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Luxemi Interviews Fashion and Celebrity Stylist Kushal Parmanand

Sonakshi Sinha in Hi! Living

Sonakshi Sinha styled by Kushal Parmanand for Hi! Living

Fashion and celebrity stylist Kushal Parmanand jokingly refers to himself as an “Indian fashion industry fossil!” And considering he’s got over 10 years of experience under his belt, we get why (well, kind of!). His foray into the industry was one most can only dream of — he kick started his career with revered couturiers Abu Jani & Sandeep Khosla after which he moved on to working with Nandita Mahtani. Styling came knocking his way in the form of a Fashion Directorship at Seventeen India, followed by stints at L’Officiel India, L’Officiel Homme, Hi!Blitz and most recently Noblesse India. His stellar repertoire also boasts of styling Bollywood beauties like Bipasha Basu, Sonakshi Sinha and Sonali Bendre among others. We engage the stylist du jour in an exclusive tete-a-tete!

Kushal Parmanand

Celebrity and fashion stylist Kushal Parmanand

Luxemi: How did you foray into fashion? Is it something you always wanted? 

Kushal Parmanand: My foray into fashion was actually by default. I come from a family of two generations of engineers and they obviously wished for me to continue their legacy. After trying to pursue an education in computer science and management studies for two years, I finally landed at Fanshawe fashion school in June 2000 to pursue my true calling. I remember wanting to be in fashion, a designer in particular, since I was in 8th grade. Rohit Bal was my idol then.

Luxemi: You have worked with some of the country’s top stylistas — right from Sonam Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor to Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif. Who are your personal favorites?

Kushal Parmanand: I think I have the biggest crush on Bebo (Kareena Kapoor)! She is undoubtedly my favorite. She is extremely easy going and a breeze to work with. Most celebrities today know what works for them and are quite fashion focused. Having worked with many of them editorially over the years I feel that working collectively and keeping common interests in mind helps get the best out of a shoot!

Luxemi: Who are some of your favorite Indian and international designers?

Kushal Parmanand: Wow that is a very tough and long list! I love the work Riccardo Tisci does for Givenchy couture. This seasons in particular; I am loving key pieces from Balenciaga, Monique Lhuillier and Vionnet while Elie Saab, Dior, Valentino and Lanvin remain eternal favorites. On the Indian front I love different designers for their varied focuses. Anamika Khanna, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, Rajesh Pratap Singh and Gaurav Gupta are my favorite veterans. From the younger lot I am partial to Kallol Datta, Sailex and Nachiket Barve.

Actually I feel fashion is a bit fickle in that sense — every season you are bound to love that someone a little more purely because their showing tugged at your heart strings more than the others.

Luxemi: Autumn-Winter ’13 Indian wear trends that ought to be tried this season? Also tell us about the top colors one must have in their wardrobe? 

Kushal Parmanand: Monochrome continues to be a huge trend this season. Punk and vintage inspired fashion is also big. Think of smaller ways to include them in your traditional wardrobe. Red is THE color to be swearing by — not only is it one of our most traditional colors, it also looks lovely on Indian skin. Make sure to experiment with interesting updos and accessories for a refined look.

Luxemi: Style icons who carry Indian wear beautifully? 

Kushal Parmanand: I think Deepika (Padukone) looks great in Indian wear. She has an inherent grace about her, almost like royalty. Apart from her I think Kareena (Kapoor) looks her best when she is in a sari.

Kareena Kapoor in a saree

Luxemi: Your favorite picks from Luxemi.com

Kushal Parmanand: Laila Motwane’s lehangas, the coral wrap kurta from Nikashasaris by Neeru Kumar and jhumkis  from Amrapali are my top picks. The wine salwar with shell embroideryFoil Printed “Club” Pallu Saree by Satya Paul and Flowing Net Anarkali with Embroidery by Kisneel are also great options.

Luxemi Indian wear

Parmanand’s top picks from Luxemi

Luxemi Indian wear

Parmanand’s top picks from Luxemi

Amrapali earrings on Luxemi

Amrapali earrings on Luxemi

Luxemi: If one has only 10 minutes to put together an Indian look, what should be their go-to?

Kushal Parmanand: The chotu sari (one with a shorter hemline) is a great option.

Nandita Thirani sare

Chotu sari by Nandita Thirani

Pre-pleated saris and sari gowns are easier to drape, making them ideal go-tos as well. If neither works for you, there is always the humble salwar kurta which has many interesting variations this season. I personally always steer towards a minimalistic look. Finish it off with a dash of a strong lip and a messy braid or updo — absolutely perfect when you’re on the run!

Sonakshi Sinha styled by Kushal Parmanand

Sonakshi Sinha styled by Kushal Parmanand for Hi!Blitz

So take it from the man who knows best and make these quick tweaks to your desi closet. Trust us when we say that these simple additions will go a long way!

Praachi Raniwala for Luxemi

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Filed under Celebrity Style, Designer Style, Hello From Luxemi, Indian Fashion 101, Indian-Inspired, Luxe Interviews, Luxemi Style, Trend Update

Luxemi + Anita Dongre’s Trousseau Shopping Guide

Anita Dongre's Jaipur Bride

Image courtesy: Anita Dongre

Anita Dongre surely does know a thing (or two) about style. No, scratch that…the veteran designer could very well be the last word when it comes to all things fashion. Hence when we decided to rope in an expert for this trousseau-shopping guide, we couldn’t think of a more fitting name than her. So listen up brides-to-be — pay close attention and bookmark Dongre’s ace advise…it is bound to prevent all your retail anxiety as well as several bridezilla fits! We are already swearing by this bridal shopping bible, you’d be wise to say ‘I Do’ to it too.

Anita Dongre at Lakme Fashion Week

Anita Dongre with Aditi Rao Hydari at Lakme Fashion Week

Luxemi: How soon should one start putting together their trousseau? How much time must one dedicate to it?

Anita Dongre: I would say that you should start deciding the colours, styles, designers, and the overall look that you want to wear for each occasion well in advance. Start putting everything together over the 6 months leading up to your wedding — that, I feel, is the ideal time frame.

Luxemi: Brides tend to go overboard with their trousseau shopping. How much is too much?

Anita Dongre: It’s never enough and the sky is the limit when it comes to wedding shopping. However, it is advisable to work on a budget for the trousseau. List down the key pieces you require for your trousseau and stick to the list.

Luxemi: 5 must-have trousseau essentials?

Anita Dongre: That’s easy. My 5 must-haves are —

  1. An elegant anarkali
  2. An embroidered jacket or bandi (also known as the Nehru jacket/traditional vest) that can be paired with pants, pallazos or lehenga.
  3. A heavily embroidered dupatta that can dress up any Indian outfit in your closet
  4. A cocktail gown
  5. A set of sarees for both formal occasions as well as casual outings.

Luxemi: What are the top trends this season? Which colors are must-haves?

Anita Dongre: It’s the time to move away from traditional reds and maroons and experiment with a varied color palette ranging from neons, fluorescent, limes and peacock blues to fuschia, corals and dusty pinks. There’s a plethora of choices when it comes to lehengas — the mermaid style, A-line, straight cut and flared versions — with such a wide variety of cuts and styles, there is something to suit to every style sensibility and body type.

Net, chiffon, georgette and silk are the preferred fabrics for Indian bridal wear this season. Experimenting with unconventional saree drapes is also a trend that is fast catching on. So pair a raw silk bandi with a saree or a lehenga.  One could even opt for the lehenga saree as it’s easier to drape and very convenient to carry off.

Luxemi: Which Luxemi ensembles ought to make their way into one’s trousseau trunk?

Anita Dongre: Luxemi’s Scarlett Saree with Rich Gold Border, Gold Embellished Chantilly Lace Saree, Pink Anarkali with Gota Work by Nikasha, Gold Sequined Saree, Lehenga Saree with Thread Work and Brocade Coat with Velvet Border by Kisneel are must-haves!

Luxemi picks by Anita Dongre

Anita Dongre’s Luxemi picks

Luxemi picks by Anita Dongre

Anita Dongre’s Luxemi picks

Luxemi: Trendy pieces vs classics — what’s your take?

Anita Dongre: Your trousseau should always have a mix of both. The trendy pieces can be used for your cocktail party and sangeet while the classics can be saved for your main wedding day and reception. Trendy and classic pieces can also be paired together for an edgy yet elegant look. For instance, you could pair a traditional bandi (vest/Nehru jacket) with a gown/skirt or wear an embroidered jacket/bolero with a saree and so on.

Luxemi: Let’s talk jewelry shopping — do’s and don’ts?

Anita Dongre: Always go to a trusted family jeweler. Here too, list down the main ceremonies and outfits and match your jewelry accordingly. Invest in versatile pieces that can be dressed up or toned down and be worn with both Indian as well as western outfits.

Luxemi: Which are some of the best cities for Indian trousseau wear according to you?

Anita Dongre: Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkatta are go-tos in India. There’s my Anita Dongre Bridal store as well as Phoenix Mills and Palladium in Mumbai, multi-designer mall The Gallery on MG in Delhi and Forum Courtyard in Kolkatta.

Luxemi: Who are some of the celebrity brides one can take inspiration from?

Anita Dongre: Kareena Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Esha Deol hands down! The one thing they all have in common, and is worth taking inspiration from, is that while each dressed in tune with their respective traditions, the final look was not overbearing — right from the choice of the bridal ensembles to the make up; it all spelled elegance!

Luxemi: So what’s your parting trousseau shopping advice?

Anita Dongre: While everyone’s shopping habits and needs will vary, there are certain pointers that will help you sail through your trousseau shopping effortlessly. First up, make sure you have a list of designers or multi designer stores you wish to visit. Dedicate a week to visit all these stores, shortlist what you like from each of them, and then start buying. Always have a shopping budget and try sticking to it as far as possible!

Anita Dongre's Jaipur Bride

Image courtesy: Anita Dongre

So there you go…let the splurge fest begin. And yes, you can thank us later! ;-)

Praachi Raniwala for Luxemi

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Filed under Celebrity Style, Indian Fashion 101, Luxe Interviews, Luxemi Inspiration, Luxemi Style, Style Secrets, Weddings

2013 Indian Wedding Trends You Won’t Want To Miss

top wedding trends for 2013

With wedding season just around the corner, here are some 2013 wedding trends that you’ll want to keep an eye out for.

best wedding shoes for saree

1.     East Meets West

We’re loving the bold juxtaposition of Indian tradition and Western flair when brides pair a modern heel with their traditional Indian salwars and sarees. This trend isn’t limited to women: men are turning to TOMS to complete their traditional Indian wedding day looks. This trend also goes the other way: wearing a traditional white wedding gown but want to infuse it with some Indian flair? Use Indian-inspired jewelry to give your wedding day look an ethnic boost.

flower design for weddings trends 2013

2.     Creative Floral Centerpieces

Sure, vases filled with roses make a classic statement, but this wedding season, flowers are going to get remixed. Lately, Indian weddings are taking a cue from the famed Rose Parade and using flowers to create elaborate, decorative centerpieces. From orchid peacocks to a daisy Ganesh, this trend is all about using your imagination to create exotic luxury.

bridesmaid saris

3.     A Little Bit of Luxemi

There are many ways that Luxemi can help you have your dream wedding. Luxemi’s Wedding Concierge Service makes it easy for you and your guests to coordinate your fashion choices – all at a special discount. Luxemi’s Bridesmaids Collection is the perfect way to cut the fuss out of dressing your bridesmaids. With multiple colors and styles available, we know we can create a custom look you and your bridesmaids will love. Who said finding a bridesmaid saree needs to be difficult or make fashion compromises?

Shital Vora (pictured above) turned to Luxemi to dress her bridesmaids and here’s what she had to say about her experience:

“I had the fortunate opportunity to outfit my leading ladies with Luxemi’s Bridesmaids Collection. I could not have asked for such an easy, stress free, and quality experience.  All of the saris in the collection were beautiful, it was hard to narrow it down to one! The one that I chose for the wedding party was beautiful and made of extremely wonderful material. All of the bridesmaids felt that the process was very simple and they were happy with the prices and results. As the bride, this was the easiest aspect of wedding planning with the best results. I highly recommend for any bride to work with Luxemi to contribute to the success of your wedding planning!”

If you are getting married this summer, or know someone who is, contact us at to see how we can help you get ready for your big day. For more information, email weddings@luxemi.com, or call 1.773.770.LUXE (5893).

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Filed under Luxemi Style, Trend Alert, Trend Update, Weddings