July 19, 2014

A Ticket To Ride with Sabyasachi

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Sabyasachi Mukherjee at India Couture Week 2014

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Sabyasachi Mukherjee at India Couture Week 2014

Top Indian couturier and tastemaker, Sabyasachi Mukherjee had the honour of opening India Couture Week 2014 (sponsored by Shree Raj Mahal Jewellers).  If there was ever an award for Most Creative Set, it would almost certainly always go to Sabyasachi.  The meticulous attention to detail entirely immerses one into the inspirational journey that the designer references each season and this year was no exception.  All aboard the turn-of-the-century Sabyasachi Express! Continue reading

July 16, 2014

Boyfriend, Can I Be Your Girlfriend

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I was a serious tomboy. So serious that I told the other tomboy in the school that because she wore knickers she wasn’t really a tomboy, was she? (I wore Spiderman and Hulk pants…. mmmm “Hulk pants” means something so different now.
Anyway, I digress. I therefore hung about with boys. At school, after school, in the holidays. I was a football captain with scabby knees and razor-shaved hair. No-one could beat me at Operation Wolf.
From having almost zero girlfriends, in my late 30s I now have almost zero boyfriends. In fact, I have two male friends that I love (one is gay so I’m not sure he counts).

Continue reading

June 30, 2014

The White Tiger

The White TigerTigers are synonymous with India to the point of boredom.  It is my irrational rejection of tiger references in literature that led me to ignore The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga for years.  Man Booker Prize winner? Meh, so what, I thought, it’s probably full of quaint stereotypes from cover to cover.

I’d forgotten about it entirely until a friend recently recommended it to me and then I happened to find a copy on my bookshelf (not by magic my sister must have bought it).  Well, quite simply: I loved it.  I loved the style of writing, the perspective it is written from, the observational humour is wicked and I loved reading about Delhi (currently my third home city).  Continue reading

June 25, 2014

Passport Control

British_passportMurderers and drug smugglers can hold on to their British passports but the British government is considering revoking passports of Britsh born Muslim men/boys who have decided to go and fight in the Syrian war against the Assad regime and the creeping mission to other parts of the Middle East.

Does the British government represent the people or are we under its rule and at the mercy of its whims and disregard of human rights? Continue reading

June 24, 2014

World Cup Wonders 2014

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The Hulk, Brazil

The world cup 2014 from the eyes of Bunty and Bubbly…. Continue reading

June 21, 2014

All-new India Couture Week 2014

Manish Malhotra

Manish Malhotra 2014

If you’re interested in international fashion, you will be pleased to hear that the dates for India Couture Week have been announced.  The revamped six day event will have new partnerships: Shree Raj Mahal Jewellers as title sponsors, and Logix Group as its associate sponsors. The event in New Delhi will showcase India’s finest design talent in exclusive shows by top Indian Couturiers from 15-20 July 2014. Continue reading

June 13, 2014

Little Brazil in London

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Have you noticed the World Cup started yesterday?
If you didn’t, then wow!
The magic of the World Cup has been lost for me. I haven’t been excited about it since when that crazy Cameroon goalie would run up the pitch and score a goaaaaaaaaaaaal!!!!!!!
Try this: my friends and I went to Guanabara last night for the opening night. It’s a Brazilian bar off Holborn/Covent Garden. Usually a bit studenty, we usually avoid it as it doesn’t stock one’s champagne, what what! But occasionally it is rather fun to hang out with 20-somethings during happy hour.

Continue reading

June 13, 2014

Strange Fruit in Uttar Pradesh

Sexual assault against women in India, particularly Uttar Pradesh, seems to be taking turn for the worst as rapists become emboldened by the lack of police investigation and political sympathy in favour of the criminal.   In the last fortnight four women have been raped and hung from trees by their own dupatta (scarf) or sari.

These crimes are outrageous enough but even more so are the continuous foot-in-mouth statements from the chief minister of the state, his father and a growing chorus of male chief ministers from other states.   I watched a TV discussion on NDTV (channel 511 on Sky) where a representative of the UP government repeatedly stated ‘what about men who are wrongly accused?’ Continue reading

June 12, 2014

MF Husain, A Great Master at The V & A

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Maqbool Fida Husain, known as M.F. Husain (1915-2011), was one of India’s most eminent and prolific artists.  Often described as India’s Picasso, MF Husain is one of my favourite Indian artists.  He is one of a group of Indian artists known as the Great Masters and they are indeed great, possessing a quality and perspective yet unmatched by generations of painters since. Continue reading

June 12, 2014

Don’t Do It: Brown Lippie

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The case against brown lipstick: Exhibit 1 the ageing effect

I know the 90s are back and I’m a 90s kid but…yuck.  Brown lips are gross and add 15 years to a face.  I got my first Rimmel Heather Shimmer lippie free with more! magazine and dabbed it on whilst frowning over Position of the Fortnight. Continue reading

June 9, 2014

Double Denim Rocks!

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Olivia Palermo in a new ad campaign

We love our jeans and what’s not to love about our indigo darlings in every shape or form?  That’s why double denim is just so fantastic.  Far from cringe-worthy cowboy fashion of yesteryear, it is a wonderful way to look supremely relaxed and cool.  And the best bit?  You can’t go wrong!

I bought a gorgeous polka dot bleached denim shirt from Gap but they no longer sell it and I also bought a tres chic oversized denim shirt from Les Parisiennes in Delhi, however, I LOVE these ones too:

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J Crew Classic Chambray Popover £78 Continue reading

May 31, 2014

ilili

ilili

While mooching around the fine island-thing that is Manhattan, one must sample the seafood or one really is a loser.

Enter ilili, 236 Fifth Ave.

Love! A fabulously exclusive Lebanese restaurant (what, you didn’t book weeks ago? You mustn’t have any friends this side of the pond darling). A little darker than I like for a restaurant but phew, the tables are lit well Continue reading

May 29, 2014

Sunday Mayhem in the West Village

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Of course in New York you have to go for brunch. I have plenty places to recommend but my favourite is one that you don’t go purely to eat. You simply must try the Beaumarchais in the West Village, New York.

Don’t waste your time going there in the week, you have to go on a Sunday afternoon to get that truly bonkers feeling of turning repeatedly to people around you screaming oh my god can you believe this crazy place on a SUNDAY??

It starts off ok. A little bit pretentious and we were made to wait over 30 Continue reading

May 24, 2014

My New Seven Year Itch

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Relationships…dontcha love ‘em??  However, the relationship I’m about to ponder isn’t one with a guy…it’s with a country: India.  I first travelled to India at the end of 2006 and it’s been a rough and ready ride.  I travel there for my business and it just doesn’t seem to be getting easier or more pleasant even though I’ve had the most amazing time there.  How does that contradiction work? Well….

I’ve travelled and explored India and my interests have take me to wonderful cities and villages where I have met weavers and wonderful organisations helping creative artisans.  I base myself in Delhi and have an apartment there in  a lush, quiet, tropical paradise and have created a lovely bubble around myself and yet I am often incredibly lonely there while I get on with my incredibly stressful work.

I hate moaners and expats that arrive in Delhi wanting it to have the Continue reading

May 24, 2014

How to…Pack for Holiday?

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Bubbly you’ve GOT to help me!!! That was my sis as she thought of packing for her ten day holiday (3 days before the departure date… a little extra notice would help).  And another friend told me that she recently returned from a trip to Mexico exasperated as nothing she packed went together and she simply couldn’t create looks she was happy with while she was there.  There’s no doubt about it, holiday packing can be stressful.

My first advice to my sis was to make a grid with the number of days at the top and day and night to the left: Continue reading

May 19, 2014

Hall of Fame: Kamila Shamsie

Kamila Shamsie at Asia House Literature Festival 2014

Kamila Shamsie at Asia House

Internationally successful writer, Kamila Shamsie sat with the Chatterjis for a wee interview at the end of her event at the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival 2014. Quality literature could be Pakistan’s second biggest export after Mangoes and Kamila Shamsie’s work sits on the most coveted international shortlists. Calm, confident and endearing, Kamila gave a wonderful interview and we hope you enjoy it:

You live and work between three locations in three different countries, what aspects do you enjoy and dislike?

Now I only live in London, I used to live in Karachi, London and upstate New York. But now I live in London the most. What I love most about Karachi is that it’s home, it’s where I grew up it’s familiar. My family is there, the sea is there so it’s everything I’ve grown up with. So Karachi is in the way you love your childhood. And London I love in the way I embrace…the future I suppose.

Do you describe yourself a feminist/ what does the term mean to you?

I absolutely describe myself as a feminist. What it means to me is…being against patriarchy, there are more complicated ways of that. We live in a society that is structured in an unjust way and that’s wrong and should be changed.
What do you think identity means today for yourself as a dual citizen and for British born Asians? Continue reading

May 18, 2014

Amy’s Bread

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If you find yourself wandering around bustling Hell’s Kitchen, New York then there are a million and one places to stop for cake and coffee. So how to select the best one once you ignore all the chains? (Rather alarming posters of Oprah Winfrey currently on every Starbucks window as she’s promoting her new Chai Latte, now that’s random.)

Easy! Go to Amy’s Bread – it is such a find! Too cute – it reminds me a little of Gail’s Kitchen in London but this is a million times better and cheaper. We walked in for $3 iced mochas and read a cute sign “Voted Best Carrot Cake by the New York Post”. Sold! Continue reading

May 18, 2014

Cracking Up: The Evolution of British Asian Humour

British Asian Comedians,Anil Gupta,Sathnam Sanghera, Shazia Mirza, Saurabh Kakkar

From L-R: Saurabh Kakkar, Shazia Mirza, Anil Gupta, Sathnam Sanghera at Asia House

It’s the second time British Asian humour has been the subject of debate and discussion as part of Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival and this year’s event was wonderful.  Everyone in attendance was mostly in good spirits (some wine helped of course!), eager to hear and participate in the discussion. Despite the lightness of the topic, Bunty and I left feeling we had learnt new things and subjects to ponder. The evening event focused on British Asian humour, its development as mark of cultural identity and how it has evolved since Goodness Gracious Me.

Goodness-Gracious-Me

Asia House invited Anil Gupta, Saurabh Kakkar (both writers and producers) and Shazia Mirza the stand up comedian. Anil Gupta is well known for the revolutionary and groundbreaking series Goodness Gracious Me, The Office and The Kumars at No 42. The evening started with a few Continue reading

May 17, 2014

A New Saffron Dawn in Indian Politics

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‘The world’s largest democracy’ cast more than 500 million votes over five weeks to decide who would win and take India roaring into the future and Narendra Modi came out on top with a huge majority.  India has spoken. Decisively.

For the first time in 30 years Indian voters helped create a majority government blasting the incumbents to an insignificant minority.  Right wing and Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) had long been tipped to win the election but most Delhiites I spoke to last month were sure that they wouldn’t have an outright majority and would inevitably have to form a coalition of sorts.  My goodness was everyone shocked, it was time for a new generation.  Even former MPs that had held on to their safe seats for 15 years or more were ousted for the first time.  Continue reading

May 14, 2014

Tibits: Veggie Heaven

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I am a veggie (sort of, I can eat fish if it isn’t looking at me) but I avoid veggie restaurants. I know that’s bonkers but I find that good restaurants always have good options and let’s face it, the atmosphere will be better as veggie restaurants aren’t usually filled with roaring drunken laughter.

Not so Tibits! Tucked away on Heddon Street just off Regent St, this gem of a restaurant is wonderful. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a restaurant because it Continue reading

May 14, 2014

Half of a Yellow Sun

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As I have yet to read Americanah, this is my favourite Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie novel and I was very excited to see the film. I was not disappointed. Ignore other reviewers who are moaning about this film as, apart from some dull gratuitous Newton nipple shots, the film is wonderful.
I was pleased to see that the film didn’t just concentrate on the despair and woe of the Biafran war but actually showed a raw human side, a middle-class educated side that is rarely seen in films about West Africa (or indeed any African nation). Continue reading

May 13, 2014

Polio Certificate to Leave Pakistan

WHO

From June 2014 if Pakistanis want to visit countries abroad they need a government authorised certificate that they have been vaccinated against polio after new advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO).  Pakistan, Syria and Cameroon have been singled out as the last threatening reserves of the disease.

Although adults can carry the disease it only affects children often leaving them disabled.  Polio workers in Pakistan have been consistently targeted Continue reading

May 13, 2014

Crayons for Lips

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Bourjois have brought out a new range of lip crayons called Colour Boost and they are delicious!

Easy to apply, the glossy colour makes lips appear bigger Continue reading

May 13, 2014

Pakistan: Literary Treasure Trove

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Kamila Shamsie at Asia House

Last week Bunty and I spent the evening at Asia House for the continuing literature festival sponsored by the Bagri Foundation. The festival is on until 21st May and there are still many wonderful events to attend! www.asiahouse.org and follow on twitter @asiahouseuk @festofasianlit

Multi award winning writer, Kamila Shamsie was the star of the evening and new writer, Omar Shahid Hamid was introduced and interviewed in Extra Words, a new segment created by Asia House to focus on new talent at the festival.

Kamila was asked all about her new book, A God in Every Stone (I’m reading my signed copy, review to follow asap!). Breathtaking in scope from Continue reading

May 10, 2014

Life And Laughter With A Diplomatic Wife

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Author Brigid Keenan is a charming, witty writer who knows exactly how to recall a lifetime of wonderful and disastrous events as the trailing wife of a diplomat.  I read her book Diplomatic Baggage after meeting Brigid at a dinner party one evening in London. We created instant warmth as we exchanged stories of India.

Packing Up – Further Adventures of A Trailing Spouse is Brigid Keenan’s latest book about her life in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Palestine.

Continue reading

May 9, 2014

The Last Word: Hanif Kureishi

UK writer Hanif Kureishi in conversation with Razia Iqbal about new book 'The Last Word'Razia Iqbal is BBC Special Correspondent and presenter of Talking Books. Headline event for opening night of Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival @ Asia Ho

Hanif Kureishi with Razia Iqbal Photography by Nick Cunard http://www.nickcunard.co.uk

A superstar author never shy of sharing his opinion, Hanif Kureishi opened the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival with an evening full of laughter and delight.  The writer was interviewed by BBC special correspondent Razia Iqbal who effortlessly kept her own presence on stage and steered the discussion that gave interesting insights into the way Hanif writes, his life and opinions.

The evening began with Hanif Kureishi reading an excerpt from The Last word, his latest novel about a young English Continue reading

April 20, 2014

Marrakech in Style

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Riad Lila

My sister and I spent a long weekend in Morocco recently and my goodness it was fun.  It could easily have been a bore, I had just returned from Delhi and so a traditional Moroccan trip of spending endless hours in souks and around henna painters was not the fix I was going for.  What did we do instead?  Nikki Beach, YSL gardens, a live Arabic music night club, a day trip and made new local friends that’s what….

My sister found the most delightful and stylish independent hotel, Riad Lila that was off the historic old square.  A gorgeously decorated secret retreat, Continue reading

April 19, 2014

Free Women

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I just finished reading Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook.  It is a wonderfully bold book charting, amongst other important events and cultural/social changes, the freedom of women.

Free to have careers, sex and their own opinions it is set during the evolutionary stage of female emancipation that we, women of today, can relate to even though the book is set from the 1930s onwards.  This was a groundbreaking novel when it was published in 1962 and I would say it still strikes a chord today.  Continue reading

April 2, 2014

Rapunzel

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Sometimes after a gorgeous indulgent shower I look into a steamy mirror looking for the blond beauty in the old Timotei ads and instead I see Smeagol from Lord of the Rings. Thin stringy hair sticks to my scalp and I shudder.

Not any more! Enter L’Oréal Elvive Fibrology Thickening Shampoo, Conditioner and Serum. Now, L’Oréal is a little iffy on science Continue reading

April 1, 2014

Grand Finale WIFW: Namrata Joshipura

grand finale namrata joshipura2Namrata Joshipura Grand Finale WIFW AW 2014

Oh the pressure! The opening and closing shows for Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week are usually the most anticipated and highest profile.  This year, the grand finale honour was granted to designer Namrata Joshipura whose signature silhouettes include red carpet gowns as well as barely there bodysuits.

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Namrata Joshipura Grand Finale WIFW AW 2014
Continue reading

April 1, 2014

WIFW Photo Diary AW 2014

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Mandira Wirk WIFW AW 2014

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Mandira Wirk WIFW AW 2014
Continue reading

April 1, 2014

Austria Is Trending

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Pero by Aneeth Arora WIFW AW 2014

‘You’re in next season’ I told my friend. ‘Whaaattt?’ Was my confused friend’s reply as she’s never in or on trend or bothered.

My friend is an Austrian chef living in Delhi.  We were out looking for check fabric a couple of weeks ago for her company branding so I was pleasantly surprised to see checks were in two shows at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week AW14.  And that too in both the prints we selected, blue checks and red checks. Continue reading

April 1, 2014

Pankaj & Nidhi Play Cards

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Pankaj & Nidhi WIFW AW 2014

Pankaj & Nidhi’s show was sponsored by Fiama Di Wills so it was a rather slick production, albeit with a fashionably late start.  Pankaj & Nidhi’s signature looks is placement embroideries and graphics in bold combinations.

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Pankaj & Nidhi WIFW AW 2014

The collection notes referenced the history of playing cards linking their origin from ancient China to their appearance in Spain and Portugal.  So far so good, especially in the graphics department.  Then the designers also took inspiration from matadors in a bullring.  I think this was too much for me.  Continue reading

March 31, 2014

WIFW: Cool Kashmir

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Zubair Kirmani WIFW AW 2014

Two designers were inspired by Kashmir for AW 2014/15: Zubair Kirmani and Mrilnalini. It was great to see how the same inspiration can produce such different results. Zubair’s collection was feminine indulgence and prettiness whereas Mrilnalini had a utilitarian approach. Continue reading

March 31, 2014

Bohemian Travellers Spin The Fashion World Around

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Anita Dongre WIFW AW 2014

A few designers at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week were inspired by the concept of a free spirited bohemian, vintage loving traveller.

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Anita Dongre WIFW AW 2014

Anita Dongre’s Jaipur bride muse made Europe her playground for AW 2014.  Gorgeous tousled hair, peacock eyes and tassels were the continuing thread in an altogether beautiful collection.  The European reference didn’t come across as strong as the designer may have wanted as the prints and overall styling as very Indian ethnic.  Perhaps the Jaipur bride decided to park herself in Andalucia?  Continue reading

March 31, 2014

Soltee: Dark Gives Balance

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Soltee by Sulakshana Monga WIFW AW 2014

‘Dark Gives Balance’ was the title of Soltee by Sulakshana Monga’s show for AW 2014.  A collection that was dominated by nudes, browns and golden tones, the looks that were presented were glamorous and bold.  Including floor sweeping gowns, menswear and flatteringly draped separates, the collection had only good times in mind.

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Soltee by Sulakshana Monga WIFW AW 2014 Continue reading

March 31, 2014

In A New York State Of Mind

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Hemant & Nandita WIFW AW 2014

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Hemant & Nandita WIFW AW 2014

‘Plush decoded’ was the title of designers Hemant & Nandita’s show but it could also easily have been New York decoded.  Luxurious sportswear inspired separates ensued down the catwalk with mesh park fences as the backdrop. Continue reading

March 30, 2014

Streets Are Cooler Than Runways

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Josh Goraya WIFW AW 2014

Upcoming and talented designer, Josh Goraya showcased his latest collection in a segment called Hi5 where five new designers pick ten looks each for a joint fashion show.

Designing for both men and women, it is the menswear that I was more drawn to simply because the looks were so cosmopolitan and had interesting design elements without losing any masculinity. This is important for lots of men when looking for new designs. Continue reading

March 30, 2014

Rajputana Traveller by Samant Chauhan

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Samant Chauhan WIFW AW 2014

‘Some travels take you so far that even when you return you are gone forever…probably it’s then they call it a journey’…the Rajputana Traveller.

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Samant Chauhan WIFW AW 2014

Designer, Samant Chauhan grows in confidence each season with new chapters from his Rajputana fashion series.  Continually drawing on inspiration from his native Indian state he keeps the collection looking bold and structured yet incredibly feminine. Continue reading

March 29, 2014

Satya Paul, Icarus

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Satya Paul WIFW AW 2014

The latest Satya Paul collection designed by Masaba Gupta was a lighthearted take on print and was entitled ‘Icarus’. The show notes say that ‘Icarus’ is an effort to revel in the cheerful, suggest the alternative and slightly alter the envelope. When I googled it I found reference to Greek mythology so let’s stick with the Satya Paul meaning.

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Satya Paul WIFW AW 2014

Masaba is experimental and contemporary with her perspective on print and she is widely copied in the Indian export market. Her lipstick print last season and the water tap this season are fun and a welcome departure from flora and fauna inspired prints. Continue reading

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