Saturday, April 28, 2012

JJ Valaya: India's Karl Lagerfeld... & Then Some.

I met JJ Valaya at his house a few years ago with friends. I had no idea who he was but when he told me his name was 'JJ Valaya' I immediately thought 'What kind of a name is that? Is that one name or two? Is he some sort of Indian politician/thug like in the movies?' lol… of course, I quickly moved away from that man. I was clearly presumptuous and not in my right state of mind (in my defense, what is what with that vest JJ? LOL).

From Paris to Bombay: It's a (fashionable) thug life! LOL! 

If Karl (you know, the one from a small fashion empire called Chanel), looked to India for inspiration, then he most likely would have started and ended with JJ Valaya. JJ Valaya's 2011 collection - and his well-defined aesthetic - was clearly an inspiration for Chanel's 'Paris-Bombay 2011/12' show.  While I'm not a fan of comparisons in art; the best way to explain JJ to non-Indian readers is that he is our Karl... and then some.

Unlike our other brilliant couturist Sabyasachi, JJ Valaya is more than just luxury and couture. He is a true artist. And his idea of art (in fashion) is the polar opposite to another legendary Indian, Manish Arora. JJ is sophisticated, regal, and finely tuned. JJ Valaya is tradition - the kind of tradition you want to hold on forever. That doesn't mean it isn't simplistic, contemporary and fresh but JJ's inspiration is clearly the british-raj period and he nails it.

After 20 years, we're starting to see JJ relax a little bit in his creative style. It's a pleasure to watch a legend in Indian fashion - who has focused on Bridal for a long time- come into his own and showcase his artistic flair. His latest release is 'Decoded Paradox' - a collection of black and white photographs from over the years. It's quite simply captivating. This may be the collection that puts this JJ Valaya on the global map. 

BBA Fashion Wrap Up

So, this week's wrap up was looking a little dull until 1) Kajol stepped out at Shantanu and Nikhil's store launch and 2) Freida made hearts skip a beat at her Tribeca screening of Trishna. Ummmm... I know y'all are a little tired of hearing about my love for Freida but I'm not stopping. SHE KILLED IT. It's a wrap.

Freida in Gucci with Fendi baguette. Perfection down to the butterfly! If this is the work of her stylist George, then he is genius.

Kajol looks stunning in Shantanu & Nikhil. She just needs to find the right (and better) foundation.

Shraddha Kapoor deserves a mention for her Dolce & Gabbana look & Padma is just FIERCE. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Happy Birthday to our host Ashika Pratt!

The host of our next event is not just a fellow Fiji-Indian from my side of the world, she's also a BBA fan and one of the hottest models to hit the scene. She's been traveling around the world for her work but will be gracing us on May 30 in NYC for our fundraising shopping event.

The event will include a number of vendors including Haute Trotter, Blossom Box, and Shaffali Skincare, along with donated fashion items, and will raise money for a school in Worli, Mumbai. I visited the school while I was in Mumbai this March and I can tell you first hand that this is a cause worth supporting. These kids come from some of the poorest slums and deserve a access to early education. So if you are in NYC, come and shop next month with us!

It will be held at the WIX Lounge in the heart of Manhattan. To RSVP click here. And on that note, a BIG Happy Birthday to our girl Ashika!!

Ashika for Chanel
Now that smile is 'too die for' xoxox

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

BBA Editorial: Jacqueline Fernandez, Grazia India, 2012

I absolutely ADORE these shots of B'town actress Jacqueline Fernandez. Her 50s, Marilyn Monroe inspired look here is something she should run with off-camera.  Someone tell her stylist please. 

Thakoon Delivers A Haute Indian Summer

Ok I'll admit it. This wasn't a collection I fell for... at the start. I had high hopes for Thakoon, especially with Indian in his theme (it was a "Cowboys & Indians" mash-up) but I just couldn't get past the colored hair that looked like shower caps and the odd combination of prints. With that said, since it's debut (and a seriously haute nail collection from Nars), I'm starting to see Thakoon's vision a bit clearer. These pieces stand better alone and I can see them being a hot commodity as folks look for something different. Pair them with jeans or a sheer blouse and voila! Get ready for a seriously haute Thakoon summer.

Source: Sandra's Closet

Lucy Lui in Thakoon


New shades by Tom Ford. Never coming off.

Scored these Hilfiger Collection pumps from a consignment store.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

BBA Fashion Wrap Up

While there weren't any looks to swoon over, these ladies pulled it together quite well. Props to Shraddha Kapoor... while the Indian media slammed this outfit as 'too loud', it's totally up my alley.

Amanda Seyfried in Prabal Gurung, Rachel Roy in Rachel Roy, Sameera Reddy in Zara, Shraddha Kapoor in Ritu Kumar. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Flashback Fridays: Mumtaz

Mumtaz was the bubbly girl-next-door Bollywood starlet who stole the hearts of Indians everywhere in the 60s. She was one of the less controversial ones; she started as an extra and worked her way into Bollywood where she did over 100 films in just 12 yrs. She then retired and had two daughters. But her round  face and wholesome beauty is still unmatched onscreen. She was my mum's favorite actress and a beauty inspiration for me (her hair was always perfectly lifted!). I dedicate this post to my mum... taz.

Mumtaz now with her daughters.

BBA's Most Influential In Fashion List

In honor of TIME's most influential list, we put together our own list: 'Most Influential Brown People In Fashion'. As the South Asian presence in fashion continues to grow, there are some names you should get familiar with. These we chosen not based on fame or fortune but their influence and ability to take South Asian fashion to the world. With that in mind, meet our power players...

When the world is watching you, and you still manage to shine, that's when you know you're here to stay..

I don't know how much I can talk about Prabal but I'm going to try! This is a story that Hollywood is going to want to produce one day. A kid raised in Nepal, dreams of fashion and moves to Delhi... followed by London and Melbourne... before finding fame in New York. It's taken 12 years but my god, could his determination for world domination be any clearer?

Prabal Gurung's brand has become a staple among celebrities like Michelle Obama, Kate Bosworth, Oprah, and, yes, even our own Sonam Kapoor. He's the one stylists go to when they want to make a fashion statement. It's fresh yet classic, and daring without being risky. His use of silhouettes and sharp angles is just enough glamour for any red carpet.  What I love about Prabal is that his designs are versatile- worn by celebs and fashionistas across the world of all ages... how many 'new' fashion houses can dress Mrs Obama and Rooney Mara? 'Nuff said.

Meet our future Anna (or at least it seems to be turning out that way)...

Most of you may or may not recognize Anaita as Kajol's friend in DDLJ (yes, that was her!) but you will definitely recognize her more recent work (especially if you read this blog). Anaita has transformed herself into one of India's most powerful people in fashion. She's the 'Fashion Director' of Vogue India but has become the face of the magazine & movement. She keeps a low profile, much like our dear Anna, and continues to put out AMAZING work under the Vogue India umbrella. Her styling efforts can be seen across the pages and screens in India, and it is under her influence that I feel India will come to hold it's own in the global fashion arena. Yes, to me, Anaita is our Anna. Bow down folks.

Anaita styled this look for Deepika. One of my favorites... perfection.

There's only one really holding the torch for what is possible for Indians in fashion..

I swoon at his name. The godfather of the Indian kitsch, this man has been building his empire since the late 90s and just look at what an empire it has become!! He's been stunning us with imaginative and wild designs way before Gaga and Minaj brought it to the masses. Even Prabal Gurung interned for him at one point in his career. If there is any South Asian holding the fashion torch, it's Manish. He's moved to Paris, taken the helms of the famous French house Paco Rabanne and now, quite frankly, there's just no stopping him.  He is, in our world, creative genius. Period.

Meet our future Rachel Zoe...

She's new to the fashion world (in comparison to the others on this list) but we aren't going to hold that against her. I have a soft spot for the woman who interned in New York and then went on to become one of the most influential people in Indian fashion. She's worked hard and it shows. She's responsible for Sonam's transformation and bringing high-fashion to Bollywood with the Sonam-starrer Aisha. Lord knows Bollywood could use some good styling and now they have Pernia to call. Her latest effort is an online pop-up store which I've been swooning over all morning and I'm anxious to see the moves she makes next. She's definitely the one to watch on this list.

The sisters - and daughters of a legend - that changed Bollywood forever...

It wouldn't be complete without mentioning Sonam (I think some of my readers may kill me if I don't! LOL). Y'all seem to love her and though I sway more towards Deepika or Freida, I do see the off-screen talent of Sonam. She is an amazing model and wears high-fashion well. While her sister Rhea and stylist Pernia are the clear change makers, Ms Sonam Kapoor shouldn't go unnoticed. It takes a team - and one very poised celebrity - to make make this happen. Together they've brought the fashion movement to Bollywood in way noone else has. It was great timing and strategy on everyone's part.  Sonam may or may not make it as an actor (at least outside of Bollywood), but she now has a foothold on the global stage as a fashion ambassador for Indian women everywhere.

Tell us what you think here or on our Facebook page. Love Ashlene xo.