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Anjali Kirpalani | March 26, 2012  

No matter how motivated you already are, listening to inspiring words from those you look up to is always food for the soul. Being at the Mint Luxury Conference on Friday and Saturday reminded me of a quote I once read; 'A collection of rare thoughts is nothing less than a cabinet of intellectual gems'- William B. Sprague.

With speakers such as Diane Von Furstenberg, Angela Missoni, Ashwani Kumar, Michael Ward and Christian Louboutin, the conference was indeed an amalgamation of leaders and individualistic personalities.

The inaugural address by Diane was a highly anticipated one. She spoke about her iconic wrap dress and how at the time of its creation, she was just designing something that she thought was beautiful. Indeed, when questioned on whether she designs keeping customers' demand in mind, she replied saying she designs clothes that she loves so if they don't work, she can wear them! That said she has always been attuned to what women want because she is a woman herself.

Towards the end of her address, Diane showed a picture of Michelle Obama wearing a black and white printed DVF dress twenty years after it was first created; a testimony to the timelessness of the dress. When asked to give advice to aspiring designers, Diane replied saying, 'Identify your USP. Stick to it. Believe in what you do and most of all, make sense.' Her words resonated in the room when Anjana Sharma quoted these very words in her address the next day.

The session with Angela Missoni was a popular one. Chaired by Vinod Nair, it saw an unexpected start with Vinod questioning Angela on personal matters like her unplanned pregnancy at age 17 and her divorce. Angela answered these questions with wit and eventually brought the conversation to her business. The Missoni business was started in 1947 by Tai Missoni, Angela's father. Angela spoke about her journey to Creative Director of the brand. She began assisting her mother Rosita in the creation of women's collections at the age of 18. Angela then took an extended break from the business. When she returned she began designing a collection in her own name that became an instant hit.

Angela spoke about her pride in the fact that Missoni is one of the oldest Italian brands that is completely family run. While other family run brands have been taken over by corporate houses, Missoni has remained a family business. A fact Angela decided to highlight through a portrait of the Missoni family used as an ad campaign in 1991. Thereafter, the Missoni family has appeared in various relatable ad campaigns shot by world class photographers.

When asked how Missoni plans to compete with bigger international brands, Angela maintained that they have never tried to become number one. They just do what they're good at and the secret to their success has been keeping it within the family; a practice that continues with the involvement of Margarita, Angela's daughter, and Angela's nephews in the business.

Christian Louboutin who has finally opened a store in India a month ago, spoke about the origin of the brand, designing for different markets and designing without any targets. Today there are 51 Louboutin stores around the world but the brand began 20 years ago as a partnership between Christian and his two best friends. While people say that one should never work with friends, Christian thinks working with his friends has been uncomplicated. The designer spoke about trust being a big value required to run a business and when you work with good friends, the trust levels are high.

Christian has never focused his energy on targets or marketing. He has believed in having no direction and going in the direction of what he loves. His view on marketing is that it helps you find an identity when you don't have one. Speaking on the relation between sexuality and shoes, Christian said that while women are not comfortable revealing cleavage, no woman has an issue exposing her feet. When questioned by an audience member on the health damage caused by high heels, Christian replied that women had their own minds and chose to wear his shoes out of their own free will.

The designer spoke about how archaeology, architecture, fine arts and travel all influence him. He spoke about the creation of the iconic red sole in all his shoes. Back in 1992, he had been influenced by pop art and colour. He had sketched a shoe and was comparing his sketch to the actual shoe he created. When he felt that the shoe was missing something, he borrowed the red nail paint of his colleague and painted the sole of the shoe red. He had initially thought of doing collections with soles of different colours but red soles turned out to be so popular, he stuck with it.

While every designer's journey has been different, a common factor is individualism. Each of the designers has done what they have believed in, fearlessly. They have travelled, taken breaks, changed professions but through it all found themselves.

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Anjali Kirpalani | December 23, 2011  

We all have them. When it comes to fashion, there are bound to be fabrics, prints and styles that just don't appeal to you. And when these pet peeves become the hottest trends of the season, you're torn between choosing what's fashionable and sticking to your tastes.


- i was overcome with horror when I flipped through the latest fashion magazine and spotted an entire spread on velvet. To be honest I had a feeling this was coming ever since I saw Manish Malhotra's collection at India Resort Fashion Week earlier this month. I find it extremely frustrating that velvet is now a trendy fabric. I dislike it because it is extremely unflattering. If you don't have the perfect body, velvet will certainly make you appear bigger than you are. And we all know fashion is all about getting the silhouette right.

Animal print

- Animal prints are a constant trend this entire year. Be it on dresses, clutches or shoes, they're everywhere. This is another trend that I simply cannot stand. I've always preferred monochromes to prints and be it a zebra or leopard print, I just cannot bring myself to wear it. I believe you are most stylish when you are simple and animal prints make an outfit too busy.


- I have come to accept that animal prints and velvet are not going anywhere. They will keep coming back in my life for as long as I live. What I do take solace in is that my biggest pet peeve, Crocs, are hated by others too. I have never understood why anyone would wear shoes with holes in them. The overall shape of the shoe with the huge mouth can only be described as ugly. These days I mainly spot Crocs on children but that still bothers me. I don't want any kids to look back at their childhood pictures and cringe (having done that way too many times myself)

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Anjali Kirpalani | December 16, 2011  

I recently read a friend's Facebook status that brought a smile to my face. It was just so true of all of us. I immediately copied it and made it my status too (obviously) The status said, "I love routine...until I'm bored...then I love excitement...until I'm overwhelmed...then I love routine!"

If you're knee-deep in work, weddings and year-end parties, then you know what I mean. While I eagerly await December each year, the month ends up overwhelming me with the amount of social commitments I have to make. That said, I know I will miss it when January rolls in and excitement makes way for routine. So I figured I might as well develop some mechanisms to help me cope with this month. And kind soul that I am, I will impart this knowledge to you too! The most common thing about this season is a number of occasions all in the span of one day.

You might have to attend a bridal shower, Christmas party and wedding all in a day's time. Don't despair; it isn't impossible to look equally fabulous at all events. And if Katy Perry could change 3 outfits in one night at the Video Music Awards this year, so can you!

Luckily, one's hair tends to behave itself in December (as compared to summer or the monsoon) I know this because I have the most unmanageable hair in the world and my hair has been co-operating this month. So when you have a day filled with social events, visit the parlour for a hairdo that is appropriate for the day and night. You could iron your hair for that sleek shiny look that works anywhere you go. If you're pressed for time, use a straightening iron at home and within 20 minutes you'll have poker straight hair, for sure. If you have some time to spare, get gentle soft curls done at the parlour (these could be done at home too but I never get it right!) Of course a no-fuss up-do is also an option but I've always thought a woman looks more dressed up with her hair worn down.

Once you've got the hair done, it's time to get your makeup in order. For the day a kohl pencil, nude lipgloss and foundation should suffice. Carry bronzer, foundation, sparkly eyeshadow, darker lipstick, liner and mascara for the night in a make-up pouch with you.

Now getting to the actual outfits for your day. For a brunch or lunch event, a kaftan dress, shift dress or a-line dress are ideal options. As seen at the recently concluded IRFW, monochromes, colour blocked and printed dresses are all trendy this season. Colour-wise, white, pastels or bright colours are all apt for this season. Jumpsuits are another option perfect for day events as well as a party at night. Although I'm pro flats during the day, if you invest in a pair of nude pumps or open toe black heels, you won't need to change your footwear as you change out of your outfits for the day. A sequined clutch will pick up the dullest of outfits and can be taken easily from day to night.

Though saris are extremely feminine, draping a sari can take quite a bit of time (unless you wear them regularly and are an expert) An embellished anarkali with a churidaar is the best option for a friend's sangeet or wedding. The silhouette flatters all body types and that explains why it's been around for so many seasons.

A statement pair of long earrings and/or a pretty metal cuff accessorize Indian as well as western outfits. So stock up on the right jewellery, shoes, makeup and you won't battle with your change of outfits this hectic social season. Cheers!

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Really I do like this natural cotton kaftans. Every lady has a professional look in this kaftans. Anjali Thanks a lot with regard to giving all kaftons information around.


Anjali Kirpalani | December 02, 2011  

Ever had that feeling that the world has moved on while you're still stuck in the past? That's exactly how I feel as I write this post! If you've been wondering where I've been (you know you've missed me, don't deny it), you should know that I was writing exams.

I've spent the last few weeks buried under Shakespeare, Milton and Keats but wondering what's going on with Sabyasachi, McCartney and Kallol! I feel enlightened when it comes to literature but oh so lost when it comes to fashion.

I've had to painfully deny invitations to dozens of the hottest parties last month.

It's been tough being away from the world of fashion but being back feels great. It's time to make up for all those lost partying opportunities. And what better month to make up for that than December? Socially, December is everyone's favourite month.

There are store launches, Christmas parties, NYE bashes, cousins' weddings, cousins' cousins' weddings…the list is endless! And while you feel guilty for ditching your diet at any other time of the year, you're completely excused for indulging during December! It's the month of celebration, after all.

It's that time of the year when you review the entire year. If you've achieved that long standing goal of starting your own business or moving to another city, pat yourself on the back. Even if your plans for 2011 didn't work out, there's still reason to rejoice. So you didn't get that raise you wanted, didn't lose those extra kgs and didn't meet your soulmate this year, but don't lose hope.

The reason the year end is so appealing is because it offers you the chance to determine if you're happy with your career, love and social life. If not, there's always next year to fix everything that's wrong. Don't be too hard on yourself. Revel in the little victories you made this year. Be it studying after a long gap and surviving (Woo hoo!), standing up for yourself against your bullying colleague or successfully cooking that dish you saw on Masterchef Australia!

Life isn't easy but guess what? You made it through this year. You didn't feel like it sometimes but you showed up to work anyway. You thought you couldn't do it but you went to gym four times a week. And the biggest achievement of all, you had a ten minute conversation with an annoying aunt and you didn't lose your temper!

Don't be so busy focusing on the big things in life that you don't notice the smaller things. Be grateful for all those coffee sessions with your girlfriends and for all the nights you danced away this year.

Celebrate this month because you survived. Through all the tears, heartbreaks and frustrations, you made it.

After all, as Anton Chekhov once said, 'Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.'

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Anjali Kirpalani | September 30, 2011  

Two weeks ago I spoke about the evils of a certain p-word (procrastination). This week I've discovered other important words that begin from the same alphabet. The only difference is that these words contribute to success, whereas procrastination takes you away from it.

I realized that you need persistence and patience in every single aspect of your life. Although these virtues are used most in the context of your career or love life, they are actually essential for every imaginable part of it; beauty, fitness and fashion. How so? I'll tell you.


So my skin has been misbehaving recently. After 3 people pointed out that my acne had gotten really bad this week, I rushed to my Homeopath. I started complaining about my acne outburst. I decided to just be honest with him; I asked him outright if Homeopathy was really going to help me. I've been downing bitter liquids for 2 months and I needed to know if I was going to see results or not. He asked me to calm down and simply said, "Yes it will help. You just have to be patient. Your skin is looking healthier to me than when you first came here by the way."

He went on to ask me if I had been eating oily junk food recently. I was guilty as charged. I knew my diet had been unhealthy for a few weeks now and this was the wake up call I needed.

My doctor was right. I had always looked for a quick fix before and gotten short-lived results. If I wanted good skin, I'd simply have to make some lifestyle changes and be patient. There really is no shortcut to anything worth having.


How often do you get that surge of motivation? You decide that enough is enough. You need to lose weight and need to lose weight now. You renew your gym membership, cut out junk food and of course, weigh yourself daily.

You tell yourself that it's okay if you don't lose kgs after your first week of exercising. Thereafter, however, you want to the weighing scale to tell you that you've become lighter. The chance of your motivation fading if you don't see quick results is extremely high.

I remember seeing a cousin burst into tears when she realised she hadn't lost weight after dieting and exercising rigorously a couple of years ago. At the time I thought she looked extremely silly crying about something so trivial.

In the last few weeks, I've struggled losing some extra kgs, however, and I finally understand how my cousin felt back then.

Staying fit requires discipline. You have to curb your current desires for something positive in the future. Ask anyone who exercises regularly; there are days when all you want to do is skip the gym to go to the movies. Your will power to push yourself to exercise anyway, will determine the results you achieve.


I really don't think we have many great options for shopping in Mumbai. Back when I was in Durban, if I was looking for a specific style of a dress, I knew that I would find it in one of the 3 big malls in the city.

In Mumbai, however, I never know where to shop. I find the cutest dresses on Hill Road and at tiny boutiques around Bandra sometimes. A visit to the very same store two weeks down the line may result in spotting rows of horrendous clothing. It's really a case of luck when it comes to shopping here. But this is where persistence pays off.

Ever wondered how some people manage to find fashionable trinkets no matter where they go? It's because they believe every store or market must have atleast one valuable piece. And very often if you look hard enough, you spot gold. One of my prettiest sandals is from a street store. I have picked up gorgeous junk jewellery from a store where 90% of the merchandise was simply hideous.

So now I go back to stores even if my last experience there was disappointing. It's about never giving up because you never know what's around the next corner.

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Anjali Kirpalani | September 23, 2011  

I read a quote by a gorgeous Hollywood actress (I can't remember who; age is catching up with me) yesterday about how looking good is all about feeling good. She claimed that she preferred using minimal makeup as she truly believed that when you feel good on the inside, it gets reflected on the outside. Cynic that I am, I scoffed at the piece. Perhaps the Universe really wanted to get the message across to me, however, as I then stumbled upon a video interview of Alber Elbaz, Artistic Director, Lanvin along similar lines. Alber is one of the few icons in the fashion industry who knows how to 'keep it real'. In the interview, he spoke about how true luxury should make men and women happy. Alber's design philosophy is simple; it's based on clothes that look good and that make people feel good. He spoke about an instance where he thought of a colour for a particular outfit. His team, however, thought that the colours he chose wouldn't look good in photographs. Alber countered with, 'do we dress people or do we photograph people in fashion?' According to him, beauty in real life is better than looking good in a picture. At the core, it's about feeling good, he reinstated.

The interview got me thinking; in the world of fashion, especially, it's very easy to get caught up with brands, makeup, accessories and trends. While a new LV bag can certainly make you feel happier and more confident, you should be able to tap into happiness without it too.

As a fashion journalist, I'll admit to judging others by the way they dress. I'm in a confessional mood so I'll also admit to envying the lives of stars and models. But when I think about it, I would hate having every appearance of mine dissected by the media. A celebrity can't get away with any mistake; be it a fashion faux pas or a bad move in a relationship.

I don't think twice before criticizing an actor's performance or a star's dress sense. You only know how bad it feels when you're on the receiving end of criticism, however. I remember when I was a radio jockey in South Africa 3 years ago. I had just done a show with a co-presenter one day. I was on Facebook 'falking' him when I noticed a post on his wall. A friend of his had written, 'Great show, mate. Can't say the same about that girl who was with you, however.' Reading those words felt like being slapped hard on the face. I may sound dramatic (probably because I'm being dramatic) but it really was horrifying reading those negative words.

It took a lot of convincing from friends and family to assure me that I was actually good at my job. I had to accept the fact that no matter how great a job you do, you can't appeal to everyone.

That said, it's tough believing in yourself when faced with constant criticism. This is why models, actors and designers are really brave people. With every audition, show, film or collection, they are putting themselves up for judgment.

It's easy for us to dismiss a collection as uninspired. But a designer puts his heart, soul, tears and sweat into every piece. Modeling, designing and acting are perhaps more stressful than jobs that keep you away from the public eye. This is why it's essential for anyone associated with these careers to stay grounded. The glitz and glamour may go away but you have to realize that your job doesn't define who you are.

Over the years we've heard of models who have succumbed to the pressures of their careers and committed suicide. Hollywood has many examples of actors who have lost their lives because of overdosing on drugs. A healthy way to cope with life, however, is spirituality. Fortunately, most Indians realize this.

I recently read an article on those in the limelight who have embraced spirituality to find inner peace. Many others find solace in practices like yoga. Even if you are an atheist, it's important to find happiness in the smaller things in life. Be it having a cup of coffee with an old friend, looking at old family photos or laughing loudly about nothing in particular. Life is about living in the moment.

So believe in yourself no matter what. You are beautiful no matter what they say! I'll stop quoting songs and clichés now but I have learnt my lesson in the course of writing this article; makeup can enhance it but inner beauty does indeed translate to external beauty.

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Anjali Kirpalani | September 16, 2011  

There are words or quotes that you come across for the first time and feel like they were meant especially for you. I remember hearing the word 'procrastination' for the first time when I was 10 (okay fine, I was 12-just wanted to sound intelligent) I looked up the definition and found that it meant putting off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness.

Aha! I realised then that I wasn't the only one. If there was a word for it then it meant that humans had been putting off doing important work needlessly for centuries!

I was always a last-minute student. I could never study in advance even though I knew leaving it for the last minute would mean inviting unnecessary stress into my life. Back in school, Friends or Just Mohabbat on TV always had more of a hold on me than my own mind.

Unfortunately, not much has changed today. Ironically, I have been procrastinating instead of writing this post too. If you're like me and spend hours on Facebook instead of completing tasks at home or work, the following list will surely help you. Whenever I feel that my procrastination is truly getting in the way of my progress, I imagine what would have happened if some of the biggest achievers in the world were procrastinators.

1. No Taj Mahal: Shahjahan wasn't the kindest soul out there; it is said that he got the right hand of his chief mason cut off once the Taj Mahal was built. Nonetheless, imagine if he put off the construction of one of the world's wonders because he got caught up with socializing with his friends. India wouldn't have the amazing monument declared as one of the Seven Wonders of the World by New7Wonders Foundation in 2007.

2. No Royal Wedding Dress: One of the biggest moments this year was the Royal Wedding. And the star of the show (other than Pippa's pert bottom) was definitely the dress. The stunning Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen dress, worth £250,000, worn by Kate Middleton had every fashionista drool. In fact, the dress currently displayed at the annual summer exhibition at Buckingham Palace is the prime reason final ticket sales are expected to reach £8million. Now imagine if Sarah Burton procrastinated and couldn't deliver the dress on time. What would we 'ooh' and 'aah' over this year?

3. No Farhan Akhtar: No, I am not referring to the fact that he wouldn't be born if his parents, Javed and Honey Irani procrastinated. What I mean to say is that Farhan, like many of us, was an aimless youngster wandering through life without a plan (I learnt this through a TV documentary I saw on him). Then one day he decided to write and direct one of the best movies of our generation. Dil Chahta Hai happened and the rest, as they say, is history. Dil Chahta Hai was followed by Lakshya, Don and the blockbuster, Rock On, in which he made his acting and singing debut too. This year, Farhan starred in the hit Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara. He's one of the most versatile and successful entities in Bollywood today. And it all happened because he didn't procrastinate.

4. No Facebook: One of the movies that truly inspired me was The Social Network. The story of how Mark Zuckerberg invented the most popular social network today is truly motivating. If Mark had succumbed to the evil p-word, however, we wouldn't have the one thing that has become part of our identities; our Facebook profiles. While Facebook actually is the cause for many of us to procrastinate, there's no denying that life without it is now unimaginable. From falking (facebook stalking) ex-boyfriends, to finding new jobs to connecting with old friends, Facebook has become a necessity.

The list of things we wouldn't have if it's creators had procrastinated is endless; no Harry Potter, no computers, no Blackberry and no beer (shudder)! So don't let this evil p-word stop you from achieving your goals. If I could write this post instead of watching Modern Family (it has taken immense will power), you can finish your work too. Go on, stop wasting time online.

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Anjali Kirpalani | September 09, 2011  

You know the festive season has begun when you can hear drums beat at odds hours of the morning. As I write this, there is a huge procession for a Ganesh visarjan that is walking down my lane.

The Hindu calendar is chock-a-bloc with festivals over the next few months. Each year, Diwali is followed by a series of weddings. If you're like me and only wear Indian clothes at a religious occasion or at a wedding, now is the time you should begin purchasing your Indian outfits. Trust me, waiting until the last minute will only cause unnecessary stress.

An added advantage of getting in touch with your desi side is grabbing eyeballs from all (that includes the boys too). You'll be surprised at the number of men who find women charming and attractive standing pretty in a salwar suit or a sari.

So even if you don Indian wear rarely, there are a few outfits you simply must possess.

1.Casual kurta : Most of today's college students and working women pick western wear for work. However, a kurta is ideal for those days when you can't find anything else in your cupboard. You can just add it over leggings, churidaar pants or skinny jeans and you're good to go. Also long sleeved kurtas are comfy and oh so useful on days when you haven't waxed! And the best part about a knee-length tunic/kurta is that you can wear it as a dress (on days that you have waxed)

2.Sari : The most traditional of all garments, a sari is feminine and graceful. And thanks to designers like Masaba, Anand Kabra you can now get saris in funky prints. I know it's tricky to walk in, but invest in a pretty sari and you won't be outfit-less for your friend's wedding. If you have washboard abs like Shilpa Shetty, you can wear your sari low-waisted. And if you'd rather hide your tummy, a longer blouse with a sari draped higher, a la Vidya Balan, will ensure that you're body flaws remain hidden.

3.Anarkali : The kali-style kurtas have been around for the last couple of seasons and are here to stay for at least two more seasons. An embellished anarkali is perhaps the most essential of the Indian must-haves. This outfit works for most occasions; from your boss's diwali party to a semi-formal dinner. The best part about this style is that it flatters all body types since the kurta is tight around the waist and flared at the bottom.

4.Lehenga : If you have a body like Bipasha Basu, you should wear a lehenga paired with a sexy choli to flaunt your abs. For the rest of us, a lehenga can be worn with a longer choli. I save my lehengas for weddings of close family members. It's one of those timeless garments that can be worn over the years or re-used to make a funkier garment. In either case, it's a good investment.

Stock up on these styles before designers and masterjis get flooded with orders and stores hike up their prices. A wise man once asked, "Who's the hottest girl in the world?" You know the answer.

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Anjali Kirpalani | September 03, 2011  

The Video Music Awards (VMAs) that took place in L.A. a few days ago is one of the most sought after events in the year. While this night is about the music, it's also about the fashion. Without fail, each year the VMAs bring us stars dressed up in a crazier manner than anticipated.

Who can forget the sight of Lady Gaga wearing a dress made completely out of meat, with a matching meat hat and bag accepting an award on stage at the VMAs last year? And when it came to being outrageous,this year didn't disappoint either. The whole world wondered what Gaga would come dressed as this time; a bird? A plane? Once again she shocked her fans by dressing up like a man. What made it kookier was that this man had a name. Oh yes, he's Gaga's alter ego and his name is Jo Calderone. Gaga's Elvis-inspired wig and black jacket and pants took androgynous fashion to another level.

Another shocking appearance this year was that of Nicki Minaj's. An eclectic mix of a structural purple bodice with a tutu under-pinning, layers of cartoon-covered socks and leg warmers paired with slippers, Nicki's outfit gave close competition to Gaga's. Her other accessories included a Japanese face mask and blond, red, yellow and orange hair.

Not to be outdone, Katy Perry showcased 3 different looks. While her Asian inspired look was sweet, her cubist chic Christian Dior one (complete with a plastic yellow cube for a hat) was the one that got people talking.

In India, we don't have a popular music industry with an identity separate from Bollywood. While the Indi-pop scene looked promising in the 90s, it somehow never took off. India has and always will be about Bollywood.

So when it comes to giving us memorable fashion moments, the onus lies on Bollywood stars. Unfortunately, our lot of divas always play it oh so safe.

Sure Sonam Kapoor does deserve the title of best dressed Bollywood star, but when it comes to her clothes, we've never seen anything crazy from her. She favours vintage styles and is always chic, but we're dying to see her kooky side. I just spotted Sonam looking lovely in a Falguni and Shane Peacock outfit on a magazine cover. And that's just it; stars will be experimental when it comes to magazine covers and photo shoots, but at an event, they won't take many risks. When it comes to walking down the red carpet in Falguni and Shane Peacock, only international stars like Charlotte Ross will sport it.

Bollywood has a new crop of young, trendy women like Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma, Priyanka Chopra and Sonakshi Sinha. And we'd love to see them mix it up and go all out once in a while.

Can you imagine the buzz Anushka would create if she ditched her sweet, girl next door look for a goth one à la Selena Gomez at the VMAs?

And surely Deepika Padukone could do with a style makeover? She alternates between a casual, no fuss look and a traditional Indian one at most events. I know she has the potential to astound when she changes it up because she looked fabulous in a black Gucci top and fitted Peacock pants on a magazine cover 2 months ago. Sonakshi, being one of the newest and youngest stars on the block, could certainly get funkier on the red carpet. Most of our A-listers sport high street brands at smaller events and couture on the red carpet but we rarely get to see anything path breaking from our desi 'fashionistas'.

Who knows, B-town stars' out-of-the-box style statements can help our fashion industry really grow too. So over to you, Bollywood. Use those personal stylists to give us looks to really talk about.

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Anjali Kirpalani | August 26, 2011  

I'm back from a vacation. For those who missed me, I love you too. For those who didn't; what's wrong with you? Now while I wish I had listened to my own advice (refer to my post 2 weeks ago) and packed lighter, I learned a couple of important lessons as I soaked in the sun in Greece.

I read something a few weeks back that got me thinking. It was a simple question; 'when was the last time you did something for the first time?' And since that began my resolve to try out all those things I had been too afraid to do before.

The first thing I decided to do was to take up my friends' offer to join them on a trip to Greece. I have traveled abroad alone before but in the past it was to study. My parents knew that I would be living in a safe hostel on campus. This trip, however, entailed meeting 2 of my friends from South Africa at Athens airport and planning our 11 day trip as we went along. It was scary but thrilling too. The moment I got onto the airplane, I just knew this would be a trip of many firsts. And boy was I right.

I got my first bikini wax at a salon in Athens. In the past, I had refrained from getting a bikini wax after I heard stories about how painful it is from friends. The salon claimed to offer a painless bikini wax, however, so I decided to try it out. While the waxing process did hurt, the cream applied post the wax immediately soothed the pain. My first bikini wax turned out to be pretty bearable after all.

After spending 2 days admiring the beautiful Acropolis in Athens, we took an 8 hour ferry to the sunny Mykonos island. Exhausted from the long journey and from lugging around gigantic suitcases, we stood at the port wondering where the taxis were. While there was no taxi in sight (we chose the busiest weekend of the year to visit Mykonos), we were offered a ride to the hotel in a mini truck (similar to an auto with an open back). While two of us sat on top of our bags at the back of the vehicle, our third friend was squashed against the hairy driver in the front seat. As passersby looked on amused, our brave Greek 'auto' driver was unfazed by the narrow hilly path. My first experience sitting in the back of a truck lead to another first; living in a tiny tent. Since we hadn't booked in advance, the only accommodation we could get was in a tent that had no attached bathrooms. Never again will I take my home for granted! While we shared the communal bathroom with other campers, I couldn't help but wonder how many more firsts this trip would bring.

The next first came soon enough. It entailed jumping out of a boat into the sea. We were on a tour of Santorini island and one of the stops was natural hot springs in the middle of the ocean. The tour guide warned us that only expert swimmers should jump in the springs as the water was deep. While I'm certainly no expert, I couldn't resist jumping into the beautiful natural springs. I jumped in only to go right to the bottom of the ocean. I've never prayed to God as much as I did when I thought I wouldn't rise up and would die in the waters of Santorini! But when I finally surfaced up, I was overcome by a feeling of being one with nature.

When we returned back to Athens, we had decided that we had had enough adventure for one trip. We were looking forward to our quiet dinner on our last evening there, when I spotted a sign. It said 'Greece's first fish spa'. Back home, I've stayed away from fish spas. I've heard people rave about how soft their feet feel after the fish suck on their dead skin cells but have always been too grossed out by the concept. But perhaps the entire trip had made me courageous. If I could survive the deep waters of the ocean, how bad could a few harmless fish be? My initial reaction was to recoil but once the therapy started, I calmed down. A half an hour session resulted in baby soft soles and I know I'm definitely going back for another session soon.

The first time you try something is always scary. We all have a fear of the unknown. But when you tackle your fears and try something new, you feel alive. The adrenaline rush is worth all the prior anxiety. I'm not ready to participate in Fear Factor or Survivor yet but I can safely say that that the last time I tried something for the first time was just a few days ago.

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Anjali Kirpalani | August 12, 2011  

If you've ever had a pack attack, you'll know that it is a highly unpleasant phenomenon. No, I am not referring to a panic attack (although a pack attack does lead to a panic attack) A pack attack is a feeling of anxiety coupled with lethargy that you suffer with when you have to pack for a trip. Yes, it's a term I coined and yes, I'm sticking with it.

I've always hated packing. It's the worst part about going on a trip. By the time you read this, I'll be on a jet plane (more about that when I'm back) but as I stare at my clothes and shoes strewn all over my room, I realise that there is an art to packing. So here's a list of do's and don'ts while packing that I've compiled from personal experience. Trust me; you do not want to make the mistakes I've made.

- Make a list of essentials you will need. I'm not generally an organised person who makes lists but when it comes to packing, a list is highly useful. I've helplessly watched my phone die while on a work trip a few years ago. I had forgotten my phone charger and was travelling alone for work for a day. As luck would have it, the hotel staff didn't have a charger compatible with my phone. Even though it was just for a day, I missed my phone like the deserts miss the rain that day. No matter what the climate, medicines, phone charger, ipod, toothbrush and underwear are items you will always need.

- Count the number of clothes you are carrying. If you are travelling for 7 days, make sure you have at least 7 outfits. This includes dresses and shorts or jeans and tees, depending on the weather. While a friend plans her look (morning, day and night) for everyday of her holiday before packing, I think that's going a bit overboard.

- This one is a common problem with us Indians. At international airports, the people with bulging bags and tons of hand luggage tend to be Indians. Perhaps it is our greed or our strange belief that we will not get food anywhere else, that leads us to carry unnecessary snacks for the trip. Not packing enough can be a problem but packing too much is a bigger problem.

- Less is more when it comes to packing accessories. You might have hundreds of pairs of stunning shoes (if you do, I hate you) but carrying 5-6 pairs of shoes on a trip is impractical. Shoes tend to weigh a lot. A pair of comfy sandals or ballerina flats, a pair of heels and flip flops will do the trick for a summer holiday. Tuck in, a pair of boots and ballerina flats while on a winter holiday. Throw in a pair of heels for a night out and flip flops (in case the hotel room isn't equipped with bathroom slippers) and you're good to go.

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Anjali Kirpalani | August 05, 2011  

It is said that you should walk a mile in someone's shoes before judging them. However, when people wear hideous shoes, just the thought of walking in their shoes is enough to make you cringe!

I've witnessed it many times and from stars who should have known better (or consulted stylists). The first offender was a rather unexpected one. Kareena Kapoor can be criticized for her vanity, limited vocab (she doesn't know the meaning of the word ostentatious as revealed on Koffee with Karan) and limited music knowledge (she called the song 'Stairway to Heaven' 'Stairway to the moon') but her fashion sense is generally commendable. This is why I was surprised to see her pair a red dress with tacky cobalt blue shoes at the Sony VAIO press conference last month. It was a perfect example of how the wrong pair of shoes can kill a perfectly good outfit.

Kareena redeemed herself with her look at the Ra.One wrap up bash last week. She paired her black wrap dress with nude Jimmy Choo crystal-cuff sandals that complimented her outfit perfectly.

The next and more recent offender was Hema Malini. While I thought she looked gorgeous in a blue sari when she walked the ramp at the IIJW on Tuesday, I recoiled in horror (I'm not even exaggerating) when I spotted her footwear. She wore black flip flops with her sari. Now I do understand that she may have opted for comfortable footwear for medical reasons but there are many sandals out there that are comfy yet stylish.

International stars are not past making poor shoe choices too. A regular offender is singer Kelly Rowland, most recently spotted in clunky, disco ball shiny shoes.

When it comes to shoes, anything too sparkly or glittery is most certainly OTT. And while I'm all for comfort, I strongly believe that style and comfort can come together in footwear.

Case in point; ballerina flats that are ideal for those busy days when you're on your feet all day. Deepika Padukone even wears them to soirees and parties. Ofcourse it's because she's naturally blessed with height. Nonetheless even short women look good in flats; people may have to look down to speak with you but wear them on a night out and they'll look up to you for your confidence.

As with everything else in life, the shoes you choose come with after effects that you have to deal with. Wear sky high heels all the time and you're bound to damage your feet. Wear comfortable Crocs or flip flops to a social occasion and you'll be criticized for sure.

I prefer to take the middle ground; I wear comfortable ballerina flats and sandals while at work, when traveling and even at some social occasions and killer heels when my feet can bear the torture once in while.

You don't need to have a closet full of shoes like all the stars I speak to have; just invest in some good pairs for all occasions and you'll be covered for life.

You don't have to walk in anyone else's shoes but you have to walk in yours for a long time so choose wisely.

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Anjali Kirpalani | July 22, 2011  

I spot a picture of a Hollywood celebrity in Manish Arora almost every single day. After Heidi Klum wore a Manish Arora top and leggings on a German Tv show last month, singer Beth Ditto was recently spotted in a Manish Arora dress on stage too. Falguni and Shane Peacock are also known for being favourites of Hollywood divas with Britney Spears, Fergie, Cheryl Cole, Katy Perry and Madonna all having worn their funky designs in the last few months.

After Bibhu Mohapatra showed at NY Fashion Week in 2009, his designs have been seen on Elisabeth Moss of Mad Men fame, Hillary Swank and Lindsey Price too.

This is why I can never understand why back home, everyone from actors to socialites and corporate honchos only swear by international brands and designers.

Every time I ask models or actors to name their favourite designers, I know I will hear Stella McCartney, Dior, Paul and Joe and other international brands top their favourites' list.

Then when prodded for the names of their favourite Indian designers, Rohit Bal and Manish Malhotra will be mentioned.

When picking outfits to wear to events, stars mostly wear Indian designers only if they are wearing saris, anarkalis or lehengas. When it comes to western wear, they prefer sticking to Chanel or Lanvin.

This preference for international brands becomes even more evident when it comes to accessories. No self respecting star will be seen carrying a bag that isn't a Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta or Tod's. Similarly, even basic pumps must be Ferragamo. When was the last time we saw a celeb wear shoes by an Indian designer or carry a clutch by an Indian brand? I don't mean to criticize celebrities but their actions influence the rest of the public and if they don't support Indian designers, how will us mere mortals support them?

It's safe to say that after China, India is another market that simply loves international brands. The problem is not that Indian designers aren't appreciated in our country; they're just not appreciated as much as they should be.

It's only after an Indian designer showcases internationally that he suddenly becomes a star in India too. It's like we require validation from the west for our own homegrown talent to be considered worthy of our time.

While almost every international designer is looking at making their presence felt in India, we're still obsessed with all things western. And the media is also to blame for this. A question I pose to every Indian designer I meet is if he or she will be collaborating with any international brands or showcasing at an international fashion week. When the answer is yes, I know it's big news because our readers would love to learn more about it.

When I asked leading Indian designers at a recent event if they are looking at any international markets right now, a standard response was; why should we? India is where it's all happening now.

Designers know it. The west knows it. But do the rest of us know and believe it?

It's about time we believe in ourselves and our fashion industry.

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Anjali Kirpalani | July 16, 2011  

It is said that the only constant in life is change. When it comes to fashion, there's no truer statement. The return of dungarees, jumpsuits and maxis hasn't escaped anyone. We've all had moments of shock when passé trends suddenly become the best thing since sliced bread.

I recently had a similar moment when I spotted Bipashu Basu wearing a long skirt and top at the movies. The skirt she wore reminded me of an identical one I owned back in 2004. How I wished I hadn't got rid of said skirt back in the day. It got me thinking; how do you know which items are worth holding on to? And what should you do with clothes you can't bear to look at anymore? The answer is simple; recycle. Fortunately, there are many options when it comes to recycling fashion.

4. Share: While having two sisters comes with disadvantages, a major advantage is having people to share clothes with. I usually need to get rid of an item of clothing if I've worn it too many items (when every second picture on Facebook features me wearing the offending piece of clothing) or need to make place in my wardrobe for a new purchase. In such a situation, one of my sisters will gladly accept the dress or top. If they have clothes they're bored of, I'll get them and everyone goes home happy. If a friend of the same size has been eyening a dress for a while I'll give it to her in exchange for something enviable from her wardrobe. If there's nothing that I want, it's alright. After all giving is better than receiving. If you suddenly start missing the item of clothing given away or find out that it's back in fashion, you at least have hope of getting it back.

3. Garage sales: Relatively new in India, these sales are a boon. I ended up selling 6 tops that had gotten too short for me (I had been holding on to them since college) for a cool Rs.1200 recently. I saved half of the money and bought a bag, funky blue belt, printed jumpsuit and cropped jacket with the rest of it from the same sale. Give and you shall receive too.

2. Create: When an item is relatively unworn, expensive and unwanted, it's a good idea to take it to a tailor. You could use the borders or fabric to create something trendier and more wearable. My mom's saris from the 80s have been transformed to funky kaftan tops and anarkali kurtas thanks to my darji's creative vision.

1. Donate: India is filled with underprivileged people. Donating a bag full of wearable clothes to an orphanage, your house help or children on the street is the best thing you can do with your unwanted clothes. Try it once and you'll never want to stop. You won't get any clothes in exchange when you donate but you certainly create good karma. And God knows we all need some good karma.

And when the item of clothing is too precious for you to do any of the afore-mentioned things with it, then it's worth stashing. If the trend doesn't come back in your time, it might just become the hottest trend when your daughter hits her teens. Fashion is a cycle; it must go on.

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Tanvi Joshi

This post is a beautiful reminder of how my sister and I would do exactly the same with clothes. When I was staying in hostel, and clothes go small I would give them to my cousins and how a friend likes a piece of clothing it goes to her. Many a times it happen when I m standing in front of my wardrobe wondering what to wear, which colour or clothing would make me feel good and comfortable and I fall short of choices when the wardrobe is bursting out with choices of cloths and colours to pick. It is at these times that such post bring utter refreshment ... :)


Anjali Kirpalani | July 08, 2011  

I recently walked into an extremely casual Costa Coffee outlet on a Sunday night, wearing a formal black dress and stilettos. Needless to say people in their dhoti pants and tees thought I was rather overdressed for a cup of coffee. The reason I was formally attired was because I had come directly from a formal dinner. However, being dressed inappropriately in public is always embarrassing. No matter how self assured a person, no one likes to stand out for the wrong reasons. While we all know the dress code for work and formal events, what is the dress code for movies, coffee and shopping?

At the movies

I've always maintained that you should be casual and comfy while watching a movie. I don't see the point in being dressed to the nines; you're not in the movie, you're just watching the movie. If I had it my way I'd go to a movie theatre in my Pjs. Unfortunately, however, you never know who you may run in to at a theatre. Imagine bumping into an ex with his hot new girlfriend, while you're wearing a tracksuit. I don't care how stylish tracksuits have become; if you're not going to be running on a treadmill, don't wear one.

Recently Sonali Bendre received flak for wearing a tracksuit with heels to catch a movie and she deserved it. There are other items of clothing that are comfy and appropriate for a movie night. I usually wear a casual tee and shorts or jeans when watching a movie. A solid or printed cotton dress is also perfectly suitable. I pair ballerina pumps or embellished sandals to complete my look. If you're heading to dinner post the movie, keep a pair of heels in the car or carry them in a bag so you can change your footwear later.

A cuppa coffee

If a guy asks you out to coffee, what should you wear? You obviously want to make an impression. However, given that he's not taking you out to dinner, don't dress up in a short dress and apply tons of makeup. If he wants to see your glam avatar, he needs to invite you out to dinner. However, you don't want to scare him off by being too sloppy or casual. A denim shirt dress, minimal accessories and light makeup will do the trick.

If you're just catching up with your girlfriends for coffee, casual is the way to go. You're allowed to show off with your trendy new bag or shoes but please make a statement with just one item. It's a good idea to seek your friends' approval or envy by carrying your stylish sling bag, but add sky high peep toes and you're just trying too hard.

Shopping spree

It's not rocket science that you should wear comfortable shoes while shopping but the clothes you choose while shopping also matter. You might think you're just window shopping; however, if something catches your fancy in a shop window, you might have to go in the store and try it on. And if you're wearing layers of clothing, trust me trying on clothes can be very annoying. Thus, a simple dress or skirt and top are great options while shopping. Tight skinny jeans while shopping is an absolute no-no. You'll just end up causing yourself harm each time you have to pull up your jeans in the changing room, otherwise.

Stick to these unspoken dressing codes for your daily activities and you'll never be embarrassed in public again. Unless of course something embarrassing happens to you but unfortunately there's no code to save you from unforeseen embarrassing situations. Those you'll just have to bear but on the bright side, at least you'll be dressed appropriately.

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Amrata Kirpalani

Might I also add that if you have coffee-stained, off-white teeth (most Indians with their fascination for chai and coffee have this problem), then you have to be careful with the 'shade' of white you wear. There is nothing more putting off than highlighting a bad set of teeth! Hit the dentist for a quick brightening or choose a shade of off-white for your dress!


Anjali Kirpalani | July 02, 2011  

Is it just me or is everyone you know getting married this year? While the world goes gaga over news that Aishwarya Rai is pregnant, the news I keep receiving from friends and cousins is that of their marriage. Even the unlikeliest of people (a quintessential player I know) are getting hitched this year. We're just 6 months into the year and I've already attended 4 weddings. I dread to see how many more marriages the year will bring. It's not that I'm a cynic; I'm just tired of answering questions about when I am tying the knot. I've just been met with too many 'beta you're next' by annoying aunts this year. I'm single and I'm loving it. And here's why I don't want to get married:

Always answerable: I've seen married friends giving a minute-by-minute account of their night ahead to their concerned husbands and it's oh so irritating. Previously independent women have to assure their insecure husbands that they aren't flirting with anyone at the club. They're just trying to have a good time with their girlfriends. But by the time they get off the phone with their partners, the club has already shut and a perfectly good Saturday night has been wasted.

More relatives: I can only handle my extended family in small doses. There I said it. Being a short tempered person, anyone who asks too many questions just gets on my nerves. This is why I can't understand why anyone would want to increase the amount of relations in their life. Getting married instantly does that. It is said that when you marry a person, you also marry that person's family. It's sad but it's true. Not only do you have to remember your in-laws' birthdays, you also have to listen to their advice patiently. You can snap at your parents sometimes and they'll still love you but answer your mother-in-law back once and you'll be thought of as the 'devil who stole my son' forever.

Responsibility: The R-word is one that I fear more than the M-word. Being the youngest in my family, I never really had to be responsible while growing up. But ever since I hit my 20s, I've been reminded over and over by my parents that I'm no longer a child. I've heard the 'it's about time you became responsible' line more times than I can recall. I've been locked out of my apartment, lost precious belongings and have forgotten to pass important messages to family numerous times. I'm often accused of being in my own world. This is why I know that I will be a terrible wife and mother. I can see myself leaving the gas on unattended, the keys in the door or worse losing my child at a mall.

Domesticity: The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella is one of my favourite books. Need I say more? I am just not a domesticated person. I can't cook, hate cleaning and hate sitting at home. Life is unpredictable. If I died tomorrow, I would hate to think that I spent the last day of my life cleaning. While you're single you can be as undomestic as you like but once you tie the knot, you have no option but to accept domesticity. Even if you're a working woman with house help, you still need to be at least slightly interested in grocery shopping and cleaning products.

I'm sure I can think of many more reasons to stay away from marriage but I'll save that for another time. To all the single people out there, congratulations! And to those getting married; my sincerest condolences.

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Marlene Ratus

Why all the hate? Huh? Although I agree with you on certain points. Well written my single friend. Will wait for the "Happy to be Married" column. When did you say that was going to happen? Hahaha


Anjali Kirpalani | June 24, 2011  

Many of us take a while to find our true calling. Most models claim that modeling 'just happened to them'; it was something that fell into place while they were studying to be engineers or doctors. They were 'spotted' by a famous agent when they were dancing at a nightclub or grocery shopping. Many designers and stylists also stumbled upon their professions. But not everyone who gets into the world of fashion makes it big. Only those who are perfectly suited to this industry end up succeeding. So how do you know if you have what it takes to be part of the fash frat?

4. Air kisser: If you have spent hours in front of your mirror practicing air kisses, you are certainly close to making it as a fashionista. You may not be the best conversationalist but if you have mastered the art of blowing air kisses upon hugging someone you barely know, you're on your way.

3. Stilt walker: Every fashionista knows that your shoes complete your outfit. There's no point wearing a Gucci dress if you don't have fabulous sky high heels to go with it. Never mind that you're 5'10 and 5 inch heels will just make you look like Michael Jordan's sister. You better practice walking in the highest heels possible. The more uncomfortable the better. High fashion means high heels.

2. Attention grabber: The fashion clan draws attention to themselves, wherever they go. If you frequently scream across people when you spot someone you know, push your way through throngs to find your friend and giggle loudly upon finding said friend, you're born with the fashion gene.

1. Master networker: Ask any one from the industry and they'll tell you it's not what you know, it's who you know that really matters. Sure, talent can take you places. But if you're just talented and not everyone's BFF, you're probably not going to survive in this industry for too long. Can you work your way through a crowd complimenting everyone you see on their clothes and makeup, no matter how hideous they really look? If you're answer is yes, you have got the most important skill required. When your network is larger than Airtel's, then no one can stop you from conquering the world. Or at least the fashion world. Those who socialize the most are the ones who get featured in the media and are the most known names. If you tend to hibernate every couple of weeks, fashion may not be your true calling. Then again, if you can throw a massive party each time you're back on the social circuit, you might become even more famous than the Page 3 regulars.

If you can relate to even one of the above mentioned traits, then you're in the running to become India's next fashion expert. If all four points describe your personality then don't waste anymore time! Go for the next model audition or start creating clothes a.s.a.p. I'll be reading (or writing) about you very soon!

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Anjali Kirpalani | June 17, 2011  

Confessions of a shopaholic, both the book and the movie, were a huge success because millions of women around the world could relate to the protagonist's obsession with shopping. I remember reading the book both in horror and delight three years ago. While I have moments of indulging in unnecessary items (I just bought a sparkly wand last week for absolutely no reason), I can safely say that I am not a shopaholic. I know people, however, who seriously suffer from this addiction. So how do you know if you're a shopaholic? Read on to find out.

4) No money to pay bills: I do think being responsible is overrated. You live one life and if you absolutely must have a pair of shoes that costs 3/4th of your salary check, it's alright to give in to your desires once in a while. But if you frequently find yourself sitting in the dark because you haven't paid your electricity bills on account of spending money on shoes and clothes instead, then you have a problem.

3) Me first: Sometimes it's okay to put yourself first. If you need a pair of formal trousers for a job interview but also need to buy a present for your boyfriend's birthday, you've got a difficult choice to make. If your boyfriend truly loves you, he won't mind getting a belated gift or a handmade one. If, however, you notice yourself spending on bags, shoes and clothes even if it means not having money to spend for parents', boyfriends' and friends' birthdays often, you need to get your priorities right. No matter how beautiful that LV bag is, it is after all, just a material object. Relationships come first, money can't buy love-you get the gist.

2) Shopping is your only fix: There's a reason it's called retail therapy; shopping can truly make one happy. However, if shopping is the only thing that makes you happy, you've got to evaluate your life. It is said that the best things in life are free. Laughing with friends, someone complimenting your hair, a walk on the beach, playing with your dog are all instant pickups and the best part is that they don't cost a penny.

1) Losing track of time: Yes, all women can spend hours shopping. I've spent 2 hours in just one store many a time. If you have no other commitments to meet, you can spend all day shopping and no one will judge you. But if you get so engrossed shopping that you forget to pick up your child from school, miss your cousin's engagement or skip a client meeting, then you certainly are a shopaholic.

Like any other addiction, the first step to healing is admitting that you have a problem. If you related to any of the above points, you are unhealthily addicted to shopping. If the only word that you picked up from the above article was 'shop', you have reached the worst stage of this addiction. Remember too much of anything can be a bad thing. Shop but not until you drop.

I've got to go now; I heard about a big sale on Linking Rd this evening

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Ekta Hassamal

Love your blog anjali. The size 0 one was especially very true. LOL


Anjali Kirpalani | June 10, 2011  

I remember reading an article last year about a man with a regular corporate job who got inspired by Aamir Khan's body in Ghajini. He began training with Aamir's trainer and within a year his body was close to that of Aamir's. He didn't achieve the exact results that Aamir did because he was, well, not an actor. He said he couldn't avoid sweets completely like Aamir did because at birthday parties of friends and family, people wouldn't take no for an answer. The result: even though he didn't want to, he was force fed cake. The alternative? Not eating cake and hurting the sentiments of his loved ones. And that's just 1 reason why we, regular mortals, find it difficult to have 0 fat on our bodies.

The other reasons are as follows:

4) Work: How many times have you resolved to go to the gym but been unable to because of a sudden work engagement? Just when you motivate yourself enough to finally head to the gym you haven't visited in a month, you get a call from a client asking if you could meet that evening. The client in question is someone you've been trying to get a hold of for the last few weeks so refusing to meet with him means disgruntling your boss and risking business for your company. This has happened to me numerous times in my prior marketing job. With my current job, the day I decide to exercise, I will invariably have to either interview a celebrity or attend an event. You reasoning for canceling your plan to exercise is that you can go to gym at any time but your work needs to be completed now. Of course by the time you resolve to go to gym again, another month has gone by and a few more kgs have piled on.

3) Your mother: I don't know about you but my mother believes my reward for a hard day at work is oily cheese dosas and home made mini pizzas. I can't tell you the number of times my dinner is my heaviest meal of the day when it is a known fact that it should be the lightest. I can't refuse to eat the heavy dinner because firstly, it's delicious. Secondly, my mother will emotionally blackmail me. I'd rather eat the calorie laden food than get a speech about how I don't value the effort she puts into cooking for me and how I'll only understand a mother's love when I become a mother someday. On weekends, I can expect my mother to feed me at hourly intervals. There's just no escaping it.

2) Festivals: I love Holi, Diwali and every other festival in between. The only problem is that each festival results in fattening mithais and chocolates finding their way into my home and refrigerator. On the day that I decide I need to go off chocolates and sweets for a month, I can guarantee relatives and friends coming home with yummy chocolates. If these evil food items aren't around me, I know I won't go out of my way and order them. But if they are in my home, I just can't help taking a 'small bite' and consequently finishing the entire box.

1) Friends: The thing about female friends is that when they indulge in unhealthy food, they don't want to be the only ones. The guilt is reduced when you're not the only one committing the sin. I've gone for numerous coffees, lunches and dinners with friends, resolving to be good with my diet. My friends, however, will end up ordering lasagnas followed by dessert. My sad looking veg salad always looses out to their unhealthy orders. What doesn't help is a gleeful friend encouraging me to "go ahead. Have a bite of the cheesecake na! It's so good." I can't really blame my friends because I do the same to them when any of them decide to be healthy and I am on binging spree.

And that's why we shouldn't feel bad that we don't have Kareena's body or John Abraham's abs. They have personal trainers, supportive families and careers that depend on how they look. Meanwhile, our bosses won't fire us if we look like Teletubbies and boyfriends won't break up with us if we put on a few kilos (hopefully). Got to go; mom's sent home made pasta for lunch today.

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Anjali Kirpalani | June 03, 2011  

I love my job. I really do. There are lots of advantages of being a fashion journalist; you learn about the latest fashion trends before others do, you have leading designers on your speed dial. However, just like every job, fashion journalism comes with some baggage too. Here are the top 5 occupational hazards of being a fashion journo.

5. Dressing up: Now I'm not a slob (okay fine, sometimes I am) but I'm not one of those women who wake up at 6 am to get dressed for work. On most days I tumble out of bed realizing I have just 20 minutes to brush, shower, have breakfast and get ready for work. Since I'm not an organized person, my cupboard is usually a mess. As a result, I usually pick the first thing I see in my cupboard to wear. While at some jobs, the just-out-of-bed look would work, it doesn't work for fashion journalists. Call it Murphy's law, but I've noticed that on days when I'm dressed my worst, there is a high society event, I need to attend. Guests at these events have usually had at least a couple of hours to get dressed. Their hair and makeup perfectly compliment their stylish outfits and heels. I, on the other hand, sport nails with chipped polish, a casual tee and boyfriend jeans. Let's not even get to the mess that is my hair.

4. Not being taken seriously: This one is a real mood dampener. I can't tell you how many times I've watched people's facial expressions change when I tell them about my job. The scenario plays out like this: I am introduced to a lawyer or investment banker by a friend of mine at a party. This new acquaintance will complain about how hectic work is. I respond by saying that my work has recently been quite hectic too. Naturally, this acquaintance will want to know what I do for a living. "I'm a fashion journalist. I write for a fashion website," I respond. And that's when I spot it. A look on the person's face that reads, "You have to be kidding me! That's not serious work! Writing about the best and worst dressed celebrities isn't work." To which I really want to say, "I'd like to see you do daily research to find out what's new in the world of fashion, think of new ideas for new articles every day, travel to the other side of town to cover events, contact designers and models and still meet your deadlines." Mind you, celebrities are not easy to get a hold of. Which brings me to my next point.

3. Constantly on the phone: If spending hours on the phone really causes cancer, I am extremely worried. Getting a hold of 1 celebrity entails making at least 5 calls a day. 1st I have to call the PR person representing the celeb. Once I have the number of the celeb, I call it but no worthy celeb will answer their phone the 1st time you call it. So I send the celeb a message saying I'd like to speak with them. They may or may not reply with the right time to call them. Even if I do call at the time I've been told to call, I will usually be told to call back later and on and on the cycle continues. Multiply this by 6 celebs and that's 30 phone calls already.

2. Take it back: I wonder how most celebs commit to marriage. Because every time I interview them, I know they will call back once the article is posted asking me to delete something they've said. Most people talk nonstop in an interview. Only after they read what they've said, do they realize that they may have said too much. With print, there's not much you can do once the article is published. This is not the case with the online medium. When a celeb wants something they've said to be deleted, I can expect at least 10 calls a day from them or their teams requesting or demanding that I take it off.

1. Pile ons: This usually happens at the time of a fashion week or big scale event. Friends of friends hear that you work in fashion and will suddenly want to be your best friend. After idly chit chatting with you for 20 minutes, they finally get to the point. "Can I please get them and their boyfriends passes or take them as my guests to the event?" Being someone who finds saying no difficult, I either end up taking said person with me or feeling extremely guilty about being unable to.

And you thought my job was easy! Anyway, I've got to go attend a wine and cheese soiree now.

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Hi Anjali,
You were absolutely right about Sonam Kapoor`s red carpet duo at Cannes! She looked lovely, definitely a proud moment for India there.


Anjali Kirpalani | May 27, 2011  

It's official. White is the colour of the season.

After all the admiration for Pippa Middleton's white gown at the Royal Wedding, numerous stars were seen sporting white on the Cannes red carpet recently. Sonam Kapoor generated rave reviews for her white Jean Paul Gaultier gown. Rachel McAdams' white lace number was particularly stunning, and Sarah Jessica Parker, Elizabeth Olsen, Uma Thurman and Clemence Poesy also donned white.

It seems like the white obsession has also hit the streets. When I scouted the streets of Mumbai to see what everyone's sporting earlier this week, I realised that white is the preference of every woman trying to grapple with the heat. The women I spotted wore white in different ways; basic dresses, kurtas and lace tops. This got me thinking; how much white do I own? More importantly, how much of it do I really wear? I wanted to find out if white is really that essential to everyone's wardrobe or if it is an over-hyped classic.

This resulted in my organizing my disorganized cupboard to count the white clothes I have. I risked my life to get you this list of white picks (I could have seriously injured myself when all my clothes and belts came tumbling out of my cupboard) I've rated my picks on account of overall usability, durability and stylishness.

So here they are:

White kurtas: Now while I'm not really a kurta and jeans type of person (contrary to the popular image of journalists, thanks to the film Page 3), I have 2 white kurtas that I'm particularly fond of. One was purchased on a trip to Delhi from a store called Sabhyata 2 years ago. This comfortable full sleeves linen kurta has a Chinese collar with gold embellishments around the neck. It's understated and ideal for those days when I'm feeling traditional (and for those days when my arms aren't waxed). The second kurta was purchased at Shoppers Stop last Diwali. It has ¾ sleeves and turquoise embellishments around the neck. This cotton kurta also has a lace border. It's petite and creates a slim silhouette because of the straight cut.

LWD: I bought my Little White Dress on a trip to Bangkok 3 years ago. It's sleeveless and sits just above the knee. Aside from the bronze sequins at the neckline, the dress has no other frills (I'm beginning to notice a pattern here) This cotton dress is cute and oh so comfy. It's rescued me from many 'what do I wear to this brunch?' moments over the years. Although I haven't worn it at all this year, it still sits pretty in my cupboard because I know it will come in handy sometime soon.

White blouse: I picked up a sheer white blouse with ruffles at the neck from Besos, a store in Bandra. The blouse looks great paired with my high waisted grey pants, skinny blue jeans or black skinny pants. I've also paired it with a short satin grey skirt and I find the blouse ideal when I want to look formal yet feminine.

White shirt: Who doesn't have a crisp white shirt in their cupboard? The white shirt isn't just a staple item of clothing for men; it's become an essential part of every working woman's wardrobe. I've worn my fitted white shirt to job interviews and important client meetings. Nothing spells business like a crisp white shirt and pencil grey or black skirt.

Flowy white dress: This particular dress was purchased from a garage sale prior to a trip to Goa. I thought it would be ideal for the beach as it's a plain 3/4 dress and could be paired with a colourful neck piece. However, I never ended up wearing it on account of it being too see through. And there in lies the problem with white; it's powerful and beautiful but if unaccompanied by lining, it's usually transparent. You also have to be extremely careful about your underwear when wearing white. The black bra showing through white dress or t shirt offence is a faux pas you simply must not make.

So yes, white is a necessity in every woman's wardrobe. And if you know how to mix and match your white clothes with different colours, it is likely that your white pieces will be valuable additions to your wardrobe for a long, long time.

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Tanvi Joshi

Hi Anjali,
Being a white lover, I can so well relate to this post. It is so refreshing and so true. It is also very sweet of you to pin point the negatives which can be taken care of while wearing a white dress as unknowing at times one does end up in disasters.
To sum it all white rocks and this post is a beautiful introduction for those who are unaware of the variety of styles a white cloth can offer.


Wah Wah !


Anjali Kirpalani | May 20, 2011  

The latest newest trend to hit Bollywood stars is the desire to launch their own fashion lines. We've had this coming for a while. After all, internationally, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Victoria Beckham and even Slyvester Stallone have all launched successful clothing lines. It was only a matter of time before Bollywood stars capitalized on their popularity to earn even more.

Leading stars Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor will soon be launching their own fashion lines. Aishwarya has wanted to launch her own signature line for a decade now. Over the years, many European labels have been interested in tying up with her and she has apparently been approached by 15 top international designers from Italy, London and New York. Aishwarya, however, turned all the offers down.

She's also already tried her hand at designing by designing many of her costumes in the film 'Robot'. What remains to be seen is if Aishwarya will opt for a joint venture with an international brand or if she will go it alone. I'm happy for her but am not really holding my breath for her clothes. While Aishwarya does have a unique style, it's not unique in a good way!

Kareena Kapoor, on the other hand, knows how to be chic in an understated manner. Her line will reportedly get launched in 2011 and I'm pretty excited to see what she has to offer. The youth relate to her so her clothes will certainly have many takers.

Bollywood stars are known to follow in each other's footsteps and if Aishwarya and Kareena's lines are successful, we are sure to see other actresses emulate them.

Topping my list of stars that should start their own clothing lines are Sonam Kapoor and Malaika Arora Khan. Sonam is an obvious choice; she hasn't faltered even once at her various appearances at Cannes this year. Malaika is always well turned out at every appearance and is a trend setter in her own right. In fact, talks about Malaika's fashion line being launched were rampant 3 years ago. I'm surprised she hasn't done it yet, but I'm sure she will. After all, other than the odd item song and social appearances, she really doesn't have that much else to do.

While I wouldn't mind seeing the offerings of any of the afore-mentioned women, there are some stars that should completely stay away from designing.

First up is Mallika Sherawat. It's bad enough seeing her at global events but seeing her designs on women around the country would just be too much to handle. If she does go the designing route, expect to see lots of see through clothes, low necklines, high slits and shanties (shorts + panties).

Next is Vidya Balan. Do I even need to explain why? Sure, she got her fashion act together when she discovered Sabyasachi a few years ago, but where's her own style? Surely what she'd churn out would just be copies of Sabya's work? Heaven forbid she designed western wear. If that were to happen, India, already considered nascent when it comes to fashion, would regress by 10 more years!

The same would happen if Amrita Rao decided to design. Constantly criticized by the media for her fashion sense, Amrita seems to have improved but still has major lapses in judgment.

Another "actress" who should stay away from designing is Rakhi Sawant. The reasons are too obvious for me to state so I won't! Just Google her name and you'll be met by many a tacky outfit.

Bollywood has always inspired fashion and with actresses venturing into film production, owning IPL teams and making fitness dvds, starting their own fashion lines is the next logical step. And with leading stars turning designers, celebrity showstoppers will never stop! Instead of designers complaining about stars stealing the show, they'll soon be complaining about stars stealing their business too! Bollywood always rules and it's bound to rule in the sphere of fashion too.

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Anjali Kirpalani | May 13, 2011  

We all knew this was going to happen. Yet, when it does, it takes you by surprise; the lull in social circuit right now is unavoidable. With the fashion weeks for this season done and dusted and Spring Summer collections launched at stores over the last two months, there really aren't many reasons for designers to celebrate. Then of course, there's the torturous heat that everyone wants to escape by traveling. For designers headed to Paris or New York, we're happy for you. We really are! It's just that we're missing your collection previews over wine and cheese soirees and the buzz and contagious energy at WIFW and LFW.

For me, the highlight of the week was the Cue store launch by Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna on Wednesday evening in Mumbai. The guests present were also heard commenting on the lack of activity in the Indian fashion industry at this time of the year. Nevertheless, I'm quite excited by the arrival of Cue. Rohit and Rahul's designs are always outstanding and we can never have enough designer boutiques in the city.

Meanwhile Delhi was witness to a fashion preview by Nikhita Tandon as the curtain raiser of the Bride & Groom Exhibition on Wednesday afternoon; a reminder that the wedding season is around the corner. Couture designers are sure to be knee-deep in wedding outfit orders soon so perhaps we shouldn't envy their time off now.

Internationally, the week began with the news about the depiction of Goddess Lakshmi on Australian swimwear by the brand Lisa Blue during Rosemount Australian Fashion Week (RAFW) held in Sydney (Australia) from May 2-6. After an uproar by Hindus worldwide, the brand and designer Lisa Burke apologized and has now cancelled production of the controversial swimwear.

The West showed their ignorance towards Hinduism once more, which is always frustrating to watch. But what you can't deny is the popularity of India and all things Indian worldwide. The choice of garments was certainly wrong but the intention wasn't.

Another event that proves the popularity of India worldwide is the fact that we have so many Bollywood representatives walking the red carpet at the 64th Cannes Film Festival this time. From veteran Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan to first-timers Freida Pinto, Sonam Kapoor, Minissha Lamba and Saif Ali Khan, B-town is all set to make an impact globally. Minissha looked petitie in a pretty, nude Gauri and Nainika gown on the opening night.

Aishwarya in a one-shouldered Elie Saab gown, also in nude, met with mixed reviews. The gown itself is stunning and her minimal jewelry and fuss-free hairdo were appropriate for the occasion. Her makeup, however, was greasy and her weight gain didn't help her overall look, however. Nonetheless, you've got to hand it to her; after her prior fashion faux pas at Cannes, atleast her style on the red carpet seems to be improving.

What remains to be seen if India's style icon and Aishwarya's nemesis, Sonam Kapoor upstages Aishwarya with her choice of clothing on Sunday. My money is definitely on Sonam; dressed by sister Rhea Kapoor for her Cannes red carpet debut, she's sure to choose an elegant outfit and make India proud.

For now, let's hope next week brings new stores and fashion shows to town. Until next week, then; stay fashionable!

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