Heart and Soul: Valentino SS17

Pierpaolo Piccioli presented his debut collection for Maison Valentino as sole Creative Director; after the exit of Maria Grazia Chiuri, after 17 years.

Chiuri is currently Creative Director at Dior, the first-ever female appointment to that role, in the brand’s 60-year history.

Piccioli collaborated with British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes (DBE, RDI), who blended her poetic interpretation of Bosch’s ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ triptych; with Piccioli’s #inspirations from Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’.

Do the airy, whimsical, silhouettes in vibrant colours represent the act of Creation? Do the luscious reds stand for the Forbidden Fruit, and the fires of Hell? Are the decadent blacks for hypnotism by Lucifer’s guile, and the resultant damnation and punishment?

Add to this intriguing and captivating #geometric and galactic patterns, and depictions of fantastical creatures. The result? A delightful sequence of short stories, strung together with a common #thread of passion.

I think Pierpaolo Piccioli’s first collection flying solo was a thundering success, here are a few favourite looks:

Image Credits: Maison Valentino social media pages
Image Credits: Maison Valentino social media pages

Product Review: Polite Queens of Sass Only

You’re not likely to meet a bigger fuss-pot me, when it comes to hand/body/face/feet creams, and lotions. With great difficulty, I’ll find one that I take to, and then fickle mindedness sets in within a month or two.

Along came Gulnare Skincare, satiating my obsession with Cleopatra’s beauty secrets, and silencing said fickle mindedness with it’s Cleopatra goat’s milk hand and body lotion; and After Eight foot cream.


First, the hand and body lotion: Luscious, pleasurable, invincibility-inducing. Apply generously, and then go meet your worst enemy; because you’re going to be all silk and satin, post-application. What sealed the deal for me is that fantastic ancient Egyptian weapon against anti-ageing, beeswax!

Goat’s milk for hydrated, youthful skin is one of Cleopatra’s best known secrets. She’s believed to have bathed in tubs and tubs of it. Additionally, it’s anti-inflammatory, and works well on rashes, irritations, and as it says on the label; even bug bites! This lotion also has extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and shea, trusted for their ability to keep skin supple, and radiant; as well as for their emollient and anti-pigmentation properties.  For the luxurious quality inside, this 120 ml bottle is very well-priced at INR 400/-

Next, the foot cream – I think it’s named after the mint chocolate: This, is nothing short of a blessing. Especially for barefoot bohemians like myself, who’ve gotten used to slightly painful ankles with all the barefoot-walking. (Slippers, then? Um, no thanks! And especially not after this miracle!).

You can smell the peppermint essential oil straightaway, and it’s not overpowering at all. It’s like opening a bag of mint candy. You know if you stick a hand in, you won’t stop. Same feeling. The oil provides instantaneous (yes, I mean it!) relief, and I shold tell you, I certainly slept better. I woke up to soft and smooth feet, thanks to the kokum butter and shea, calendula infused oil; and extra virgin olive and coconut oils. It’s not dense, messy, or gloopy. Your skin soaks it up, quite gratefully, which you’ll gurge by the speed with which it’s here one second, and gone, the next. Don’t be surprised if you’re rubbing your feet against each other as you sleep; or if your partner suddenly develops a foot fetish.

Massage well all over clean feet before going to bed. It’s only been a couple of nights, and already my feet (especially my ankles,) feel lighter. INR 750/- for 100 grams of heaven is a steal.

Between these two creams, your skin will not just be well moisturised, it’ll be on it’s way towards improved quality, and texture, and therefore, it’ll age slower.

Try these 100% natural, paraben-free gems, and walk out looking and feeling like a queen; whether you’re preparing for a busy day, or a long buzzing night. Gulnare helps you feel happy, loved, comfortable; calm, and silently confident with its elixirs – so you can amplify the sass, but keep it classy.

There are more miracles that’ll speak to you, waiting to be found at: http://www.gulnareskincare.com

Product Review: A Splash of Rose & Jasmine

Both rose and jasmine essential oils are loved in natural therapies for their ability to soothe nerves, uplift moods, and soften the pinch of depression and sadness. I for one, am fond of rose and jasmine because they remind me of lazy summer seduction, no matter what time of year it may be. They both combine beautifully in Kama Ayurveda‘s Rose Jasmine Face Cleanser. I love the feel of this face wash  on my skin so much, I wash my face more than I need to during the day….just because. And no, it doesn’t cause any dryness!


It has vetiver root, which is really attractive for someone like me who suffers bouts of Rosacea every now and then. Vetiver root soothes sudden attacks due to its anti-inflammatory properties. If there’s anything I’m more obsessed with than honey, it’s aloe vera juice (apple cider vinegar is a close third!). Since I drink aloe vera juice, and have been for a while now, I can vouch for its abilities to make skin clear and radiant.

The aloe in this face wash is assisted by the jasmine, to help lighten and manage any acne scarring; whilst the rose and jojoba are excellent for softness of texture. Oh, by the way, ever heard of black cumin being used in a face wash? Me neither! This is a first for me, and I’m not entirely surprised that it’s been added to the mix, to amollify the anti-bacterial powers of the other natural ingredients with itself – a really creative thought though!

This 100 ml bottle comes with a non-fussy pump. One push gives you all you need per wash. It lathers, but lightly so. In the beginning you may feel you need more face wash because of this, but frankly you don’t. The heady smell of roses tickles you from the moment you squeeze out a small amount, and stays while you’re applying the face wash. It’ll make for one of the ‘happy-moments’ of your day; and when you wipe your face, you’ll know you’ve done something good and healthy for it.

675/- INR for the 100 ml. C’mon Thinking Totties… You know you’ve spent much more than that on things that weren’t worth it!! Give this face wash a try, you will certainly not be regretting it!


Sabyasachi for Pottery Barn

The hypnotic touch of the fashion alchemist now extends beyond your wardrobe, spreading across nooks and crannies of your home. Just when you thought Sabyasachi Mukherjee has done enough to make his presence felt for this year in his industry; he announces that he’s making his debut in another one.

Sabyasachi Calcutta has collaborated with the renowned home-decor brand, Pottery Barn (HQ: San Francisco, California); a member of Williams-Sonoma Inc.

The result of this collaboration is a capsule collection of delightful, and achingly gorgeous holiday/home decor products and collectibles. Take your pick from over 50 pieces of brocade and embroidered pillows, reversible printed quilts, rugs, jewellery boxes, wall art, and plates. I found the floral and animal art plates particularly exciting and exquisite, and as expected, they’re hand drawn by artists of the Sabyasachi Art Foundation. This foundation has been established by Mr. Mukherjee and his sister as a tribute to their artist mother, to provide a platform for economic emancipation and creative expression to indigenous, and often marginalised artist communities of  their home-state, and India.

You can shop the collection online here

Sabyasachi for Pottery Barn is available in-stores on November 1st, with prices ranging from $10.50 – $1,199.

Image Credits: Sabyasachi social media pages

Monica Bhargava, EVP Design and Product Development mentions how Pottery Barn‘s first exposure to Sabyasachi Mukherjee and his brand was at his Mumbai store, where they “fell in love,” and decided they simply must meet and team up with our casually confident and versatile maestro. Mr. Mukherjee says he wanted to design a collection for Pottery Barn that would suit the “global nomad.” By highlighting the enigmatic charm of Indian textiles and handicrafts, and tailoring it to the chic, sophisticated appeal of Pottery Barn products; Mr. Mukherjee aims to in’t reduce a fresh, whimsical twist to the holiday season, and to American home-decor aesthetics in general.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee with Monica Bhargava. Image Credits: Business Wire
Sabyasachi Mukherjee with Monica Bhargava. Image Credits: Business Wire

Signature pieces and Sabyasachi favorites include the Octavia Accent Table, Mila Chandelier, Maharani Print Bedding and Quilts, Jewellery Boxes and Animal Salad Plates.

We’re so enamoured by all the beautiful things Sabyasachi Mukherjee creates, that we forget to thank him.  He’s proving that its not about fashion design, home decor, accessories, or any other arena. It’s about sharing and celebrating artistic expertise, and the intricacies of beauty – across international borders, across industries. There’s a lot of beauty in the world, but somewhere, somehow the human mind, the human eye, is tired, and jaded. Thank you, Mr. Mukherjee, for yet another gift.

Product Review: My VanityCask Beauty Box!

Come, even the most no-nonsense, ‘practical’ ones amongst you: would you really say no, if this little treat showled up at your doorstep?

Image Credits: VanityCask

Why should you? It’s an enticing black box, promising treats inside, and has the sweet vintage-feel aesthetics that makes every girl smile.

Open it, and there’s a pink drawstring pouch, holding the beauty samples that will help you decide which one to get in a bigger bottle/tube!

Image Credits: Personal
Image Credits: Personal

The information booklet you see, introduces and welcomes you to VanityCask, explaining the subscription process. There will be different subscription boxes periodically, catering to different areas of grooming (Skin, Hair, Bath-and-Body); and the curation of samples reflects this. As you begin to subscribe to different beauty boxes, the ones you go for progressively make your preferences obvious; making it easier for VanityCask’s Beauty Specialists to tailor your personal beauty box to your needs.

Image Credits: Personal

Right now, the focus is skincare. The booklet also describes the 5 partner brands, whose samples are in the box, along with sample product descriptions, and instructions for usage. These are:

  • Kama Ayurveda‘s Rejuvenating and Brightening Night Cream;
  • Thalgo‘s Ultra Hydra-Marine Mask;
  • Clinique‘s 7-day Scrub Rinse Off Formula;
  • Votre‘s Absolute Hydration Moisturiser;
  • Vichy‘s Capital Soleil SPF 50+

Image Credits: Personal
Now, this selection works perfectly for me, because:

  • I’m obsessed with beating skin-ageing at it’s own game; and I want to try the best natural ingredient-based brands, or brands sensitive to sensitive skin to like mine, in order to achieve my objective.
  • I’m paranoid about what’s best for the under-eye area with the kind of skin I have; because of which it’s difficult for me to trust brands I haven’t tried. The tretinoin cream I apply on my face (Retino – A, 0.05%) is a no-no for the under-eye area as it is, and since I apply it only two nights in a week; I’m left searching for a good cream that can heal my skin whilts I sleep.
  • I’m fussy about sunscreen. Sometimes I want it, sometimes I don’t. I’m one of those who feel they’re worse off using sunscreen!

Having said this:

  • I can vouch for Vichy‘s Capital Soleil SPF 50+, as I’ve used it on my dermatologist’s recommendation. Even though I don’t apply  Retino-A daily, I know it increases sun-sensitivity (which is why I apply it at night only). Vichy is gentle and non-greasy.  It doesn’t  make you conscious of the fact that you’ve applied sunscreen. The sample in the box is liquid lotion, but it seeps into the skin before you know it.
  • From amongst these samples, the first one I tried was Kama Ayurveda‘s Rejuvenating and Brightening Night Cream. In consistency, it’s neither too thin, nor too thick. Its smell reminds you of childhood, when the things you used to look after your skin were simpler, and applied with the love only grandmothers can give. It’s quite a fabulous night cream. I’ve nearly finished this sample, and it’s been almost a week. I wake up with a brighter, fresher face; and I certainly plan on buying more of it. It has liquorice and saffron, that work on pigmentation and skin lightening. Vetiver is one of those fantastic ingredients rapidly rising in popularity against Rosacea. Could this be the cream that’ll see to the dark circles lurking on my face? I think so!
  • The sample I’m really curious about is Votre‘s Absolute Hydration Moisturiser. I’ve heard of the brand, but have never tried it.  This cream has Pro-Vitamin B5, reputed for it’s ability to regenerate healthy skin and keep it hydrated. There’s apricot kernel oil and wheatgerm too, for soft, supple and glowing skin. The sample tub mentions liquorice again.  I’ve been using it in place of my regular Evion, to see how it complements the night cream mentioned above. My skin’s taken to this pleasant smelling, non-gloopy cream rather well. No nasty surprises so far!

It will take me a while to understand if the Clinique rinse off scrub has any impact, since I already have so much in place for my personal cleansing routine. But I’ll take VanityCask’s Beauty Specialist’s advice, and save the Thalgo face mask for a special occasion!

Visit VanityCask at http://www.vanitycask.com/ to learn more.



Murraya koenigii: Beauty Benefits

That’s curry/sweet neem leaves, or kadi patta, as known in Hindi.

The curry tree is native to India and Sri Lanka. Its leaves are a popular  ingredient (mostly in south/south Western Indian and Sri Lankan curries), owing to their enticing, hard to pin-point fragrance.

Recently, I sampled a kadi patta chutney at a friend’s place. Her mother told me that not only is kadi patta chutney good for regulating the menstrual cycle; but is also a beauty secret for healthy hair. I’m a sucker for natural beauty hacks, so this piqued my curiosity. Curry leaves are a great natural remedy for treating premature greying, hair loss and hair thinning, damaged roots, and acne.

Curry leaves have those magic beauty nutrients.

Vitamins A, B, C, and E, as well as amino acids, or the building blocks of proteins, that are necessary for healthy hair and skin. Curry leaves are also bursting with antioxidants, and are rich in iron. Not enough iron,  equals not enough oxygen carriers in the bloodstream (red blood cells) . Not enough oxygen, equals ageing skin and lacklustre hair.

Using curry leaves for hair.

  • If you’re not enthusiastic about home remedies because they’re messy and time consuming, you can try curry leaves in a simple hair tonic. Boil a bunch of them in water, and let the water cool. It may take on a faint colouring from the softened leaves. Simply rinse your hair with this tonic, leaving it on for atleast 10 minutes.
  • When I was a child, my mother used to warm curry leaves with fenugreek seeds and coconut oil, and massage my scalp with this mixture. I used to hate the exercise more because my brothers would be in stitches – they would crack jokes about my mum confusing my head with the cooking pot. All the same, over even a short time span of 2 months, I remember noticing a positive difference in thickness, texture, shine, and volume.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous on a free weekend, you can enhance the curry leaves’ inherent capacity to tackle premature greying, by adding henna leaves (yes, that colouring agent comes from a leaf), coffee powder, or used tea leaves/cooled tea-water – minus the milk and sugar of course!
  • A popular curry leaf hair mask  prepared in Indian homes includes yoghurt, and lemon juice. It’s easier to apply if the yoghurt and leaves are blended together till a consistency easy enough to handle (and ‘stick on’) is achieved. Regular use of this mask is believed to improve scalp health, revitalise hair follicles, strengthen the hair shaft, and reduce scalp dryness/itching/dandruff.

Using curry leaves for skin.

  • You can use a simple paste of curry leaves directly, or mix in some turmeric, or Fuller’s Earth (Multani Mitti). These combinations are great for inflammation, acne, heat rashes and itching, and for minimising the appearance of large pores.
  • If you’re queasy, try something comparatively easier and more relatable, like rose water. Rose water is an excellent astringent, cooling the skin, relieving it of internal heat and redness. It also helps to tighten pores.
  • If using turmeric, I would suggest applying it only on the portions of your face that have acne, just in case you’re using it for the first time, and realise you’re sensitive to the spice.

Curry leaf tea!

  • It’s been around for ages! I’ve only had it for gastric problems and nausea. But, like other clear teas, you can expect curry leaf tea to have detoxifying effects on the body too. It produces the same results as any of the above, except it’s working from the inside!
  • Preparing it isn’t complicated. You need to boil a handful or thereabouts of curry leaves in clean water. The taste takes a while to get used to, so to begin with, you may want to add a dash of lemon juice.
  • Curry leaf tea is a great natural addition to your regular diet, if you’re anaemic.

The most convenient thing about the curry tree is that it can grow easily in any section of your garden that receives ample sunlight. You can get them dried, but the strength won’t be the same. If you don’t have a garden, you can grow it in a pot, and have it handy on your kitchen window sill!

Image Credits: Pinterest
Image Credits: Pinterest