Friday, 27 January 2017

RE-INVENT YOUR WARDROBE #4: Add a Shawl to your Outfit

I've already posted before about the shawl trend, and how much I love it, and it got me thinking about the different ways I've seen this being worn. I love that it's a perfect accessory - ideal in the winter months for keeping us warms, and also making an inexpensive statement piece to jazz up a simple outfit.
I thought I'd play around with the pashminas in my wardrobe to see what kind of outfits and stylings I could create (I meant to raid my mum's cupboard for this post because she has beautiful shawls, but I forgot!) I came up with a few variations and tried them out - let me know what you think of these.

So here are a few ideas on how to wear a pashmina...

1. With a jumpsuit
I love wearing jumpsuits (even if my sister does say they look like baby's onesies), and have seen a few dressy jumpsuits being worn at weddings and Eid which look incredibly stylish. I've been keeping an eye out for a jumpsuit for myself, and I don't have a dressy one yet, but I do have a few western-style ones which work just as well.

This is a wide-legged jumpsuit (I love wide-leg jumpsuits!) I styled with a colourful pashmina and a gold belt - I was initially going to try a plain shiny black belt but loved how the gold one looked. I loved this look, and think it would be perfect for summer-time too.

Jumpsuit - Aab Collection
Shawl - Charizma

2. With a kameez suit
I have a lot of simple kameez outfits which are ideal for weekends and casual events, but it's always nice to add a little elegance to it. because I wear a hijab, I don't always add a dupatta to the outfit, especially if it looks more casual without it - but I love how simply adding a printed shawl to this outfit made it look so much more stylish. The shawl I added here was just a simple one I bought from a local market but it really pulled the outfit together.

Kameez suit - Pakistan
Shawl - Queens Market, Green Street
Shoes - Love Label

3. With a maxi dress or abayah
I don't wear abayas, but I thought it would look similar to an maxi dress in the length of the outfit and the shape (although maxi dresses are more fitted, of course). I tried out a colourful maxi dupatta for this outfit, from one of my heavier suits and liked the effect when I added it to a simple navy dress. I've tried it in two different ways below - one simply draped on the left, and secondly on the right a more fitted look with a belt. I think this would have worked better with a dressier maxi dress, but I liked the look, and I think both would be ideal for summer or even for an alternative outfit at a mehndi event!

Maxi dress - Notting Hill
Dupatta - RDC London (part of an unstitched suit)
Shoes - Primark

4. With a tunic shirt and jeans
I was a bit unsure on how else to style a pashmina, until it hit me that I should try it with my every day clothes - jeans and a shirt! They say the 90s and 80s are in fashion at the moment, and I definitely remember my sisters used to throw a shawl over their dresses and tops with jeans in the 90s. So I thought I'd give this a shot and see if it would still look good (hey, fashion trends are cyclical!) and mixed one of my more colourful shawls with my shirts.

I love how vibrant the shawl looks against the simple white, and it definitely gives that fusion of east-meets-west. Again, I styled this in more than one way and loved all of them (I think the middle is my favourite, though) - and looks great whether you wear a hijab or not. I think this is a nice way to make an outfit modest, as well as give it a little colour - I also like that it adds a little uniqueness to an outfit simply by making it more vibrant.

Shirt dress - Inayah Collection
Jeans - H&M
Shawl - Gul Ahmed

I had a lot of fun playing around with these shawls and outfits, and will certainly be trying more. I would loved to have tried more styles like a pashmina with a sari (which I have seen before) but I'm terrible with wearing saris so didn't try to attempt it!

Let me know what you think of these, and which one you liked best - I think I'm loving the jumpsuit style best!

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