Category: Highlight

Rosewood London: Typifying Edwardian Glamour

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It’s difficult to define luxury in one sentence; however two words certainly conjure the right thoughts and images when one thinks of luxury, Rosewood London.

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The capital’s latest luxury hotel, Rosewood London, based in Holborn, is a sprawling building, completed in 1914, and after extensive renovation finally opened its doors to an anticipatory clientele last year. We at Think Shaadi would like to congratulate Rosewood London on celebrating their 1 year anniversary this month, and of course for winning a wealth of awards and accolades over the last few months, including Best New Hotel in the World at the UltraTravel 100 Awards, Hotel of the Year at AA Hospitality Awards, Hotel of the Year 2014 at the Virtuoso Best of the Best Awards, along with being included in Conde Nast Traveler’s Hot List and Best Travel + Leisure in It List.

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An oasis of relaxation, slap bang in the heart of Britain’s bustling metropolis, Rosewood London is an impressive historic building, Edwardian in its facade, with typical French motifs, and a large courtyard, reminiscent of a French chateau. What we must remember is that King Edward VII was a devout Francophile, and during his short reign British architecture reflected that.

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Walking into this vast, carefully looked after, courtyard, you are taken back by the fairytale exterior. Rich in elaborate brocades and distinctly French filigree patterns, it’s easy to see why Rosewood London has caused a stir amongst luxury connoisseurs.

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Inside the theme is something of a mixture, the designs do not fit with one particular era, instead Rosewood London decided to recapture the luxury of differing times.

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The accommodations, event spaces and public areas were designed by the world renowned Tony Chi and Associates, who brought the intoxicating flavours of minimalism and understated beauty together, giving the areas a magnificently relaxing and comfortable feel, yet never negating the age old feel of luxury, which the building possesses in spades.

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Tony Chi and Associates worked with an array of materials including lacquer, textured wood veneers and prismatic mirrors, to create this elegant fusion of modernity and old world style. The rooms are distinctly Tony Chi and Associates, with his highly recognisable stamp across it.

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It’s wonderfully evocative, Tony Chi and Associates has created the perfect setting for honeymooners, travellers and anyone with a desire to simultaneously get away from it all, yet be at the centre of all London has to offer.

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Holborn Dining Room and Delicatessen offers guests a warm and cosy atmosphere, yet is in no way cramped or cluttered. Designed by another world renowned artisan Martin Brudnizki, the theme feels a little like a New York speakeasy from the 1920’s, mixing a rich array of chic furniture, with a touch of the old and outstanding wood and mirror motifs.

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A striking salon tucked away in the heart of Rosewood London, the Mirror Room is the social hub of the hotel, offering innovative, elegant dining and afternoon tea. A veritable jewel box of a dining room, with mirrors on the walls and ceiling, the tables are laid with exquisite Limoges china, sparkling crystal and refined silverware. Whether meeting for a relaxed breakfast, light lunch, afternoon tea or a decadent dinner, it is the place to see and be seen on High Holborn.

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Rosewood London offers a selection of inspiring spaces to host a special event. The heritage Chairman Boardrooms showcase original architectural features of the former Pearl Assurance building whilst the Living Room provides a contemporary venue with eccentric artwork and intricate design details.

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Gerald Scarfe, renowned British artist and caricaturist has lent his name and artistic vision to Scarfes Bar where his collection of amusing and conversation-provoking paintings adorn the marble walls. A creative menu of cocktails and complimentary live music six nights a week all add to the conviviality and certainly give true meaning to the phrase ‘get scarfed’  at Gerald’s eponymous bar where potions and paintings meet.

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Rosewood London is an outstanding achievement in luxury and high-end service. It adds to London’s status as the prime destination for all those dedicated to savouring the joys of luxury.

Photos Courtesy of Rosewood London

BOBO: The Macaron Masters

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Former journalist Dora M. has always had a passion for baking, ever since childhood, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she finally had the idea to set up her own business. Bourgeois Boheme (BOBO) is a company which specialises in creating an array of ingeniously flavoured macarons, Dora experiments with flavours that cross borders and cultures, from the traditional French, Middle Eastern and North African, to Indian.

BOBO has done something quite unique, for years now it’s been an unspoken truth that the macaron was pretty much untouchable, in respect that there is simply no more flavours to explore, but Dora has smashed convention and created a wealth of flavours that seriously excite the tastebuds.

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If you’re looking for a bit of Middle Eastern flare, why not try some aromatic Turkish coffee with cardamom, some jasmine tea or perhaps some sweet pistachio and rosewater flavoured macarons. For those longing for a taste of India, you can try mango and kewra or dark chocolate and ginger or good old fashion saffron.

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When Dora launched BOBO back in 2010, she quickly caught the attention of London’s trendy cafe’s and hotels, becoming one of their favourite suppliers. Speaking to Dora about opening up a business such as this in the UK, she said “There’s always been a great love for French culture in England, particularly where anything culinary is concerned, so London was the ideal place to set up BOBO. People have really fallen in love with the variety of flavours I offer”.

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Dora uses a number of traditional methods in making her macarons, that was taught to her by her mother. It’s these methods which make her macarons so distinctive in falvour and texture. With the mixture of cultures involved in the flavours, Dora recently launched a beautiful box of macarons for Eid, the Baraka box, an exquisite collection indeed.

Along with supplying numerous cool and high-end cafes, hotels etc, BOBO also caters for weddings, baptisms and a range of other family functions, for these Dora and her team truly get creative, such as recently when an eye catching bird cage was creating, using blue macarons and flowers for a christening.

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As part of Meet the Makers, until August 7th you can find BOBO at London’s Selfridges.

Photos courtesy of Bobo

Meet The Meringue Girls

Now, if you haven’t heard of The Meringue Girls, then where on earth have you been! These two former chefs, Alex Hoffler and Stacey O’Gorman, gloriously reinvented as the queens of baking, are a breath of fresh air. Their two women who don’t play by the rules and generally just have the most fun possible with baking. They’ve caught a whirlwind of attention, being featured everywhere from Grazia Magazine to The Sunday Times.

They’ve garnered a wealth of big name fans too, Jamie Oliver has said of them “Naughty but very very nice.” Gizzi Erskine has said “They have taken meringues to a different stratosphere, cool is clearly in their genes.” and Daisy Lowe has called their meringues “rainbow coloured loveliness.”

After a few years studying, working for a marketing company in London, then travelling the world, taking unique cooking classes wherever she could, including such places as India, Thailand and Cambodia, Alex had her eureka moment. She decided that cooking was her raison d’etre. So, she took a years course at Leiths School of Food and Wine, ending up working at a restaurant in Hackney.

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Hailing all the way from Auckland, New Zealand, Stacey started out in the big wide world training in technology at The University of Auckland, she also achieved a diploma in Culinary Arts. Soon after she set up her own successful catering company, providing high-end canapes. One day she decided to explore the culinary world, working in various kitchens across the world. It was during Stacey’s culinary exploration that she met Alex, who was working as a sous chef at the time, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now, how exactly they became the Meringue Girls is quite a simple story. The girls bonded over their passion for food, particularly their passion for sweet food. After a few drinks and a lot of talking, the idea of the Meringue Girls came into being, and it all went on from there.

To talk a little bit about their mouthwatering meringues. Basically, Alex and Stacey have taken these sugary little treats and turned them into little jewels, that come in a range of scintillating flavours, which include pistachio and rosewater, dark chocolate, coconut, lemongrass and ginger, and most interesting of all gin and tonic, which we at Think Shaadi are itching to try.

We have a little treat to show you below, a cooking demonstration by the girls, filmed by Think Shaadi Community Member Deneemotion.

The Meringue Girls don’t just deal in the petite, they think big, and have collaborated with Fondant Fox, to create some of the most eye catching and simply gorgeous wedding cakes you’ll ever see. Giving you 10 choices of sponge flavours and a choice of 10 meringue kisses. They really are magnificent creations, worthy of a place at the Tate Modern.

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The Meringue Girls essentially put their personality into their creations, and they’ve been rewarded for it big time. The girls have been selected to take part in Selfridges new project ‘Meet the Makers’, where they are showcassing their talents to an excited audience. You can get acquainted with the Girls at Selfridges rooftop restaurant, On The Roof with Q, from 11 to 17 August.

Finally, we are delighted to welcome the Meringue Girls to the growing Think Shaadi family xx

Cakes by Krishanthi

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Krishanthi Armitt works a certain kind of magic with cakes. It’s a distinctive, eye catching and ultimately beautiful magic, where intricacy and grandeur operate in seamless harmony. Inspired to bake by watching her mother make tasty cakes for her family, Krishanthi uses the traditional techniques of Austrian and German bakers, renowned for their brilliance in the world of cake making, which she absorbed from her years studying at university in Germany.

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It’s Krishanthi’s skill with sugar work that gives her cakes the Midas touch, her range of delicately crafted floral motifs, which look unnervingly real, are a symbol of culinary perfection. Krishanthi really began to understand sugar craft when she became a mother. Her cakes emphasise the grand style of cake design, they take the classical form, but Krishanthi adds her eclectic influences, to make fashion cakes that epitomise individuality.

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It’s hard to define Krishanthi’s style, it’s something which has many facets. In a recent interview, when asked about her style, she said “My style is elegant, but it has to be unique and maybe even a little bit quirky. Fashion and architecture plays a big role when I’m looking for inspiration

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Ultimately, all Krishanthi’s designs are fashioned out of love and an astute understanding of aesthetics. Her designs achieve that all important air of wonder and amazement, a treat for both the eye and the taste buds.

Community Highlight: Matt Maurice

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Planning and production are the keys that make DJ Matt Maurice one of the most refreshing and original DJ’s in the world today. His years of experience, which include supporting the 90’s dance legends the Prodigy, have turned him into a quintessential master of creating a great party.
Working with a range of genres, from Acid House, Soul and Funk to Balearic and dozens of sub-genres, he’s continually kept a close eye on emerging trends, making sure he’s always at the forefront of his profession.

When asked why he became a DJ, in a recent interview, he said “I just fell into it really. I can’t honestly remember never playing music on a deck. I played music to people from around aged 10 at a youth club and I had my first professional gig at the age of 14.” For Matt, music is an essential part of his life, ever since he was a teenager; it’s the foundation of what makes him such a dedicated DJ.

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Home House With Niemierko. Pics By Nikole Ramsey (11)

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Matt has played a diverse range of venues, from small pubs and clubs, warehouses to 5 star hotel and other luxury venues. It’s the luxury venues that Matt plays now however, along with this he’s supported and worked with the crème of the music industry, including The Rolling Stones, Fat Boy Slim, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, The Clash and many, many others.

He’s been showered with accolades, such as for his work with Welsh rock band Feeder and Katie Melua when he was awarded several gold discs by the British Phonographic Industry. Now heading his own events company, Matt and his team run a tight ship, and push the boundaries of creating unique events, that are rich in musical diversity.

We at Think Shaadi are very excited to have Matt as one of our Marquee DJ’s. Let’s face it who wouldn’t be excited to be associated with such a creative tour-du-force.

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Community Highlight: Rob Van Helden

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The love affair which Dutch artists have with flowers goes back to the Flemish Golden Era, when painters like Ambrosius Bosschaert and Balthasar van der Ast used floral displays as a tool to represent life, birth, death etc. Today, Rob Van Helden is creating magic with flowers; his designs encompass the grand and the small, his style is fashioned from a deep love for design, nature and colour.

Over his 24 year career Rob Van Helden has been courted by a wealth of famous faces from Elton John to Pierce Brosnan. Aside from the celebrity attention, Rob has designed for royal weddings, charity events, society parties etc, in the UK, Continental Europe and beyond, such as in the beautiful palaces of Rajasthan. His distinctive style is what captures people’s attention first and foremost, but the careful attention he pays to each client’s needs is what cements their love for him.

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When it comes to his aesthetic approach, Rob tends to work with one specific type of flower, as he says “this is the way in which flowers tend to grow in the wild.” Whereas some florists create with a dizzying mixture of flowers, Rob likes to stick to the way nature intended, and then elaborate from that.

Like all good florists, Rob uses flowers to frame a celebration, whether it is a wedding, party or even the changing seasons. It’s all about delighting the eye and triggering the pleasure senses. We are very happy to have Rob Van Helden part of our Community xx

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Below is Mark Niemierko’s interview with Rob. Mark is a leading luxury wedding planner, based in London and this video shows Niemierko Wedding Academy students visit Rob’s studio, along with a tour of Covent Garden Flower Market in October 2011, for an insight into the creative element of floral design when it comes to weddings and events.

 

Community Highlight: Suneet Varma

Fashion’s Great Magician

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Grandeur, it’s a word that conjures up many thoughts, in art you might think of the Baroque, the Neo-Classical etc, in architecture you might think of the Palace of Versailles, and in fashion you’re more than likely to think of Suneet Varma. Suneet, one of India’s leading women’s and bridal wear designers launched his career back in the late 1980’s, when the Indian fashion industry, as we know it today, was in its genesis. It was a time when designers were breaking free from the traditional structures and beginning to embrace new design methods.

Going back to grandeur, it’s Suneet who has spearheaded an aesthetic that is forever structured around the grand, something that is fantastical and dreamlike, pristine fabrics that delicately layer over one another and elaborate embroidery that finely compliments every facet of a design, it’s pure theatre. Suneet’s inspiration is typically diverse, from art, books and film, to design, photography and nature, his creativity is continually spurred on by the world around him, and like a magician Suneet takes these varied inspirations and conjures together designs that encapsulate beauty in all its artistic forms.

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It’s hard and indeed impossible to place Suneet Varma in any specific box. He creates fashions that are as if lifted from a fairytale, designs that celebrate tradition and modernity in equal amounts. A specific factor that cements Suneet as a designer of merit is his understanding of the female form, and femininity as a whole, each one of his collections has embraced femininity, from the shaping and stitching to style and execution. So many designers try to incorporate grandeur into their creations, yet often fall flat, diluting beauty in favour of ephemeral attention, but Suneet has always mastered the alchemy of grandeur, showing us that to be grand doesn’t always mean turning fashion into an exaggerated circus.

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25 years ago, fresh from the London School of Fashion and an internship at Yves Saint Laurent, Suneet began climbing the ladder as a designer, but would quickly be recognised as one of the great artisans of Indian fashion, an artist who was confident in his abilities but astute and humble enough to continue learning from others.

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Year after year, each collection has superseded the last; the fashion establishment along with the public have become ever more entranced by his creations. For Suneet the goal was, and still remains, to highlight the sumptuous, the ethereal and essentially to make fashion tell a story.

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Always keen to collaborate, Suneet has been courted by a wealth of luxury brands from across the world, such as Armani Junior, Donna Karan, luxury hotel Dusit Devarana et al. In 2011, Suneet’s collaboration with designer Juith Lieber, famed for her luxury clutches and minaudieres, marked a greater exploration into accessory design, creating an autumn collection that fused together his playful and poetical creative approach, with Lieber’s sophisticated and synergistic approach, the outcome was a bejewelled extravaganza that celebrated nature and traditional Indian patterns. A spokeswoman for Judith Lieber said of the collaboration “Suneet Varma was our first and only choice as a design partner; he is the perfect designer for our creative aesthetic.”

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More recently, the luxury motor giant BMW approached Suneet to collaborate, which included designing interiors for their 7 series, unveiled in the spring of 2013. The “Auto-Couture” launch was held at the Dusit Devarana hotel, and featured fashions inspired by motorcar culture, from the 1930’s to the present day.

In 2013 his career was celebrated in a photographic retrospective, simply titled Suneet Varma, published by Niyogi Books. It was a humbling moment for a designer that has changed the face of Indian fashion, catapulting it onto the global stage. A man who has always wished to tell stories through fashion, with influences that cross Asia and Europe, Suneet Varma’s own story as a designer is the most fascinating of all.

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This week on May 8th and 9th, at London’s prestigious Nobu restaurant, Suneet, along with Judith Leiber and Dubai based jewellery designer Kajal Assomull, will be showcasing his latest collection, which includes some of his collaborations with Judith Leiber. It will be a luxurious affair that brings together three designers who are never shy of celebrating the beautiful aesthetic.

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We at Think Shaadi highly recommend you RSVP and for personal Bridal appointments email: suneetv@gmail.com

Images courtesy: Suneet Varma & Harper’s Bazaar Bride

Community Highlight: Asma Khan

The Empress of Supper Clubs

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We are reluctant to start this post with a line from the musical ‘Oliver’, but it has to be said – food, glorious food is what Asma Khan does best, that and of course a warm and welcoming atmosphere. There’s been a wave of “supper clubs” that have sprung up over the last few years, offering people a unique way of dining out, usually in the comfort of someone’s home. The city of London in particularly is awash with them, so it can be difficult to stand out.

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However, Asma has no trouble, her perfect blending of finely cooked Indian and other cuisines, natural prowess as a hostess and inviting Kensington home has Darjeeling Express (Asma’s supper club) head-and-shoulders above the rest. She’s come a long way from, in her own words, not even being able to boil an egg and spending her first 2 years in the UK eating salads and her husband’s chicken curry. Asma decided to spend some time back in India, basically getting a crash course in traditional cooking, and since then her passion for preparing and sharing tasty dishes has continued to grow.

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Darjeeling Express offers food lovers a wide selection of mouth watering meals, from Bengali to Mughal cooking, not forgetting of course a creative variety of themes that range from Bollywood to Indian winter feasts. Asma has garnered much acclaim amongst good food connoisseurs, Darjeeling Express recently made it into Suitcase Magazine’s “Top 5 International Supper Clubs in London” which is quite an achievement. We hope Asma conjures up some more supper club evenings very soon.

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Community Highlight: Ashish N. Soni

A Sartorial Pioneer

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Working towards what he calls “a simple aesthetic” Ashish N Soni is a designer who has been breaking the mould since 1992, when he launched his eponymous label, international acclaim would come when he launched a label through Selfridges. Throughout Soni’s career he’s reached many milestones, from being one of the first Indian designers to present a runway show at New York Fashion Week in 2005, to being handpicked by the Government of India to contribute to the Millennium celebrations of Khajuraho.

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Essentially it’s Soni’s unique sense of design ethics that keep the interest of the industry and public alike burning bright. His contours, shapes and styles range from minimalist and streamlined to , fanciful frills are not part of the Soni aesthetic. He regularly uses a palate of subtle pastel shades, along with electric and bolder colours. An Ashish Soni collection, both women’s and menswear, is always a cosmopolitan affair and never sticks to tried and tested conventions.

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If you were to sum up Ashish Soni as a designer, it would be international, because his influences come from far and wide, whether it’s the youngsters of Delhi, the dandy’s of Milan or historic Indian art and design. He brings these influences together in collections that epitomise sartorial beauty. Soni is all about being playful with fashion; even his formal wear has an element of non-conformity.

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His recent collections have had several flavours, from the Mediterranean, very much embracing the cultures of Milan, Barcelona and Madrid, with sun kissed colours and bohemian shapes, to the traditional, sharp blazers with intricate stitching and embroidery, sherwani’s with beautifully regal floral embellishments etc. It’s easy to see why Ashish Soni is gaining more global attention as the years go by.

Community Highlight – Pavan Ahluwalia

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Mixing Cutting-Edge Style with Ancient Beauty

Henna design is an ancient art form, with a rich history that is filled with numerous spiritual and artistic symbolisms. It takes someone with a truly creative eye and talent to gain the respect of their peers within the henna design world. Pavan Ahluwalia has achieved that respect, recognised by the esteemed Guinness World Records, as the fastest henna artist, which was granted to Pavan after she painted a mammoth 511 armband in 60 minutes, each with specifically different designs.

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Despite Henna designs ancient methods and aesthetic requirements, there is always room for adding a modern twist, and Pavan does this, and then some. She’s become much sort after across the globe, with brides desperate for her to create a unique and visionary design. Basically, ephemeral beauty has never looked so good.

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In the last 20 years Henna design has shifted from its traditional place, as a staple of South Asian weddings, to be incorporated into other cultures and other important moments in our lives. It’s thanks to designers like Pavan that the traditional and spiritual aspects have not been lost, as its popularity grows outwards, but also its people like Pavan who are pushing the boundaries where design innovation is concerned, entwining history and modernity together, thus breathing new life into this age old craft.

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Pavan has been courted by big names like the BBC, Harrods, Selfridges and Sky TV, along with celebrities, to work her magic over panoply of projects, which incorporate many differing tools, from diamante and glitter to full scale body paint and food colouring. Entirely self-taught, Pavan is the epitome of an artist, someone whose creativity never falters and someone who can find inspiration from the most obscure things.

To learn more about Pavan and her beautiful work, head over to her website: www.pavanonline.com