Monday, 16 January 2017

Saira Rizwan at Tehxeeb London

This weekend, Pakistani designer Saira Rizwan visited Tehxeeb London, which is a store in East London that carries designer bridals and formals. I was fortunate enough to get an appointment to visit the store, and have a look around at the collection Saira Rizwan was bringing.

The store's window display
The store was pretty busy when I got there (it doesn't look it below, but it was!) and very beautifully set out, with formals and pret-wear at the front and the bridal collection and consultation area at the back. The store was also beautifully decorated with flowers, and there was plenty of space to browse and speak to the staff.

Here's a few showpieces on display which caught my eye straight away - this gold bridal on the left, and the green formal on the left. Both of these were beautifully worked, the with a mix of embellishment, colours and fabrics. I loved the heavy formal on the left, especially the worked trousers and the heavy bodice, which gives a glamorous look.

The bridal collection itself is beautiful - I was in love with the range of vivid colours and the soft, feminine pastels. I also loved the mix of cuts, shapes and work, which looked amazing - as I'm sure you're not surprised, a lot of these pieces below got sold to brides-to be before the end of the weekend! Unfortunately it was too busy for me to get a good idea of prices for these, but you can contact Saira Rizwan's team or visit Tehxeeb London to get a quote for bridals.

There were also a lot of formals on display, which were a gorgeous mix of rich fabrics and colours. Most of these were short kameezes with embellished trousers and print/lace work on them - perfect formal wear for a wedding. I've seen a lot of these styles on Instagram at weddings being worn by guests, so would imagine these would be quite popular.

As well as these, there were also Saira Rizwan 2016 pret pieces for sale - these were unstitched and cost about £130ish each, although there is also a tailor available to get these stitched as well. I really liked some of these pieces, which look stylish, with pretty embroidery and colours.

There were also plenty of refreshments for customers, as well as sweets and savoury food - considering how busy the store was, these were needed! These were set out along tables for customers waiting for appoinments, along with beautiful flowers.

There were a lot of customers trying bridals on, which looked beautiful - I managed to get a few pictures from the Texheeb London's snapchat and insta-story on their instagram account. I love how colourful these bridals are, and how beautiful the embellishments looks - not to mention how a lot of these customers look like models!

Interview with the designer
I managed to meet Saira Rizwan at the store and have a quick interview with her - I loved how easy
she was to speak to, and how interesting her designing work is. I only asked her a few questions as I knew how busy she was, but she gave me a good insight into her work and her pieces.

What are your bridal trends right now?
At the moment, the current trends are modern cuts mixed with traditional - shararas and peplum tops, long kameezes and maxi dresses. At the moment, ghararas and peplums are very big in Pakistan, and quite popular. I also follow soft colour palettes for one collection (the Madamoiselle collection) and brighter, bolder shades for another collection (the Shalimar collection).

What is your favourite piece in your collection?
I'm not sure, of this year or last! I really like this piece (below) from my Madamoiselle collection, which is in soft greys and pinks, perfect for a walima or reception. But I also love my Shalimar pieces from 2016 because these are great for mehndis and wedding bridals.

Can you see yourself in the UK market - i.e. having your own store in the UK?
Well, I already have an outlet in Pakistan, and I definitely plan on spending more time in the UK. I don't know about an outlet yet as Tehxeeb London is currently carrying my collection, and a lot of these can be customised and changed, which can be designed directly with me via Tehxeeb London. I think I will see how it goes, but so far it has been positive. I also find that there is a bigger demand in the UK than in the USA, because a lot of clients come from other cities like Birmingham and further north to my exhibitions in London - in the US this isn't possible because of the distance, and the states are too far apart so not every one can go to the exhibitions.

Can we order online?
We already have an online website for formals and pret! But it isn't practical for bridals purely because we can change designs, customise and personalise, which isn't feasible via the website.

How long does it take to design a bridal?
It takes about 1 ½ months to design the bridals - it takes a lot of time because of the colours, swatches embellishments and layout which all need to be put into place and discussed with the client.

The colour of 2017 is 'greenery' - do you think you will be using this in your pieces?
We are already using this colour! If you look at a few of my pieces, I have incorporated this shades of green, and a lot of other shades of green in my designs.

I also managed to speak to the staff at Tehxeeb London

Ordering with Tehxeeb London

I also managed to ask the staff at Tehxeeb London about their ordering processes and advice for customers who are looking for bridals or formals.
  • Come to the store for a consultation - takes about 45 minutes to talk over what you want
  • Bridal orders take about 4-5 months. The store can do urgent orders within 2 months if they have confirmation from the designer (they have done this in the past)
  • Formals take 8-10 weeks - again, this depends how customised they are, whether you want alterations etc.
  • Designers they carry - Umsha by Uzma Babar, Dastaan, Kaamdaani, Sapphire, Saira Rizwan and sometimes pret for brands like Elan. They also have their own collection under Tehxeeb London.
  • Advice for brides - come with an open mind, see what is available and try things on. It's good to know what you want but if you have too specific an idea on a look, it can be difficult to find something in the store which will match what you're looking for - keeping an open mind helps you try other things.
  • Future - Tehxeeb London will be at expos and fashion shows this year - will be at the National Asian Wedding Show in Birmingham in February 2017.
  • Tehxeeb London will look to do future collaborations with designers, so watch this space!

You can visit Tehxeeb London at:

Address: 197 Ilford Lane, Ilford Essex IG1 2RU
Facebook: Tehxeeb London
Instagram: @texheeblondon

You can also contact them to order a Saira Rizwan piece or get a quote for one of the outfits.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

OUTFIT OF THE DAY: The Navy Angrakha Anarkali

I've always been a fan of the angrakha (or angarkha) style outfits - wrap-style dresses which wraps across one side of the bodice. I've seen a lot of outfits and bridals which do this well, and I've always thought this was quite an elegant look.

I don't have many angrakha-style outfits, but I do have a few that I've kept over the years. Most of them are long dresses and kameezes which have a classic look to them, which is why I've kept them.

I pulled out an angrakha anarkali suit from my wardrobe to wear for a wedding (the last one on 2016!) recently, and loved that it still looks pretty classic.

This is the outfit - you can see the wrap style with the ties and tassels at the top. I kept this look quite simple, with matching bangles and a silver clutch.

I don't usually show the makeup I use, but thought I'd show one of my favourite highlighters from Make Up Revolution, which I paired with nude lips. I also matching with silver and blue bangles, which you just can't go wrong it, really!

This is how it looked on me, the outfit is a lot more flowy than it looks in the pictures, especially as the bottom part of the anarkali had more material for a 'dress-y' shape.

Outfit - Dhanak Fashions
Clutch bag - Raishma
Bangles - Bombay Looks

As much as I love the current trends of short kameezes and layering, I don't think long kameezes and anarkalis will ever leave the shops or people's wardrobes - they're very flattering, modest and have a classic style to them which I can imagine will still look great in a few years.

I also love that this outfit was so reasonably priced (I recently went to the Green Street branch of Dhanak and loved some of their pieces, which were about £50-80 for heavier formals), and always find it handy to have outfits like this in the wardrobe for various functions!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Pantone Colour of 2017: Greenery

Pantone has announced the 2017 colour of the year - greenery, It's a lovely, spring colour which I'm quite liking, although I'm still thinking about whether it's something I can incorpotate in my wardrobe. At the moment my colours range from whites, nudes and pastel pinks or deep blues, red and greys, with a touch of random bright colours!

There's also a range of 'fashionable' shades in the colour report here (and see some examples on the catwalk here) which I think will be interesting!

I've had a quick look for this colour on the catwalk, and it's surprising how many colour shades it goes with - I love the combinations I found below.

I also like that these can be mixed with bright colours like yellow and blue for a vivid look, or softer shades like blush pink, greys and white.

I'm wondering how this colour could translated into Asian fashion (is it possible that this will catch on in Asian bridals and formal wear? It will be interesting to see!). I had a quick search for something along the lines for this colour to see how it could be used, and thought it looked lovely on a lot of bridals, and even mehndi decor. I couldn't get that close to the 'greenery' shade but I found some greens which were close enough to spring green - here are just a few I found:

I'll be looking forward to seeing the colours develop in the high street and on the catwalk through the year, and also whether it filters into Asian fashion too - greenery Eid outfits, anyone?

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Fashion Trends & Passions: Pashmina Shawl Statements Pieces

This is something I've been seeing a lot lately, pretty pashmina shawls being used as statement pieces. Not just any old shawls either, I've seen a whole range of embellished, embroidered and velvet ones which I love - perfect for the winter weather too!

If you haven't seen these, here are just a few examples I've seen below - I've even seen gorgeous velvet heavy shawls incorporated into wedding outfits which look amazing. I also really like the fact that some of these shawls are styled with belts for a fitted look, which look really chic - with dresses, short kameezes and even jumpsuits.

I'm really liking a lot of the trends out there at the moment which include contrasting, or making shawls pop out with bright colours against a neutral surface, which can really pull a simple outfit together.

I'm lucky enough to have quiet a few outfit which come with beautiful shawls and dupattas, which are statement pieces on their own. I always have loved the idea of a colourful dupatta with a plain kameez suit (something my sisters and I used to do a lot when we were younger! Net dupattas, anyone...?) so I love that this is back in again. I also find these quite modest - great for a draping on your shoulders or arms if you want a looser look.

I've been looking for a a reason to pull out a few of my pashminas for a while and have been playing around with a few that I already have - luckily a lot of my winter suits have beauttiful thick shawls for me to use. This is an older outfit I have from Pakistani label  Charizma, that I got the chance to make use of recently. I really like this brand because it's pretty reasonably priced, and really comfortable. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get this directly through the website (but looking at the decent prices on their website, I'm tempted to order now!) but I did order this through who are quite reliable.

This is me wearing the outfit, I wanted to use a belt for this but thought it wouldn't go with the embroidered kameez. No heels this time, just flats and a plain hijab!

I really loved the colourful design of this outfit - I'm not sure what I like more, the outfit or the pashmina! I'm definitely going to use the shawl for a more plainer outfit though (jumpsuit, plain abayah, any ideas?) to see how it looks - I can also imagine a light simple white kameez for summer with statement shawls.

What do you think of this trend - would you wear this? There are quite a few vendors out there with these trend and it's pretty easy to put together from your own wardrobe!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year!…2017

Here’s wishing you all a year full of love, light and unicorn sparkles!

Here's hoping 2017 is a fresh start for us, with lots of new food, places and clothes to discover :)

Love, Curly Fries xxx

Sunday, 18 December 2016

PRODUCT REVIEW: Al Din Halal Skincare

I was recently sent some beautiful skin care products from a new brand - Al Din - which is has a line of skincare aimed at those looking for halal, vegan and vegetarian products, with the company itself being created by Muslim entrepreneur Suraiya Uddin, who has stated she was looking for this type of skincare but noticed the gap in the market.

These are the products I was sent, don't they look lovely? The strapline for this brand is also 'A Touch of Faith' - which I thought was a great way of harnessing the idea that the brand was going for - following personal ideals combined with good quality products.

I also liked the rich purple and gold packing of this - my first impression of this was similar to a lot of the ouds and perfumes you may see in the shopping malls (or in Dubai!), which gives a luxurious, solid look.

I had a quick look at the mission statement (you can see the rest here) of the brand - it definitely goes with a lot of things I'm interested in when looking for skincare:
"Al Din Skin Care is a luxury British skincare collection made with rich, plant ingredients to give softer looking, beautiful skin, naturally. Our high quality and effective range is Halal, Vegan and Vegetarian approved and we are against all testing on animals. We are passionate about beauty and feel that you shouldn’t need to compromise on quality and luxury when choosing products containing kinder, more natural ingredients."

What does it mean for a skin care brand to be halal? In my opinion, it is when there are only 'halal' ingredients used (that is, does not use non-permissible ingredients like pork-based gelatine or alcohol), and is also made in a way which aligns with halal methods. I do like that Al Din takes the time to explain what halal beauty and skin is here, which basically explains what ingredients are used and why - which is great for those who want to know more about what they're buying.

In all honesty, a lot of the women I know don't necessarily focus on looking for halal skin care - I have seen a lot of beauty brands (such as Kat von D and Jeffreestar) emphasise their vegan products, but I haven't seen much out there in terms of halal products. I think partly this is because a lot of consumers don't prioritise this, and also because some of them don't know this is an option either. Personally, as I am in my late twenties (and nearly thirties!) I have began to focus more on natural skin care and gentle products which are good for my skin, and I love the idea of the products not only benefiting my skin but also being halal, which makes me see them as more ethical as well.

These are the products sent to me - Sumptuous Touch Daily Moisturiser for Women (50ml), Men's Finest Touch Daily Moisturiser (50ml) and Pure Luxury Body Lotion (250ml). I thought it was a really good idea to have a men's product as well, as this is definitely a market which is often neglected, and it's great that there are halal options out there for men as well as women. I have often encouraged my husband to use creams to look after his skin, so it's good to know that this is something which skincare brands care about too.

All three products were in black, purple and gold bottles which looked very luxurious, and which were pretty easy to hold. Both the men's and the women's facial creams were quite lightweight and easy to grip, which is great for quick applications, and the body lotion was a solid bottle which would sit well on any dresser. I thought it was pretty interesting that all the bottles had a pump to dispense the creams, which I know a lot of people like because it helps to control how much product comes out.

So that's my initial impressions of the Al Din skin care brand, let's get on with the actual product reviews itself:

Sumptuous Touch Daily Moisturiser for Women 50ml
I really liked the bottle for this, which had a hidden pump in the lid which you twisted to make it appear, which I thought was very unique and great for avoiding contamination. The product is dispensed pretty cleanly through this slim bottle and then can be put away again pretty easily.

This is the cream in my hand, which was white (all of the creams in this range are white!) and the first thing I thought about this was how wonderful it smelled. There is a mix of jojoba sunflower and coconut in this which gives a really pleasant, non-overpowering smell that lasts for a while.

I applied this on my face and loved how absorbent this is - non-greasy, light yet felt quite moisturising. I have slightly oily-to-combo skin so avoid heavy creams which just sit on my face, so I loved that this felt really pleasant on my face. I can genuinely imagine using this as a daily moisturiser to apply before going to work, especially as my skin felt pretty soft for a few hours and well-moisturised.

Key Ingredients:
  • Hyaluronic acid – naturally found in the body, helps to keep skin, plump and hydrated for a smooth, youthful appearance.
  • Sunflower oil - an emollient with incredibly hydrating properties, helps to keep the skin nourished.
  • Coconut Oil - hailed as a superfood, the ultra-nourishing & hydrating ingredient has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-bacterial and hydrating properties that make it truly unique. Not only will it hydrate beautifully but it can also help to repair and regenerate the skin.
  • Sweet Almond Oil – rich in Vitamin E monounsaturated fatty acids, proteins, potassium and zinc, plus a number of other minerals and vitamins, it is nourishing and super nutritious for the skin.
  • Glycerin Oat Protein - oats are known for their humectant and emollient properties, which are key for keeping skin moisturised all year round.

Men's Finest Touch Daily Moisturiser 50ml
This was a short bottle which also had a pump, fairly easy to dispense the cream and came with a cap to avoid germs. I like that this doesn't take up too much space on the shelf either, and is a decent size for a men's daily cream.

I did try this on my hand (and was about to try on my face) when I thought I'd try it on the target audience instead, and got my husband to wear this on his face. The smell of this one was also pretty yummy, although noticeably more masculine, but again without being too strong or overpowering. This product has aloe vera, argan oil and olive, all of which are great products for the skin.

My husband applied this all over his face and said he liked the smell, and found it moisturising but found it slightly greasy for his face. Personally I found it pretty absorbent on my hand and didn't find it greasy myself, but husband noted that while it's not heavy at all, and smelled great, he prefers lighter, thinner creams for his face.

Key Ingredients:
  • Vitamin E – one of the most well-known and researched antioxidants, vitamin E occurs natu-rally in human skin and can help to prevent signs of premature ageing. It works to block free radicals from the body, which play a large part in the ageing process. It is a fabulous moistur-ising agent to keep skin smooth and supple and also has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Argan Oil - for generations, natives of the Argan Forest in Morocco have collected and pressed the nut to extract this precious oil. It absorbs easily and is non-greasy and non-irritating, which makes it a great natural moisturiser. With its high Vitamin E and fatty acid content, it helps to give skin a natural glow.
  • Wheat Protein - recognised for its great hydrating properties, it is also shown to be one of the most effective pore minimisers and will help to smooth fine lines.
  • Aloe Vera – used since ancient times it is a well-known soothing ingredient. This rich hydra-tor helps to moisturise without leaving a greasy feel and has great healing properties, perfect for post-shaving.

Pure Luxury Body Lotion 250ml
This was the biggest bottle of the three, and came with a pump that locks and opens when you twist it, which I liked. Again, this is a fairly luxurious looking bottle for a body lotion, which I can imagine looking good on my dresser.

This cream was a tiny bit thicker than the face cream which is ideal for the body, especially as I have drier skin on my body than face, and prefer something heavier for my body. This also smelled great, and had a mix of Vitamin E, rice protein, olive, argan and jojoba oils, all of which are a good mix of moisturising ingredients. I used this mainly on my arms and legs and found it pretty absorbent, and again thought it moisturised my skin well, I usually use body butters which last me the whole day so was pleased to see that this works the same way - moisturising my skin the whole day.

Key ingredients:
  • Jojoba Oil - moisturising and nourishing, it closely resembles the sebum in our own skin meaning it is very easily absorbed.
  • Hyaluronic Acid - naturally found in the body, this helps to keep skin, plump and hydrated for a smooth, youthful appearance.
  • Olive Oil Extract - naturally packed with anti-ageing antioxidants and hydrating squalene, it is a superb moisturising ingredient for skin.
  • Rice Protein - helps to improve the skin's moisture barrier for true hydration and dry skin relief and protection from environmental aggressors.

Overall, I think this is an excellent range which has been well thought out and takes more into consideration than just being a halal skincare brand - it actually tries to address good skincare issues by looking at good ingredients and the fact that the creams do what they're supposed to do.
I'm not an expert when it comes to skincare (and usually have to look online for reviews or ask a few friends of mine for more information) but I did also like that this is not just targeted for Muslims - it is for anyone looking for a decent skincare brand and also for those looking for cruelty-free and vegan or vegetarian products, who expect a good quality brand.

I also think this is very reasonably priced for what it costs - one of my biggest problems when looking for suitable skincare has always been value for money (we can't all afford Creme de la Mer creams!) and I think that while some of the better skincare products are expensive for a reason, they don't always have to be - and this is certainly a reflection of that.

You can find out more about Al Din in these links below - let me know what you think!
YouTube commercial

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Pakistan Fashion Week 10 London 2016 (PFW10)

I didn't get to attend Pakistan Fashion Week in London this year, but but I did follow the event online and loved some of the outfits - there was a wide range of colours and styles, not to mention beautiful fabrics (loving the velvet I saw!)

I won't post all of the pictures of all the designers, but here's a few I liked below - you can see more pictures from the catwalk here and here.

Agha Noor - I loved the red and off-white colour co-ordination of this collection and the pretty baroque-style prints with the red velvets.

Aisha Imran - These were a lot of colourful, traditional bridals which I thought were lovely - some of the colour accents of these were really pretty.

Ayesha Aejaz - I liked some of these (the first outfit was a pretty mint that I liked) but I didn't love all of them - some of the pieces felt a little bulky or mismatched.

Bombay Wala - these were very colourful, ideal for summer, especially some of the casual pieces. I can definitely imagine wearing the last two pieces!

Braathii by Huma Nassr - Another designer which had random outfits I wasn't sure about - some felt a bit mis-matched, and even a little dated. I did like the skirt at the end which reminded me of this outfit.

Deepak Perwani - I like this designer's outfits, and wasn't disappointed by this fresh, feminine collection, which I thought was done pretty tastefully.

Fashion Factory by Amna Farhan - a black and gold collection which was a nice mix of Western and Eastern fusion - I can see some of these being worn for a night out or a Christmas party.

Hamna Amir - this was a view of  the designer's jewellery collection, some of which were very pretty with a mix of beading and pearls. I loved the combination of chokers with long necklaces too.

Komal Nasir - this designer showcased her collection of shawls, which looks beautiful - my favourite is the rich blue one below.

Maheen Khan - this designer had a very funky mix of outfits, with rich fabrics and layered dresses and kimonos. Not sure about a lot of these, mostly because I can't see them on a wedding or party scene, but the use of different fabrics was definitely an eyecatching one.

Moazzam Abbasi - I liked some of these, semi-formal outfits which looked easy to wear, and weren' too fussy. Again I can see these in a Western or Eastern setting, which will look great either way (I can certainly seeing myself wearing the first outfit on holiday!)

Nainiqa Farah London - Another gold and black collection, but I quite liked this one - the rich brocade and velvet made the gowns look eleborate yet beautiful.

Nickishey by Moonam Amir - this was a cape collection galore, but I liked how the designer explored different colours, styles and materials (can you see that fur collar on the black cape?)

NIKH by Iram Noman - a more classical looking bridal collection I can see some of these being worn for weddings and receptions.

Noman & Bhaiya - this very colourful collection would look for mehndis (I'm sure I have already seen some of these being worn) and are very playful and girly.

Pehnavni by Nazis Kidwai - I really liked some of these lenghas, they're colourful with a lot of spring-pink-and-mint tones which look lovely. I also liked the layering, such as the jacket below on top of the shirt and lengha skirt.

Rana Noman - Another collection which I thought was lovely, I liked some of the details on these outfits, which balance out the rich fabrics used as the underskirts.

Rizwan Ahmed - this was a lovely pastel and nude collection, which I can imagine a lot of brides-to-be would love. I also liked how the designer played with the hem-length of the tops, which a mix of cut-out details and split-front dresses.

Sadaf Amir - For some reason this collection didn't stand out much to me, perhaps because it looked too similar to a lot of the high-stree stuff I've seen, and also because the colours didn't necessarily appeal to me. I did like the blue and mustard outfit though, which was pretty stylish.

Sahar Atif - This was an interesting collection, with a mix of lengha-cholis, shararas, capes and jackets, which were quite pretty. I can imagine some of these being worn to a lot of weddings this winter, especially the formals.

Sanori - I loved the floral details on these outfits, and the mix of pastels with dusky shades, wich gave a pretty but almost vintage look to some of these.

Shamaeel Ansari - This was a gorgeous Mughal-style collection with a big mix of rich fabrics and prints, which looked lovely. I'm not sure these are to everyone's tastes but I thought some of the jacket pieces looked very stylish.

Zeshan Bariwala - This was a bridal collection which mixed pastels and nudes alongside richer colours. I wasn't a fan of the red bridals but thought the lighter pastels and nude outfits were really pretty.

Event Produced by: Riwayat Ltd @riwayatuk
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