PACESETTER Jaskirat Singh Nagra
Have a dream party
When the Mittals moved into their new state-of-the-art penthouse apartment they threw a lavish Las Vegas-theme bash for their close friends. The annual get-together, the Malpanis plan for their friends and family, is looked forward to with an element of wonder. Reason – every consecutive party beats the previous one in the uniqueness of its concept and execution.
With disposable incomes more and more Indians are becoming big spenders on theme parties. The sets have gone international, the tastes assorted and the budgets grander. The Indian party lover has a whole gamut of party themes to choose from. From the Victorian era to the wildness of Las Vegas casinos – anything can be recreated in your backyard.
“Urban upper middleclass people these days spend almost the same amount on a kid’s birthday, an anniversary or a housewarming party, as spent by someone from middle class for their wedding,” says party planner Sagar Shokeen, who has been organising theme parties since the last few years. Sagar recounts how his team had created a bar made of multiple bottles for a bachelor’s party – a theme much appreciated by all guests.
When it comes to picking a theme, Indian party lovers are spoilt for choice. According to Manu Mahalwar, director, Talk of Town Events, the themes can be “as varied as Hawaiian to Arabian Nights to Shaan-e-Awadh.” Party planner Liza Verma concurs with Mahalwar. She has organised exotic parties not just in India but all over the world with themes as diverse as Russian ballet, Turkish charm or Rajasthani regalia. Colour-based themes like cool blue are quite popular amongst party lovers.
For nature lovers, party planners are providing a special treat with eco-friendly theme party packages. However, a theme called Sufi nights with Sufi performers enthralling the audience has the maximum number of takers these days. An equally popular and not too expensive theme is ‘casino’ with card-games and card-décor being the key elements.
If you thought a sangeet night was the only occasion to splurge and show your social might, wait till you get swept away with the magnificent sets of a ‘sweet sixteen’ party for girls or a ‘just-turned-18’ party for boys.
Housewarming, baby showers and anniversaries are some of the occasions on which people do not mind spending whole-heartedly. “These days people even rope us in to ensure they have the most talked-after Holi or Diwali bash,” say Sagar Shokeen.
“People are focusing more on quality than quantity,” according to Manu Mahalwar, who believes that the current trend for middle class is to organise a classy extravaganza even if it means inviting limited people. Appreciating the discerning palate of Indian party-goers, Mahalwar says, “If a theme requires customisation it becomes even more fun and creatively challenging for the party planner”.
Elements of ecstasy
According to industry experts, the devil lies in small details right from the selection of invites to creating the right ambience with light and decor, choosing the relevant menu, choosing the perfect theme, selection and placement of props and most importantly not overdoing any of the core elements. A grand entrance goes a long way in reiterating the essence of your party’s theme, explains Shokeen, while adding that equal emphasis needs to be laid on lounge area, bar and seating arrangements.
Presentation matters as much as the content and that is why connoisseurs spend hours planning how to send an invite in an innovative fashion or how to cater a menu in a more appealing way. Selection of right music goes a long way in determining the mood of your party and live performances add just the right dash of flavour to it.
Do’s and Don’ts
A well-orchestrated theme party may make your bash talk of the town for endless days with guests swearing by your panache for throwing a gala. But if you overlook the basics, it might just ruin the whole experience for you and your guests. Party planner Manu Mahalwar suggests on not overdoing all elements. “Stick to customising chosen elements and focus on these alone, better yet, let the professionals handle it for you,” says Manu, adding that a good professional will deliver in your budget without overstretching it.
Sagar Shokeen gives further tips saying one must keep a guest list handy and not forget to appoint someone to keep a check on the bar. In fact, one must keep an entire checklist of elements promised by the party planner on the D-day and ensure if everything is being delivered as promised.
When choosing a professional to arrange your party, it is always a good idea to see the elements they will be using in your party. You should not just go by pictures but see well in advance exactly what kind of flowers, props and other elements are going to be used for party décor. To make sure that your caterer is delivering exactly the same flavours that you sampled and approved of, appoint someone to taste everything before it is laid on the table. If you have an additional entertainment element to your party – singers, dance troupe, stand-up comedians – do insist on seeing their live performance if possible or at least recording from any of their previous shows.
Maintaining a stringent quality check will ensure that your party turns out to be nothing less than an extravaganza for your guests but, as Mahalwar concludes, do not get so engrossed with minute details that you forget to let your hair loose and have a time of your life. After all wasn’t that the idea to begin with!
PACESETTER Jaskirat Singh Nagra
WHEN Jaskirat Singh Nagra was gifted an old Triumph Herald by his grandfather around 25 years back, little did this auto enthusiast, now 42-year-old, know that this would help him develop a much-cherished hobby. As a child, Jaskirat would be fascinated with cars and off-road vehicles, particularly Army jongas, especially since his father was in the Army. At the age of 12, he would sneak out of their house in Rajasthan with his father’s jeep and drive the vehicle over the dunes. This is how he learnt driving.
Inspired by his maternal uncle, who is a genius with automobiles, Jaskirat began by making minor modifications and tinkering with his father’s cars. However, it was only when he was able to get himself a decommissioned jonga in 2010 that he was able to restore it to its original specifications. The appreciation he received from his friends and family prompted him to pursue his hobby in earnest. An Electronics and Telecommunication Engineer, besides an MBA from Lancaster University, Chandigarh-based Jaskirat has many badges of honour that he wears proudly. These include a gold medal in SMT (surface mount technology). His present profile as vice-president, heading a company within the CDIL (Continental Device India Limited), leaves him with little time to pursue his hobby. Therefore, he utilises Sundays for it. So much so that he has not taken a Sunday off for the past two years.
Lovingly called “Weekend Warrior” by his friends, Jaskirat usually takes around six to eight weeks to complete work on one vehicle. The time spent at the garage is also the time for the family to bond as most of the time he is accompanied by his wife and two sons, who share his passion.
His parents too are supportive of his hobby. While his mother continues to inspire him, his father, a retired Army officer, helps by overseeing the instructions he gives to his small team of seasoned workers.
The vehicle he enjoyed working on the most was Gul Panag’s Super Milo. The adventure enthusiast actor, model, social activist had entrusted him with preparing an expedition vehicle for offbeat journeys.
About the kind of modifications that people usually go in for, he says, “Off-road driving and tough looks go hand in hand. Most of the people want the exterior of their vehicles to be enhanced. However, the more serious ones want added features to tackle extreme driving conditions.”
General modifications include suspension enhancement, snorkels, special exhausts, auxiliary lights, sports seats, roof racks etc. The price of each accessory ranges from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh, depending on the requirement.
“I don’t work to a plan and normally undertake only selective projects”, says Jaskirat, who is also fond of riding and squash.
He says, “The most important aspect of creating these modifications is the ability to visualise your creation.” He spends his evenings browsing the net, reading automotive journals and books.
About the increasing demand for these modifications, Jaskirat says, “Automotive enthusiasts come in every gender and age. The concept of adventure is fast catching up in India. Off-road driving is popular across all age groups.”
He’s inspired by people like Chip Foose of Foose Design, Ryan Friedlinghaus of West Coast Customs, and Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italdesign but his all-time favourite has been late Carroll Shelby, American automotive designer who could flawlessly combine performance and design.
From the number of inquiries he gets, he feels there is a good market for modifying cars, and at some point in his life, he would like to devote more time to it. Jaskirat dreams of having a customisation shop on the lines of car design and remodelling company Foose Design. He would also like to set up a company that organises off-road expedition trips across the country.
However, at present, his plate is full, with work that is equally enjoyable. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination”. He is enjoying the journey.
Guess what’s the latest fashion fad among celebrities? It is ‘wearing’ butterflies, dragonflies, bunny rabbits, crystal flowers, falling stars, nostril-flaring dragons, galloping horses, racing panthers, unicorns, crocodiles, swords and other quaint designs and motifs. Yes, they are all wearing their attitude on their shoulders, coat lapels, collars, chests, sleeves and arms.
Welcome to the world of pins and brooches — the latest fashion accessory that the trendy are flashing on the ramp and the red carpet. These attractive little accessories can perk up a lacklustre outfit. These can be elegant, whimsical or chic. These can send out a message, or just be funny. Whatever their intent, the main purpose of these brooches and pins is to brighten and enliven ensembles.
Star divas like Freida Pinto, Sonam Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Deepika Padukone, besides hunks like Aditya Roy Kapoor, Abhay Deol, Ayushmann Khurrana and a host of others have all been accessorising their outfits with designer pins and brooches made in gold, silver, platinum, diamonds, rubies, Swarovski crystals and a host of other materials.
And thanks to Bollywood A-listers, these pins are fast-gaining popularity among the youth. With floral, animal and celestial designs dominating, brooches are adding a zing to dresses and are suddenly becoming fashion accessory of the year.
“It’s all about passion. Brooches are like icing on the cake. Once you pin these on, these add instant pizzazz to your personality. These are a self expression, a trend, and more importantly, these are addictive and heighten your fashion quotient,” says Shiney Sehgal, an upcoming accessories designer.
Designers like Shiney, who are cashing in on that one sparkling moment on the ramp or the red carpet when a celebrity flaunts a brooch or a pin. That moment can translate into serious money as the styles celebrities wear set trends that trickle all the way down to the young fashionistas who frequent the malls and high fashion streets to add a chic touch to their couture.
The best part about brooches is that these add an elegant touch to an old outfit like a dress or a blazer. And not all of them require you to break a bank. Stylish brooches can come for as little as Rs 200 though the upper limit can touch the sky in case you decide to encrust them with gold, platinum and precious stones. A chic faux jewel-studded brooch, however, can be a wonderful way to get your party sparkle for a few hundreds of rupees.
The best places to wear brooches for maximum effect are coat lapels, scarves, cravats, and even belts and waistbands. These can be pinned to shawls, stoles and other outwear. You can also wear these in your hair, at the curve of your waist, and just about anywhere that needs a little panache.
The versatility of brooches make these a stunning fashion accessory that can add drama to any outfit. These let you effortlessly change your look, especially from day to evening wear with just a pin-on that says a lot about your personality.
Interestingly, brooches make great hair ornaments. These can be used on braids, straight hair, curly hair or any other hairstyle. Large brooches look fabulous on long wavy hair and are just the thing for keeping an ‘up-do’ firmly in place. Flower brooches, in particular, will look lovely on buns and straight styles, too, can be electrified by a brooch.
Seeing their rising popularity, it is little wonder that this classic accessory has been re-invented by the world’s leading design labels like Roberto Cavalli, H&M, Yves St. Laurent, Oscar de la Renta, Chanel, Cartier, Tiffany and a host of others.
These leading couturiers are making crystal brooches, pearl and rhinestone brooches as well as beaded brooches. However, acrylic, amber, diamante, enamel, fabric, gold plated and sterling silver brooches, too, are ruling the world of fashions.
Brooches, sometimes called finely articulated miniature sculptures, have been around for centuries. In the earliest times, when people wore big pieces of clothes, brooches were used to fasten these on the body. Egyptians, Romans, Greeks and other ancient civilisations have been known to have used these as ornaments and as symbols of status and position in society.
Their appeal may, at times, have diminished but these have never gone out of fashion. Through most of the 20th century, these have been used to add class and elegance to the outfits. But, of late, these have come back to create waves in the fashions world all over again.