In conversation with Shreya Sachar

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I love this section of my blog, because i get to share stories of interesting people that I meet through my work. I have been meaning to add more people who are passionate about what they do, and luckily, I met Shreya from ‘Scuti by Shreya’, while she was just going to drop off few desserts for me to try, I decided to meet her over a coffee instead. She is originally from Delhi, moved here post marriage and comes from a family of restaurateurs and people who love spending time over baking and feeding people new dishes.

She is in Hyderabad now and whips up some scrumptious desserts, that ooze with taste and surprise you with ingredients. Soon coming up with her own patisserie I spoke to her on how it all started.

‘Baking comes naturally to me, for as long as I can remember I have loved to bake. Raised in a family of restaurateurs who set up institutions like Blue Fox and Sky Room in Calcutta, I developed a love for food at an early age. Another factor that played a big role in my baking career was the family holidays, where we got to try various dishes from all around the world. It helped to have a family who are as much of a foodie as I am. I love to try desserts that play with unique flavors and textures and would come back from the holidays and try replicating those desserts. I completed my MBA in Marketing and worked for five years, but baking was always something I would look forward to at the end of the day. I never once regretted my decision of quitting my corporate job to pursue a degree in Patisserie and Boulangerie from Le Cordon Bleu, London. From there I went on to work with The Oberoi, Gurgaon as a Pastry Chef, where I contributed towards making desserts and breads for the daily buffet breakfast and was also part of the team that made desserts for the special Sunday brunches.
On Journey so far ‘It has been nothing short of fulfilling. From baking for my family, to now shipping my products across India, I feel like my dream is slowly turning into a reality. Of course, every day is a learning and there is still so much to do. But it’s great to see people appreciating my creations and making Scuti a part of their everyday lives and special moments.’ says Shreya

What do you offer as part of ‘Scuti by Shreya’
My brand Scuti offers desserts (which range from tarts and cakes, to multi layered desserts, tea loaves, brownies and biscotti’s), artisanal chocolates and healthy products like the Breakfast Granola and Granola Bars (which make for a great pre/post work out snack). Starting January, Scuti will also be offering a range of breads. One thing you will notice in the menu is the use of unique ingredients and exotic fruits. My two current favorites are Earl Grey and Passion fruit. Along with that I also do a lot of desserts using Hyderabad’s beautiful seasonal produce. While Scuti has a set menu which is fairly comprehensive, we also get requests for custom orders. Scuti also does dessert spreads for events and private parties, as well as hampers for festivals, weddings, baby showers, and other occasions.

Do you follow a recipe tool or experimenting works?
When it comes to baking, the right quantities, ingredients and baking temperatures are paramount. I do of course experiment when it comes to trying out new flavor combinations and textures, but for each item on my menu I have created a recipe.

Do you offer gluten free and vegan options as well?
Yes Scuti’s menu has a range of gluten free and vegan options.

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What would you most likely recommend from your menu?
It’s hard to choose a favorite, but here are some of my picks: Kick start your morning with the Breakfast Granola, Indulge in Scuti’s version of the Sachertorte, and the delicious Austrian Dark Chocolate Cake, Keep those midday hunger pangs away with a range of healthy Granola Bars. Enjoy a range of Tea Cakes- the perfect accompaniment to your evening cup of tea or coffee and on a special occasion opt for Scuti’s range of Entremets (these are multi layered, multi textural desserts). My favorites are the chocolate-based Chess Board and the Mango-Passion fruit based Scuti (This was the dessert I made for my final exam in Le Cordon Bleu -there’s no way I wouldn’t put it on the menu!)

What’s next?
My plans are to tap into Hyderabad’s market and grow my brand. I have already started shipping many of my products across India, but the goal is to do that for the entire range. In the new future I also plan to open a state-of-the-art cafe that offers a unique experience to the customers. I don’t plan to stop there though. As they say, “sky is the limit”!

To order and know more check out her website – www.scutibyshreya.com Facebook:scutibyshreya , Instagram: scutibyshreya

Location- Scuti – Bakery and Desserts
40, Doyens Rd, Doyens Colony, Serilingampally, Hyderabad, Telangana. 500019
Ph: 098104 04560
https://goo.gl/maps/PPU2cQX6ZPo

In Conversation With Elton Fernandez

How would you describe yourself?

I am very hard working and ambitious, they call me a potty mouth or a gutter mouth because I have a very bad sense of humor and I have skill which is to take anything, be it anything about mom, dad, hope, lunch, dinner be it anything I can make it about sex, that’s why the call me one track potty mouth. And I like that, I don’t fight it and I like style and grooming.

Since how long have you been in associated with makeup?

It’s been about fourteen and a half years and the journey has been Worthwhile and Incredible; life has been great.

What do you enjoy the most about your work?

I enjoy the fact and it’s a known fact that the entertainment or the beauty of this industry matures you at a pace that is 10 times faster than a regular, because you interact with so many different kind of people and these are all people fluctuating at a higher frequency, they are just more evolved in the way they live, they work so that experience and exchange of knowledge and idea is what I enjoy

For me you are more of an influencer, with your YouTube channel and workshops you teach and inspire so many people…

I think like a child, You know I have said this in some interview also that the two things that I wished for when I would really kneel down and pray was to have a daughter, I don’t know why but as a child I knew that I would want to grow up and have a daughter and not a son and I knew that I would want her to be the women that would be inspirational and strong. And the second thing is that I wanted to be fairer and taller that’s because people made me feel that brown is not nice and I was the darkest member of my family and my grandmother for some reason couldn’t take it, she used to call me blacky, which I thought was so rude. You know when you are a child it may be funny but when you grow up with that insecurity where all my cousins had light skin, light hair and I am dark but today I feel like I need to be the champion of my own cause, because I have learned a lot about myself.

What is the biggest challenge you faced so far?

We live in a number driven world and I find it hard accumulating these numbers being out and proud gay in a country like India, so every time I post something that’s homosexual or even remotely sexual for that matter, I lose about 100 followers, like this morning I posted a pride picture on Instagram supporting gay pride, my followers dropped from 36.7 to 36.6. so I know that people are just close minded and even on YouTube for that matter getting numbers is bit difficult because I think I am a man and I am not just somebody sitting in my bedroom and painting my face, I am doing it in a professional way so I think it’s difficult. If I was a pretty girl she would have had more followers that is something I don’t understand.

As today’s women are busier than ever, what is the easiest way from going morning to evening look?

The beauty of Indian women is brown skin and a brown canvas goes with anything, any colour. Be it brown eyes, black hair, dark brows , dark lashes any colour goes, we can put brown eye shadow or blue eye shadow, we are not limited. Like people with dark complexion can wear bold end colours, they wear solid pigment and it looks incredible. But we Indians, with our brown skin can wear any colour; so I recommend Indian women to ditch their black kajal and go for coloured kajal in the day. Like you wear purple, brown, plum and in the evening load up a bit. You have done wing liner and you have done it in black which is great but what if you did it with a blue going into a black or vive-versa or a blue under a black and in the night follow it on the underside and you can add colour, a kajal- a thick Shenaz Hussain like line and you are ready to rock.

Tell me few things every that every girl or women can have, like a go to kit.

I would say get a great skin care regime, it is your ultimate makeup.  Prep and hydrate your skin, I would suggest a hydrating gel by ‘Organic Harvest’. It is a moisturizer in a gel form, it also is a little sticky which works for me and helps me stick my make up better. I also like the sunscreen gel again from organic harvest. The other would be a spf15 which is good for dark skin. In spf people think that the higher the number the more the protection, that’s false. The lighter the number the more it applies to darker skin. A spf15 or 20 is really perfect for someone who is really dark. If you are light skinned like a Kashmiri then you would need an spf 20. For foundation that is quick, economical is ‘Fit me by Maybelline’ , then I would say get a lip and cheek stain any company ,it brings the rawness under the eyes and then an eyelash curler and a mascara and if you like something light then use a light one but if you want something dramatic then lash sensational mascara by Maybelline is nice and then use a brow pencil or a powder, just to fill in the gaps. I would like to keep one or two colored lipsticks which are long wearing so that you don’t have to keep doing the touch up and one that is boom pop up colour like a bold red or a bold pink  or orange, on darker skin orange looks good and I love Maybelline . A gloss maybe, I like glosses it’s fun and not to forget a bronzer and a high lighter.  People don’t understand that shadow is as important as light. So get shadow and get high lighter and push in certain areas of your face and highlighter adds the glow for Instagram, as we are the Insta generation

Tell me the brands that are good for Indian skin? And also how important to get the right shade of foundation?

A women should try it on her jawline, apply it there rub it back and forth for few times, if it is making you look fairer and you really have to make it rub hard then it is the wrong color. Don’t go unnecessary shades lighter. All brands make shades now-a-days.

You have worked with so many people, celebs so have you ever had that bizarre moment or any kind of moment when you were like this needs to be fixed?

Brows mostly because most of them are over grown or over scissors or over plucked that I would say to little grow up and add a little softness. I would say stop over grooming and open up the gap in between and don’t let it join.

If you would like to collaborate with someone to come with your own make up line who would it be –I would love to collaborate with Maybelline, I love the team they are young and driving, the take my feedback on and the foreign team is also so nice. But I would like to build a brand of my own and see my name on the box.

So what would be your signature for that – A bronzer that works as a highlighter for our skin. For me highlighter shouldn’t be something of whitish colour it can be pinky bronze stoned highlighter bronzer. Glow while you contour

Who is your all-time favorite muse – Kate Beckinsale, because I think she is a strong women and her personality is so elastic and look at the various hats she is wearing. She could be so many people while she is just kate.

One celeb personality you kill to have on your chair – Kate Beckinsale, a lot of people abroad think that she isn’t beautiful but I find her stunning…

Did you ever lose your temper on a celeb or anyone– Yes I did, but I never showed it. At times I did shown it also, it was just clashing of strong personalities. It’s not important how you fall but how you rise back, so if you two can agree to disagree and can allow each other’s opinion and you can agree that it was fun and lets hug it out. I am happy from my journey, its maturity. If I was the same catholic boy I wouldn’t never experience things and I would be small minded and get offended by every little thing or people that they say to me and I would be too sensitive.

What is your opinion on regrets– I don’t have any, sometimes may I would really regret hooking up with someone I dint enjoy  just for pity thing or whatever  because that happens in gay culture. It is very much about instant gratification which is about getting on an app, getting her are rocks off and getting on with life. It could be any one someone who met 15 min before, or someone with whom with you chatted for 2 days or somebody whom you bumped into the streets some day.so in that sense sometimes you do regret it, but nothing else

Are you single- I am dating a wonderful man, but I am still available- it’s a consensual non monogamous relationship, so we agree that love doesn’t have to be that you constantly need to protect. It just stays anyway.

What are the 5 things you never leave home without-My underwear, my brow pencil, my hair extension, my self-respect and just an open mind.

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In conversation with Abhinav Mishra

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Abhinav Mishra at The Deccan Story, Hyderabad

The Deccan Story beings in some of the coolest and most stylish designer previews in Hyderabad. with wedding season approaching soon and this summer getting the best of us, Deccan story has come to rescue with a summer friendly wedding collection by much talented Abhinav Mishra.

Originally from Allahabad, Abhinav Mishra has always had a penchant for design, he decided to go to one of India’s top-ranking colleges for Fashion and Design, Wigan and Leigh College, Lucknow and started his career in the décor and events industry with – Rani Pink.  He much later started his eponymous fashion label in 2009.

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Abhinav Mishra at The Deccan Story, Hyderabad

He is displaying his new collection ‘SAHIBA – Spring Summer ’18’ which is a dreamy collection of ethnic silhouettes. The couturier is known for his glamorous ethnic wear with pastel tones, textures and intricate embroideries. With an underlying mystical and romantic theme, this collection is the perfect amalgamation of traditional and contemporary silhouettes. ‘SAHIBA’ tells the story of a young girl who spends an unforgettable summer in Jaipur. The collection is an embodiment of his muse, a fun yet elegant and poised girl. He also introduces a stunning range of sarees in light hues and delicate Bougainvillea motifs and much more that is on display at ‘The Deccan Story’ Hyderabad .

His designs are light yet elegant ensembles featuring stunning mirror work. Pastel coloured lehengas with crop tops, impeccable shararas with long kurtas and anarkalis with delicate mirror work in natural fabrics, he has them all! The ensembles have a gottapatti touch inspired from Rajasthan paired with the elegant and soft looks of Lucknow.

Loving the pastel collection by Abhinav Mishra at The Deccan Story, Hyderabad
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Abhinav Mishra happy with the amazing response at The Deccan Story, Hyderabad

How did you come up with the idea of ‘SAHIBA’?
Abhinav Mishra: Since I do a lot of weddings and the guests seem to enjoy the vibe of weddings, I thought it would be a great idea to come up with a wedding line. The holiday environment surrounding weddings inspires the collection greatly.

What are the go to colours for summer weddings that suits the Indian skin tone ?
Abhinav Mishra: Navy blue, bright mustered yellow and olive green. However, peach, pink and white are evergreen.

If a bride wishes to go white, what do you suggest?
Abhinav Mishra: It is okay to turn to white. However, to consider an example, if the base is white the embroidery should be 80% golden in such a way that the colours look codominant. These are perfect for the wedding days and my clients mostly opt for  lighter shades. The skirt is usually heavy, so is the blouse and the dupatta is decently embroidered. The accessorising should can be done very well and the outcome is a modern and trendy bride.

It is seen that you use a lot of mirror work, what is the reason behind that?
Abhinav Mishra: I am from Lucknow and Mukaish work is very common there, but it is also time consuming. So, I have tried to replace the Mukaish work with mirror work instead. I typically use smaller mirrors and surround them with sequins to give a soft Mukaish look.

In terms of silhouette, what is going on with the shararas, ghararas and anarkalis?
Abhinav Mishra: I like to go simple with my cholis and shararas keeping the traditional look intact. Top hyderabad lifetsyle blogger, summer weddiing guide

We haven’t seen any chikankari in your work, especially since you hail from Lucknow,why is that? indian travel blogger, best hyderabad blogger
Abhinav Mishra: My first collection was a chikankari collection. It takes a lot of time and I have been really busy lately so I would say my next 2-3 seasons you will be seeing a lot of chikankari for sure. I like how even most youngsters are now fun to work with and love experimenting,  they are willing to wear a chikankari kurta with a mirror work gharara and banarasi dupatta. However, I feel chikankari is an evergreen.

This by far is my favourite piece from the collection, adorned by mirror work this will look good on all Indian skin tones

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Location: The Deccan Story, Rd Number 45, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. Ph:091210 10679

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In Conversation With Nikhil Thampi

Nikhil Thampi X The Deccan Story

Coming a long way from the Lakme Fashion Week in 2011 and styling remarkable celebrities, Nikhil Thampi has made it known that a formal training is not always necessary when you have the talent and passion for what you love. Through colours, fabrics and a lot of sunglasses, here is a quick glimpse at the fun loving designer’s journey in fashion. He was in town to launch his collection at the multi designer store ‘The Deccan Story’, which is available in their store throughout this month.

How did fashion begin for you?
Nikhil Thampi :  It was an overnight emotional decision. I am a psychology graduate and as every Indian boy has to join the family business, I joined my family business which is aviation. But you know, as they say, a creative person cannot be chained to a table and a desk so I was one of that. I gave it two years but I just wasn’t content in the whole atmosphere.

That is when a very close friend of mine was participating in a fashion week in Bombay, and she emotionally blackmailed me to help her. I was on vacation and thought of it as a one-month cool project.  That was my inception in fashion, where I had to set up a brand at Lakme and since then I have been in love with fashion. It is a great expression, and a language lot of people use to express themselves. Like you like writing , I am not much of an expressive human being I like being behind the scenes but I love my clothes to have a language of its own and from then since now that’s one brand ethos that we still follow. It has been six years and since you are interviewing me, I am guessing I must have done something right in my career graph which is just ascending and I hope it remains the same way.

“I believe clothes should have a personality; more than comfort or being organic it has to have some sort of personality, durability and versatility that is something we work with”

The Deccan Story, Hyderabad

How has your journey been so far?
Nikhil Thampi: Very good six years, it feels like a dream.  Every day there’s something different in the industry and you have to live up to it.  I have no technical background, I don’t know the rules of the game. But that is also a good part, I can break it and I can do what I believe instead of what the world does and that’s how I think we are balancing out really well.

How do you adapt according to the competition?
Nikhil Thampi: Here in India, technical support is something I think I lack because my brand ethos is very impactful but technically looking forward I think I am pulled back. I think I need to see and study some more, to see how I can technically advance myself further. I have the intrusion, I have the vision but the execution takes a little bit of time.

Tell us about your new collection?
Nikhil Thampi : This collection we have done here is a mix of western and Indian. Just last year we released ‘SYLPH’, which, I think did phenomenally well and I think its a new take on Indian wear. I didn’t stick to the availability in the market; you see a lot of people do head to toe embroidery, border work but I purposely keep myself away from it; it is not my strong point.

In ‘QUANTUM’ collection, metal work and silhouettes are in focus and the collection is doing amazingly well celebrity wise as well as commercial wise.

The Deccan Story, Hyderabad

What is your take on fashion weeks?
Nikhil Thampi : I think India is missing fashion from fashion weeks. If I can be very honest, I think everything that is happening right now is very retail driven, more commercial driven but the whole aspect fashion is missing. You see a lot of sustainability fashion coming in a lot of organic wear but then organic and sustainable can also be fashionable, it doesn’t have to be boring or homeless looking.

That is something which is depriving me and I haven’t been on a runway show since two years and I am waiting to get back on the runway for fashion I feel is missing in India

I personally feel lot of garments on runway don’t have the wearability factor.
Nikhil Thampi : Absolutely, thank you. Even I am very deprived of a balance in commercial wearability and fashion. We have always followed a protocol for my brand. If it’s a 40-piece collection we divide it into tens. Ten will be absolutely fashion forward editorial friendly pieces, ten that are extremely celebrity friendly, ten pieces for commercial value and ten to express my style and handwriting. So as a client you can pick a piece from any section that suits your taste, I think a balance like this is what designers are missing today.

Collaborations are a huge trend right now, if given an opportunity who/what would you collaborate with?
Nikhil Thampi: Sunglasses. I am obsessed with sunglasses and own almost 700 pair of it. I am also dying to do and fragrance collaboration, I think Indian designers haven’t really dabbled in that field yet and internationally, you take any brand they have an amazing fragrance. I mean, for me it is really important, more than your clothes you need to smell really good.

The Deccan Story, Hyderabad

Do you think Indian men are being more experimental in term of fashion?
Nikhil Thampi: Oh absolutely this is something that I am very excited about. 6 years ago when I did the ‘Cows Kurta’, everyone made fun of it and said no one is going to wear this and now everyone is wearing it. I think the evolution of brand knowledge is definitely here, also I think I must thank social media for it. If social media wouldn’t exist, men would not be experimental and be stuck in their articular zone of it but now men’s wear is just on the bloom and more exciting than women wear.

Coming to your colour palette what inspires you?
Nikhil Thampi: I am colour blind to be honest if you ask me to design a collection, I would do it only in black. But I work on earthy tones, I prefer it also  because I think it complements the Indian skin tone, women have these beautiful diverse complexion in our country from olive to fair to white so definitely there is a lot of versatility and any skin tone in earthy tones works the best so for me I love my earthy tones.

If you had to pick one milestone moment what would it be?
Nikhil Thampi: I think we did this Indian collection called Indian punk with kathakali faces, 5 years ago that got me going overnight. I think it was our third collection ever and it just blew out of proportion, post that it was the metal belt that took off really well; these two collections gave me an identity.

The Deccan Story, Hyderabad

Rapid fire
One trend you really hate- Low waist anything; if I ever see someone’s butt crack again I am literally going to pull it up
Your celebrity favourite- Anushka Sharma has my heart and soul because she was the first celebrity who had worn my label.
What is the trend of the season right now- Block colours like tone on tone.
What is your personal style like- Very boring and perpetually black.
Four things you don’t leave home without- Perfume, sunglasses, watch and an extra t-shirt.
One travel destination that really inspires you- Italy, any day.
What do you enjoy the most, about your work-The ideation process.
Two people you really stalk on Instagram- Masaba Gupta and Sonam Kapoor
What is your take on social media-Love it I am tagged as an Instagram designer and I am very glad about it, no one has the time to go on the website anymore, it is more about social presence and Instagram is a new platform. The sales we get through social media are phenomenal.

The Deccan Story, Hyderabad

In Conversation with Archana Rao

6Her store launch was a classy affair, live music, wine and cheese and lot of fabulous garments adoring the mannequins inside. Dressed in her own label and hairstyle that spoke about her style- classy and feminine; she walked around attending guests and taking compliment of her fabulous collection.
We however fixed an appointment for later to get you all the inside story behind the Archna Rao Label and more about the designer herself.
Everyone starts somewhere, what was your starting point?
Well, for me it all started off with design school. I started design at a point where I didn’t know which creative outlet I should direct myself towards. I got into NIFT and I really began to enjoy what I did. I realized designing products and clothing is what I am good at and that’s when it all started and there was no turning back since.
What is your favorite part of being a fashion designer?
My favorite part has to be the conceptualization behind every collection. I like storytelling and that is what I want to do with every concept. The fabric, textures, styling everything needs to have a reason and that is the major inspiration behind it.
1Tell us about your latest collection.
My latest collection was titled ‘The Apartment’ inspired by an abandoned home in Paris during World War 2, it was only opened up recently and there it was, just the way it was left behind. The inspiration was to bring to life the story of the woman who lived there, her exquisite taste in paintings clothes and furniture. The collection featured women’s wear, menswear in Indian and western as well.
What gives you inspiration for your collection and how do you come up with such casual yet unique names for your collection?
Here again the credit goes to the incredible stories that inspire my collection. In general I’m inspired by vintage collectibles, thrift store shopping, hand me down stories and old photographs.
4Share one of the most important moment or experience from your time involved during vogue fashion fund.
I think the most overwhelming experience had to be the night of the vogue fashion fund finale. I was humbled to have been in the finalist list with such remarkable talent itself. Having won the competition just took me to another level.
 
What has been the most challenging moment as a designer so far?
As a designer for me, understanding the market and placing myself in the business side of the area took some time but eventually I understood how it works.
7You have taken your time setting up your brand name first and then a store.. Was it a kind of strategy or you just went with the flow?
It was all about timing, I wanted to first understand how my brand is being accepted, and then I showcased my collection in several fashion weeks to establish my label. Only after that I decided to open my flagship store in Hyderabad.
Tel us about Frou-Frou and Archana Rao label (are they different lines or sub brand).
Archana Rao is my main label which showcases exclusive clothing for men and women. Frou Frou Is my sub-brand which showcases ready to wear clothing, stationary and accessories (Bags and shoes)
You have collection for girls, women, men, kids, stationery, bags and shoes.. That’s a whole lot of stuff under one label. What would you say about that?
It’s taken a while to put all of this together and I’m happy it turned out this way.
8 7 9 10Fast 5.
1.Where would you like to take your next holiday to?
Paris
2.What is your personal style?
Classic and easy
3.3 things you would never leave home without?
Cell phone, wallet and lip balm
4.If you ever get an opportunity which designer or brand would you like to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with a home furnishing company
5.Fashion to you is….wearable art
2Address: 1721, Rd no 12, Banjara Hills, Behind Ratnadeep supermarket. Timing- 11 am to 7 pm
Hope you loved this post.. more coming up soon.
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