I have been MIA for quite a while and to be honest this time around, I really had more than few things on my plate. We moved to our new place (yiee to that) and almost immediately there was series of sickness but all said and done, we are now settling in and enjoying our brand new home. Before moving in, the hubby and I would spend most of our time discussing about interiors, how to do the rooms and other million little things about making a house, home. One of the key things, I wanted was to have little cosy corner by the window, where I can star gaze, read, write and get lost in my little bubble. However, considering I am a world of paradoxes I also wanted this cosy corner to have a vibrant, sassy feel to it. Enter: Modern Map Art. 

 

Modern Map Art was founded in 2016 by Jennifer Beck, designer and world traveller who wanted an avenue to combine her two loves–art and traveling. Jennifer plunged into this idea after returning to LA post her honeymoon across different cities and continents. The traveling not only increased her understanding of different cultures but a deeper appreciation of different cities. At that time, she wanted to turn this understanding and appreciation to art and thus Modern Map Art was born.

 

Oxford Modern Map Art

 

“I’m not an artist by trade, but I love simple design. World History is my background which helps to understand how cities are formed,” says Jennifer, the woman behind Modern Map Art.

Oxford Modern Map Art

Jennifer might not be a technically an artist but her designs definitely scream modern art to me. After a lot of thinking, I realised the cosy creativity corner at my home would be the best place to use Jennifer’s Modern Map Art featuring Oxford–one of my favourite cities in UK. 

 

Oxford Modern Map Art

 

Map Arts have a spirited and chic feeling to it. And if you are a travel lover who want to turn your travel stories into a keepsake, then it is certainly something you should consider to spruce up your room or office. 

Find out more about Modern Map Art or follow them on Instagram

Thank you Modern Map Art for Sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

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“At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can”–Frida Kahlo

Welcome to the second last day of the year. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas weekend and made several memories. Each year this time around I am filled with hope and positivity with a little bit of anxiety thrown in. 2016 has been one tumultuous year for many of us. A year which shocked us in many ways thanks mainly to two seminal events: Brexit and Donald Trump. I am not in any way underestimating political and cultural shifts taking place in other parts of the world but there is a certain truth in the saying that when super powers cough everyone catches a cold.

It is also the year when we lost some iconic names from the world of film, literature and music. David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Harper Lee, George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds to name a few. If you think all is lost then think again. Few months ago Ebola vaccination was discovered, ozone layer is healing, Giant pandas are no longer endangered and my favourite actor and teenage crush Leonardo Di Caprio finally won that damn Oscar. The point is: there is always light at the end of the tunnel and that hope is something we should never let go off. 

Personally, it has been a year of realisations, persisting despite failures, learning to let go, learning to forgive more. There has been several times this year when I just wanted to give up: on this blog, on myself even on dressing up. But everytime I fell down, I got up, dusted myself and kept going. Because isn’t that what life is all about? To keep going no matter what. After all, the real defeat is when you stop trying. Sartorially, I have tried to push the envelope, go out of my comfort zone and pair the most unassuming things. Here’s the countdown of my favourite looks in no particular order.

dress4 - 1

I loved this velvet and jacquard dress which i wore to celebrate my birthday in Tenerife.

IMG_20160605_214642

This summer I finally mustered the courage to show off my legs in a pair of denim shorts which i paired with boho looking cold shoulder blouse.

Bridesmaid dress style

Maxi Wrap dress style shein

I also enlisted the help of my talented photographer friend and colleague to capture these beautiful photos. In the first one, I tried my hand at becoming a bridesmaid although I had no such luck in real life. In the second one, it was all about donning a super chic maxi wrap dress and turning in to an uptown girl.

Shirt Dress Over Jeans

Talking about unusual pairings, who knew shirtdress over jeans would be such a hit?!

When Fashion Meets Art: Van Gogh Starry Nights

Or that I could pull of a Van Gogh painting skirt for a lunch date?

Must have Dress: Maxi dress style

And have the confidence to wear noodle strap maxi dress.

Paisley Print casual look

Polka Dot Fashion

Or go completely casual in this paisley print and polka dots.

I hope you liked these looks that I have picked here. I hope you have an exciting and wonderful New Years Eve and continue to make bucketloads of memories.

Thank you for reading this post. Have a wonderful and exciting weekend and I will see you in the next year. Do not forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

“They laugh at me because I am different; I laugh at them because they are all the same”–Kurt Cobain

It is -3 degree celsius as I write this which means that it is freaking cold, officially. With fog kissed skies, mist laden air and sleet filled streets there is no denial that winters are here to stay.  Brutal winters mean it is all about knits, knits and knits. The knit wear trend is not exactly ground breaking but a necessary evil if you are a huge fan of working limbs and comfort. Although I admit knitwear has gained a bad reputation of being more of a grand-mommy fashion. However, it is good to know that we have some great knitwear including dresses, skirts and cardigans that are flattering, chic yet cosy.

Knitwear/ Sweater Dress trend

This post is all about sweater dress or knit dress. At first, sweater dress can look very intimidating but it can be very versatile, comfortable and chic if done right. The easiest way is to get a sweaterdress in a lightweight knit and pair it with tights and over the knee boots (like I have done here). Put on some interesting accessories like statement necklaces and a colourful bag, a woollen hat, perhaps sunglasses (for peek-a-boo winter sun) and you have an undeniably stylish day outfit.

Sweater Dress/ Knit Dress Trend

Sweater /Knit Dress Trend

You could also get a slightly more thicker knit wear and pair it with leggings, riding boots, a waist cinching belt to give you more form. Or throw in layers like a long cardigan or a sleeveless jacket to add some drama. Another option is to wear chunky roll neck dress in neutral colour and add colourful accessories like a short cardigan or scarf and gloves. Pair with boots or wet look leggings plus ankle boots. As I said, this does not have to be intimidating look just step out of your comfort zone and you might be pleasantly surprised.  Sweater/Knit Dress Trend

Dress: Primark, Boots: Ego, Necklace: Mango (old), Bag: Borrowed from Sister, Overcoat: New Look

So go ahead and try this versatile dress and make winters fashionable again.

Thank you for reading this post. Have a great day and do not forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram

One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art—Oscar Wilde

Art and fashion has always had a nudge-nudge, wink-wink relationship. A quiet flirtation that never dies. Designer Elsa Schiaparelli is often considered the original architect who brought the two worlds together the first time in 1930s. In 1937, American socialite, Wallis Simpson wore the eponymous printed silk organza lobster dress created by the artist Salvador Dali and Schiaparelli for a Vogue spread. And since then fashion and art has often collided. Famous couturiers like Coco Chanel, Paco Rabanne and Yves Saint Laurent have often been inspired by art.

In 2012, fashion designer sisters, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who have worked with high-street giants like Gap and target took artistic inspiration from Dutch designer Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting for their fashion canon. For last few years, this wave has also hit the high-street (and boy aren’t we glad).

When Fashion Meets Art: Van Gogh Starry Nights

The irony is that whilst art is seen as an erudite passion, fashion often is relegated as frivolous and time-waste. To me, style (the personalisation of fashion) is a form of art itself, the way we express our various moods and the way we speak to the world. It is a language that can really transcend the boundaries of race, region and class. And yes, it can be political, poetical, personal and artistic too.

My mantra really is to be a work of art or wear art. And wearing art has actually become easier than you think. When Romwe approached me to collaborate with them, I was happy and when I saw this skirt featuring my favourite painter Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting, i was overjoyed. Van Gogh painted this in June 1889, it depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, just before sunrise, with the addition of an idealised village.

When Fashion Meets Art: Prom Night

I will admit, I was a bit nervous about how I would style this skirt. But after a bit of freewheeling thinking, I realised that it is so versatile. It is natural that I wanted this skirt to be the centre of attraction, so I have opted for minimal look. I have paired it with a cut-out black blouse, a waist cinching belt and ankle booties. I have also kept my short hair in a bun and have worn dangling yellow statement earrings to coincide with the yellow of the skirt/painting. I would wear it this way for a lunch date or going out with my girl friends. 

When Fashion Meets Art: Van Gogh Starry Nights

But I realised it can also be worn with a simple black polo neck and brogues for work and yellow tube top/ sleeveless blouse and navy heels for a date night. See, versatile?

When Fashion Meets Art: Van Gogh Starry Nights

Skirt: Romwe, Blouse: New Look, Booties: New Look and Earrings: London designer 

So, how do you manage to make your style a piece of personal art? And do you really think that art and fashion/ style can go together? Because let’s not forget fashion really is in ideas.

Thank you Romwe for this post 

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a great week ahead and do not forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

For my second post in the Spotlight series, I bring to you the really talented Monika D. Kalra, a London based painter and art designer. What drew me to Monika was her really vibrant and eye-catching designs that looked great on the canvas as well as on textiles. Needless to say, I got curious and started this conversation to know more about her and her work. Don’t forget to check out Monaara  if you want to know more about her exquisite designs.

fashion designer

Tell us more about your background and what is your specialty?

My father used to trade and curate fabrics across the Indian sub-continent. Growing up in fashion context, I ended up studying fashion and then worked for around ten years in Delhi with Indian Haute Couture brands like Satya Paul. My specialty is playing with colors and intricate patterns; it sort of comes naturally with Asian lineage. I have experimented with embellishment & surface texturing both manual and with modern machines, and of late I started applying my paintings in the fashion context.

How did an interest in painting and designing develop in you?

I always used to paint as a kid and I continued to do it as a hobby all along. After creating elaborate and detailed designs with skilled artisans & modern machines for many years, I attempted to use my artwork in the fashion context. My current focus is in treating fashion as an extension of art. It’s always been on the back of most of my fashion creations but more focused now.

How did you start your business? And what encouraged you to do so?

Moving to London was the trigger point, I always wanted to create a fashion brand, but London with an eclectic mix of art, fashion & undercurrent of expressing one’s individuality did the trick. And then it was the hard yards of creating the right product with the right quality. I started painting much more and with varied subject. And then spent numerous nights, weeks, months on design and production. I feel very happy with the outcome.

fashion designer

 fashion designing

What were the challenges you faced/face and how did you (or do you) overcome them?

Challenge is always finding enough time to do justice to each task. Being a boot-strapped business, where you end up doing everything on your own; it is a learning process day in and day out. But London also provides a very supportive & nourishing environment.


What is the most interesting aspect of your work?

 Concoction of colors and patterns on otherwise usual subjects and then making people feel special and delicate with the scarves. Yes its feels good to create something unique especially when people come back with positive feedback.

What about the most challenging part?

The challenging part was product development itself. Each Monaara scarf is a piece of art, an actual piece of my painting. It carries intricate hand drawn (and not digital) patterns and is different at each corner. Getting the colors to come out well on Satin silk took a lot of experimentation at very different type of printing setups. So, we have a specialised QA process and each scarf is done as a sample (in the fashion design context).

fashion designing

What is your vision for Monaara?

It is still early days, and I see the process evolving already. People come and ask for my designs to be done on different type of garments and I get queries from different parts of the world especially from rest of Europe & US. Monaaraa  is for those who love art and want to look different & feel special. Next few years, I will look to develop & strength relationships in the UK and in parallel evolve my designs into dresses.

How do you balance work and personal life?

When you have a self-sustained business, work & personal lives pretty much merge. My husband also helps me whenever he gets time from his hectic schedule. And we make sure we have our productive breaks now and then.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a great weekend. Do show me your love with your likes and comments and don’t forget to follow me :)

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