Style Icon: Sanyogita Devi of Indore ​

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The Maharani of Indore, by Boutet de Monvel, 1934.

After the arrival of the British, the maharajas lost most of their real political power. But they were retained by the British for important ceremonial reasons, primarily to support the empire’s claim on India. Some of the kings and their wives became darlings of the European social set, and their palaces were often furnished in the most contemporary European design. They would have been educated in Europe and would have traveled frequently to European capitals.

The Maharaja Yeshwani Rao Holkar II and his wife Maharani Sanyogita Devi of Indore were one such couple. They became friends with the artist Man Ray, who often photographed them.

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Maharani Sanyogita Devi and her husband the Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar of Indore, were considered one of the chicest couples of the Jazz Age. They married in 1924 and gave birth to their first child, Princess Usha Devi, on October 20th, 1933 in Paris. Educated in England, the Maharaja and Maharani were fixtures amongst the international jet set of the 1920s and ‘30s; equally at ease in the gilded drawing rooms of New York, London and Paris. In Hollywood they befriended the stars and movie moguls of the day such as Douglas Fairbanks Jr. who invited them to movie sets and film premiers. Celebrated as one of the era’s most stylish women, the Maharani would frequently appear at functions dressed by Vionnet, Schiaparelli and Lanvin. During couture presentations, she stood out amongst European and American clients in her custom French chiffon saris, elegantly perched on a gilt chair with a fur coat draped over her shoulders. The royal couple also had a deep interest in modern art and design, which won them the friendship of some of the greatest artists and designers of the era, including furniture designer Emil Ruhlmann, artist Constantin Brancusi (from whom they commissioned several sculptures) and Man Ray, who shared their passion for jazz and captured the couple in a series of playful portraits while on vacation in Cannes.

 

 

Amongst the most memorable portraits of the Maharaini were those by the celebrated society painter of the day, Bernard Boutet de Monvel, who sketched fashions for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar early in his career. Over the course of four years, he would create three striking portraits capturing the chic Maharani in French chiffon saris and elegant couture gowns. Two of the portraits were displayed to the public for the first time in the Maharaja exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in 2010. Amongst them was de Monvel’s 1931 portrait that captured the Maharani’s legendary elegance, wearing a dress by Madeleine Vionnet with a diamond and emerald necklace by Mauboussin.

In 1930 they commissioned a German architect to build a new streamlined Art Moderne palace, Manik Bagh, in Indore. Every detail of this remarkable building was designed and created in Europe; equipped with the latest technologies. Avant-garde furnishings were also commissioned from designers in Berlin, London and Paris that included tabular steel chairs by architect Marcel Breuer, a chaise longue by Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand, as well as an ebony, chrome and leather armchair by Eileen Gray. In May 1980, the contents of their palace in Indore was sold during an auction in Monte Carlo, with a large number of pieces finding their way into the collection of the Al-Thani family of Qatar.

 

Two of the Art Moderne interiors of Manik Bagh Palace.

The Maharani Sanyogita died at the age of 23. She left behind their 4 year old daughter, and her husband, not even 30, was devastated.

The Maharaja married twice more, both times to American divorcées. He had a son with his third wife, whom he had married in 1943, but because of the irregularity of this marriage, his titles eventually passed to his daughter from his first marriage.

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Maharaja Yeshwani Rao Holkar II and Maharani Sanyogita Devi of Indore, c. 1930.Man Ray, now part of the Al-Thani Collection.

Via Gods and Fools 

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Best Dressed Met Gala 2017

Those are my favorite looks at the Met Gala in no particular order:

The Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA - 01 May 2017

The Cartier jewelry Sofia Coppola wore was perfect with that shimmery gold Marc Jacobs gown.

Alexa Chung wore a classic polka-dot dress by Diane von Furstenberg

The Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA - 01 May 2017

 That beaded Stella McCartney dress looked stunning on Gisele Bündchen

The Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA - 01 May 2017

 Emmy Rossum wore my absolute favorite jewelry design!… I think that Art deco jewelry designs are the most beautiful designs.  The diamond earrings were by Ashoka ,  the watch and bracelet were by Fred Leighton… She wore a custom Carolina Herrera outfit and Christian Louboutin heels.

Style Icon: Katherine Hepbern

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Katharine Hepburn’s sense of fashion raised more than a few eyebrows in the 1930’s !. In those days, women’s fashion had not yet been liberated by the practicalities of World War II, (when women had to get out and take positions in the workplace in order to provide a living for their families while the men were at war). Women in the 1930s were actually arrested if they were seen in public wearing pants!. In those days clothing was still perceived as a manifestation of one’s gender, and “mannish” trousers were feared to reflect a perversity within women. But Katharine Hepburn stuck to her guns when it came to fashion and insisted on wearing those practical and comfortable pants that looked just perfect on her!

Katharine had her jeans custom made on Savile Row of all places!. I just love how she wore her wide legged, high waisted jeans with the beautiful long coats in the pictures above.

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I truly love her style and always have her wide high waisted pants look in mind when I’m shopping for pants or when I’m putting a looking together ….. And I love finding hints of how much her style and especially her pantsuits still influences luxury brands till today ….. I always find her influences in brands like Céline and Max Mara to name a few!

Nocturnal Animals: Part 1 The Movie Wardrobe

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There are many beautiful Movie sets and wardrobes out there but I must say that  I haven’t come across a movie where I loved the wardrobe and the set design at the same time…  until now! I honestly believe that Tom Ford has outdone himself as a director in this movie!….I’ve decided to divide this post into two parts because I feel both the wardrobe and the set design deserve to have their own post!

So the first part will be about the beautiful wardrobe that Arianne Phillips has designed for Susan which was played by Amy Adams.

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The ‘Susan’ style

“Surprisingly, Susan’s character does not wear any designer clothes at all,” confides Phillips. “Most of the clothes were made; they’re not Tom Ford nor any other designer! I mean, you would think they would be, because it’s contemporary, and Susan’s part of the cultural elite. She’s very presentational: heavy makeup, precisely waved hair, polished, pristine.”

Isn’t that just amazing?… its all about her look and about her style rather than the labels that we see most women focus on these days!

“The clothes really help tell the story of her precision, her perfection and her attempt to be presentational at all times, even when her life is falling apart,” says Phillips. Many of Susan’s scenes take place against the stark visual backdrop of her art gallery or her art gallery-like home where her wardrobe comprises mostly sleek black tailoring, killer heels, and opulent statement jewellery – or stealth-wealth knitwear for the moments when she is alone, often curled up in bed enthralled by the novel her ex-husband has sent her.

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I was dying to know where Susan’s beautiful tricolor fur in chestnut brown, amber, and white was from.. sadly it was custom made by Tom Ford atelier’s furrier, so we won’t find it in future TF collections  😦

There were many flashbacks to the Nineties which I really loved… They portrayed Susan as a young woman living in New York… 90s Susan reminded me so much of Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy! I love that pared-back 90s chic.

“I stuck with neutrals so that it would have a timeless classic quality because that’s what we believed her character’s aesthetic would be and not particularly bending to trends.” Having said that, there are still recognisable pieces which were staples of the time yet would look just as ‘right’ today, especially given the influence which Nineties trends have had on fashion over the past few years. “Turtlenecks, body suits and trench coats…things that would have been accessible to a young woman of her age,” were all on Phillips’ list.

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They certainly saved the best for last with that stunning green dress that perfectly  complemented Amy Adams’ red hair.“That color was quite specific,” notes Phillips. “It was dyed and made; we labored over getting it the right color for film—and camera tested it….“It’s a public scene and we really wanted a colour that would stand out cinematically.” The keyhole neckline dress was chosen not only because it matches perfectly with the delicate wall decoration in the restaurant, but also for its powers in emphasising Adams’ flame-red hair. “That particular green is flattering to Amy Adams. I love a redhead in green and that was a yellowy chartreuse. It felt right, sometimes there’s an intuitive sensibility to filmmaking. I’m not a fan of ‘The Red Dress’ that you see in movies.

Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day

Madame Tussauds London museum dressed up the British royal family wax figures in ugly holiday sweaters in  honor of the “Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day,” which will take place on December 16 ….it’s a campaign that asks people to wear their favorite silly or ugly sweaters in exchange for donating to the nonprofit Save the Children.

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I must admit that I don’t mind Prince Philip’s sweater…. compared to what the rest of the family ended up with, his isn’t bad at all lol!!!

Here’s the link for more info about Christmas Jumper day

The Crown

Anyone who knows me knows that I love costume dramas…  So it comes as no surprise that I have been waiting for The New Netflix production to be released!…..Other than “Games of Throne” “Downton Abbey” has been my favorite TV costume dramas until now….  “The Crown” to me is just another level of entertainment! It’s my new addiction!

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  “Downton Abbey” was/is fun to watch but it is fiction, whereas “The Crown” is based on fact, with a far weightier dose of history and politics, including issues of constitutional duty and complex political issues. Writer Peter Morgan and the director Stephen Daldry — have succeeded in balancing the seriousness of intent against popular appeal, and for Netflix, which I think has already attracted a huge international audience!

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This is not the 1st time that Mr. Morgan, the creator of the show, has written about the Queen…. He actually has extensive experience writing about her. His 2006 film “The Queen,” won several Academy Award nominations and the best actress award went to Helen Mirren as the monarch, facing public reaction to the death of Princess Diana. Then in 2013 came his successful play, “The Audience,” also starring Helen Mirren and directed by Mr. Daldry, which swoops through some 60 years of the weekly meetings between Queen Elizabeth and her prime ministers. And actually this experience of writing “The Audience” gave him the idea for “The Crown.”

Part of the pleasures of watching “The Crown” is its ability to offer glimpses of life at Buckingham Palace and other royal residences (The furniture! The objects! The clothes! The jewels!). But it also offers a history lesson in world events, politics and the social manners and mores of postwar British society, seen through the prism of Elizabeth’s reign.

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For example, I was really surprised by the relationship between Winston Churchill and the young queen! I never thought the either one of them struggled in this relationship! Never thought that either one of them ever doubted themselves… until now!

I don’t want to say more and spoil it for those of you who haven’t watched it yet… but here are a few reviews I read about the series … Both +ve and -ve:

  • The New York Times says it is “just an orgy of sumptuous scenes and rich performances” in its Review: Netflix Does Queen Elizabeth II in ‘The Crown,’ No Expense Spared.
  • Vanity Fair’s review, The Crown Is Netflix’s Most Expensive Series to Date, and Worth It, says “A grand saga about the British royals begins with a sumptuous look at midcentury monarchy.”
  • USA Today gives The Crown 3-1/2 out of 4 stars in its piece titled Review: ‘The Crown’ is sumptuous miniseries with the stellar cast!
  • From the Maclean’s review by Patricia Treble, ‘The Crown’ on Netflix is riveting. And not completely true. “Unlike many so-called documentaries that are little more than rehashed tittle-tattle and gossip, The Crown’s fact-heavy fiction puts dramatic meat on much more substantial and accurate bones.“

Style Icon: Dürrüsehvar- The Ottoman Princess

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It’s not easy to portray simple, elegant, timeless, and regal style when wearing a traditional or should I say a national dress. Yet Durru Shehvar has somehow managed to pull all that in this one picture! This picture alone turned her to a style icon in my books! That necklace is beyond beautiful. Her makeup is perfection and her eyebrows are on point! Wish I knew what color her Sari was!

Born in Istanbul on January 26, 1914, she was the only daughter of Abdülmejid II, the last Sultan to rule over the Ottoman Empire. Growing up in Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, the princess was exposed to a world of art and literature at an early age thanks to her father, a cultured man who spoke several languages including Turkish, Arabic, French and German. In addition to composing music, he was an accomplished painter, producing landscapes and scenes from Ottoman history, which in later years she went to great lengths to buy when they surfaced at auctions.

With the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire, in 1924 the sultan and his family went into exile splitting their time between Paris and Nice in the South of France. She was soon sought by the Shah of Persia and King Fuad I of Egypt as a bride for their respective heirs, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and Farouk. But also vying for Dürrüsehvar’s hand was the Nizam of Hyderabad, who wanted her to marry his eldest son Azam Jah, Prince of Berar and heir apparent to the throne of Hyderabad. The Nizam won and in 1931, 18-year-old Dürrüsehvar married his son Azam Jah. `The wedding took place in the south of France, and their marriage was widely hailed as a “union of two great dynasties”.

After the honeymoon, the couple returned to Hyderabad, where they settled into the lakeside palace of Bella Vista. Already fluent in French, Turkish and English, the princess quickly learned Urdu and took to wearing French chiffon saris embellished with Art Deco embroideries by the leading Paris couture houses of the day.

Her arrival in Hyderabad would also cause a seismic shift in the lives of local women, and it began with her efforts to end the practice of purdah. Until the reign of the seventh Nizam, the women of the royal family were never seen in public; that is until the princess moved to Hyderabad. In 1933, Dürrüsehvar became the first female member of the Nizam’s family to attend a tennis match where she presented the winning team with a silver cup. It would be the first of many public appearances including charity events, polo matches, and state banquets. Over time she became a respected public figure who advocated for women’s rights and the education of young girls, establishing a junior college for women as well as a nursing school and hospital that still carry her name today.

In 1937, she traveled with her husband to England to attend the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in Westminster Abbey. Although statuesque and regal in public, Dürrüsehvar was also intensely shy and private. Known for shunning publicity, she closely guarded her friendships, which included one with the noted fashion photographer Cecil Beaton and the famous actress Greta Garbo, who often referred to the princess as “our Turkish friend.”

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A few years after the marriage, she realised her incompatibility with her husband, and left with her 2 children, Mukkaram Jah and Muffakham Jah, to London where she lived and visited Hyderabad occasionally. Her last public appearance was when she presided over the opening ceremony of the Nizam’s Silver Jubilee Museum in 2000…. She passed away in her London apartment on Queens Street in 2006 at the age of 92.

Velvets Are Back!

I am thrilled that the 90s velvet trend is back! I felt so nostalgic when I saw all the FW collections… I loved this trend back in the 90s…. I still remember Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s long black velvet gloves she wore with her Yohji Yamamoto dress like it was yesterday!

Designers like Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren (below), Valentino and much more, have included velvet in their Fall/Winter collections. I honestly haven’t seen this much velvet since the 90s… I’m loving it! I’m loving the wide range of colours and the wide range of designs from those extra wide pants to the victorian style dresses…

There are many dos and dont’s on the net of how to wear velvets… None really make much sense to me… One particular “dont’s” that I’ve been reading everywhere and that made no sense to me at all don’t wear velvet on velvet!… I personally think that velvet on velvet can look great if done right! I’m on the hunt now for the perfect velvet heels to wear with a matching colour velvet dress! Those Gianvito Rossi signature heels in velvet are one of my favorite out there!

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 I just wanna run in those heels!