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    (From left) Heather and Philippe Charraudeau with Danijela and Ranvir Bhandari. Rahul Mishra (Centre). Gaurav Punj (right).

    The pre-Pongal weekend was a busy one, as the city proceeded to make good use of the last days of a�?wintera��. Making a quick trip to Chennai was designer Rahul Mishra, previewing his collection at Evoluzione, just before he headed off to Milan Fashion Week. Having always been a favourite down South, it wasna��t surprising that he saw a great turnout, with most of the ladies in a�?serious shoppinga�� mode. And the fact that his clothes work all year round is definitely a plus.

    That doesna��t mean they didna��t spend quality time with the designer, who by the way loves talking about his work, especially the importance of reviving the lost art of craftsmanship. It was also a learning experience to find out just how much goes into creating each piece. His winter lineA� a�?Sunehria�� which means a�?just like golda��, refers to the golden era of handloom couture. The challenge, as explained by him, is making sure these pieces dona��t weigh a ton. Adding to the feather weight hand-woven textiles are his signature floral motifs, which his loyal customers cana��t seem to get enough of.

    As day turned to evening, we moved from fashion to fitness with husband-wife duo, authors Gaurav Punj and Rujuta Diwekar. While Rujuta has been hailed as one of Indiaa��s top fitness professionals, with Kareena Kapoor swearing by her, Gaurav has taken a different route. His book Land of the flying Lamas, focuses on hiking and trekking in the Himalayan region.

    The tA?te-a-tA?te with the authors at Radisson Blu City Centre, presented by Westland, threw light on both the inspiration behind the book, as well as the sheer beauty of the region. For Gaurav, ita��s like home, having lived in a village near the Shivalik foothills for many years. So it seemed only natural to write this book, which reveals that therea��s more to the Himalayas than just the many a�?pointsa�� wea��ve read about in our history books.

    The travel aspect is complemented by a special chapter by Rujuta that covers everything else.A�We wound up the weekend at the ITC Grand Chola at a special event to bid farewell to general managerA�Philippe Charraudeau and welcome Ranvir Bhandari, who will now be at the helm.

    The evening was well attended, with a mix of corporates, diplomats and popular faces from the city. Charraudeau, who spent the last couple of years helping us perfect our FrenchA� accents, isA� sad to leave Chennai but is looking forward to his moveA�to Mumbai.

    a�� Paloma Rao (paloma@newindianexpress.com)




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