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Home / Mumbai News / Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Of Iconic Gowns

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Of Iconic Gowns

mumbai Updated: Sep 25, 2019 07:18 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Natasha Poonawalla
Natasha Poonawalla

By now images of Jenifer Lopez’s catwalk this weekend at Versace’s 2020 Spring Collection at Milan Fashion Week in a version of the iconic gown by the same label which had made headlines when she wore it to the 2000 Grammys, has ricocheted across the globe. The green jungle print ensemble revealing JLO’s toned abs has captured the public imagination; but hand it to Natasha Poonawalla, the fashionista wife of billionaire Adar Poonawalla who seems to have made a statement in an equally stunning gown at the same occasion. Clad in Suneet Verma couture, the lissom philanthropist, equally at home in a PJ, as she is helming a health or sanitation campaign for her family’s foundation, wore the garment which is said to have taken six karigars working 450 hours to create, with elan. “I had to order bespoke crystals for it,” said Verma, when we spoke yesterday, adding, “Natasha always has the knack of identifying literally the most special piece from the collection and ordering it on WhatsApp.” The two had met he says when Poonawalla had dropped in to his studio for clothes for her wedding and since then have been in touch. According to Verma, Poonawalla had seen the crystal-drop, floor-length gown made entirely out of crystal beads six months ago on his Instagram story and initially had planned to wear it at a wedding. Last year, she’d bought another gown from the designer this time made up entirely of mirrors. Needless to say, the statuesque Poonawalla is a designer’s dream.
“We didn’t even do a fitting,” said Verma about Friday night’s gown, adding, “But it fit her perfectly.”

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Queen Of The Suburbs

Mount Mary Church, Bandra.
Mount Mary Church, Bandra. ( File Photo )

It’s known as the queen of the suburbs (and sometimes as the suburb of queens). So no surprises that Bandra has made it to TimeOut World wide’s list of 50 coolest neighbourhoods. Released this week, the compendium includes celebrated landmarks as Arroios in Lisbon, Shimokitazawa in Tokyo and Strasbourg-Saint-Denis in Paris. “While neighbouring south Mumbai is all about the old-world charm of its art deco architecture, Bandra (West) mixes tiny time-warp lanes full of Indo-Portuguese colonial-style homes with the larger-than-life mansions of celebrated film stars,” the accompanying text says. And with shout outs to Japanese eatery Izumi, home-grown café Candies and the Taj Mahal Tea House and a respectful nod in the direction of Bollywood, it serves up a highly palatable Bandra for visitors. But there’s a Bandra for insiders that is as charming too. The Bandra of convent schools and football fields, of parish priests and Sunday mass, of leafy streets and cozy cottages, of street food stalls and open air concerts, of tuition teachers and violin masters and languid afternoons, where the gentle tinkling of a piano being played over and over again by a young student pervades the air. Having attended a school in Bandra for the first 15 years of our life, we know this Bandra only too well: kind aunties in floral frocks who make the best guava pickle and sorpotel, keema buns at Candies, rock concerts and energetic musicals at St Andrews, listening to wandering home grown Dylans at the Cuckoo Club, lit-fests at Mehboob studios, fresh croissants and aromatic coffee at Suzettes, pani-puri so good it makes your knees buckle at Elco Arcade, fish net stockings at Cheap Jacks, boras and imlis outside the St Joseph’s Convent, hunky stars revving their mobikes on nightly jaunts or toodling along on their cycles as if it were the most natural thing in the world. This is the Bandra that we grew up with and this is the Bandra that somehow, even in the face of development and modernization (read rapacious builders), has somehow endured. So, when Bandra made it to the list of TimeOut’s coolest neighbourhoods, we were pleased, but not surprised. We’ve known it for the past five decades.

Dirty Buns Come to SoBo

Rishi Acharya with Jay Sean.
Rishi Acharya with Jay Sean. ( File Photo )

Word comes in that man-about-town and nightclub impresario Rishi Acharya, just back from an extended vacation in Greece, has a new project underway in south Mumbai. After his Thai eatery Soi 69 shuttered down prematurely earlier this year, we are informed the premises on Breach Candy is in the process of being remodelled as a franchise of Kamala Mills’ popular resto-bar Dirty Buns ( which had been recently in the news for hosting an event with the bearded social media celebrity Dan Bilzerian). “Chef Boo Kim is already creating a special menu for the new establishment, featuring comfort food using Korean influences. After the departure of former executive chef Kelvin Cheung, Boo had taken over the responsibilities of Bastian as well as Dirty Buns and will divide his time between the three restaurants,” informs a source. And knowing Acharya’s exhaustive SoBo network, the new project is highly awaited by the city’s young and restless.