Azerbaijan to Australia to Paris Fashion Week

Against her parents' wishes, Ms Gala took on a career as a young adult that she was forced to abandon just as her lifelong dream appeared on the horizon.

But persistence paid off and after starting from scratch a second time, she made it to the world stage last month.

Reflecting on her turbulent journey, Ms Gala traces it back to her childhood in Azerbaijan, where she would be roused on for transforming curtains into Barbie Doll dresses.

As she excelled academically throughout her school years, her family encouraged her to study medicine.

"I think I did disappoint my dad a bit because I had the potential to become a doctor," she said.

After Ms Gala trained at the International Fashion Academy in Europe, her family migrated to Australia.

So, she took a risk and established her own brand in Sydney.

Before long her designs were catching the eyes of international designers and her dream of showcasing them in Paris — the birthplace of haute couture — seemed in reach.

But family issues forced her to abandon the brand.

"I just came back from Florence, and I was getting approached by all these magazines, but I had to give it all up," she said.

"It was due to a number of unfortunate and very personal events."

She clearly remembers disconnecting her phone on the night she shut down the shop.

Deciding to move to Canberra for a fresh start, Ms Gala was unable to relaunch her brand for another decade - but she never stopped sewing.

"I would sit at home and dress Canberra brides whenever I could," she said.

Eventually she gained enough support to open another couture store and launch her brand, De Challie.

Just two years later she was invited to exhibit not one, but two shows at the 2017 Paris Fashion Week this October.

While deeply ecstatic about the honour, which has been awarded to few Australian designers and none from Canberra to her knowledge, she had just two months to prepare.

"I said 'oh my god, we're not going to make it'."

But after many sleepless nights spent working in her studio, she did.

Standing backstage at the Renaissance Hotel in Paris and sending her models off, each wrapped in 200 hours of her hard work, was an indescribable moment.

"This was Paris Fashion Week — known as the home of couture and fashion internationally — where it all started. It was the one.

"I'd felt like I'd caught up with all the lost time."

Ms Gala believes its her ability to portray her own story through her creations that makes them unique.

While gaining inspiration from classic designers and following the basic principles of haute couture, she also combines the Azerbaijan style she admired growing up with modern trends.

"Azerbaijan costumes are very much like this 50s silhouette, strong-fitted waist with voluminous skirts," she said.

"And they've always been by dream. I always wanted to wear one when I was a young girl, with all those hand embroidery and beading; belts with lots of jewels."

She said she would not have made it without support from the Canberra community.Read more at: |


How to safely test beauty samples

You definitely do not want to walk into a beauty store looking for a wine colour lipstick and leave with a deadly disease. While you cannot carry herpes as cold sores need skin to skin contact to spread, other infections can spread through cosmetic products. It is okay to not toss a lipstick if someone just suffered a cold because the chances that you will get infected by cold germs are low. That is because the virus dies quickly. However, the respiratory virus can survive on a surface for varying amounts of time depending on the environmental conditions and the type of virus. If someone has just suffered anything more than a cold like a strep throat, flu, or mono it will be easy for the bacteria to live longer and increase the chance of an infection.

Wipe the sample with alcohol and then use

According to dermatologist Dr Sejal Shah, the risk of infection is more when you test the sample on mucosal membranes that includes your mouth and eyelids. So you should ideally not use any sample in these areas and just try the new ones. But if you still want to test that lipstick shade or that foundation, you can simply wipe down any product with alcohol before getting it in contact with your skin. But you may still want to use completely new products while testing the product on mucosal surfaces or anywhere close to your eyes.

Other tips

You can also use a disposable make-up applicator if available. For instance, you can ask for a sample that has just been tested with a disposable applicator. Go ahead with trying out the lipstick shade if they provide you with a lip brush. Also, it can be a good idea to test the sample on your hands rather than trying it out on your face.Read more |


Deepika Padukone’s athleisure outfit

Deepika Padukone is one actor who has been consistent with her travel style. The beauty who is back from Tirumala after seeking blessings from Lord Venkateshwara was all smiles as she was photographed at the Mumbai airport. Her sporty look reminds us of a lot of B-town fashionistas who have been sporting this trend including Sophie Chaudry, Sridevi and Neha Dhupia. But none of the actors looked as smart and effortless as Padukone did.

Wearing a pair of Nike trousers with a blue top, it was the shiny bomber jacket that grabbed all the attention. The sleeveless top was knotted at the waist and she accessorised it with a pair of Nike sneakers. What we love about the athleisure outfit is the interplay of different shades of blue. Her look may allure you into wearing one even on a weekday!

Keeping her soft wavy hair open, she rounded out her look with minimal make-up and nude lips. She teamed it with a pair of black sunglasses and her most trusted travel accessory, her oversized tote bag from Chanel.

The Padmavati actor has quite often been spotted carrying the tote bag. Priced at Rs. 1,76501, the Chanel bag is super spacious and has a logo in the front.

Talking of Padukone’s casual looks, the last time she was seen in a casual avatar was while attending Shah Rukh Khan’s birthday at Alibaug. She wore a super cool Zara dress paired with ripped jeans. Looks like she can never go wrong with her casual style.Read more at: |


Union Flag skirts and My Fair Lady gowns

When you say ‘London’ to an Italian, what springs to mind? Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana gave us a pretty good idea on Saturday evening with their latest Alta Moda show - their equivalent of Parisian Haute Couture.

While much of the collection, which also included Alta Sartoria for the men, was made up of the duo’s standard fare of exquisite tailoring and Baroque curlicues, there were playful additions that could only belong here. Sequin Union Flag dresses were the most obvious tributes to a city the pair know well and feel quite at home in. After all, they have a house in Primrose Hill and they've just staged a dramatic takeover of Harrods for Christmas. What's more, Gabbana’s been instagramming videos of himself riding what looks like a motorised child’s Trunki down Regent Street, dodging big red buses with zero sense of self preservation. Well, at least he’s driving on the left-hand side of the road.

In addition to the red-white-and-blue dresses which came with matching mink minaudieres, there were tributes to famous London films. My Fair Lady delivered Edwardian silhouettes, and huge picture hats with ostrich plumes. 101 Dalmatians offered up a white coat with giant black spots and surely there was some Kind Hearts and Coronets inspiration in the ball gowns. Street style got a look-in with logo t-shirts (admittedly hand-embroidered with thousands of sequins - not something Sid Vicious would recognise) and a playful take on punk saw tailored checked skirts covered in gold safety pins. Meanwhile, no brand that prides itself on its embellishment could let the Pearly Kings and Queens go by without a nod. The finale saw homegrown star Sam Rollinson in a beautifully gathered and billowing organza gown printed with yet more Union Flags, this time complete with a scarlet corset and black gloves. A patriotic Nancy from Oliver Twist?

All this took place in the marble halls of the brand’s Old Bond Street flagship and, unlike most fashion shows which are functional and minimal and watched by scruffy journalists on a deadline, this one saw couture clients seated on gilded thrones upholstered in crimson damask, sipping Dom Perignon 2009 while placing orders for the looks they wanted from their smartphones. It may not be a London that we recognise, but the gilded non-doms in the audience felt quite at home.Read more at: |


The Secret Way Fashion’s It Girls Are Making Fanny Packs Cool Again

Yes, fanny packs are back. And no, they are not going anywhere anytime soon. So if you're a fashionista that loves trends, you might as well hop on board. I know you might have your doubts and fears about the controversial bag, but don't worry. There's one fashion tip that will ensure that you nail the fanny-pack trend without looking like you're stuck in the '80s.

Instead of securing the bag around your waist, turn it into a crossbody by tossing it across your chest. You might have noticed several of fashion's it girls already doing this. Stars like Bella Hadid, Kendal Jenner, and Rihanna have been transforming fanny packs into crossbody bags lately. And the trend isn't showing any signs of slowing down.

Even big name designers—like Balenciaga—sent models down the runway wearing fanny packs strapped across their chests.

The best part about the crossbody fanny pack is that it's a trend that will make any and every outfit look ten times better. Want to upgrade your usual white T-shirt and jeans uniform? Throw a fanny pack over one shoulder. Need to add an unexpected twist to a ladylike dress? You can't go wrong rocking a dainty belt bag to one side. It's the 2018 way to make fanny packs cool again.Read more at: |