Cutture London

We go behind the scenes in the studios of Cutture London, to learn about about their history, design process and how they conceptualised our beautiful invitations for our boutique event earlier this year with Suneet Varma, Tarun Tahiliani and Judith Leiber Couture. http://www.thinkshaadi.com

Chal le Chal – Behind the Scenes

Last week we at Think Shaadi had the privilege of showing you an innovative new project from our partners at The Wedding Filmer. One of India’s most sort after wedding videographers composed their own song for newlyweds Neha and Ravi. Titled ‘Chal le Chal’ and sung by Devangi Chopra, the song is a cover of Dust to Dust by the Civil Wars.

In this exclusive behind-the-scenes video, you will see the sheer amount of effort and care taken to create this slice of musical magic. The score was carefully crafted for the couple, bringing the unique aspects of Neha and Ravi’s love truly centre stage. With it’s sweet yet passionate lyrics, the score encapsulated the magnificence and brevity of eternal love.

As you will see, the team delved deep into their creative minds to really explore this new form of bespoke.

Enjoy! Xx

The Wedding Filmer – Neha and Ravi

Exclusive Premier of  Chal le Chal

Think Shaadi is proud to give you the first global release from The Wedding Filmer

In the eternal quest to further the magic of bespoke, the geniuses at The Wedding Filmer composed a special song – ‘Chal le Chal – to compliment the love story between the beautiful couple Neha and Ravi. It enshrines the video perfectly, with it’s gloriously ebullient lyrics. The guys said “The song Chal le Chal is sung by our ‘little ninja’ Devangi Chopra and is a cover of Dust to Dust by the Civil Wars, the lyrics couldn’t be more apt for Indian wedding.”

The Wedding Filmer is the brainchild of award-winning filmmaker Vishal Punjabi, who runs the company with his crew of Bollywood and internationally acclaimed technicians. The soul purpose of The Wedding Filmer, as described by the team themselves is ” to bring you the magic of the movies in real, human stories that will make you cry, laugh, dance and leave you asking for more! Join his team as they travel the globe and explore the most inherent stories in the deepest, brightest and therefore truest parts of the human soul.”

 

The Perfect Outfits for Sisters

So here comes the sister of the bride. If you are bride or groom’s sister then you have a pivotal role to play in the big fat Indian wedding. There is a lot of focus on bridal styling and outfits so in today’s post I want to share some outfit and styling ideas for the bridesmaid.

Since bridesmaids have a lot of running around to do, it is better to opt for something light and trendy. You don’t have to go overboard with your styling – there is no point in stealing limelight from the bride plus you do not want to look like the bride. Personally I think bridesmaids should opt for something that looks elegant and trendy. Here are some styling ideas that you can try. I have taken inspiration from the catwalk and India’s top designers.

Fun and Feminine

Trust me people who have most fun in weddings are the bridesmaids. Indian weddings are fun and if your sister or brother is getting married then it makes the occasion even more special. Anushree Reddy is known for her pastel flower print lehenga and her latest collection is nothing but fun and feminine. Taking inspiration from the rich heritage of Hyderabad, The Royal Courtyard collections boasts of delicate embroideries, lace and floral prints. It is a go-to collection for any bridesmaid.

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My other favourite collection is Anita Dongree’s Summer Bride 2015. The gotta patti work in soft pastel colours is drool worthy. Though it is a bridal collection, there are some great non-bridal pieces as well.

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Sari with a Twist

Sari is such an elegant outfit that you can never go wrong with it. If you want to wear a sari as your bridesmaid outfit then you can give it a bit of a twist and make it trendy and modern. Here are some sari inspirations.

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Gaurav Gupta is know for his sari gowns and twisted drapes. In this electric blue piece here gives a new dimension to the outfit.

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I am a big fan of Anamika Khanna designs. The use of intricate lace adds a vintage charm to her outfits. This white sari with a flowy cape style blouse will look very elegant on a bridesmaid.

Crop Tops

Embellished crop tops teamed up with plain or light work lehenga is a wonderful option for a bridesmaid. With crop top lehenga you can get away by not wearing a dupatta. Crops tops can look very flattering on most most body shapes. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing a choli then crop tops are ideal.

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Something Different

If you do not want to go down the typical sari, lehenga or suit route then why not experiment with something different. Here are some outfit inspirations that you can experiment with.

Dhoti pant with a fitted jacket is a very unique combination and very different from your regular traditional outfits.

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Long Jacket teamed up with wide leg trousers is also a great alternative. Do try it if you do not want to go down the fun and feminine look.

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For more fashion inspiration have a look at some of the famous Bollywood sisters.

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Hope you got some ideas on how to style your bridesmaid outfit. Take your time to choose something that inspires you. Try on different outfits, may be take pictures and see which one looks good on you. Finally choose a dress that you like and feel good in.

By Mandavi Kaushik

DSCF3306Mandavi is a fashion stylist and blogger based in London, she has a passion for design and knows good style when she sees it. You read more from Mandavi over at her blog The Red Notebook Blog.

Twitter: @MandaviKaushik

Facebook: The Red Notebook

Instagram: Mandavi

Image sources – Lakme fashion week , Designer’s social media

Mario Perera: The Four Seasons Master of South Asian Cuisine

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When a hotel has reached the heights of its power, just a name is enough to make peoples eyes light up. The Four Seasons is one of them, opening its first hotel in 1961, it has since gone on to expand to the four corners of the globe, and become famous for offering pure luxury to its guests. The secret behind the Four Seasons success is, aside from good old fashioned hard work, a careful eye to seek out the best talents.

The Four Seasons London at Park Lane keeping true to its mantra has Chef Mario Perrera, one of the pioneers of South Asian fine dining in London.

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Mario was also one the first South Asian chefs on Park Lane, initially training at St. Jospeh’s College, in Colombo, Sri Lanka; he began his career at the Taj Samudra, in Colombo, finally completing his culinary training at the Ceylon Hotel School. After that he was caught by wanderlust, so, in 1998, travelled to England, where his brother was living. He quickly found a notice that the Dorchester Hotel was looking for a chef, once hired he became the mentor of the renowned chef Henri Browsi.

Speaking exclusively to Think Shaadi, Mario explained about his long time passion for creating and experimenting with South Asian cuisine – “My passion for cooking comes from growing up in a home with two parents who were great cooks. Looking back I can remember a moment when I realised my passion for cooking. I was nine and my mother (a hairdresser) was ill so, I decided to cook a Sri Lankan meal for her, just as she had done for me. She still laughs about how at that age I managed to replicate an entire, authentic, meal for her!”

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Working for the Dorchester, as one of the only South Asian chefs, was a fine achievement, as Mario says – “I saw the job advertised and after walking in I met the hiring chef and said “I’ll start tomorrow” to which he replied “sure, see you at 9am”. I was probably the only Asian in the kitchens and within a couple of years I’d risen from third commis to first commis.

Working his way up through the ranks at the Dorchester proved felicitous, as Mario caught the eye of many in the world of luxury cuisine, with his finely executed creations. Just over two years he was head hunted by the Four Seasons team, who hired him as their top sous chef, at their Park Lane hotel. Now in his new position, Mario works a little differently he told us – “At Four Seasons I am a little more hands on and like to get involved from the start where possible so we can exceed our guests’ expectations from the very beginning, to the very end.”

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Throughout his illustrious career, Mario has fed the great and the good, delighting the palates of such people as the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush, pop star Michael Jackson, film star Johnny Depp, and of course H.M Queen Elizabeth II. We had to ask Mario what his routine is like cooking for such esteemed guests, to which he replied – “During my career I’ve cooked for numerous Heads of State, the Queen 6 or 7 times and been the personal chef for the King of Bahrain. However my routine never changes as I always set out to deliver the same level of excellence for every guest, which is something we aim to deliver in every aspect at Four Seasons.” And his favourite guest to cook for was of course the Queen – “Without a doubt the Queen is probably the highlight of my career and something I’m very proud of.”

As the undisputed master of South Asian cuisine, it’s safe to say Mario has placed it firmly alongside the wealth of other cuisines at the Four Seasons, with guests clamouring to indulge their taste buds. Mario says – “Our reputation for Asian cuisine has been developing hugely over the past 3 and ½ years, as shown by the increasing popularity of our venues for Asian events.”

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The Four Seasons has done something quite unique, as one of the first luxury hotels to offer guests South Asian cuisine in house, and with Mario at the helm; he knows how to cater for both the curious and the older generation. “The older generation of Asian guest typically likes traditions and follows certain cultures, whereas the younger generation tend to observe the same traditions but like to modernise them. For example the older generations might typically like a 5-course seated meal, whereas the younger generation might typically prefer a dinner based on small street-food based dishes. The skill comes in finding a balance between the two to keep our guests happy, and this is why we stress the importance of numerous tastings, with photos and tasting notes, so everything is as it should be.”

During our interview with Mario, he treated us to some of his dishes, and it’s easy to see why he gained so much popularity over the years. The dishes on offer included pani puri with pineapple, jal jeera with ginger vodka, papadi chat, dhokla with tamarind chutney, balentine of chicken tandoori with Bombay potato and mahkni sauce, each were as mouth watering as the last.

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Mario has always said that to cook good South Asian food is all about the right balance of flavours. It’s something which he has always held dear to him, along with mixing the traditional with modern in regards to presentation.

Finally, we couldn’t go without asking Mario to give some advice to couples planning the perfect wedding menu, to which he replied – “I would emphasise the importance of menu tastings, so that we can make sure everything is just how the couple hoped and exactly how it will be on the day. Once everything is exactly to their tastes, we document and photograph it, which removes any surprises and avoids any unnecessary stress on the day. This allows them to fully enjoy their big day, which, after all, is why they come to us and it is our absolute pleasure to see!”

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With the success of South Asian cuisine at the Four Seasons continuing to grow, along with Mario’s stardom, he stays to his roots as a family man, with a deep passion for cooking – feeding his guests with the same love as he does at home xx

Rosalind Miller Cakes’ Glorious Floral Couture Collection

The English Country Garden cake is one most colourful of Rosalind's collection, bursting with beautiful shades of pink, purple and red.

The English Country Garden cake is one of the most colourful of Rosalind’s collection, bursting with beautiful shades of pink, purple and red. The flowers look as if they are climbing out from inside the cake.

For readers with a sweet tooth and love for all things floral, then hold on to your seats, our wonderful partner Rosalind Miller Cakes has created quite a stir in Harrods world-famous food hall, with her new evocative collection of cake designs.

Golden Meadows is very much a Queen's cake, with brilliant shimmering second tier, and the tiny flowers in a circle. Rosalind said "This cake was inspired by tiny meadow flowers and floral hair garlands, which when combined with the gold leaf create a magical and ethereal feel."

Golden Meadows is very much a Queen’s cake, wouldn’t you say, with its brilliant regal second tier, and the tiny flowers dancing around in formation. Rosalind said “This cake was inspired by tiny meadow flowers and floral hair garlands, which when combined with the gold leaf create a magical and ethereal feel.”

Rosalind Miller has inspired and wowed us once more; these gorgeously crafted cakes are from Rosalind’s ‘Floral Couture’ collection, inspired by intricate floral gowns and the tranquil beauty of the English country garden. They were launched at Bride the Show 2014, and proved to be the star turn.

Embroidered Flowers

Embroidered Flowers has a very nostalgic feel to it, the halcyon days of sweet Edwardian refinement. Echoes of tea time at the Ritz come to mind.

As always Rosalind has conjured up all the beauty and majesty of nature, creating delicate flowers that look almost like bone china. This perfect marriage between fashion and the English countryside couldn’t have been more spectacular.

Photos courtesy of Rosalind Miller Cakes.

Suneet Varma: The Princess of Shekhawati

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Regal Rajasthan was the inspiration for this collection, presented at the BMW India Bridal Fashion Week. As Suneet Varma went all out to create an evocative and sensual panoply of designs, that made us fall in love with him all over again.

Now, it’s all very well and good for us at Think Shaadi to talk about the outstanding show, which we will be doing later, but the preparation is where the magic really happens. It’s was a frenetic time for Suneet and his team, but as he is a consummate professional, it was a beautifully ordered kind of freneticism, one in which all the last-minute details were perfectly pieced together.

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As Suneet remarked “It’s all about draping, styling and the finer details of each ensemble, until we reach perfection.” Perfection is of course what all good shows are about, and if you’re Suneet Varma, then it has to be a certain kind of perfection which supersedes everyone else. This was achieved through carefully going through every aspect, whether it be big or small, from the jewellery, hair, makeup, design presentation and so on.

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After days of careful consideration over each design and model, the show finally arrives, when all the fastidious preparations come to a head.

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Rajasthan, as one of the most colourful states in India, with its elaborate and brightly painted havelis has always been beacon for artists, designers, writers and so on.

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Specifically inspired by Shekhawati in northern Rajasthan, the city is famous for its richly painted havelis and inspiring aesthetics, built by wealthy Marwari merchants, the havelis were decorated by some of the most outstanding artists from England, Spain, India and Italy.

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Suneet spoke of Shekhawati and the deep influence it had on this collection – “I have visited Shekhawati several times‐ and each time am awestruck at the beauty and splendour of this renowned city. The very idea and opulence of living in hand painted Havelis is very inspiring for me. The stark and bright colored sprawling Havelis with incredible detailing and architecture against the blue skies of Rajasthan are magical.”

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Suneet’s imagination ran wild with this collection, The Princess of Shekhawati is traditional, yet with subtle modern twists. Like Shekhawati itself, the designs mix both age-old Indian and European artistry, the influences are maximised with fine execution.

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Festooned with piercing crystals and gems, they fit the with the variety of palettes which are a range of feminine pastels, blushing pinks and reds and midnight shades. The collection is designed in three sections – dawn, dusk and divine.

Each section is all about layering, the different ways one can achieve the perfect layered effect, from two piece sarees with embellished corset blouses with delicate antique zardosi, long anarkali kurtas with mirrorwork and thread embroidered all over jaal to short tunics with colour on color thread and Swarovski crystals with draped dhoti salwars, Angrakha style kalidar kurtas worn with short cropped jackets with draped collars and delicate bead embroidery.

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This collection of artistic dreams come to life is a masterful example of how architecture influences fashion. The show was triumphant in revealing this aspect, with the princess of cinema, Kangana Ranaut as the cherry on the cake. It was she who embodied Suneet’s Princess of Shekhawati in a way no other woman on that catwalk could.

We are very proud to have Suneet Varma as part of our community, to see more from Suneet head over to www.thinkshaadi.com to request an invite X

Photos courtesy of Suneet Varma

An Interview with Elizabeth Solaru

Elizabeth Solaru has fast become one of the most sought after cake designers in the business. Her artistry is outstanding and her attention to detail is perfect. She founded Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium in 2006, after a few years working in Biomedical Science and head hunting.

If we were to sum up Elizabeth’s cakes it would be visual splendour matched with exhilarating taste. Her splendid designs go beyond the ordinary and are simply the pinnacle of beauty. Ranging from traditional designs to those with more avant-garde motifs, such as those inspired by jewellery.

Elizabeth and her team’s talents have been recognised by many of the top publications across the world, including Conde Nast Brides, Wedding Magazine, and OK! et al.

With her business riding high on a wave of enthusiastic attention, Elizabeth is also the three times winner of The Great Cake Bake on Sky TV, a member of the international panel of Wedding Industry Experts, and competition judge and host of The Cake and Bake Show.

Think Shaadi sat down with Elizabeth to have an indepth chat about her career and current projects.

First and foremost, what was it about cake design that inspired you to pursue a career in it?
I’ve always made cakes since I was a child but as I was very good at science, and being from a family that valued academic achievement I became a scientist. Several career changes later, I started making cakes again to relieve stress when I was working as a head-hunter. One of my bosses encouraged me to do something about my cake making skills and I enrolled in a few classes in the UK and abroad. I started making cakes full time a few years later as there was such demand for what we do.

What do you think sets you apart from other cake designers?

This is an interesting question and I think the best way to answer this is to tell you what clients and other people say. At Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium, every cake is bespoke and we try not to repeat the same cake. There is a willingness to experiment with different shapes, techniques and styles (I often attract brides who want bold ‘statement cakes’ tastefully done) and another thing we get great feedback on is the taste of our cakes and our willingness to do bespoke flavours which range from traditional triple chocolate, Vanilla, Luscious Lemon to more flavours like Chocolate Bailey’s, Wasabi and White Chocolate and White Chocolate with Passion Fruit.

Where do you find inspiration?
I take my inspiration from many sources, including nature, flowers, fabrics, jewellery, stationery and I am fascinated with shapes. Clients ideas are also a great source of inspiration and it’s a real delight to see an idea become reality.

Out of everything you’ve created, what has been your most favourite design?

This is a tough one as every new cake becomes a favourite of mine! Judging by the number of likes and shares, our pearl beaded pillow cake, our radiant orchid Marie Antoinette cake and our Chandelier cake seem to be our most liked and pinned.

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If you were approached to design a cake for an Asian wedding, where would you look for inspiration?

I love, love, love making cakes for Asian weddings! The intricate designs and beading on fabrics, rich gold jewellery, vibrant colours, henna designs, scrolls, rich traditions, peacocks and Bollywood cinematography have been wonderful sources of inspiration. The cakes we’ve done for such weddings range from vintage designs, modern geometrics to highly embellished. What they tend to have in common is that they are often show stopping centrepieces.

Since launching your business, what have been the most memorable moments?

There have been so many but getting a call from royalty to make a cake has been up there. Also, seeing our cakes published in magazines such as BRIDES, Hello, OK and specialist cake magazines is always such a thrill.

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What’s next for you?

We are expanding quite rapidly and we have a number of projects in the pipeline, some of which I can’t talk about. There are a number of collaborations due to be announced soon which is very exciting. Again, thanks for the opportunity and as one of the first supporters of Think Shaadi, I am thrilled at your success and it’s a pleasure to be featured on your blog.

All unattributed photos the property of Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium.

 

Tarun Tahiliani: Bridal Couture Exposition

As we trundle along towards Vogues carnival of bridal dreams, the Wedding Show, let’s take some time out to focus on those Kings and Queens of fashion who will be taking part. Recently, that fine master of the evocative and the ethereal Tarun Tahiliani, brought all his power and prestige together at his Bridal Exposition. It was the sixth edition of Tahiliani’s now legendary expositions, which was staged at The Four Seasons Hotel in the vibrant capital of fashion Mumbai, before it heads to Delhi in August. This time around Tahiliani has collaborated with World Gold Council, for Azva, Forevermark, Swarovski and Diageo – Johnnie Walker Platinum Label 18.’ It was a grand affair to stimulate the senses of the fashion conscious, carefully put together, with attention paid to detail which was reminiscent of a coronation ceremony; it defined luxury and sartorial innovation. The mannequins, which were festooned with his designs, were painted in gold, we certainly wouldn’t expect anything less, the beautiful male and female models were obviously angelic and the exhibition room was distinctly regal. For this collection Tahiliani titled it ‘The Modern Mughals’ a most apt title it has to be said, because Tahiliani singlehandedly brought those well known sartorial attributes, so emblematic of the Mughal age straight into the 21st century, an era when potential brides and grooms are so desperate for that mix of the traditional and the functional. The transcendent designs flow like honey, glistening with charm and sweetness. Don’t be mistaken though, sweet and charming they may be, but there is also Tahiliani’s trademark power intertwined between the stitching. These are statement pieces, each one possessing certain individual qualities from the last. The colours are if taken from a panoramic sunset in the countryside, deep oranges, reds, bronze, gold, silver and sun kissed greens etc. They conjure up a vision of a queen at her summer palace, essentially rural splendour at its best. As is stated, the inspirations and influences come from the Mughals, but not just from fashion, but from their jewellery, art, architecture, literature etc, and every facet of civilisation that the Mughals, with their mixture of Indian and Persian aesthetics, sensibilities and mores came up with. Going back to the modern Mughal though, for this collection modernity sits neatly and harmoniously alongside these historic influences, this is prominently seen in the fact that each design has so much accessibility and above all breathability. The bridegroom’s were certainly not left out either, the shift from all out traditionalism to exciting modern twists had their place here too, with pre-stitched dhotis and jodhpurs etc, that were not in the usual muted colour schemes, but were instead in bright and celebratory hues, not forgetting the careful stitching and embroidery. Tarun Tahiliani continues his journey as a creative master mind, surprising and delighting us all, each and every time.   Images courtsey of  Tarun Tahiliani.

Gianvito Rossi at the Italian Embassy

gian7 gian3Italian Embassy, Paris.

Luxury was taken to a new level earlier this week, as Gianvito Rossi, the Italian maverick of shoe design, was given the ultimate accolade, having the Italian Ambassador, in Paris, host a dinner in his honour, which was also to partly celebrate the union of Gianvito with the German luxury online store mytheresa.com. It was an evening of unparalleled sensuality and beauty, the ornate surroundings of the embassy were the perfect surroundings to honour a man who has achieved what his late father Sergio Rossi did. Which is to design some of the most enviable and eye catching shoes in the history womens wear.

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Top: Rickie de Sole, Gianvito Rossi Bottom: Gianvito Rossi, Jared Leto and Justin O’Shea.

The event, although fairly small scale in comparison with other Gianvito Rossi events, had its share of big name stars in attendance, such as Hollywood heartthrob Jared Leto, along with some other familiar faces from the world of fashion and design, including Anya Ziorova, Elena Perminova and Maria Bogdanovich, not forgetting to mention royalty of course, with Saudi Arabia’s Princess Deena al-Juhani Abdulaziz also in attendance.

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Top: Gianvito Rossi, Italian Ambassador Giandomenico Magliano Bottom: Anya Ziourova, Maria Bogdanovich, Gianvito Rossi & Inga Rubenstein.

Gianvito Rossi learned and perfected his craft for shoe design working under the tutelage of his father, who grew his brand up from nothing. The quintessentially Italian trait of superb fashion design courses through his veins, and he was quick to understand the craft and the method. Gianvito has now become synonymous with creating shoes that really work for women, as well as being detailed and easy on the eye, as this example, from his Autumn collection, shows.

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Top: Veronika Heilbrunner, Serge Biasin Bottom: Princess Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz.

Gianvito creates shoes which are statement pieces, bold and artistically vibrant, yet demure and feminine at the same time. It’s a magnificent combination that only he can master properly. It’s hard to find anyone else who works with this formula in such a intriguing way.

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Top: Gianvito Rossi & Christiane Arp Bottom: Daniela Agnelli & Justin O’Shea.

Gianvito’s designs are especially versatile, with collections that range from perfect office wear to evening wear, but of course we at Think Shaadi have a particular love for the perfect wedding shoes, and Gianvito is the Crown Prince when it comes to this. We’re particularly taken with these precious designs, from his Spring/Summer collection.

The first is a gorgeous pair of plexi jewel tone pumps and the second is an exuberant pair of Ellipsis metallic pumps.

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All photos belong to Gianvito Rossi