05 December, 2011

quiz 101

Sometime around June I think, my friend Yankey from New York and I decided to do a little contest thingy through my blog. Yankey was generous enough to help me out with it in whatever way she could. When she said that I couldn't have asked for anything more from her. 
Finally after six months of talking about it, I've come down to getting this small project started for real. Pardon the procrastination. This is just a start. Depending on the response, we intend to make it a monthly ritual.

So here's the deal. Below you will see two collages. The first one's for participants living in Kathmandu and the second one's for participants living in New York (ahem ahem... we're going kinda international, you see). 

The question: Each picture is a collage of three runway photos. Under each runway photo you will see the name of the designer/brand that the runway photo belongs to. Three designers' names are wrongly written. One from the first collage and two from the second collage. You will have to find out which one is wrongly written in the first collage and which one is correctly written in the second collage. 

If you're from Kathmandu, name the mistaken designer/brand from the first collage. If you're from New York, name the correct designer/brand from the second collage. 

For Kathmanduites   

For New Yorkers

                                                                       The Catch: 

                   The winner from Kathmandu will win this necklace that I bought from Masala Beads. 

                               The winner from New York will win this red handbag from Yankey. 

Rules to participating: 
  1. To be an eligible candidate to win this contest, you will have to follow the blog. You can follow either through your blog (if you have one) or through networkedblogs which works through facebook. Both the boxes to follow my blog can be found at the right side of the blog. 
  2. To avoid any confusion, let's create a format to answering the questions: 
  • If you are a participant from Kathmandu and think the first photo from the first collage is the answer, type 'Kathmandu: ACNE' in the comment box and click on 'Post comment'. 
  • If you are a participant from New York and think the first photo from the first collage is the answer, type 'New York: LANVIN' in the comment box and click on 'Post comment'.
  • Many people think that one needs to own a blog in order to post a comment in a blog. If you do not have a blog, right below the comment box you will see a smaller box where you can actually choose your medium. Click on the downward arrow and select your preferred medium. If you want to comment through your e-mail id, select 'OpenID'.   

Yankey and I decided to do this to have some fun. And we'd like to invite everybody to participate and enjoy this with us. Please participate. You never know, you might just win!

Good Luck!

13 November, 2011

I'm wearing Pechii

Antique miniature cupboard and trunks 
Recently I caught up with one of my schoolmate who's now a fashion designer. I was constantly fed with the pictures of her designs on facebook and wanted to visit her studio, Dorpal Tibet Arts at Boudha which is also an antique shop. But time never favored. I'd been meaning to meet up with her and once I had even fixed a meeting with her but I couldn't make it, my bad! And I apologized to her about it and my apology has been accepted. 
So it was during my Tihar break when Pechii and I were casually facebook-ing and discussed on doing this post. I had the time and she had a story to share and lots of designs to show. 
I still remember back in the days when I was in my 3rd grade and Pechii in her 4th, me and my friends would bring blank sheets of paper and request Pechii to draw sketches of beautiful, barbie-like girls for us. Sometimes she'd make mermaids, sometimes girls in long, flowy gowns and pretty dresses. And she would do that for every single one of us. 
That was more than a decade ago and today she's become what she always wanted to be: a fashion designer.

Soon after doing her Advanced Level, she took a short bridge course at Kristal Institute in Kathmandu. Thereafter, she was off to Bali to work with Paul Ropp. There she worked as the head of accessories and the designer for the children's collection for almost three years. "Paul Ropp is a hippy-chic and resort wear collection. It is for those who are not afraid to be naked." 

As for Pechii's designs, they are very colourful, capricious and loud. The prints are very busy and it has a very South Asian feel to it. Her designs are not a replica of any international designer's. Pechii's collection has originality and she does not fear to do what might seem to be too garish for an audience who have now adapted to minimalism and safe styles. You will find maxi dresses with shimmery embroidery and silk dresses that feels very luxurious. The styles are not that will amaze you but it is the fabric and the prints that she chooses, the amount of glimmer and attention grabbing embroidery that she implies in her designs that sets Pechii's designs apart. "My collection is for those who want to stand out in a crowd in a good way. It's not something you will wear once and forget about it. It is subtle but risky as well, sexy and sultry." 
None of the designs are reproduced; each piece is the one and only piece you will find. "Just imagine yourself in a beach or a resort wearing a very special silk dress that only you own and nobody else. It feels so good, right?"  

Pechii mostly uses luxurious fabrics like pure silk, georgette and chiffon which are mostly imported from Indonesia and India and some are bought here in Nepal. These fabrics are not only expensive and beautiful but also very difficult to take care of. That's why Pechii also mentions that her collection is mostly for those who can not only afford to buy these luxurious fabrics but also afford to maintain it's richness. 

She finds inspiration from travelling around the world, from monasteries, from cultures, Boudha stupa. "I grew up in an artistic environment. My house was and still is full of antique artifacts. That is what made me inclined towards art and fashion. Anything creative. Colours, music." And the prints on the textiles of her designs stand testamony to her statement. You will see the flower motifs and the geometric shapes that you normally see drawn on Tibetan antique furniture on her selected textiles. 

One of the designs she created at Paul Ropp

So far she's only delved on summer collections. At the moment she's working on her winter collection where she will be playing with Garbadine fabrics, silk, linen and brasso for jackets. While working on a winter collection, she's planning on adding a menswear collection to her repertoire where she will yet again use silk. "Men are always seen wearing jeans, a shirt and leather jackets. I want to change that. My men's collection will be for those who know the value of silk and learn how to accept the comfort of silk."  

I plan to visit her studio again when her winter collection is ready. Do look forward to my next post on Pechii. 

12 October, 2011

On Lhakar!

Today is Lhakar and this post is dedicated to this day. 

Many of you especially who're not Tibetans must be narrowing their eyebrows questioning on the foreign word. Lha-kar is a Tibetan word which means White Wednesday. Lha is the abbreviation of Lhakpa (Wednesday) and Kar, the abbreviation of Karpo (white). It is a 'homegrown people's movement' by the Tibetans living in Tibet in an effort to boycott Chinese products and embrace Tibetan tradition and culture. It was started with a motive to preserve the culture which is slowly being overshadowed by the occupancy of the Chinese citizens in Lhasa which is flaring with each passing day. Young Tibetans like me who were born and raised in Nepal or India or America or Canada are so engrossed in the business of our modern life that we tend to overlook the importance of our fading tradition. Hence, I took it upon myself to take the pledge and celebrate Lhakar, celebrate the beauty of our culture, celebrate on being a Tibetan. 

You can pledge your support by turning into a vegetarian on this day, eating Tibetan cuisine, speaking in Tibetan, listening to Tibetan songs or reading Tibetan books or wearing Chupa. I went to Boudha early morning and made some prostration on one of the wooden planks inside the stupa. I'm a vegetarian today and I watched/listened to some Tibetan songs on youtube. I really love this song and I can't get enough of it. I don't exactly understand the lyrics but from the subtitle I realised it's a romantic song. Oh sweet romance! And this comedic rap song on Shapale is just toooo hilarious and downright awesome! As I'm starting to share some videos with you how can I possibly leave out Gomo Tulku. Although I don't support his change of lifestyle (I was so effin' mad to hear about him and totally despised him in the beginning) and although his music video is not an oriental one, I just thought I should share it here with you. It feels peculiar to say this now but I think in a way I respect his decision of coming clean and following his dreams to do full justice to his passion. And music is where his passion lies and he's quite good at it. Ok enough of GomoTulku! 
I thought of starting my day with tsampa but I just didn't feel like it today. I usually consume about half a small bowl of tsampa and I've loved it since I was a child. This goes to all the ladies out there: tsampa sucks out the grease and oil from your body and helps you lose weight. Yeah, didn't know that right! So after you're done with your scrumptious pizza or spaghetti, have a bowl of  tsampa next morning, it'll do your body good. 

You can go to Lhakar's official website for more updates and also post your pledge! 

08 October, 2011

my tribe!

137 minutes was what it took to get this artsy piece of work. Most people think it's fake nails but it's not. It's not even nail polish; a special kind of paint that undergoes a long procedure of coating one coat at a time, drying under the UV lights and then proceeding with the next coat. It's a rigorous process of coating and drying and coating again and drying again until the artwork is complete. And it can't be erased by a remover which means this will stay on your nails for as long as the nail outgrows itself. 
By the way, I didn't do this. Shree Krishna from Fancy Nails Spa at Lazimpat did this for me. He also works with Elements Nails Spa at Jawalakhel. It was for the magazine and I asked him to do tribal prints. Looking at  the work, can you tell that it's his first time trying such intricately detailed art? He usually does french manicure or elegant floral designs. But he managed to do it with so much diligence, it could'nt have been more perfect. 

If you want to get any form of nail art, you can contact him at 9851132433. He's your man! 

04 October, 2011

Nepal Fashion Week - a review!

So, I got another load of fashion last week with TGIF Nepal Fashion Week which had promised to bring out a show that would exhibit the best of the Nepali designers. It believed in progress and comparatively, it has upgraded its level from last year and the years before. The four day long fashion week started on the 21st of September and ended in a crescendo on the 24th of September at Hyatt Regency. I believe with the involvement of Bethany Meuleners, a recipient of Fulbright Scholarship to Nepal, who worked as the fashion consultant for the fashion week made the maximum difference this year. Although there were one too many designs that weren't desirable to even look at, the show did well in all its entirety and it was satisfying to see some designs that tried to move forward from the childish designs to fine cuts and presentable structured clothing.

Collections like Royal Wedding by Oodni Boutique, Buzi Api by Kashish Bhusal, Anita Shrestha, Shova Shrestha and Yeshi Choden Lama and Runway Report by Nilima Maden were noteworthy. These designers have the potential in doing a much better job in the years to come. Khusboo Dangol and Swarnim Rai’s bridal wear was undoubtedly a good collection. Buzi Api used neutral colors with patchwork on raw silk and blended cotton fabrics with hour glass and rectangular cuts. The opening of this collection was sleek: brown raw silk dress with black blended cotton half sleeves and piping. The collection was ‘dedicated to the new generation of women who aspire to lead’. The fitted dresses were structured with an appealing proportion, some dresses had piping around the waist and some had patchworks on the shoulders. But one all white look was the least appealing and also did not go with the collection as a whole.
One of the designs from Runway Report by Nilima Maden
Runway Report had one of the best designs. Cascade and pleats were used on satin, chiffon and leather fabrics. The opening look was an exotic long black dress with sharp dhaka patchwork on the shoulders after which the collection inclined more towards futuristic outfits with asymmetrical patent leather hemlines on long sheer skirts, patent leather empire waist dress with turquoise blue piping. To do futuristic cuts is a very tricky step as it is most likely to slant towards tackiness, but Nilima’s outfits maintained a balance and did not cross the fine line.

Besides local Nepali designers, there also was an international designer, Emdad Hoque, who has been a fashion designer for two decades. His ‘Tribes of Bangladesh’ represented different tribes in Bangladesh with a men’s and women’s collection. With earthy colors and tribal prints, the designer presented a raw look inspired by nature included in kaftan-ish kurtas, asymmetrical kurtas and colourful sarees.
Emdad Hoque's designs and the end of the first day of the show. 
Three divisions can be made with the collections presented at the fashion week. Good, Okay-ish and bad. Royal Wedding, Buzi Api and Runway Report can be categorised under Good. Casual Corporate by Neetika Dhakal, Karuna Natural Wears by Pranidhi Tuladhar and Nuzhat Qazi, and Manimal by Pratigya Thapa can be categorised under Okay-ish. Casual Corporate added some color blocking looks with blue satin shirt and long, red cashmere lapel jacket. The designer created the collection for working women who could work with comfort and style and also comfortably attend social events after 5 pm. The cuts were fine without any bumps but some of the skirts and designs looked a little stiff so doesn't fully make it an impressive collection. 

Karuna Natural Wears
Karuna has a collection of t-shirts with cool artsy prints
Karuna Natural Wears was a casual collection of organic clothing of shorts and skirts for the warmer days and mohair sweaters, hemp scarves and cotton jackets with frill hemlines for cooler days. Karuna’s was the most casual of all the collections in the fashion week.
Manimal, a fusion of man and animal, exhibited the designers love for animals and the use of faux fur and leather. The looks for Manimal were completed by accessories like faux fur scarves, biker gloves and fringed studded handbags that gave the collection a rocker chic appeal. The leopard printed one-shouldered dress, the snake printed dress, leopard printed faux fur sleeveless jacket and the faux leather pant exuded boldness that went along with its theme.
The opening look from Buzi Api

Buzi Api

Cinderella Dreams by Mohini Sunwa, Bina Maharjan, Amrita Pun, and Samjhana Nyaichai; Hippie Chicks by Romiya Mali, Aditya Thakur, Alina Thapa and Trijata Basukala; Thamel Nights by Nageena Shrestha, Bhagwati Sharma, Rajani Shrestha and Damitra Tiwari were the bad ones from the fashion week. Such collections are the ones that ridicule the notion of what a fashion week stands for and stop it from moving forward. Cinderella Dreams didn’t have anything that comes anywhere close to a designer wear. Odd net headgears or fascinators, clumsy stitching, not-so-pleasing designs were what the collection was all about. Hippie Chicks was a saddening reminder of the bad taste most designers had a decade ago. And why on earth does the term hippie always necessarily have to do something with Om, Shiva, rudraksha and ugly colors? This was a dreadful collection for a fashion week. Thamel Nights was another similar collection that was an overdose of the wacky kuirey clothes found all over Thamel. 
Not falling under these three divisions are collections that really confused me. Deathly Hallow by Rekha Rai, Sujina Ghimire, Nirmala Karkee and Sushma Rai and Wedding Gowns by Nilima Sharma. Deathly Hallow inspired from the Harry Potter series had net eye-patches, amusing arm accessories and huge buttons on a puffy jacket that made the model look stuffed. What a horrific collection! I bet there are other substantial subjects to get inspired from that is far, far away from the Harry Potter world. 
And Nilimas Studio showed an array of beautiful wedding gowns which were directly imported. For a while, I couldn't comprehend if the gowns were actually the studio's designs because I know for a fact that the studio is not a design house and nor is it run by a designer. How I wished it was. It is not, so how can ready-to-wear imported gowns be a part of a fashion week?
Although I liked structure of the gowns (not the material though), I simply cannot digest the fact that this imported collection of gowns was a part of the show. 
Other than the bad designs, what really pricked my eyes was the choice of footwear. The models would strut down the runway with these outfits wearing the most weirdest shoes that even a normal girl wouldn't be caught dead wearing. I mean, its simple logic. Which insane person would wear a polka dotted white block heels with a really elegant white tube gown? Or a really fugly black, pointy (like Pinocchio's lie detecting nose) ankle boots with a frilly skirt? The designers should've given some precision to the footwear and source out shoes that'd go with the collection and not allow the models to wear the same shoes throughout the fashion week. Come to think of it, they were wearing their own shoes. I'm not 100% sure but I say this after noticing most of the models wear the same shoes during the cocktail dinner.
And I also noticed most of the clothes weren't ironed. Wrinkled dresses and tops, not very presentable.

Anyways, after looking at 28 collections for four days continuously and clapping for the ones I liked, I can say with some amount of confidence that Nepal Fashion Week and the designers put in a lot of effort; and a lot of thought has been put into the designs. Despite this, further improvement is still required. With the progress NFW has made through the years, if the same consistency follows NFW will soon turn into a fashion conglomerate where designers, fashion enthusiasts and potential buyers meet to celebrate fashion and sit down for some serious business (and not to stare at the models or binge on free food and drinks).

Photos from Party Nepal

28 September, 2011

Kathmandu Fashion Parade

With two huge fashion events, the city was high on fashion last week. First up was the Kathmandu Fashion Parade (KFP) on the 17th at Hotel Yak and Yeti and then the Himalayan Times TGIF Nepal Fashion Week from the 21st to the 24th at Hyatt Regency. To be honest, I was more excited about KFP because it is a team of young people with fresh ideas and also because it was its first attempt so there was no preconceived notion. I liked the concept, the promotional photos, and the constant facebook updates really had me looking forward to the show. Most people I know felt the same but some thought it was only hyped. But we cannot really tell until we see it for real and we shouldn't base our opinions on rumors. I'm a person who follows the notion 'seeing is believing' and I had to see this with my naked eyes. 
This post is dedicated to KFP. My next post will be on TGIF. 
The VIP invitation card
The envelope
So at 6:20 pm, I reached the hotel. Parked my car and strutted on my platforms for the show. I was supposed to be late. I was late, shy by few minutes. But surprisingly I was actually too early. To everybody's dismay, the organising team faced some technical difficulties which delayed the show by 1 hour and 30 minutes. Phew! That was a long, long wait. While I was waiting I tried scanning for free wifi - unsuccessful. I tried looking around for nibbles - unsuccessful. I tried looking around for something interesting to look at or talk about - unsuccessful again. Everybody was almost starting to yawn, staring at each other or at the stranger across the 'flat' runway with a straight face. Before I could go out to look for something to entertain myself, the show started. I was so thankful it started.

You can read my review on KFP in the October issue of Living magazine. But for now, here's a tiny bit about the show. And I can't share better pictures of the clothes because: 
a) I apparently don't have a camera 
b) that's why I'm always using my Blackberry to take pictures
c) most importantly, I was seated at the second row. The second row for god's sake. I couldn't find a seat at the front row, darn it!  
This is the view of my foot at the second row. You can also see the chairs of the front row.
KFP had 3 designers (Astik Sherchan, Laura Queening from Aura Que and Nuzhat Qazi), 1 boutique (Oodni Boutique by Khusboo Dangol and Swarnim Rai) and 1 fashion house (House of Alternative Apparel) showing their collections. First was Astik Sherchan whose designs were inspired by Mughal paintings, the French gardens, the Black Swan and the French opera which is what set his designs apart from the rest.

Then, there was Oodni Boutique whose lehengas and kurtas blew me away. I never got the urge to try bridal wear as bad as I did while watching the models walk past me one after the other with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan playing in the background. 

The third collection was House of Alternative Apparel (HAA). HAA's was very simple and street style. The collection was in muted shades of blue, brown and maroon and dominated by dresses with full sleeves and half sleeves. There were men's collection as well but it looked like it came somewhere from North Face. 

Laura Queening had a make-shift stall at the venue and the bags, the wallets and the snood made from Buffalo leather, Banana yarn and hand-woven cotton had fabulous texture. Her collection of handbags, wallets and knits come in dark shades. On the runway, I liked the presentation of her collection the most. I don't know who pitched in the idea of doing it but whoever did it made sure of making the audience remember the collection. I'd love to own an Aura Que one day. 
Also look at the Chef taking pictures 
I had already seen Nuzhat Qazi's bridal collection when I did an interview of her on her first ethnic collection, Bridesmaid. I'd like to call it - her ethnic collection - a modern day bridal wear. It's not one of those conventional ones with heavy embroidery, lots of glitter and shimmer. For KFP, she presented a modified version of the collection she showed me for the interview. Changing and switching the ensemble of the outfits and adding few new ones, she created another collection, My Best friend's wedding. I wouldn't say the odd combination of one or two lehengas and blouse/top catered to my taste, but I believe she is better with ethnic wear than dresses or skirts.    

An event which would've turned out to be a great one went through so much technical horror because of which the official video and the introductory videos of the designers could not run. It was saddening, more so because the videos especially the promotional video is very impressive. I watched it on facebook, they've posted all of the videos including the pictures of some of the collections. Check them out! 

in the end...
Thumbs up to: the idea of a flat runway, hair and make-up, the people behind the video, the selection of models, the logo and lastly, to the entire team of KFP for initiating on this project. 

Why not?: have stadium seating next time (those seated at the second and the third row would be very grateful), do a trial-run before the main day to avoid problems of any sort, avoid tracks from the movie Fashion (it's just too obvious and tacky))    

There will be a Spring/Summer Collection in the February and I get a feeling it's going to be much more organised. And also it'd be great to see more designs from the designers and new, unknown and talented designers share the runway with the already known ones. 
What I wore. I won't say I'm crazy about the shirt but the skirt, yeah! 
This is only a brief review on KFP. My detailed review will be published in the magazine so grab a copy on October 15th.

18 September, 2011

chapter anew

Lately, I haven't had much time to do what I'd normally get to do; browsing through websites and blogs and jumping from one URL to the other, blogging a little about what I saw and did and heard and felt, making time for window shopping. Well, I wouldn't complain much because I traded all these leisure time for a whole lot of work. 
Most of you who know me already have guessed what I'm hinting at. Yes, I've switched jobs. It would've been a forgone conclusion to say to no to the offer. After contemplating and weighing on few matters here and there, I joined ECS Living and it's been more than a month that I've been working 9 to 5, 6 days a week. I'm content with how things are going, so far so good. 

When I joined, the magazine was going to start it's next project on a 300+ pages. Correction: When I joined, we were going to start on our next project on the 300+ pages. After forging relentlessly to meet the deadlines, we turned our long list of planner and things-to-do into a real magazine. When the first few samples arrived, there was a whole lot of commotion circulating around the office. We flipped through and through and  it wouldn't end (exaggeration to be noted). But honestly, it is bulky. And for the record, this is the first time ever that a Nepali magazine has ever come up with such a magazine, I refer to the number of pages.  
Besides coordinating the contents, I've worked mostly on the fashion sections. The pages illustrate street fashion from Paris, Milan, New York, London and Bangkok (The Global Trend), Nuzhat Qazi's bridal collection (Testing new waters), an Italian woman's love for fashion (The Italian Job), Sarita Chamling Rai's fashion show (and 'The Show' ends) and Kishor Kayastha's  fashion spread (Arty Fashion). 
These are only the contents on fashion.  

The Cover
It is this thick, if I need to emphasise more!
My space. My moodboard.


A couple of weeks ago, I went for a short film movie screening at Docskool  with Acha Lhamo where my friend Pranaya Rana's  fiction movie, Watcher, was being screened. It was a 'thought-provoking' movie. It starts as a simple, plain movie but as it procedes towards the end it really makes your mind rewind and think over what happened in the beginning, how it got to the end and what to make out of the concluding scene. Each person would have their different perspective on the movie especially the bit part in the end. I was most preferably impressed by the post-production works of the movie. There is a smooth continuity about Watchers.
The other movie they screened was Forgive, Forget Not by Pranay Limbu. A non-fiction movie based on the real life atrocities caused upon Bhaikaji Ghimire, a journalist who was accused of being a maoist and detained and blindfolded for 15 months. Pranay has done the camerawork in a way to project what the eyes of the accused saw. And with that and the sound effects, throughout the movie he manages to create a dramatic tension. It brings you closer to Bhaikaji's trauma - the pain and frustration. It would be demeaning for the protagonist to say that we can feel what he must've been through because during such gruesome and trying times noone can best describe and know the feeling than the bearer himself. It's a must, must watch for every single Nepali. 
Apart from the movies, I absolutely loved how the people at Docskool have used the small space of two rooms. One at the top floor is not even a room, it's an area between the staircase and the balcony.
Lokta paper used as wallpaper. They've tried a checkerboard pattern to it.

The three rows of bench were all of different heights arranged in an ascending order so that everybody could 'see' what they were watching.
...and comes the Friday nights

Taboo at E.P. on Friday nights... 
...and Boudha's delicious potato sticks. 5 sticks and still greedy for more. Needless to say, I have a huge appetite. 

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