The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Face of the times
Aishwarya Rai shows off the latest Longines watch to hit.

When you have a classy watch, you need a brand ambassador to match. So the Longines’ BelleArti range of watches picked the lovely Aishwarya Rai to be the face for its range of watches. Rai unveiled the collection for the waiting crowds at Delhi’s Maurya Hotel. Of course, her pretty wrist made a perfect setting for the 18-carat pink gold watch, which incidentally has a caseband set in diamonds.

Dressed casually in a fitted shirt and denims paired with high boots, the actress arrived fashionably late and took over from Claude Jaunim, regional manager Asia Pacific, Longines. “Longines has always been at the forefront of elegance and style. So I completely identify with the punchline of this campaign — elegance is in the attitude,” said Rai. “What I especially like about this watch is the vintage look,” she said

So what’s special about this timekeeper' Well, priced at Rs 67,000 onwards, the watch sports a silver dial with Arabic numerals in black. A sapphire crystal with an anti-reflection coating adds to the oomph factor. The collection is available for both men and women and comes with the options of anthracite, alligator skin and satin straps. Cool, we say. Cooler still is the fact that these watches offer water resistance of up to 30 metres.

The design, according to Jaunim, has been influenced by the strictly geometric Art Deco style. “It is about the new woman with her emancipation, determination, independence and femininity. So who better than Aishwarya Rai to unveil this collection'” he asked.

On the trousseau trail

Models in ornate bridalwear flanked by designers Shalini and Paras.

The festive season is probably the best time to set up shop. So, for fashion designers Shalini and Paras it was the perfect moment to launch two exclusive stores of their signature label Geisha Designs. The designers took time out to launch the stores at two spanking new fashion addresses in the capital — Kloset in Vasant Vihar and Square 1 in Saket. “Since these are exclusive stores, we can now directly interact with our customer,” said Paras.

The store in Kloset was unveiled with the designers showcasing their trousseau collection. Inspired by 17th century queens and the French vintage look, the line was modelled ably by Sonalika Sahay, Joey Matthew and Priyanka Seth. “Our trousseau is not for the coy bride. It is an opulent and dramatic look for a bold bride. The 17th century queens were definitely not demure and shy,” said Shalini.

So tiaras accessorised the look, while the collection was strong on embroidery. The fabrics ranged from fine nets and taffetas to Benarasi brocades with traditional motifs. Inspired by western-style all gowns, the colours went from fuchsia pinks, old English roses, deep wines and powder blues to golds. Instead of opulent zardosi, the designers used shells, crystals, pearls, beads, kundan-work and even ribbons on the lehengas.

Designs on you

Gaurav Gupta with Prriya Awasthy and Sabina Chopra at Amara.

Gaurav Gupta has been hailed as an emerging star in the world of fashion. At Amara in Mumbai, he recently showed off his collection that was first displayed at the Wills Lifestyle Fashion Week 2006. Gupta unveiled a line of creations that included everything from couture to prêt in womenswear. Gupta has won accolades like the MTV award for the Breakthrough Designer of 2006 and Kingfisher Breakthrough Designer of 2006.

It was evident Gupta had looked far and wide for inspiration, with influences as far ranging as Ancient Greek draping and Indian shadow-work or chikankari. Detailed embroidery with Greek floral motifs stood out in the collection. Muted colours and monotones — greys, blacks, antique lavenders, pinks and off-whites dominated the palette. Gupta also played around with a variety of fabrics including stretch satin, silk velvet and silk georgette. The line included glamorous dresses, jackets, short multi-pocket skirts, fitted jersey tops and rounded trousers.

Gupta mingled with his guests over the afternoon — a languorous wine and cheese affair — and even helped some of them pick out outfits from the racks. Theatre actress Sonali Sachdev was the first to walk into Amara and was in great spirits as she looked through the collection. Also seen in the crowd were fashion designers Sabina Chopra, and Prriya Awasthy who did some heavy-duty shopping as well.

Photographs of Delhi events by Rupinder Sharma

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