Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch: Mumbai Nights at AER!

After a very busy day sightseeing in Mumbai, it was back to our hotel to shower and change for the evening.  Being more akin to Europe, in that people tend to dine later in the evening, we went in search of a hip Mumbai place to end the day with a drink and unwind.  Lucky for us, my good friend who lives in Mumbai is up on all of the hot spots and suggested we meet at Aer  in the Four Seasons Hotel in the section of town known as Worli.  
Located roughly mid-point from our hotel and where my friend was coming from, we hopped in a cab and headed over.  In the process, we experienced Mumbai rush hour traffic, which slowed down all progress to a crawl.  After the 1 1/2 hour cab ride that it took to go a relatively short distance, we were ready for that first drink!

Taking the elevator to the top floor, I had no idea what to expect.  The mirror and glass staircase leading up to the 34th floor rooftop lounge has a very clubby feel to it, hinting at what awaits you ahead.  Decorated with sleek minimalist furniture in cozy groupings and sectional areas, Aer has a modern luxe feel to it.  The lighting continuously changes the atmosphere from blue to pink, green or purple, giving it a modern club vibe.

The crowd at Aer was an interesting mix of Ex-Pats, Mumbai businessmen and Bollywood celebs, most definitely the BPs of Mumbai (Beautiful People).  The drinks are good, the atmosphere congenial, and the clientele beautiful, but the real star of Aer is the view.  Offering a panoramic view of old and new Mumbai,  the glittering lights of the city lie beneath you and the skyscraper canyons surrounding you are breathtaking.  I am a true city boy and I like nothing more than a gorgeous urban view.  Aer delivers that and more.

We spent a few hours taking in the view and chatting over drinks as darkness enveloped Mumbai.  A perfect place to begin the evening!With a final look at the city that was lying in wait for us, it was time to take off for some of Mumbai’s fine dining and continue creating a memorable evening.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch: The FACE of Jacob & Co.: Milla Jovovich!

Living bi-coastally has its pluses and minuses.  It definitely gives one access to a wide variety of events and experiences and the more laid-back CA lifestyle can compliment the non-stop pace of NY.  However, one disadvantage is that you can’t be in both places at once and you will obviously miss out on some things on both coasts.  This of course drives me completely mental!  As a child I never even wanted to take naps as I was afraid that I might miss something.  That mindset has not changed in me and I am able to meet some pretty awesome talent on both coasts!
On my last stay in New York, I was fortunate to spend some time with the people at Jacob & Co. on 57th street (look out for the video segment due out shortly).  I learned a lot about the venerable company and was seriously impressed with the artistry of their jewelry and watch creations.  After 25 years of designing for a private clientèle and the launch of their flagship store in New York in  2004, Jacob & Co. has become synonymous with luxury watches and exquisite jewelry.  A favorite of leaders in the entertainment and sports industries, you are probably most familiar with Jacob & Co. due to its pieces being worn on the red carpet by the worlds biggest celebrities.

Finding the right “face’ for a brand can be difficult, especially when dealing with such an iconic company as Jacob & Co.  So when the announcement came that Milla Jovovich would be the new face of Jacob & Co.., I had to ponder whether this was a good match.  My conclusion: Yes!  Ms. Jovovitch is an internationally famous actress and model whose image and personality are perfect for the company.  “Milla Jovovich is a powerful, intelligent, worldly, sophisticated and sexy, playful woman.  That is the talent that she brought to this photo shoot and what makes her synonymous with our brand, she is the “Jacob girl” we have been searching for to represent our brand globally.”, stated Jacob Arabo, Designer of Jacob & Co.

The advertising campaign encompasses eight different themes and looks stylized to feature Jacob & Co.’s red carpet diamond jewels, fashion diamond jewelry and watches.  Shot at the Sowden House, a lavish Los Angeles private residence, the campaign uses in-door and outdoor shots to capture the luxury lifestyle traits that are representative of the brand.  Scheduled to drop in Summer 2011, the campaign will be featured in the upcoming months in all major international markets.
In the meantime, Milla Jovovich has already put her beauty and talents to work for Jacob & Co.  Attending the “La Conquete” premiere during the Cannes Film Festival, Ms. Jovovich donned pieces from the Jacob & Co. Red Carpet Collection.  The collection consists of one-of-a-kind pieces carefully crafted and designed to accentuate valuable and rare gem stones, hand selected by Jacob Arabo himself.
Ms. Jovovich wore sun colored earrings with two canary cushion cut diamonds, total weight of over 27 carats, set in pavé white round brilliants topped with white emerald cut diamonds mounted from a pavé set French hook.  Complimenting the look, she also wore a one-of-a-kind cocktail ring made up of a 30 carat internally flaless, D color diamond sit in a vintage inspired design, adorned in round white brilliant cuts.  And finally to make sure that she was on time, Ms. Jovovich sported a Jacob & Co., signature Five Time Zone, World is Yours Watch.  The gorgeous timepiece is all pavé diamonds featuring natural fancy yellow and white diamonds with a total carat weight of 37.75 carats.
From the sneak peeks at the ad campaign to Ms. Jovovich’s appearance on the Cannes Red Carpet, this appears to be a match made in heaven.  For as Jacob & Co. and Milla Jovovich prove, not only are diamonds a girls best friend, but sometimes a girl can be a best friend to diamonds!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch: Dining at Trishna Mumbai

Growing up, I was exposed to many different ethnic cuisines.  I still remember when one of the first Mexican restaurants opened in New York and we all flocked there for the novelty of the unknown.  Even at school, they had an “International Day” where students brought in foods representing different countries.  In an obviously misguided effort, one student (non Indian) brought in an “Indian dish” consisting of curried ground beef.  Of course being fairly ignorant of Indian culture, it never occurred to me that it was NOT an authentic dish or to question the use of beef.  Other than that, somehow I never dined on Indian cuisine or even knew what it consisted of.

My very first experience with Indian food came at the home of a dear friend’s parents.  Natives of India, they introduced me to samosas, naan and other delicacies.  Everything was incredibly delicious, so you would have thought that I would have explored further at local restaurants.  But, I didn’t.  I don’t know why, but it just never occurred to me.

Many years later, I had Indian cuisine in a restaurant for the first time.  Unfortunately, it was not a very good restaurant.  Greasy, lacking in flavor other than chili and an unappealing presentation, this particular restaurant gave me a bad impression of Indian cuisine and I literally did not have it again for more than a decade.  The power of that one bad experience really unfairly turned me against even stepping inside an Indian restaurant.
If not for being goaded into trying it again by family, I probably would have continued to exclude Indian cuisine when dining.  The lure of a wide variety of vegetarian selections was the biggest reason for giving it another try.  So feeling in an adventurous mood, off we went to one of the best Indian restaurants in Bangkok.  I was hooked.  Two nights later, we went to another incredible Indian restaurant in Bangkok and I started to wonder how I had missed out on Indian cuisine for much of my life.

I began to try restaurants in the States and also experimented with recipes at home.  A jaunt to my local Indian market had me armed with all of the necessary spices that now have become a staple in my kitchen.  Then, I finally had the opportunity to travel to India and to experience the cuisine in its homeland.
While traveling through India, I was fortunate to dine at some amazing restaurants.  As noted in a previous entry, we had a delicious meal at The Copper Chimney in Jaipur and ate well pretty much everywhere we went.  However, it was on our visit to Mumbai that I had one of the best Indian meals I think I have ever had.  

A good friend who lives in Mumbai took us one evening to Trishna, a restaurant close to the synagogue in the old Fort district.  With an unassuming entrance, it would be very easy to miss this place completely.  The décor is not very special, a modern minimalist version of traditional Indian. But it isn’t the decor that brings one to Trishna, it’s the food.  Popular with Bollywood stars and Mumbai businessmen,  the place was packed with a chicly dressed crowd and bustling waiters hurriedly went from table to table.  Trusting my friend’s expertise, we let him order for us and waited in anticipation of what would arrive.

Trishna is famous for its incredible seafood and my dinner companions made the most of it.  Starting with the Medium Prawn in Chilly-Garlic sauce, they eagerly dove in and all conversation stopped as they ate there way through two servings.  For the main course they split an order of Crab in a Garlic-Pepper-Butter sauce and Pomfret Sholey Kabab.  Both companions commented on the freshness of the seafood and the absolutely perfect seasoning in all of the dishes, my American companion declaring that it was some of the best seafood he had ever eaten.

Since Trishna's specialty is seafood, I went into the vegetarian menu with no expectations.  Despite other reviews that I have read that describe the wait staff as snooty, the staff were actually very friendly and helpful with my party.  Wanting to try dishes I had not previously had, on the recommendation of our waiter I ordered the Dal Kolhapuri (lentils in a spiced tomato sauce with a hint of coconut),  Vegetable Kadai (mixed vegetables, capiscum and onion in a spiced tomato sauce) and Sarso Ka Sag (mustard leaves and spinach in a garlic sauce).  As I sampled each dish, I was bowled over by the perfect seasoning.  While most dishes that I ate in India had hints of the spices that lay within, the predominant spice one tasted was chili. Don’t get me wrong, they were still excellent, but Trishna kicked it up to an even higher level.  At Trishna, the spices were so perfectly balanced as to allow you to enjoy the complexity of all of the ingredients, giving each dish a richness I had as yet experienced in my Indian travels.  All of these wonderful foods were eaten with hearty helpings of the Indian breads, paratha and naan, ordered plain so as not to interfere with the spices of the main courses.

On my trip through India, I was very pleased with all of my meals to varying degrees.  Trishna, however, is the restaurant that will live with me as my best food memory of the country.  Having experienced such excellence, I know that I will return!  I will also use it a measuring stick for restaurants that I visit on my next visit, as I am sure that there are more such delights to be had in a country so well know for its cuisine.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch: Bombay Electric! Turn the Lights On!

Having been lost in a flurry of fashion shows and seeking out the clothes that we will all want to buy in the coming seasons, it is time now to return to some serious shopping and dining.  I had left off in the middle of my trip to India, so it is only fitting that I return there.
The Universe seems to be screaming “India” at me, from family moving there and my recent trip to business associations and the rediscovery of friends from long long ago.  Who am I to argue with the Universe?
Upon arrival in Mumbai last holiday season, I was immediately struck with the vast difference between Mumbai and Delhi.  Delhi is very spread out, more low lying buildings and businesses and homes hidden away in enclaves.  It has a feeling of being a cross between Los Angeles and Washington DC.  Mumbai on the other hand is a teeming modern cosmopolitan city congested with skyscrapers and traffic.  I immediately felt a kinship with it similar to my home of New York.
Driving through the city in cabs, I was intrigued by the multitude of interesting shopping venues and was so looking forward to diving in.  Alas, my trip was way too short.  As a first time visitor to Mumbai, I had to do the mandatory sightseeing, meet up with a dear long time friend living in Mumbai and to meet an on-line friend that I have been corresponding with for some time, an amazing person that I am so glad to have finally met in person!  Faced with this lack of time to pursue shopping destinations, I asked my Mumbai friends and my associate in the States if they could tell me a few “must see” shops for me to visit.  The resounding first answer on everyone’s lips was Bombay Electric.  Luckily for me, Bombay Electric was literally around the corner from my hotel, making it easy to fit into my hectic 3 days in Mumbai.

Housed in a historic heritage building that even has teak beams that were a present from the King of Burma, the interior of the store seamlessly blends the antique qualities of the building’s structure with a modernity that give this shop a vibrance that completely draws you in.  Not to be outdone by its interior, the merchandise it houses carries the same energy and excitement.  Bombay Electric  offers fashion for ladies, gentlemen, and kids along with an eclectic mix of jewelry, scarves, vintage pieces and gift items.  Known for nurturing rising Indian talent, the cutting-edge store carries cherry picked fashions from Indian designers like Manish Arora and Rajesh Pratap Singh.  Besides showcasing Indian talent, Bombay Electric also carries a select grouping of international collections such as Comme des Garçons and United Nude.  Alongside the fashion, you can browse through antique jewelry, hand woven scarves, cashmere and limited edition pieces.

A fave store of many of Bollywood’s brightest stars, Bombay Electric is the perfect place to find everyday wear or even to find that red carpet dress that you need for a special occasion or a night on the town.  However, Bombay Electric doesn’t limit itself to merchandise alone!  It utilizes its unique space for photography exhibitions, concerts and even launch parties (Elizabeth Hurley launched her swimwear collection in India here!).  Bombay Electric is literally a center for all things fashionable, stylish and artistic in Mumbai!

I wandered through the store trying to take it all in, from the wild colors and prints of Manish Arora to the old India vintage pieces.  I was particularly pleased that they also sold menswear and found myself putting on my wish list several pieces that were just my style, including some modern takes on classic Indian apparel.

Wherever I am in the world, I now keep abreast of what is happening in the store on their website and find such interesting things going on there that I am always glad that I was led to this jewel of a boutique!  Bombay Electric is now on the permanent list of stores that I have to visit whenever I am in Mumbai!  As Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune put it, “Bombay Electric, the cutting-edge store in Mumbai, could be a template for the new millennium of Indian style.”  Not only do I agree with Ms. Menkes, but I believe that it could be a template for international style!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the Met!

A true artist in every sense of the word, Alexander McQueen was a prolific designer whose untimely death in 2010 shocked the fashion world.  Recognizing his creative genius, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has curated an exhibit that is a tribute to his talent.  Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty is one of the largest and most elaborate costume exhibits that the Met has ever presented.

Having trained and worked on Savile Row in tailoring before going on to receive his masters in design from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Alexander McQueen had the reputation for creating an impeccably tailored look.  He was so skilled in his craft that he could drape, make the pattern and sew any of his creations all by himself, and he often did.

The exhibit starts with his graduation collection from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, inspired by Jack the Ripper and placing encapsulated hair in the linings of the garments.  The collection was bought in its entirety by Isabella Blow and after her death it was purchased by heiress Daphne Guiness.  Beginning with this first collection and continuing throughout his career, McQueen’s presentations could shock, titillate, repulse or delight his audiences.  But no matter what the reaction that they elicited, no one could deny his extreme talent.

One whole gallery, the “Cabinet of Curiosities”, is devoted to hats and accessories created for McQueen’s collections by designers like Phillip Treacy.  Hats made of forest twigs formed into a bird or a flurry of butterflies, metal decorative headpieces, and sculptural shoes are all presented in cubby holes that line the walls.  Above, television monitors play videos of McQueen’s most dramatic presentations, including one in which robotic arms spray paint a dress while it is being worn by model Shalom Harlow.

Exploring Alexander McQueen’s inspiration for his collections takes us on a journey through Sado-Masochism, Scottish Heritage, Asian motifs, Romanticism and Naturalism.  Evident throughout is McQueen’s genius and technical skill, but we also get a glimpse into the tormented soul that brought all of the fantasies of his collections to life.

An incredible talent, McQueen’s work dazzles in the exhibit as it did in his presentations and he will most certainly be remembered as one of the most important designers of our time.  This is a must-see exhibit for anyone who loves fashion and for anyone who loves art.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
May 4 - July 31, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch: Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute Gala 2011

It was Alexander McQueen’s legacy that triumphed this week.  First, McQueen’s design house made the wedding dress for the future Queen of England, Kate Middleton, a wedding that is being called the wedding of the century.  Next, the week saw the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibit Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, one of the most extravagant and extensive costume exhibits we have seen at the Met, opening to the public on May 4.  LadiesWhoLunch was privy to an early press preview  and we can tell you that it is so extraordinary we will be going back again once it opens to the public.
The opening of the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit was celebrated by The Met’s annual fete, the Costume Institute Gala, a star studded event that is oftentimes referred to as the Oscars of the East.
The stars poured out from Maybachs, black Cadillacs, and even a Prius in what seemed like the biggest celebrity event in recent memory to honor the late Alexander McQueen.
The entry stairs of the Met museum were covered with red carpet and with a nod to McQueen’s Scottish ancestry, young, handsome men dressed in traditional kilts stood at the entrance to greet the celebrity guests.
Models who defined ‘supermodel’, like Naomi Campbell, Giselle Bundchen and Iman looked stunning in outfits (Iman in a gold sequined jumpsuit) that were couture worthy and keeping in the spirit of Alexander McQueen.  Model of the moment, Doutzen Kroes, dwarfed the red carpet with her massive flowing red dress with an endless train.
The erstwhile and yes, my favorite editor from Vogue, Hamish Bowles, was easily spotted in his red plaid caped suit, running from Barney’s New York with the diminutive yet powerful socialite heiress, Daphne Guinness.  We had just come from seeing Ms. Daphne change into her vintage McQueen gown for the evening in  the Barney’s NY windows, a brilliant PR coup for Barney’s NY.  
Tom Ford flashed his devilish smile and somehow made the tuxedo sexy again as he escorted his date up the stairs and Christian Louboutin arrived dressed in a red velvet jacket, black hat and plaid Oxford shoes.
Designer Stella McCartney was sited arriving, as was her father Paul McCartney and even Yoko Ono attended the exhibit.  Florence, without the Machine, made a grand entrance, resplendent with  her red hair and a massive white furry coat.  Later in the evening, the coat made a hasty exit on the arms of an assistant, proving perhaps too bulky to carry around all evening.
The very pregnant Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba showed off their beautiful bumps in floor length gowns, while the always gentlemanly designer, Oscar De La Renta, escorted new mom, Penelope Cruz, carefully up the stairs. 
A collective sigh went up for the tanned and handsome Orlando Bloom. But it was his gorgeous model wife and new mom, Miranda Kerr, that caused the women in the crowds to gasp at her razor thin waist and mile high heels. Apparently the laws of gravity and nature do not apply to pregnancies of model types. Sigh….
Miss Semi Homemade, Sandra Lee, was a surprise of the evening in cream chiffon gloves and a sparkly matching cream strapless gown.
Jennifer Lopez was immediately swept up into the crowd of arrivees, in a red floor flowing gown with a little jacket that just covered the shoulders seemingly made all of flowers.
Amy Poehler looked like silver screen platinum legend, wearing a black fitted dress with a sheer chiffon neckline. Christina Richie was very petite in person but looked stunning in her cobwebby embroidered mermaid gown with designer Zac Posen as her escort.
Twilight girl Kristen Stewart showed up sans Robert Pattinson, but did arrive with her designers Proenza Schouler and accompanied by Ashley Greene looking chic and elegant in her blush colored dress with silver sequin streaks.
Beyoncé and Jay Z were late arrivals in a Maybach.  Beyoncé’s figure hugging fishtail gown was so form fitting that her gallant husband and assistant had to help her navigate the stairs.
The most naturally beautiful star for me was the radiant Michelle Williams, wearing a simple black dress with gold sparrow appliques.
Finally, the red carpet show ended with Madonna late arrival, nearly two hours after the event was slated to start. She nearly tripped when her heel caught in her long star spangled satin train.  Madge kneeled down to detangle herself before being escorted by Guy Oseary up the stairs.  
Maddona appeared to be the last of the arrivals and as the handlers began to leave their posts it seemed to signal the beginning of the ball and the end of the show for us.
Reported by Ritika Wahal and Mdivani Monroe
 Photo credits: Lia Toby/WENN , Telegraph UK, 

Ladies Who Lunch: Save on Nicky Hilton Style and Give Back!!

The amount of suffering in the world due to poverty, disease, birth defects and natural disasters is overwhelming.  When we truly look around ourselves, we can see how fortunate we are in our lives.  And recognizing that, we have the choice to do nothing or to use that good fortune to help those less fortunate.  Nicky Hilton, Socialite Celebrity, Style Icon and Designer, has chosen the latter and is giving back and urging us to do the same!  One of Ms. Hilton’s causes is the Race to Erase MS, a campaign dedicated to the treatment of and ultimate cure of Multiple Sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.  

Nicky Hilton has partnered with, an e-commerce company offering daily deals inspired by celebrity fashion from POSHGLAM’s designers each Friday.  This week, Nicky Hilton’s gorgeous Bypass Spike Bangle bracelet is being offered for $50 less than it’s retail price, making it a steal at only $150!  Even more exciting than getting a beautiful new bracelet to rock your style, you can feel good about your purchase knowing that 15% of all proceeds from the sale will go directly to the Race to Erase MS cause, a win/win situation!
So go to, take advantage of this incredible deal and help the cause to eradicate MS, aiding those less fortunate and finding away to prevent future suffering from this crippling disease.