Thursday, 29 May 2014

LOVELY HIJAB: Dian Pelangi's “Royal Kingdom of Indonesia” at Indonesia Fahion Week 2014

I followed Indonesian Fashion Week 2014 back in February, and meant to post about some of their beautiful designs, but forgot at the time. One of the designers whose work I really fell in love with is designer Dian Pelangi, and her collection called the 'Royal Kingdom of Indonesia', with luxurious, deep colours and beautiful, rich work (not to mention extravagant head pieces and hijab styling!)

Dian Pelangi is a beautiful woman with an amazing dress sense, and styles together her pieces in a way which I really love - particularly because it's so hijab friendly, and also because of the rich, extravagant pieces she designs which really appeal to my inner (and outer) diva. I've been following her blog for some time (and her Instagram!) and am struck by her sense of adventure when it comes to styling her clothes and her hijab - in a way that doesn't feel like a compromise with her modesty.

This collection particularly stuck with me because of how beautiful and rich it all is - I thought it would make great inspiration for a bride looking for something different, particularly a hijabi-bride to be. I have a few Turkish, Moroccan and Arab friends whose bridal outfits are somewhat different to the Desi world, and it's lovely to see how they interpret bridal fashion - whether it is with hijab or not. I also have Pakistani, Bengali and Indian friends who chose to wear their hijabs on their wedding day as well, and styled it beautifully with jewels or accessories, and it's great to see that this niche is expanding so that that brides who choose to wear hijab have a bigger range of ideas and styles to choose from.

Although I don't think anyone would quite go for those huge gold crowns on their wedding day, unless they were really adventurous!

Images from here

Sunday, 25 May 2014

My Online Shopping Experience: Brand Central Pakistan

I recently linked this website - Brand Central - in another post, and mentioned that they sell ready-to-wear branded designer wear, but that I couldn't recommend them as I have never purchased from there. I thought I'd take a shot and order something from the website that was low-priced (that way if I got conned I wouldn't lose a lot of money) and to see how the process went.

I'm seeing a growing trend of pop-up shops and online websites selling ready-made and pret outfits by various Indian and Pakistani designers, which makes life easier than having to go through the rigmarole of ordering a custom made outfit. It also makes the designer outfits more accessible and gives a chance for us consumers overseas to buy outfits rather than going through Facebook, ordering via relatives or even flying out to India, Pakistan or Bangladesh!

I decided to opt for this Zainab Chottani long black kurta-style dress, which I thought would make a great outfit for evenings out or post-wedding dawats (I also wanted to treat myself to an early birthday present!) - it's simple, versatile and easy to wear, plus looked quite hijab friendly. The website is pretty easy to navigate, and they give a good view of the outfit which you can see close ups of. I saw this design a while back and thought it looked quite chic, so was quite pleased that the price was relatively reasonable.

The outfit itself took about two weeks in total to arrive, from selecting and paying for the purchase online and it's arrival at my door. I got a phone call about a week after placing the order from a Pakistan number (they start with +92), which turned out to be from the Brand Central company confirming my order, and also letting me know that the outfit would come in 7-10 days.  About two days before the delivery date, I also got an email that gave the date of the delivery, which would arrive via FedEx - and on the date as stated, the outfit arrived nicely packaged and secure.

This is the outfit when it came in the post (although it was slightly more wrinkled so I had to iron it first before I took pictures!) It was only one piece and not particularly heavy, so I didn't expect to worry about any damage or issues with the kurta.

Most of the design is print-work at the bottom of the dress, although there is a motif at the shoulder which adds some sparkle. The dress itself is a lovely shape, which has a tail to the back and the material is malai lawn, which feels really soft and comfortable on.

When I tried the dress on, I was quite pleased with the fit of it, the shape is incredibly flattering (it made me look taller and skinnier!) and it's perfect for hot summer days because of how loose and cool it feels on. I also can't wait to wear it because I'm envisaging wearing it with a long gold kundan-style mala necklace under my hijab for a statement piece.

Overall, my experience was quite easy and hassle free with this company. There are pros and cons with ordering from any online company, not to mention the risks, which I'm still quite wary of because there are very few established online websites selling outfits like these.

The Pros: The website accepts Paypal (which is better for us!) as well as card payments, and have clear, close-up images of their outfits. The shipping costs are fairly low, especially since they use FedEx which feels reliable to me. They are also willing to ship worldwide which is helpful. Generally I was happy with this website because there is a good range of designers and outfits, and there's a good guide to sizing, descriptions about outfits, materials used and information regarding shipping and FAQs. I also liked the fact that a lot of these outfits were a bit more affordable, but perhaps this is because some of them were semi-casual and formal outfits as well as the heavier (and expensive) designs.

The Cons: I'm not sure if there are many cons to the website, other than the fact that the sizes are fixed to the usual Small, Medium and Large, which may not suit everyone's needs. For me, the fact that the outfit take two weeks to arrive is not bad, since it's quicker than other companies, and certainly quicker than getting a custom made outfit which can take anything from 6 to 12 weeks. It's not really handy for last-minute fashion emergencies though (believe me, I've had those, wandering to the local shops for an outfit about two hours before a wedding!) The other thing is still the fact that it is still a bit of a risk buying something without seeing it, so you might not be happy with what you get.

I'm sure I'll get a chance to order from this company again in the future (probably not for a while, as I'm a bit broke!), and I'll be sure to share if I do.

Have you used this website before? What was your experience like?

Sunday, 18 May 2014

OUTFIT OF THE DAY: The Indigo RDC Anarkali

I recently wore this lovely anarkali to a wedding, which I was pleased about as I haven't had much opportunity to wear it, and also because it's such an easy outfit to wear. This long anarkali was from RDC London, which was fairly classical in design, and also different to the usual chiffon and silky materials that a lot of my outfits are made from, as this was made from a thicker self-printed silk, almost like a jamawar material.

(My sister and I have an on-going argument about whether this outfit is blue or purple, I'm certain it's blue, and she insists it's purple, so I'll just class it as indigo to make my life easier!)

This is how I accessorised it, I was running late while I was getting ready for the wedding so didn't really get a chance to be over-imaginative with accessories, so decided to keep it simple with matching bangles and a tikka to wear with my hijab. I also picked an icy-blue silk scarf to complement the dress, and navy heels and clutch.

And this is me wearing it (I apologise for the shameless selfies, they get worse and worse don't they?) - I think the photographs don't really show the flow and volume of this dress, but it was really a comfortable outfit which felt really easy to wear.

Outfit - RDC London
Clutch - New Look
Shoes - Kurt Geiger
Bangles - various shops in Green Street
Tikka - (part of set) Shringaar, Green Street
I don't often match all of my accessories/scarves/whatnot together with my outfit, but I like the look here, and I love deep colours like dark blues (or indigo!), because I find them easy to wear and flattering on my skin tone. I also like the fact that this outfit feels quite classic - it's a long style dress which fits with today's trends, but simple enought to keep wearing over the next few years.

I also loved the fact that it's hijab friendly - the sleeves weren't sheer and the dress wasn't overly-fitted, and it was an A-line shape it flowed outwards rather than being too clingy. I also really like the fact that the churidar peeps out at the bottom so gives an elegant peek of the ankles!

Saturday, 17 May 2014


I've seen a big trend recently, of ombre lips - which is not surprising considering ombre is big with hair, fashion and accessories at the moment. The point of ombre lipstick is to make lips look fuller, more defines and more '3D', as well as adding depth to the colour of the lipsticks.

This one is for my eldest sister especially, who loves her dark, vampy lips and also because I like passing on my latest lipstick crazes to her!

Admittedly, this may not be to everyone's taste, it's quite a dramatic look - but personally I think it's an amazing look, I like the ombre shades and the potential of being creative that it gives.

I've been following popular instagrammer @depechegurl, who seems to have done ombre lips in every colour imaginable, and who is one of my favourite at doing ombre lips - although there's plenty of other beauty bloggers and vloggers who have tried the art of ombre lips too.

 All images belong to @depechegurl

There's plenty of tutorial and tips out there (like this one and these ones) to help you try an ombre lip - although I don't think I'm quite adventurous enough to go for the bright greens, blues or black shades! I'm waiting for the right moment to sport a deep red ombre look, especially as this is what appeals to me most - I think it'd look great on a night out!

What do you think of ombre lips - would you try them out?

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


Another day, another ring. I think I should stop buying them now, seeing as I'll be getting a ring on on *that* finger soon enough, but I do love my giant kundan rings (especially seeing as they're the only jewellery I wear most days!)

This is one I bought recently from the lovely Indian Hanger team which I thought looked lovely - there's something regal about it which remind me of the Rajasthani culture, although it could be just because of the colours. The quality of this ring is amazing, each stone is solid and beautifully embedded into the ring, which goes well with the intricate gold setting. I can imagine wearing bangles in these colours, with a simple suit for a dholki or mehndi for a pretty look. I'm sure I'll get a chance to show this off soon (I'll post if I do!)

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Hijab Fashion Shop: A Review

This is a company that I bought some scarves from a while back, which I'll post a quick review on because I was quite happy with their service. Hijab Fashion Shop has a range of products, from hijabs and scarves, maxi dresses, abayahs and other modesty-wear items such as sleeves and hijab caps, and the prices are pretty reasonable.

I've been looking for a comfortable jersey fabric hijab scarf which I've been wanting for a while (especially after I bought my mum a beautiful maxi jersey scarf from Zara and went back to get one for myself but it was sold out!) I bought two colours from the site in navy and maroon, which I thought would be great for every-day wear. The website is easy to use, and I like the fact that it accepts Paypal as well. I also like the fact that the website includes a page on 'Hijab Care', which I think is handy for looking after their scarves and how to wash them.

The scarves came really quickly, within about two days, which I was really happy with, and were packaged quite well. There were also two sparkly hijab pins included in the package, which I thought was a nice touch too (you can never have too many hijab pins!) and which was really sweet.

The hijabs themselves were pretty much what I expected, rich colours, light-weight and easy to wear and drape - and quite big so they cover well and can be folded in various way - pretty much exactly what they the website describes them as! There are other websites out there which sell cheaper scarves, but not all of them have maxi scarves like these, and I like the fact that there's a good range of colours in these jersey ones. All in all, a good buying experience :)

Friday, 9 May 2014

DESIGNER MOOD: Floral Fever by Zehra Saleem

I recently came across this designer and thought I'd share, particularly because I love the way that she incorporates westernised cuts into Pakistani fashion, as well as the beautiful floral motifs and glitz which are used. Zehra Saleem is a Pakistani designer who has some really pretty pieces that can be dressed up or worn in a more subtle way, and which I think look beautiful because of the feminine feel to them. I love the soft colours in creams and pinks, the intricate designs and in particular, the flowy dresses, which look really flattering and also seem to focus on big floral motifs like giant roses.

Here's some the designer's pieces from some of her photoshoots, which have an English-rose, vintage feel to them that I like, and which I think would appeal to a lot of people's tastes - my favourite is the last one which would make a really pretty mehndi outfit.

I recently messaged the designer's group to ask for a few prices, and happily enough they responded very quickly, which I think is a good sign if you're looking to purchase fromt hem. The prices were slightly higher than I was looking to spend, but I would definitely recommend a browse of their outfits, especially as they seem very wearable.

Another alternative to messaging the group directly is to buy from this site here, which sells the outfits as ready-made pieces in fixed sizes, where you can also see the prices as well. I can't give any recommendations for this site as I haven't used it before, but it's a good place to look at prices and also see the actual outfits in detail.

The designer herself is often spotted wearing her own designs, which I think is a good way to promote them (especially as she can carry them off so well!) I also like the fact that she hasn't restricted herself to maxi dresses and has mixed these with shorter kameezes as well.

All images taken from Zehra Saleem Facebook page

I'll be following Zehra Saleem's designs for a while to see what else she comes out with, but so far I'm really liking some of her more simpler designs which look beautiful. What do you think of her designs - would you wear them?