Sunday, 28 June 2015

Pakistan Fashion Extravaganza 8 - London 2015

I recently followed Pakistan Fashion Extravaganza 8 which took place a few weeks ago, showcasing a range of designers - I wasn't able to attend but a few people I know did, including a friend who does PR for these events, and I was able to see a few pictures of the catwalk as well as the backstage fun!

Here's a look at some of the models on the catwalk and various designers' collections - I can't post all of the designs so I'll post my favourites from each collection, but you can see more here.

Kuki Concepts
I liked that there were a range of colours in this collection, from soft pastels and whites to more vivid combinations and rich fabrics. The main thing I noticed was the longer hemlines with plenty of flowy skirts, making it a pretty collection - and  I loved the mix of colours with this one.

Texheeb London
I was quite glad to see this on the list of designers showcasing, as the flagship store for this is pretty near me and I love some of the collections they house. As well as carrying well-know Pakistani designer brands, Texheeb London has its own in-house designer for their own collection. These were a range of bridals, which I thought were lovely and pretty in-line with Pakistani fashion trends - their lighter coloured bridals were gorgeous, while they also had some lovely formals too.

Madiha Gohar
This was geared for a more semi-formal, Western look, with a lot of jackets, jumpsuits, printed silks and embroidered tops and kameezes. I thought this was pretty ideal for a 'fusion' style and a lot of these were very wearable for more everyday functions, while still being dressy enough. I loved some of the jackets which came in various lengths and would got with a lot of different outfits, both Western and Asian.

Revaan by Sidra Khalid
I really liked this collection, it was colourful and floral, and had a really good mix of styles - shorter hems, maxi dresses, capes and lenghas. There were also a good mix of colours, soft shades with metallics for a more richer look - my favourite were the shorter kamezes in this collection, which really made the floral embroidery stand out.

Saira Rizwan
This was another collection which made the most of the short hem trend which is creeping in, and looked really stylish. There were a lot of formals showcased in this collecction, and I really liked some of the embroidered pieces like the ones below - perfect for summer and very stylish with minimal bling.

Gul Styles
This is another brand I like seeing, as their main store is also near me, and I've seen a lot of their collections over the years. Gul's Style has a very traditional look to their style, and this continued through the collection on this catwork - plenty of beautiful embroidery and heavy work on their bridals and heavier formals. It's hard to see the intricate designs in these pictures but the work is pretty beautful, and gives the collection a pretty regal look.

Faisal Ishtiaq Ahmar (FIA)
I haven't heard of these designers before, but I loved the floral and motif designs on their collection. This was a mainly longer hem-line collection, with maxi dresses, longer kameezes and flowy bridals, but it didn't look too busy and I loved the colours used together.

Aliya Omar
I liked how rich the work on these were, and how classic some of them looked. There were a lot of straight-cut kameezes with slits, but they looked pretty elegant and played with colours and fabrics (like the two-tone one below, which reminded me of my childhood!)

Faika Kareem
This collection used a lot of rich fabrics and stones, and I thought it looked very elegant and slightly Mughal-inspired. The dresses are beautiful (and great modesty-wear!) with the focus being on the fabrics and colours rather than too much bling. I also liked the theme of long beaded necklaces to finish off the outfits, and

This was a very regal collection, lots of heavily embellished dresses and lenghas, and fuller hems. There were a a lot of bridals as well, which had pretty classic styles to them and were similar to a lot of their previous collections. Compared to the other collections, this one didn't stand out as much to me, but it did have the signature Mehdi style to it which would be ideal for brides-to-be who like the style.

Photography by Shahid Malik Photography

I really liked the fact that there were a range of designers and styles at this event, and it was nice to see different colours, fabrics and hemlines. I also was glad to see a lot of familiar names, and thought that there was a lot of inspiration to be had, both bridal and non-bridal!

I really liked some of the formal ranges, such as the simpler embroidered kameezes by Saira Rizwan, and would definitely look into the collection for potential Eid outfits.

Which outfits did you like the most?

Monday, 22 June 2015

KAPRAY SHAPRAY: Khaadi Red and White Blossoms

I saw this lovely outfit recently by Pakistani label Khaadi at Westfield Stratford City, and loved how pretty the floral print and embroidery looked together in white and red. I love white and red when it's done well, and on this outfit I though it was done pretty well!

I thought this was a beautiful piece and asked about it at the store, as I have been looking in random places for Eid outfit ideas (I know, it's early!). It's made from a beautiful fabric and the embroidery looks gorgeous, and the cut is pretty flattering. The outfit cost £199.00 which was a little steep for me, but I thought it was certainly a lovely piece.

The main thing which stopped me from buying it in the end was the fact that it didn't come with sleeves which could be sewn on - I never wear sleeveless outfits and I didn't like the fact that I'd have to buy my own material and get them sewn on. The trousers also were too cropped for me as well, while it looks great together, alas, it's not for me!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

What To Do With Unwanted Outfits?

I've been asked quite a few times from friends (and some readers) what the best thing to do with unwanted outfits are. If you're anything like me, you'll end up with a bigger wardrobe than you think, and some of your older outfits will just sit in the back of the cupboard.

I thought I'd write a post in the spirit of Ramadan - making the best of what you have, recycling and using outfits rather than buy something new (which is handy if you don't have a lot of money to spend!) These are some of the things I've done with unwanted clothes below - most of them are things I do regularly and which I recommend to a lot of people I know.

1. Donate them to charity. 
Not every charity shop will take Asian clothes, but a good amount of them do - they love having beautiful things in the store and there's still an Asian market to sell to - the charity shops in my area usually have a few Asian outfits in store.

My mum occasionally donates Asian suits to the poor in Pakistan, either by cargoing them to relatives who can distribute them, or taking old suits with her when she travels to Pakistan herself. I usually give her a bunch of my old suits whenever I need to do a good clear-out (and need to get rid of outfits which are too tight!)

I keep all of my outfits in good condition so I'm glad that they end up in a good home - there are too many poor families who would appreciate a nice suit that they can wear for Eid or for special occasions. Our relatives in Pakistan normally distribute them to the poorer families in the area who can use these clothes or who can alter them to their usage.
The last time we sent some clothes and shoes over, my mum told me that two pairs of heels (which I never wore because I didn't like them and wasn't sure why I bought them!) had been stored away by the family they were given to, for the two daughters in the family to wear when they get married. It was really lovely to hear this - that something I never appreciated would be valued by the family who got them.

2. Sell them.
I hugely in favour of selling your outfit to fund your next one! I have sold outfits via eBay and PakLinks before (a forum I'm a regular member of!) and loved the extra cash coming in. Of course this depends on how well-kept your outfit is, and how fashionable it is - these days I've noticed that the more in-line with current fashion trends an outfit is, the more likely it is for it to be sold.

I've listed a few venues to sell online below - there's lots more of course, but here's a few to start off with:

  • eBay, Preloved, Etsy Craigslist or Gumtree - these are all pretty big websites which are professionally run, which means a lot more viewers for your listings.
  • Facebook groups like Desi Frugal Fashionista, Revolve Clothing, asianattire or even via local websites like OnceWear, MyPreciousCollection and WeBuyClothes. These are more tailored to a certain market, but it also means that people who visit here will be looking for things like your outfits for sale, and may be more likely to see them.
  • There are even apps to sell from your mobile - I haven't tried any but I have read posts from a few bloggers who do use them.
  • Instagram - this is becoming a big platform to sell a lot of things. I haven't seen that many pre-used outfits on here but I have seen a lot of businesses blooming on here - there's definitely a market here!

3. Re-invent them.
You can alter outfit, mix-and-match them or even add some Western pieces to them for a fusion look. I've even seen outfits re-altered for younger girls which is a lovely touch (I know I've handed a few to my eldest niece to be altered for her!)
I've started a series of posts on re-inventing your clothes (more to be posted soon!) and have had some good responses from it - it's really shown me that people do want to look for different ideas for their wardrobes,

4. Save the pretty ones for your daughters. 
I've seen a big trend in the last few years of brides re-wearing their mother's outfits for a really vintage look, and it's lovely to have that sentimentality for your big day. You don't necessarily have to have a wedding outfit to store away for your daughters, but it's nice to have pretty keepsakes that you can pass down. Although there's no saying what the fashion trends will be like in twenty years, but fashion is pretty cyclical so you never know!

My eldest sister has kept a few of her vari (bridal trousseu) outfits stored away for her daughters, and every now and then she pulls it out and we ooh-and-ahh at them. My mum had a few old suits back in the day (the tinselly scarves included!) which we used to drape over ourselves, although a lot of them are gone now! I've kept my own bridal outfits safely packed and stored away, partly in case I want to re-wear any of the kameezes, but also for memories and for potential passing down; and I have old outfits from when I was a teen and young child which I have kept in a few places (and which I marvel at now because of how skinny I was!)

5. Make other stuff from your old clothes.
Here's a few ideas to start you off - I know a few people who have used their bridal outfits as artwork - packing them into a frame to display on the wall which is a nice idea. I've also seen worked outfits and dupattas cut and re-shaped into cushions, hanging art, Westernised tops and dresses, and even as patchwork for various things.

It's a nice idea and it gives your old outfits life somewhere else - and it's also a great medium for a bit of craftwork as well!

There are a lot of other ideas with what to do with your old outfits, but these are the main ones I thought would be useful. Do you have any other ideas? What have you tried before? Let me know!

Friday, 19 June 2015

Ramadan Mubarak...!

I'm a bit late in posting this, because Ramadan started yesterday for us (or the day before when you count the evening too!), but here's wishing you all a wonderful month of peacefulness, reflection, productive prayer and plenty of samosas!

Ramadan Kareem : )

-- Curly Fries xx

Chocolate Samosas my sister and I saw a while ago  - I offered to buy my mum one but she made a face and turned me down!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

OUTFIT OF THE DAY: The Karma Summer Mehndi Outfit

I've posted about my experience with Karma, when ordering an outfit, which I bought for a close family wedding, and thought I'd show how it looked when I got to wear it for the actual big day.

The outfit itself was pretty dressy, and I loved that the splashes of hot pink and rich aqua brightened up the outfit, which made it a lot easier to accessorise. The outfit itself came with hot pink churidar pants, which I chose rather than embellished pants because they would be easier to move around in, but on the actual day I decided to go for a dressier look and added a silk champagne coloured skirt (from Zara, of all places!) to go for a lengha look.

I was given this cream and gold clutch bag below from my in-laws, and it was perfect with this outfit, but the bangles I got mixed from bangle magicians Bees, and the rings I picked out from my jewellery box, which I thought went really well with my outfit. I also had some hot pink shoes to go with my outfit as well to give it a funkier look than the usual gold sparkly heels!

I went for a hot pink lipstick to finish off this look, and kept my eyemakeup simple rather than striking, mainly because I didn't want to over-do it (although there may have been a lot of gold highligher involved!)

This is how the outfit looked on me, the lengha really made the outfit look flowy and was really flattering on my figure, and really made the pink and green accents pop! I've also included a shot of my arm-candy as well to show how well the jewellery went with the outfit, which didn't feel overly-blingy at all.

Outfit - Karma
Bangles - Bees
Double ring - Bees
Kundan ring - Indian Hanger
Court Shoes - Kurt Geiger
Clutch bag - Green Street (no idea which shop!)

I loved how elegant this outfit look, and I got a lot of compliments from family and friends at the wedding. My sister and I had been asked to do some of the photography for the event (more of this, later!) and I wanted to make-sure that I could move around quickly (it can be hard work to rush around and make sure you capture all the important moments!) and this was pretty comfortable, the outfit didn't hinder my movements at all and the most I had to do was keep handing my clutch bag to my mum to look after!

The biggest bonus was the quality of the material and the work, aside from a couple of stones which came look (because they were glued on rather than stitched on), there were no fabric pulls at all, and the outfit stayed in immaculate condition.

I love how pretty this outfit look, and it's definitely a classic one from me. While the outfit wasn't cheap, I can see the difference in quality between this outfit and a cheaper-costing one, and this would certainly last me longer!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

KAPRAY SHAPRAY: Satya Paul does Disney

I'm surprised no one has done this before, but of all the sari designers, I'm not surprised that it's Satya Paul's brand which went for it. I came across these while searching for sari ideas, and found this collection - Masaba's last venture with the iconic Satya Paul brand, teaming up with Disney for a stylish retro-modern collection called 'Disney Mono Pop by Satya Paul'

I thought some of these were really cute, and an interesting novelty idea for someone who wants something different in a sari. I'm a fan of re-interpretation and art and I love that it's been applied to the classical sari (although this collection also has tops, bags, scarves and other apparel in the collection).

They look really stylish on a few of the Bollywood celebs who helped launched the collection back in December 2014, although it's been spotted on a few other celebrities since then too.

You can buy some of the saris on Satya Paul's official website here - what do you think of this collection?

Saturday, 6 June 2015

THE WEDDING POSTS: Finding Gold Shoes!

I've been meaning to do more wedding posts from the preps I did from my wedding, since a lot of readers ask me about certain details, and I've wanted to share my experience. Unfortunately some of my pictures were damaged from the wedding days, so I've been trying to recover these, but I'll still be doing the posts!

One of the biggest headaches from my wedding preps was finding the right gold shoes for my bridal outfit. My main problem was that the shoes were just not gold enough in colour - they were all either pale gold or a rose-gold, which didn't go with the wedding lengha I would wear. I wanted to wear yellow-gold heels that were comfy enough to wear with a heavy lengha, that could be re-worn and also look glamorous enough for a wedding day.

I didn't mind if I got a designer shoe or not (and I didn't, in the end), but I was keen on something easy to wear, and decided to go with peep-toe court heels style which I'm very used to, and which would go with a lot of my outfits afterwards.

These are the shoes I found while hunting in the shops - I literally looked on the high street for cheaper heels, and the designer ones for bargains. I looked in a lot of shops, so these are not all of the ones I looked at, but they were the more serious contenders:

Kurt Geiger Belgavia (currently on sale I think) - I loved how these looked on my feet, but they felt too party-ish and not quite right for a weddingy look. It was added to my list of heels I wanted to buy for later dawats/events, but not for the wedding.
Dune Delia - I've seen a lot of girls with these shoes (my sisters have them and I now have a version of them!) - they're not too high, they're comfy and they're easy to walk in. I did consider going for a shorter heel so the lengha would be easier to walk in, but decided not to in the end, because the colour was too light gold in colour, and I decided to go for a higher heel.
Dune Beautie - a rose-gold pair of heels, which caught my eye because they were so sparkly. I also liked the fact that these had crystals on them. Again, these was quite decently priced, but it was too rose-coloured for my outfit, and I thought it would clash. I also wasn't sure about the point heeled look.
Jimmy Choo Isabel - My sister had bought these for her own wedding day, so these were a pair to consider. Again, these were lower heeled, and came in silver and a light gold, but they were still too light-coloured for me, which I wasn't keen on.
Jimmy Choo Evelyn - very similar to the shoe above, but a higher-heeled version. Again, these came in a few different colours, but none of them were a yellow enough gold. I also debated spending a lot of money on shoes that I didn't feel quite happy with.
Louboutins strassed heels - the term 'strassed' basically means to cover them with crystals, When searching for gold heels, I saw this term a lot, specifically in relations to Louboutins, which added to the cost of them up to about £2000 for some of them. Unfortunately this was way above my budget, and I didn't have the funds for this, nor did I think it was something I wanted to spend this much on. I'll still dream the dream of having Louboutins one day though!

Karen Millen gold crystal heels - these were probably my favourite of the heels I saw (I think I loved them as much as the ones I ended up with!) They were the perfect colour and incredibly sparkly, although I think they're now no longer selling because they were limited edition. I took pictures of myself trying them on, so I'm annoyed that I can't post these because the pictures are lost - but they looked very glamorous and sparkly on. The only drawback for me was that they were pointy - I jsut didn't want pointed heels poking out of my lengha skirt from the bottom!
Dolce & Gabbana gold heels - I saw this picture somewhere and thought these were extravagant, but pretty amazing. Unfortunately I couldn't find them for sale ANYWHERE. So they were off the list.

The heels I ended up with were high street ones, partly because I opted not to spend a lot for the wedding day, and partly because I didn't get a lot of wedding preps done as I wanted. I don't really regret this because they were the last things on my mind on the wedding day, and I just wanted something comfortable to walk around in.

These were gold court shoes that I ended up buying from Carvela, which were a lovely shape and which I thought were a good fit. I would have liked them to be a little more yellow, but they were pretty sparkly and on the day, went with the look pretty well. I've worn these at least five or six times for weddings and events since my own wedding, and they're seriously comfy.

I've noticed the latest trends of heels seems to be either glamorous pointy court shoes, or strappy sandals, which are a really stylish alternative to the usual heels I've seen. Looking back now, I'd love to go for something different. My heels for my mehndi event were 5-inch gold glittery heels from Dune, which were actually really comfy and added a sparkle to my outfit.

I've had friends who have tried other things when they couldn't find the right heel - one of my closest friends opted for khussay (those beaded flat shoes) for her wedding day, for comfort and a traditional look; another friend couldn't find Louboutins she wanted so bought some plain ones and a good few hundred Swarovski crytals, and then spent a month customising her heels to her satisfaction. I've even seen the contrast look done well - hot pink shoes with a white dress, and so on. So for brides-to-be looking for the perfect shoes, it is a headache, but you will find something you like, so don't give up!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

MAKE-UP REVIEW: Khadijah Kadwani MUA

I recently met Khadijah Kadwani, a make-up artist who did mine and my sister's make-up,  which we loved the results for. We'd met her at Hina Rasim's Eid Soiree and she was really helpful at explaining how she worked as an MUA, what she used and even gave us advice, so we both opted to get our make-up done by her.

I always take a peek at what make-up the MUA is using (my bridal make-up, for example, was a good mix of brands I use myself) and I love the fact that Khadijah doesn't just rely on MAC like a lot of make-up artists I've used before.

My sister got her make-up done first, and asked Khadijah for a little contouring and highlighting on her cheeks. My sister has quite defined cheekbones so on her, the bronzey/contoured look works pretty well - Khadijah showed her what make-up she used and also how to apply. I really liked how her cheeks looked when the make-up artist was finished - it was very glowy and subtle, and blended well with my sister's face so it looked natural.

For myself, I asked for some light contouring (don't worry, the wonkey eye-liner below is all me!). I'm not a fan of heavy contouring or bronzer, and it certainly doesn't suit me - I explained this to Khadijah and asked for something a little subtle, so she went quite light-handed, applying make-up from her Anastasia Beverly Hills contour palette and showing me the colours she used. She then applied a light swish of bronzer and blush together on me (I forget the blush she used, which was a really lovely Mac one) but I loved how it looked at the end.

I've tried to show below the way the contouring was done on my cheeks below (sorry for the dodgy-cropped out images!), the colours are pretty true to how it looked in real life on me. I often find that bronzer or contouring which looks fab in photographs can look too cakey or heavy in real-life, and doesn't really appeal to me. In the case of what I had done, I really loved the subtle yet glamorous look, which really had the effect of making my face look very soft and glowy - perfect for a night out!

We also got a really lovely goody bag as well, with a leaflet for Khadijah's services, a compact mirror, some chocolates (which are aalll gone) and some make-up from New Cid Cosmetics. My sister got a bronzer and shimmer/highlighter, and I got a shimmer contour stick - we each basically got a make-up product relating to what we had asked about, which I thought was really thoughtful!

I've already got a Khadijah in mind for the next wedding we have coming up, and I'm pretty sure my sister will be booking her too. I'm always on the look out for make-up artists whose work I like, so far I love what I've seen.

You can contact Khadijah MUA via her Website, Facebook, and Instagram, otherwise contact her for bookings on 07713 137 611.