H&M Studio AW 2014 Revealed

20 Aug

I’m back in 42-degree-centigrade-Dubai and loving it. One of the first few events in this season’s line-up is the H&M Studio AW 2014 launch and a fantastic start I’d say, what with some stand- out pieces and gorgeous silhouettes seen in the collection.

HM Studio AW 2014

HM Studio AW 2014

HM Studio AW 2014: Love these boots

HM Studio AW 2014: Love these boots

HM Studio AW 2014: cocktail ring accessory

HM Studio AW 2014: cocktail ring accessory

For those looking to transition into autumn with layers, this is the perfect place to start, with lots of light fabrics and heavier textures on offer. I loved the use of bold colors this season, chunky accessories and light knits – perfect for this part of the world.

The slip dress returns as a wardrobe staple this season– simple, elegant and chic! I also loved the off-shoulder pieces…a very sexy, yet under-appreciated part of the female anatomy, I think. Leather is back ofcourse, with fitted aviator jackets with metallic detailing, as is velvet for tops, dresses and trimmings.

HM Studio AW 214: Metallic slip dress

HM Studio AW 214: Metallic slip dress

HM Studio AW 2014: Light knits

HM Studio AW 2014: Light knits

HM Studio AW 2014: Gorgeous piece from the collection

HM Studio AW 2014: Gorgeous piece from the collection

Navy blue is clearly the color du jour, accompanied by beige, khaki and shades of grey –a lovely palette for autumn winter. My favorite piece from the collection is this uber glamorous metallic slip dress – I simply couldn’t take my eyes off it. Seductive in every sense of the word!

The collection will be available worldwide at H&M stores on September 4, 2014.

The Lollapalooza 2014 Experience With GAP

16 Aug

Did you know that GAP’s first store in San Francisco in 1969 sold cool LP (Long play) vinyl records along with jeans? Donald and Doris Fisher, the founders were passionate about music and loved stocking their favorite artists at the store. Cut to present day, GAP is still sharing its love for music with people from all over the world, as official sponsor for one of the globe’s most popular music festivals, Lollapalooza in Chicago.

The first ever GAP store at Ocean's Ave, San Francisco

The first ever GAP store at Ocean’s Ave, San Francisco

Doris and Donald Fisher, founders of The GAP

Doris and Donald Fisher, founders of The GAP

This was my first music festival and I must say, the experience absolutely out of the world. The headliners were huge artists but I think what I enjoyed the most was just hanging back on the lawns, chomping on my wiener sandwiches, making random new friends hailing from everywhere between Norway to Australia and discovering new bands. Quite simply put, it was a new world of music, culture and no-holds-barred, maddening fun.

Some of my top recommendations from the bands I heard are Portugal The Man, The 1975, The Kooks and The Bombay Bicycle Club. Do find them on Youtube and check them out!

Eminem was one of the headliners at Lollapalooza 2014

Eminem was one of the headliners at Lollapalooza 2014

Bombay Bicycle Club, Indie rock band from Crouch End, London. Pretty cool!

Bombay Bicycle Club, Indie rock band from Crouch End, London. Pretty cool!

Apart from the music, Lollapalooza was also about responsible youth – I was super impressed by the level of awareness and sensitivity in young people today about the environment and charity. The organic farmers market was amazing for its local produce as was the Green Street that offered eco friendly items of clothing and accessories for the fashion forward and socially responsible. The initiative, ‘Lolla Cares’ brought together some of the world’s best organizations such as Oxfam, ONE, Food Policy Action and ‘The Lexicon of Sustainability’ among others. Just goes to show that our generation is SO much more than just X, Y or Z. More power to us!

Green Street at Lollapalooza 2014

Green Street at Lollapalooza 2014

Green Street at Lollapalooza 2014

Green Street at Lollapalooza 2014

Thank you GAP for this unforgettable experience. Here’s to more music, more positivity and more love for denim!

Chicago Travel Diary

12 Aug

Gorgeous, quaint and bustling with life-that’s Chicago in a nutshell. But then again, that description does no justice to one of the most charming cities in the US. Well, it beats the hell out of LA on all counts and comes perilously close to NYC. Even though I have a bias for the Empire State City, I consider Chicago as its cleaner, greener and prettier cousin.  If the beautiful brick houses on either side of the quiet, tree- lined roads don’t seduce you, then the food and culture definitely will.

Chicago skyline

Chicago skyline

Crossing the Michigan, Chicago

Crossing over the Michigan, Chicago

Stay:
Urban Holiday Lofts
2014 W. Wabansia Ave., Chicago, IL, 60647

In my quest to find accommodation in Chicago, I came across one of the few hostels in the city that offered a full room with an ensuite bathroom for me and my companion. Well, comfortable it was but not cheap for sure, especially when compared to the hostels in Europe.  This one was pricey, no doubt at $395 for two nights.

Urban Holiday Lofts, Chicago

Urban Holiday Lofts, Chicago

Was it worth it? I guess so. I’d pick convenience and comfort over roughing it out at a cheap place, anyday. Except for a couple of hitches, it was a very comfortable stay, especially the hostel’s location was very easily accessible. The hostel ‘s caretakers were all very friendly and helpful, despite my constantly troubling them for everything from adapters to directions to wake-up calls- very patient staff.

Getting Around:
As soon as I got off the airplane, a kind Chicago-an was nice enough to give me a free piece of advice- “Take the CTA trains everywhere or you’ll be spending a fortune in cabs- and forget the buses… unless you don’t mind being stuck in traffic  for most of your time here.”

The CTA train lines, Chicago.

The CTA train lines, Chicago.

And that’s exactly what I did. The CTA train network ( across the various colored lines) covers Chicago from north to south and east to west so thoroughly, that you’re not more than a ten minute walk from any station, anywhere! Armed with a map and some good recommendations from a few breakfast companions, I set off on a full day ticket that cost me just $10.

Highly recommended for those on a budget and for those who really want explore the city.

Don’t miss:

Okay so I’m not a big fan of tourist-y places but the Chicago Navy pier was on my to-do list as soon as I saw pictures of the Ferris when and the bay.  The Millenium Park is another touristy but a must-do, nevertheless.

Navy Pier, Chicago

Navy Pier, Chicago

The famous  Cloud Gate sculpture at Millennium Park, Chicago

The famous Cloud Gate sculpture at Millennium Park, Chicago

A trip all the way up to the Hancock Observatory for a 360 degree view of the city and it’s world famous skyline. I’m not much of a museum person but for those interested, Chicogo offers a lot in terms of art and architecture. I picked the Field Museum of Natural History over the others.

Eat/drink:

Chicago’s signature deep dish pizza style is another name for cheese and tomato sauce awesomeness, in a crust that three inches taller than the ingredients. Slurp- worthy and absolutely unmissable.

Savouring some Chicago style deep dish awesomeness

Savouring some Chicago style deep dish awesomeness

The windy city is also known for it’s diverse, inventive restaurants and bars and infact, is one of the most historically relevant drinking cultures in the world. Al Capone, America’s renowned gangster in the Alcohol Prohibition Era in the 1920s, gave Chicago a reputation and a captivating history.

Today, various pub crawls in Chicago take you on a tour of the city’s famous ‘dive bars’, unraveling the fascinating world, one glass of bourbon at a time. Duck into any restaurant/bar at the upbeat and trendy Milwaukee Avenue for both/either.

Do visit some of Chicago's famous dive bars

Do visit some of Chicago’s famous dive bars

A stroll in one of Chicago's many parks

A stroll in one of Chicago’s many parks

Thanks to GAP, that flew me and friend to Chicago for the Lollapalooza music festival, I’ve fallen in love and how. The waterside cafes, the quaint little bridges across the little back channels of the Michigan, the parks, the people, make Chicago an unforgettable experience – It’s best summed up as old-world charm and urban appeal, all rolled into one fascinating city.