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    Last month saw the anniversary of 25 years in fashion for one of India's most prolific bridalwear designers, Suneet Varma.  To celebrate the event, he showcased a collection entitled 'A Passage to India', which featured three different schemes, all revolving around a different aspect of the international influence of various cultures on India's fashion landscape, as different people migrated to the region.  I've spoken before about my annoyance with designers throwing around terms like "Mughal" and "Maharani" when discussing their influences.  To me, they are in danger of either one of two gaffes.  They lay on the design elements of their intended thematic era with too heavy a hand, or they completely miss the point, and end up looking like they threw the words in for good press. 

    I am wondering now if Varma's work falls a little bit shy of ending up in that zone, and my bias in favour of him prevents me from admitting it.  His work is beautiful nonetheless and that may be his saving grace in the end. 

    The collections were shown on a revolving stage, with three montages, one Baroque Parisien, the second Ottoman Empire and the third, Gothic Spanish.  The stage would turn, models would step off, and walk to the runway, like dolls in a vignette.  For me, the strongest collection was the Ottoman one, with the least tendency to borrow directly from the theme and the most continuity of design.  I'll be presenting the pieces in two posts, so look out for the second post a little later.

    Flapper Fringe.

    A velvet cap with plumes, very Roaring twenties.

    The blouse on this is a work of art, with it's structured, corset inspired bodice and draping bustline.  The addition of the flowers on the shoulder is an unexpected touch of romanticism.

    Most of the Parisien French Collection features black and white schemes with bargello style motifs for a very Baroque feel.

    Black and white, ombre, applique flowers and scalloped border.  Very on trend.

    Dupatta as a flapper-style veil.

    Varma choose a sunny yellow and blue scheme for his Mediterranean Ottoman inspired collection.  I am in love with the layering of diferent lush fabrics for a very drapey and luxurious silhouette.


    One of my favourite design elements is the mixture of different patterns to create unity in the overall effect, When executed properly, as it is here, it is hard to look away.  The corded belt is a total bonus. 

    Honestly, one of my favourite pieces from the whole collection, the yellow is just right and is buttery and creamy with the indigo dupatta.  I always love a sari with an additional dupatta on the bride's head, and this outfit is accessorized beautifully.

    Love, love, love this lush velvet jacket, can see it style so many ways, worn over so many different ensembles for a touch of Eastern romantic sensibilities to any day.

    Indigo, brick red, and golden yellow are definitely the colours of the season, showcased to stunning effect in this anarkali.

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    This is part two of my post on Suneet Varma's latest collection.  To catch the rest of it, click here.
    Varma has gone for a couple of shorter length dresses in this collection, with a hi-lo hem.  I imagine off the runway, girls would wear them with chudidaar, for a more traditional look.

    Love the setting of her dupatta.  Why don't more bride's do this?  Also, the embroidery on that skirt? To DIE for.

    Channeling the matador in a sexy menswear inspired look.

    The collection featured lots of takes on the flamenco shawl, or Mantone, a beaded, hand embroidered silk shawl with a heavy fringe border worn around the shoulders.
    The red rose in her hair, ruffles in the pants, the fringed shawl are all trademarks of the Flamenco costume.

    Red beaded pumps are set off against the soft creamy florals of this floaty number.

    The bottom of this dress reminds me of something from his last collection at LFW, the Kama Sutra collection, with its stiff folds that move away from the body.

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    The luxury line from Sanam Chaudhri, available at Labels in Karachi, is yet another South Asian collection this season to rely heavily on the influence of the matador in execution and style.  My favourite pieces are the orange kameez and the velvet, beaded bolero.  I like the Asian bolero style, because I think it's a piece that translates nicely across both cultures, and one could wear it with just as much grace over a lehenga as a t-shirt and dark skinnies. I've noticed a resurgence of the jumpsuit in Pakistani collections this season, and while they are my favourite piece personally, I am starting to give in and think that maybe they are a stylish choice on the right girl. All of these pieces can be made to order via the Labels E-store.

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    Model from the Ottoman-inspired vignette of Suneet Varma's 25 year retrospective collection in November.

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    I had so many thoughts as I prepared this post about makeup artist and photographer Huma Sharif's work.  I want to go to Norway, to visit this salon personally.  How, HOW does one pick the good pictures to share, when they are all gorgeous?  If I tell them to go and check out the rest on Huma's Facebook Page, will they listen, or will they miss out on the goodness? I think I am officially biased in saying South Asian bridals are the most stunning, diverse, creative and breathtaking on the planet. 
    Huma Sharif is based out of Oslo, Norway, and offers a variety of in-house services, including bridal makeup, hairstyling, dupatta setting, mehndi, phool gajray, and photography.  To see more of her work or to contact her, check out her Facebook Page.

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    I said a few days ago that I haven't been posting enough features on mehndi artists. And I'm definitely going to be changing that, starting with these pretty samples from Huma's Parlour.  I gave you a sample of her gorgeous makeup work yesterday, and mentioned that she offers a number of servinces in house, including mehndi application.  Here is a look at some of her work, to see more or to contact Huma, you can check out her Facebook page:

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    Today's real bride was sent to me by Zainab of Maha Designs, a Chicago-area wedding photography service.  The bride is wearing some gorgeous ensembles, in a few different styles, and I'm really loving some of the details in these shots.  The dense, flowery mehdni in the first shot goes all the way up to elbows!  You guys, I admire brides who have that stamina.  I can barely keep the top of one palm for two hours. In the pithi outfit, I love the gold pathi contrasting with the velvet border.  That actually makes me think I should add a similar detail to one of my outfits.  Also, the velvet applique embroidery.  And in the final ensemble, the royal purple and gold one, the whole cut and detailing is so figure flattering really brings out her luscious curves. Love it!  Look for details, ladies, details. 
    Here's what Zainab had to say about photographing this wedding: Shanil and Pari are Ismaili muslim and their wedding event was a three day event chalk full of ceremonies and celebration. The mehndi took place at Shanil's sister's home. The intimate event took place in the backyard which was festively adorned with tents, pillows, delicious indian cuisine and sweets. The following day was the Pithi ceremony which was a visual feast of color, décor, rituals and fun! The Pithi refers to a cleansing ceremony generally held the evening before the wedding, in which the bride and groom are rubbed with turmeric paste in a beautification process. It is believed that turmeric softens and whitens the skin, so the purpose of this ceremony is to help the bride and groom to be radiant for their wedding. Shanil and Pari's family members and friends had a great fun getting the bride and groom completely covered in the paste. The night was finished off with choreographed dances by the couple's family members and a dandiya raas. The Nikkah took place the next day at the Ismaili Jamatkhana and followed by the reception at the Holiday Inn in Skokie, IL. One of the highlights of the event was the beautiful introduction video captured by Qalam Productions. Qalam Productions filmed the couple in the beautiful surroundings of Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, IL. Shanil and Pari did not want the hectic wedding schedule to take away the energy during their portrait session. So we decided to photograph them earlier in the week in the reception attire. The couple was relaxed and the chemistry between them made it a breeze to capture their photos. I would definitely suggest that to other couples as well.

    Vendor Information:
    Photography: Maha Designs
    Videography: Sabah Ali Khan of Qalam Productions
    Hair and Makeup: Anna Shafiei and Amana Siddiqui of Lipstick Squad
    Venue: Holiday Inn in Skokie, IL and Glenview Jamatkhana

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    Editorial Campaign for Ali Xeeshan 2011

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    Whether you are a photographer, makeup artist, craftsperson, stationer, or even a blogger looking to promote your blog, we want to work with you!

    The current offer is on picture ads in the dimensions of 255x85 pixels and does NOT apply to above the fold ads.  We also offer text link ads and smaller size picture ads of 125x125 pixels if you're interested.

    Why Advertise on AAINA Bridal?
    • We reach thousands of loyal, lovely readers every day.
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    • The blog is constantly updated and is a relevant and reputable source for the latest on the South Asian Bridal Market.
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    • We write curated editorials on some, but not all, of our sponsors.

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    Gota Jewellery and Ensemble by Ather and Sabeen

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    Deepika Padukone for IJA Jewellery

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  • 01/07/13--07:31: The Year in Review: 2012
  • A little caught up in the festivities of the last two weeks, I ran out of time to post this, but I can't start a new year of blogging without a look back at some of your favourites from last year.  These were viewed so many times by my lovely readers, that I am sure if you missed any of them, you will want to go back and take a look.  A few honourable mentions include: my take on Kareena's walima outfit in October, and Alia Bhatt for Vogue India in September.
    Looking forward to another great year of blogging and sharing gorgeous finds with you. If there's anything you want to see, let me know!

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    Yes, this is everywhere, posted, blogged, pinned, tumblr'd, facebooked, and everything else.  But I just can't resist, can you blame? Can you blame anyone  It's a very pretty post, and if you're looking for inspirational details, filled to the brim.  Let's start with the luscious reds and pinks, from crimson and oxblood to blush pink and champagne.  Romantic, infused with warmth and just right for a fall or winter wedding.  Then there's the florals, loads of carnations and yes, silk flowers, which I would normally run from, but here, because of pure abundance, they create such a pretty overall effect, one doesn't mind at all.  Diana is a rose-hued beauty wearing a crown of roses and carnations.  Her overall look is kept warm, using tones of brown to shade her eyes and deep red-browns for her cheeks and lips.

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    South Asian Bridal lookbooks can be intimidating, and I think many brides feel that way, whether or not they are conscious of it or not.  The makeup seems "overdone," very "colourful" and too often, the models are photoshopped so that it's difficult to accurately guage the quality of the foundation. 
    I think, however, if they are treated the way they are meant to be, as inspiration rather than as templates, you will get the most out of them.  Instead of trying to choose a look as a whole, it may be more effective to pick and choose elements from various looks to go over in consultation with your makeup artist to decide what works best for you.  So you may not like everything about a look, but a lipstick colour or the technique used to apply the eyeliner may appeal to you, it might even be as minute as the placement of a particular fringe or bang, but if you like it, tag that or mention it in the captions when you pin it, or put it on your tumblr or save it to your desktop.
    These images from Khawar Riaz Bridal Hair, Makeup and Photography have been floating around the blogosphere. I collected a few more my favourite looks for you to peruse.  You can check out his Facebook Page for more.


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    Hello lovies!!! Long time no speak, isn't it? I've been seriously stressed with school this semester, and I've been going through a bit of a blogger existential crisis, which I've been working through with the help of the lovely Rabbia of Asian Wedding Ideas and Ruby at Rubies and Ribbon. But, more on that later.  I am starting to think a lot of the emotional stuff I'm going through, brides must be facing, so maybe I'll turn them into Zen Bride posts for the blog.
    Still, it's reading week at uni, so I'm a bit more relaxed and I've been browsing the web for some inspiration. I found this extremely pretty collection of bridal and formal wear whilst browsing on Pinterest.  These are by Jaya Misra, a designer whose work I don't believe I've had the pleasure of coming across before.
    The first three are from Jaya's Bridal Collection.  She favours intense hues for palette and the fabrics are textured, with quite a bit of velvet and satin.  She creates volume and drama through the use of flounces and gores to open up the skirts.

    Loving the colours and the layered skirt, leaving the peekaboo slit in the center.

    The next two are from the spring/summer collection and are very simple, structured sarees made from stiffer, natural weave fabrics, such as silk and cotton. I love the framing and styling of both shoots, from the architectural details and drama of the first, to the natural lighting and the gorgeous model in the second.  I love that they've left her hair curly and voluminous. I feel like curly hair is not something we see enough of in style South Asian shoots.

    Her hair is gorgeously styled, and those earrings, WANT.

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    This Sunday, OHM Wedding Magazine is throwing my favourite kind of bridal event. A fashion show, exclusively devoted to to curating some of Toronto's best designers and vendors for brides and bridal parties.  This is your opportunity to view the latest in bridal style, from traditional kanjeevaram sarees to lehengas to bridal gowns.  You'll also have a chance to talk to designers questions you have about what you want to wear on your wedding day.  Details are in the press release below (click to enlarge).  Be sure to reserve your seat for a guaranteed spot.

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    Lana Del Ray is one of those beauty icons manufactured for the blogger complex.  Her style straddles several eras, the photographs are always shot with an instragamesque quality, and she embraces the boho contra-aesthetic so many of us fashion bloggers love and espouse. That makes me want to avoid blogging about her, so I don't look like I'm jumping the bandwagon.  But I am, because really, this look is too pretty to ignore. 

    Lana Del Ray via StyleNoted for Arrojo
    I've seen the combed out curls on several runways during the past few months, and I think it's a look that will eventually percolate into the mainstream, as a way to wear curly hair in a manageable and very pretty fashion.  Lana's more structured, dramatic take on the look is a great version for an evening look, and paired with a cocktail gown, or fusion piece, this will be sure to create a memorable impression.

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    Alexis Mabille, Fall/Winter 2013

    Badgley Mischka, Fall/Winter 2013

    Donna Karan, Fall/Winter 2013

    Francesco Scognamiglio, Fall/Winter 2013

    Holly Fulton, Fall/Winter 2013

    Kenneth Cole, Fall/Winter 2013

    Monique Lhuillier, Fall/Winter 2013

    Ohne Titel, Fall/Winter 2013

    Zac Posen, Fall/Winter 2013

    All images courtesy of MAC Cosmetics on Tumblr

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    Ekru by Ekta & Ruchira


    Kavita Bhartia

    Myoho by Kiran & Meghna

    Manish Malhotra

    Pankaj & Nidhi
    All images via MAC Cosmetics on Tumblr

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