have a silver content in the zari border. Hence the wider the border, the more expensive the Kasavu saree gets. Many would be surprised to learn that a simple Kasavu saree with a two-inch border could cost easily Rs 20,000 onwards.
Rani Mukherjee in Kasavu

Every year when I go to Trivandrum, I make it a point to get my husband to buy me a Kasavu from my favourite store, Karalakada. Even the ambience of the store has an old-world charm. The store is like a maze. It has been many different small rooms with old carved pillars and straw mats on the floor. It has hard wood selves with stacks of just Kasavu in both gold and silver borders. The gold kind is the traditional one. The silver borders are a new variation.

The variations among the Kasavu sarees are subtle, but it is always exciting to wear a brand new Kasavu. I love Onam (the Kerala harvest festival) especially because I get to wear one the many Kasavu sarees that I own. Maybe it’s my Malayalee side shining through here. Or may be it is the understated elegance of a classic attire, which is gaining in popularity in Bollywood fashion as well these days. The reigning bolly queen Deepika sensationalized this look in Chennai Express.

Deepika Padukone in Kasavu
When combined with a traditional kasimala, a manga mala, or the Palakadu green stone mala and a pair of gold jimikis, the Kasavu saree exudes all the class and elegance of a rich heritage. The Kasavu and the traditional gold jewelry go well together. I have many clients of non-Malayalee origin looking for these sarees. I find it heartening when my heritage is appreciated beyond the borders!

There are so many synthetic versions today; so choose carefully, If you are in Trivandrum do visit the old Karalakada. Please remember to mention the old Karalakada, because there is a new one right next to it in a fancy glass building. It is my dream and hope to own a store just like the old Kerelakada with its old-world charm and traditional architecture in Singapore some day.

Varun Bahl

Varun Bahl at Lakme Fashion Week 2014Designer Varun Bahl presented his 10th year of excellence on the ramps at the Lakme Fashion Week recently. His collection was one among my favorites this season. Varun stuck to his signature color palette mainly of silver grey, ivory, beige, pale pink, lavender and powder blue. And his motifs followed his ever-popular Varun Bahl trademark of embroidered roses and flowers. His outfits were crafted for the global woman. His cuts were peplum jackets, dresses, skirts and shirts, mostly western cuts seamlessly fused with contemporary Indian embroidery.

Varun Bahl at Lakme Fashion Week 2014
I could see the evolution of ten years of Varun Bahl styles all put on display at this collection. Just as he put it, “This collection is all about revisiting my experiences and putting them all on one platter. This collection is the distillate of my decade in fashion.” I would call it biker rocker chic, with a sense of class.

Varun Bahl at Lakme Fashion Week 2014

Varun Bahl at Lakme Fashion Week 2014His creations are practical, in addition to being classy and chic — I love that. She said fashion should be accessible to everyone. It should be wearable, comfortable and chic, as Priyanka Chopra put it.

Navy is the New Black

The color palette for this season has had a drastic change, navy is the new black!

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I was at the Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai a few days ago. Almost every designer at the event had navy blue in their collection; it looks like navy has now become the new black. It is a must-have in your wardrobe of ethnic wear, whether it is a plain single color dress or mixed with reds and and other colors. Navy is now a popular color on the runways in other Indian fashion events as well, and is replacing the blacks. I guess people have grown tired of black and already have one too many of those black dresses.

Navy is Black - Kate Middleton

You can’t go wrong with the navy blue. The navy blue is said to be as forgiving as the black, and is less harsh. It also adds a certain air of sophistication — quite regal, actually. Kate Middleton wore navy on her engagement announcement, and more brides are now requesting for their wedding outfits to be made in navy blue. The color has a more opulent look. I would say woman of style today would opt for a navy blue rather than black.

Sculpted Jewelry as Accessories

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In a previous post, I highlighted the importance of accessories, and the role it plays in making a style statement. Personally, I am a big fan of jewelry. In fact, in my formative years in the fashion industry, I started from the jewelry department. I had a free hand in merchandizing the stock for the store and clients loved the stuff I brought in. I guess it was because as a fashion savvy teenager, I had fun with accessories. Now, years later I’m inspired again.

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Now my jewelry department at Stylemart will have a new life as I focus on sculped pieces of art that are worn as accessories. Be warned, they are a bold statement; they are not for the faint of heart who want to play safe with fashion. The sculpted pieces of art are reserved for those who dare, and are willing to step out of boundaries of fashion. Look out for the latest collection of jewelry, which will be launched at my next fashion show on the 14th of September at Fairmont Hotel, Singapore — brought to you direct from the runways of the Lakme Fashion Week.

Sculpted Jewelry

Satya Paul Collection from Day to Night

Satya Paul Saree

Satya Paul revolutionized the Indian saree, creating prints that made you feel you were wearing pieces of art that spoke a thousand words. Each saree in his signature “Bindu Collection,” and the popular black, white and red combination became a masterpiece or a keleiscope of colors. He transformed the the six yards into a trendy aspirational brand like the Italian Emilio Pucci of the west. Satya Paul and his son Puneet Nanda designed prints taking into consideration the fluid drape making the saree sexy and chic that women of all age groups aspire to wear.

Satya Paul SareeSatya Paul SareeRemember the days of the 1970s and 80s when ladies sort after the imported saris, the Japanese manufactured polyester floral prints? I hated those cheap polyesters and I remember once telling my mum to stop wearing them. Many wore those saris because of its convenience of wash and wear, as a part of their working wardrobes. I guess they didn’t have any alternatives until Satya Paul’s “red dot” saree hit the billboards of India. I still remember the day.

The Satya Paul saree has always been a sensation among saree lovers. With its chic and elegant prints, it is a perfect fit to all age groups, and any time of the day. Today, the Satya Paul team have expanded their product lines to neck ties, scarves, clutch bags, blouses, suit fabrics and lots more. And bringing on Masaba Gupta into the brand as the new creative director has breathed new life into their designs.

Satya Paul Saree

Satya Paul’s latest collection is breathtaking, and features some must-have sarees. Combine them with a halter-neck blouse in glamorous sequins and the Satya Paul saree transforms itself from a daywear to a dreamy eavening attire. I totally enjoyed my day merchandizing at Satya Paul, opening one saree after the other creaming the crop for 80 of the best pcs that will be carried at Stylemart.

Lakme Fashion Week 2014 — Finale

Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor at Lakme Fashion Week Finale

The finale of Lakme Fashion Week 2014 was a stunning star-studded affair. Shining bright that night were the Bollywood’s most beautiful darlings like Kajal, Priyanka Chopra, Sridevi, Chuhi Chawla, Celine Jaitley, Esha Gupta, Karishma Kapoor and several others. As they made their grand entrances one after another, the first thing that caught your attention was the the roar of the media. Everyone including me was craning their neck to see how they looked, and what they wore. And of course, the cover girl face for Lakme Kareena Kapoor brought the house down when she walked the ramp for Manish Malhotra.

Lakme Fashion Week FinaleKajol at Lakme Fashion Week FinaleBut to me, it was Kajal, the everlasting beauty in a simple midnight blue and red saree, that stole the show. Her makeup was her usual heavy smoky kajaled eyes with bronze tone completion and natural nude lips with her stunning hair braided into a loose bun. Kajol seems to be looking better as years go by.

Next face that made the heads turn and the media roar with frenzy was Priyanka Chopra. The cameras flashed non-stop as she graciously posed for pictures. It was as if they couldn’t get enough of her. How could they, she looked absolutely stunning in a nude tone sheer net saree with her hair in an loose undo. She is a true superstar.

I really loved the look both the actresses adopted. With their natural bronze tone complexion, they opted for dark khole eyes and glossy nude lips. Most importantly, the carried themselves with a stunning smile. Now that is the a beauty secret that all of us can adopt.

Fusion Dressing Style

Fusion Dressing Style

Singapore is a true cosmopolitan city with people from all over the globe. The best part about Singapore is the collage of cultures here — predominantly Chinese, Malay and Indian, with a smattering of Eurasians. It influence the way we think, and live. You will see it in our languages, our attitudes, the foods we eat, and of course, the clothes we wear.

Fusion Dressing Style Fusion Dressing Stylefusion 4

I draw inspiration from this multi-cultural, multi-ethnic city-state of mine. My designs are a natural expression of this cultural melange. The fusion dressing that I specialize in at Stylemart is my signature style. Women out there, be a part of this cultural experience This is your chance to have fun and explore. Try a cheongsam with Indian threads or ethnic embroidery on a kebaya. Try a saree that is ready to wear with Chinese motifs Experiment with cross cultural dressing.

Fusion is what Singapore is all about, and fusion dressing is our unique Singaporean identity. My advise, go beyond boundaries of dressing as the norm, create your own fashion style. Let’s show the world the fusion way!

Lakme Fashion Week – Day 5

Day 5 of Lakme Fashion Week was definitely a star-studded event. It started with Vikram Phadnis, who showcased his collection of lengha cholis, sarees and anarkalis.

Lakme Fashion Show - Day 5
Although not quite out of the ordinary when taken individually, the pieces were a real treat to the eyes when shown as a collection. It had a striking color palette that was deep and bright. Walking the ramp for Vikram Phandis were Bollywood’s hottest sweethearts, Bipasa Basu and Dia Mirza, all dolled up in Desi style.

Lakme Fashion Show - Day 5
The items shown on the runway were also practical, which I liked. I guess many Indian designers have begun to realize that in order to survive in this industry, they need to make clothes that appeal and sell to the masses.

Lakme Fashion Show - Day 5

Lakme Fashion Week 2014

An exquisite saree drape from Shantanu and Nikhil at Lakme Fashion Week 2014
An exquisite saree drape gown from Shantanu and Nikhil at Lakme Fashion Week 2014

I am at the Lakme Fashion Week 2014 in Mumbai. I have been attending Willis India and Lakme Fashion Weeks regularly, despite my crazy schedule during this time of the year.I’m driven in part by my passion for the fashion industry, and also by my commitment to bringing to Singapore the latest trends of the season to my clientele.

Another thrilling saree drape from Shantanu and Nikhil at Lakme Fashion Week 2014
Another thrilling saree drape from Shantanu and Nikhil at Lakme Fashion Week 2014

Invited as a buyer, I am thrilled to be here. On day 4 of the fashion week now, my favorite collection so far has been by the brother duo Shantanu and Nikhil. Their collection was sleek with a limited color palette of greys, navies and reds. It has a blend of artistry in the hand work, and sophistication in the skillful tailoring. Using silk lycras that drape magnificently, this brother duo create stunning silhouettes and forms that put them in a league of their own.

Also in vogue this year seem to be saree drape evening gowns. I have seen them all before. Now all the designers are doing them — the full circle of fashion. Stay tuned for more updates from Mumbai…

Stunning designs from Shantanu and Nikhil at Lakme Fashion Week 2014Stunning designs from Shantanu and Nikhil at Lakme Fashion Week 2014Stunning designs from Shanhtanu and Nikhil at Lakme Fashion Week 2014

Half Saree

Deepika Padukone in Half Saree
Deepika Padukone in Half Saree

The Pattu Pavadai Davani is worn by south Indian teenage girls before they step into a full saree. It is the half-saree attire that Deepika Padukone wore in Chennai Express. The Pavadai Davani feels and flows like a sari with the drape over the shoulder, except that you don’t have to worry about losing the pleats because the bottom part is just a regular skirt.

Deepika Padukone in lengha saree

Deepika Padukone in lengha saree

With that adorable tinge of innocence, the half saree has made a big comeback in the lengha segment. I have lots of people coming to my boutique looking for “lengha saree.” Coming from a two-state background myself, I used to wear it to temples and cultural events when I was a teenager.

The Pavadai Davani is easy and versatile, and I prefer wearing the drape pulled to the back over the shoulders the South-Indian way, rather than the Gujarati front pallu drape. The South-Indian way creates a nicer silhouette, and, after Chennai Express, many have come to appreciate this drape. The half-saree (or lengha saree) has now become popular all over India.

Work the Curves with a Sari

Red Sari
Red Sari

I feel that today’s women face enormous pressure. We are fashion-savvy and feel the need to be perfectly groomed. As a result, we drag ourselves to the gym, and spend a lot of time doing nails and feet. And, when we are pushing forty, the hair dye also enters the picture. This regime is time-consuming and painful. Sometimes, I wonder — aren’t we going a bit overboard with all this? I have a secret weapon — it’s my sari, the best Indian outfit for a curvaceous body

Vidya Balan in a sari
Vidya Balan in a sari

I love the sari because donning a western outfit on a curvy body is much more challenging. Here is my tip on how to work the curves. You need a bust and hips to carry it well, as I’m sure you have heard before. If you are blessed with those, choose a soft fabric like crepes or georgettes. Choice of the fabric is crucial; the soft fabrics give a good fall. A heavy pally or border also gives a better drape.

Many women shy away from wearing the sari worrying that it might show too much of the imperfections (like an unwanted spare tyre or a stress bulge); but that’s nonsense. The sari, when draped properly, is more forgiving and flattering than any other outfit I know.

I love the drape of the sari and many of my designs on the catwalk are inspired by it. It is when I wear a sari that I feel most elegant and confident.

Saris from fashion show
Saris from fashion show

Fashion Show 2014

My next fashion show is on the 14th of Sept, 2014. Brought to you in collaboration with Fairmont, Swissotel The Stamford, and Raffles City Convention Center, the event will be an afternoon of fashion and glamor.

The theme of this year’s fashion show is the Goddess, where we celebrate the divine qualities in woman. As she emerges from the dim, distant, mythological past into the modern day, her immortal qualities transcend eras and cultures. Here is her story, once portrayed in allegories of Athena, Durga and Kwan Yin, now retold in the shimmering shades and weaves of motion and poetry on the runway.


Sabyasachi – My Favorite Indian Designer

Sabyasachi designs
Sabyasachi Designs

I have been in the fashion industry for over twenty years, and seen many designers come and go, just like various styles and fads emerge and evolve. But Sabyasachi Mukherjee is here for good. He is a cut above the rest. What I really love about his styles is how he celebrates the time-honored traditions of Indian fashion. While the rest of the pack shies away from the bold and grand embroidery and traditional cuts, he embraces them. Grandeur with class — that’s what makes him my favorite. No wonder the queens of Bollywood like Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukherjee and Vidya Balan — the epitomes of Indian beauty and elegance — are regularly spotted in a Sabya.

Sabyasachi designs
Sabyasachi Designs

Fashion Show 2013

Some photos of our last major fashion show in October 2013. The next annual show is coming up in September 2014. If you would like to purchase similar items, please visit our online store.

Fashion Show 2012

Photo gallery from our fashion show in 2012. The next annual show is coming up in September 2014. If you would like to purchase similar items, please visit our online store.

Fashion Show 2011

Photo gallery from our fashion show in 2011. The next annual show is coming up in September 2014. If you would like to purchase similar items, please visit our online store.

The Importance of Footwear

photo 2People often ask me what the most important aspect of looking gorgeous is. I find it hard to answer because nothing is unimportant when it comes to fashion. A chip in your manicure, a loose thread hanging on a sleeve, a run in a seam can all ruin your look. You see, style is an attitude, and it is a head-to-toe business.

So my tip of the day is this: do not ignore your toes! Footwear is very important. With ethnic outfits like your saris, churidars or salwar suits, open-toe stilettos are the way to go. Don’t waste your time looking for Indian footwear, there aren’t too many shops selling them in big metropolitan cities like Singapore. The best thing you can do is to find beauties such as this one pictured here. Enjoy being gorgeous!


Sonam Kapoor

Sonam_graces_IIJW_2012_finaleSonam Kapoor tops my list as the number one in Bollywood fashionista. Why? She is, of course, natural and incredibly beautiful; but that’s not the only reason. She is also spunky and versatile, and I like it that she constantly changing and experimenting with style.

At every event, either on runway or on the red carpet, a different makeup and hair-dos — you can see that she has given it some thought, yet it looks effortless. She is definitely having fun with fashion. And we are having fun watching her.

Sonam_Kapoor_at_IIJW_2012_inauguration Sonam_Kapoor_promotes_Raanjhanaa_on_the_sets_of_Jhalak_Dikhla_Jaa_Season_6Going from a classic old-world charm to elegant beauty, yet there is certain innocence about her appeals that goes beyond just fashion. Yes, being young and beautiful are great assets, but taste is what I am looking for. And girl, you have been getting it right every time!

I think that is the way it should be for everyone. We should all have fun with fashion, trying new looks. And, if we can look great in the bargain, why not?

Greetings from Taj Mahal

JeanieMy friend and customer, Jeanie Jun Yi Pang, looking like a perfect tribute to that ageless temple of love! Here is what she has to say:

Greetings from India!
Many thanks for the awesome sari and the rush work you guys did for me within a couple of hours so I can bring it with me to the Taj Mahal. I have got alot of enquiries while I wore the Sari. They were all shocked that I got the sari from Singapore instead of India. Love it


I have more like this sari in my online store.

About Kavita


I am Kavita Thulasidas, the managing director and lead designer of the prestigious fashion boutique Stylemart in Singapore. Known as the Trendsetters of Indian Fashion in Singapore, my shop showcases an eclectic collection of fusion themes, combining the exquisite threads and weaves of India with the impeccable cuts and flows of China and Indochina. My long list of loyal clients include leading politicians, diplomats and royalty — seriously, princesses and queens from southeast Asia and the Middle-east. In this new blog, I want to share with you my take on the latest fashion trends, and my tips on how to bring out the best in the empowered woman that you are. If you are a man, don’t fret, I have a huge selection for you as well!


Fashion is about trends. And, in Singapore, my boutique is considered the trendsetters of fashion. In this section of the blog, when it is ready, you will see why.Trends

Fashion Tips

photo-gallery-1I will share with you the tricks of the trade in this section.

Want to look stunning? Want to see more double-takes all around you?

You have come to the right place! Stay tuned as we get this blog up and running.

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