Bollywood Blowout Lives up to Its Name
This year there was no better way to celebrate the South Asian New Year, Diwali, than at the extravagant Bollywood Blowout held at Stan Mansion. Vandana Walia, one of the event organizers and Art of Imagination had washed the entrance in soft hues of pink and purple lighting, setting the mood for the elaborate décor inside.
Anupy Singla, another of the event organizers invited many of her friends and colleagues to participate as models. As a former journalist (and an award winning one at that), and founder of Indian As Apple Pie she had a wide network from which to draw. I was excited to be participating. Ritu Boorgu, owner of Charisma, had expertly fit the models the week before. Some of the ensembles had several pieces and elaborate hand beading and brocade work added to the weight of the garments. All of us were dolled up by Sneha Dixit of VA Cosmetics and her make-up artists, and the stylists from Salon Snob who were on hand to get us runway ready.
More than 500 guests turned out, many wearing traditional Indian attire. Women were dressed in colorful saris accented with bracelet, bangles and other baubles and men in trouser and tunic outfits. During the VIP hour, guests sipped cocktails, Lassi shakes, sampled veggie wraps and other bites while they shopped the vendor booths overflowing with beautiful Indian jewelry, accessories and other merchandise.
Delicious food stations from Chicago-based Indian restaurants which included Gaylord Restaurants, Indian Garden of Chicago, Peacock, Cuisine of India in Naperville, and the popular Thalia Spice Asian Fusion Bistro & Bar offered tempting bites.
Leading off the entertainment, barefoot costumed dancers performed to a lively beat accented by a Dohl (drum) player; flame throwers spun and flipped throwing lighted batons high above their heads, followed by acrobats who tucked, piked, twisted and slid across the floor. The highlight of the evening was the stunning runway show.
Paiy Hans walked the runway with Gigi’s from GiGi’s Playhouse. A portion of the proceeds benefitted Gigi’s Playhouse, a non-profit whose mission is supporting children with Down Syndrome.
Following the fashion show, New York City based DJ Rekha, spun traditional Punjabi tunes while acrobats and dancers flipped and tumbled across the floor. As the volume pumped up guests spilled onto the dance floor until it was overflowing and partied the night away.
Photo Credit: Caitlin Saville Photography