The Gentleman's Life: The Essentials of Style

When it comes to living the life of a gentleman there are many men that we can take inspiration from. Be it ‘old world’ icon like Cary Grant or US based style icon Christopher Corey, who mixes ‘old world gentleman’ with the hustle of a modern entrepreneur.

 ‘Anyone can be heroic from time to time, but a gentleman is something you have to be all the time’.

-          Luigi Pirandello

At Ananya HQ we’ve scoured city, country and coast to bring you the essentials to living the life of a gentleman, from gentlemen that we love and adore.

 Over and above being kind, courteous, and thoughtful and worthy, we know that living the life of a gentleman should always involve style. And no, this doesn’t mean just having a designer suit – it goes way beyond that. Style and gentlemanly behaviour aren’t mutually exclusive to having lots of money! Whatever your budget, whatever your circumstances you can live a life of a stylish gentleman.  

 ‘It isn’t only money that determines how well a man dresses - its personal taste.’

-          Cary Grant

Suited and Booted (well, shoes actually…)

You don’t have to be well dressed to be a gentleman. Says Vaishali, our MD “One of the most courteous and gentlemanly men I know is my builder whose ‘uniform’ is jeans and polo shirt. But, at Ananya HQ we do love a well-cut suit.  Cut an elegant figure in a well-tailored suit in dark grey or navy. Team with a crisp tailored shirt, a waistcoat and double Windsor knot tie to complete the look. One of our favourite gentlemen is actor Stanley Tucci who wears this look with a grace and style that could give Cary Grant a run for his money!

 To emulate the style of a ‘gentleman about town’ our advice is to leave the novelty tie at home and concentrate on colour and texture.

And shoes? Shoes should hold their own in city or country. Ultimately they need to allow you to walk in comfort and style whatever gentlemanly efforts you are involved in.

Signature Style

Image credit:  Hello Magazine

Image credit: Hello Magazine

A gentleman always has a signature style. You might have your suits tailored in Savile Row, or maybe express your personality through your collection of exquisite silk pocket squares.

The art of being a gentleman is finding your own style whatever that may be.

We love the contemporary style of Indian royal, Rai Sinh Jadeja of Maliya (Nino), and the black tie style of writer, producer and director, Mozez Singh.

Time it Right

A good watch is an essential for any gentleman. But, a gentleman doesn’t have to ‘shout’ with his timepiece. Think Robert Redford in his Rolex Submariner Date Ref 1680. Ultimately a gentleman is a guardian of his watch. A gentleman’s timepiece will mark time elegantly and quietly waiting to pass to a worthy son, nephew, godson or grandson.

Perfect Penmanship

Image credit:  Montblanc

Image credit: Montblanc

Our regulars will know that at Ananya we are dedicated to the art of writing. A gentleman knows the value of things such as handwritten thank you notes. He also always has a pen to hand. Invest in the best that you can afford. Whether it’s a plain ballpoint, a fountain pen from Cross or an investment piece from Montblanc or Montegrappa, having a pen and sleek notebook to hand is the mark of a stylish gentleman.

Personalised stationery by Ananya

Personalised stationery by Ananya

And the final touches…

Image credit:  Frederic Malle

Image credit: Frederic Malle

There’s no point investing in style, and developing your signature look if it isn’t completed with the essential final touches.

We’ll take you head to toe with a collection of what we consider are some of the best ‘essentials’ available.

A subtle hint of fragrance is always appreciated. Emphasis on the word subtle please! We love Frederic Malle for men. It’s a deliciously good fragrance exuding warmth and citrus notes. 

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Good grooming is a must, whatever your style. We love Pankhurst Barbers, where the chairs are made from Bentley motors leather and the whole place gives the feel of a gentleman’s club with a frisson of ‘edgy’ from its ‘speak easy’ vibe.

Once you’re dressed and ready it’s time to add those absolute final touches. Whether it’s a family heirloom such as a monogram signet ring, or discreet cuff links, these are the final ‘bits and pieces’ before you put on your classic design sunglasses and step out into the world.

Do contact us to discuss any of your stationery requirements, whether that is a bespoke monogram design or personalised stationery and invitations.

 

The Art of Letter Writing Revived

Have you noticed recently that there’s a letter writing revival going on? Yes people, pen and ink and beautiful paper are enjoying a renaissance. At Ananya it’s definitely a revival that we are absolutely crushing on. Who doesn’t love receiving a beautifully written note on gorgeous paper? We’ll take that over a text message any day.

Writing the Perfect Letter

"Now that handwriting is a choice, not a chore, and there is a premium on the unique rather than the infinitely reproducible, people are beginning to discover, or rediscover, the thrill of pen and ink.’" -  Daisy Goodwin, Sunday Times November 2014

When we say we love receiving a letter we do, of course, assume that the letter will be written on paper worthy of the effort involved in hand writing those precious words.

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For timeless elegance, think of heavyweight (at least 100 gsm) cream, ivory or white paper. Create something special with personalised monogrammed writing paper and envelopes. You just can’t go wrong. But, if you want colour, try envelopes lined with your favourite colour, or bold writing paper in contemporary colours. We love cobalt blue, hot cerise or deep emerald green; bright without running the risk of your recipient developing an instant migraine. If, like the team here at Ananya HQ, you’re a visual person, you might include a hand drawn artisan card as a lovely memento.

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Word Perfect

Finding the right words for a handwritten letter may seem like a gargantuan effort at first. And you’re right, it does take effort compared to a quickly fired off text or e-mail. When you write a handwritten letter what you’re actually saying is that you value the love and the friendship of the person that you’re writing to. You’ve taken the time to consider your words and you’ve taken pleasure in writing the letter. 

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Put Pen to Paper  

If you have barely picked up a pen since schooldays, using a ballpoint pen to write may come easier. At Ananya HQ we are big fans of fountain pens. Why? To write with a fountain pen is to experience a slower, more considered pace of life that has a frisson of romance associated with it. You can’t backspace or delete, so each and every word is considered and beautifully written.

And when it comes to receiving a handwritten notecard, what a joy it is to see something so special in the mailbox or on the mat by the front door. It’s akin to receiving a small exquisite gift, complete with the delicious anticipation of who it may be from. For our MD Vaishali, reading a handwritten letter or notecard from a friend or loved one is worthy of putting aside special time to read it. This isn’t the moment to read in a hurry, it’s time instead to find your favourite spot, sit back, relax and read.

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Whether you are a writer or a recipient, at Ananya we hope that you enjoy the art of letter writing. Please do let us know in the comments below.

 

Countdown to Christmas: The Definitive Stationery Guide for Christmas & the Winter Season

Yes, we know we’ve only just got passed Halloween and all that. But, that also means that the party season is upon us, as is Christmas. Whatever winter wonderland you may visit, or Christmas cocktail parties you may throw, you need to start planning now. Here at Ananya HQ we have inspiring invites, elegant stationery, festive fun and more. Read on for our definitively divine survival guide for the winter season…

Your first party invite for Christmas has dropped through the letter box. What next? 

First of all, celebrate the fact that you’ve got great friends who take the time to send you a proper invite! Now, if they’re really on the ball, your host will have included an RSVP card with the invite. No? Don’t worry. Just send them an RSVP card of your own. A handwritten note to accept or decline will do just fine. It’s extra special when written on beautiful quality writing paper. Want to push the boat out a little? Invest in bespoke RSVP cards that you can use for any occasion.

You’re throwing a winter cocktail party for friends and colleagues:

For a perfect start to your celebrations, how about a bespoke cocktail party invite? Great Gatsby themes are always popular for cocktail parties.

Gatsby Glamour_cocktail_ananyacards.com stationery.jpg

Or, if you want something less ‘shiny’, how about a more restrained 30’s theme in cool tones of cream and black? 

At Ananya HQ we love colour! Our favourite for something a little different is a rich deep red for ‘a night to remember’...

You’re a guest at a formal dinner party and want to be remembered for all the right reasons:

It’s easy these days to swap details over smartphones. But, how about investing in a personal card? We’re not talking your corporate business card here, but something altogether more elegant. Reminiscent of a more refined age, a simple embossed card says everything. With just your name and contact details, express your personality through font and colour.

You’re going to treat yourself to the perfect gift from you to you. What will it be? 

Start a trend amongst friends to use ink rather than e-mail! Indulge in a fine set of monogrammed, personalised stationery. Choose from fine paper and simple envelopes. Or maybe opt for personal notecards and envelopes lined in your favourite colour.

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Maybe you want to channel your inner artist?

Our Colour Me range of cards to 'colour in' is just perfect. Ranging from hello to thank you, they’re light-hearted and fun.

And what do we think at Ananya HQ are the colours for the Christmas season?

Whilst the classic elements of gold, silver and white remain, its natural elements that dominate this season, whether it's a winter wedding invitation or party invite. With earthy organic colours and textures, think deep green, sage and plum. Highlights come from accents of copper bound together with organic textures. Think of the warmth of wool, wood and velvet.

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Feeling inspired? Let’s create something special. Contact us today on +44 (0)20 7242 1877 or info@ananyacards.com to discuss your design ideas. Winter and Christmas never looked so good!

Until next time,

Vaishali x

 

 

Trend Alert: The Monogram

The monogram it seems is the personal ‘logo’ of the moment. From handbags to shirt cuffs and shoes, and pretty much anything else, the monogram is ‘on trend’. Want to know more? Read on for our delightful details of how to embrace this discerning trend.

Monogram: The Art of a Personal Marque

Never had a monogram? Not sure what it is or what all the fuss is about? Or maybe like us, when you first think of a monogram you connect it with the ‘old world’? Or, in a contemporary setting as something that’s reserved for upmarket hotel towels. Where once a monogram would have adorned a ‘seal’ or signet ring in a contemporary world, a monogram is your personal marque. It’s your way of defining who you are and a way of standing out from the ‘digital crowd’.

Be big and bold or delicate and discreet, monograms are definitely having their moment. Not convinced? Well, take your cue from fashion trends.  How cool is Rae Feather’s monogrammed frayed Panama hat? Or maybe the stylish Monogram Stripe Fray Denim Slide is more your thing? It’s a personalised look from head to toe (but we would recommend that you don’t overdo it!).

When you choose to have a monogram, you’re making a bold personal statement. And, many of our clients at Ananya choose a monogram to mark a life event. Our monogrammed wedding stationery is a beautiful example of that. And, as with everything in this mad, wonderful world, we do get unusual requests from time to time. Intrigued? Well, just between you and us, it's a secret! After all, we do value our client’s confidentiality. 

Whatever the reason for a monogram, there's a plethora of design options to choose from. So, although initials or a family crest are popular, you can always choose a less formal design. It might be a favourite flower or discreet monogram of a favourite pet. How gorgeous would a tiny dog or a blousy rose look, embroidered onto a shirt cuff? Whatever design you choose, it can represent your entire lifestyle.

Here at Ananya HQ we’ve come up with a list of our favourite ways to apply a monogram:

Social stationery: every smart home should have a social stationery ‘wardrobe’. Naturally, it includes monogrammed writing paper and note cards. For social occasions, the fashion forward amongst us might swap their business card for a monogrammed calling card.  

Bath linen and robes: head for the beach with a stripy monogrammed beach towel. Come home to relax in a monogrammed bath robe. How indulgent!

Monogrammed luggage: this is the ultimate luxury, redolent of a golden age. We can almost imagine ourselves boarding the Queen Mary, bound for New York. Heading for the First Class lounge at Heathrow will just have to do.

Win a Custom-Designed Monogram from Ananya

We’re nothing if not generous here at Ananya, and we’d love for you to have your own monogram. So, we’re delighted to offer you the opportunity to win a custom-designed monogram. Created by our talented design team, it's worth £200. And, your monogram comes complete with digital artwork! Fabulous, don’t you think?

All you have to do to enter is like this blog and share it across your own social media space, using the social share icons. We will choose a winner at random on 31 August. We will announce the winner on Facebook and Instagram.

Our founder Vaishali Shah says: “In a world where everything seems defined by passwords, having a monogram is something that’s reassuringly personal and unique to you". 

We hope that you enjoyed this little foray into the world of monograms. Good luck with entering the competition!

Ananya's Top Wedding Stationery Trends for 2014

2014 has arrived! At Ananya, we love creating wedding stationery that reflects the top colour, embellishment and style trends of the year. If you’re getting married in 2014 then look no further for stationery advice! If you want to make a statement this year, start by choosing one of our picks for the top trends in 2014.

Top Trend: Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2014

Radiant Orchid

Pantone has announced that its 2014 Colour of the Year is Radiant Orchid. This captivating and charming shade of purple is perfect for romantic stationery and is set to dazzle the wedding scene this year. At Ananya, we love this enchanting, vibrant colour and have designed a collection of stationery that radiates love. This colour will be the hottest trend in fashion and interiors for 2014. Expect to see this colour accompanied with complimentary Ombre or monochrome shades. Make Radiant Orchid your stationery statement for 2014!

Top Trend: Signature Style

Bespoke Stationery

bespoke peacock wedding day invitation6_POA_ananyacards.com
bespoke peacock wedding day invitation7_POA_ananyacards.com

At Ananya, we specialise in creating bespoke wedding stationery that truly reflects the personal style and image of the happy couple. My team and I will meet with you on a number of occasions to offer suggestions and create exclusive designs. For truly unique creations, we can design a monogram to add an elegant touch to your stationery that symbolises your everlasting commitment to each other. Plus, their versatile use and adaptability make monograms a wonderful keepsake that can be used for years to come. For an extra hint of sparkle, the stationery can be hand embellished with crystals to bring a bit of glitz and glamour to your wedding.

Top Trend: Vintage Luxe

Pearl Embellishments

With the success of The Great Gatsbyfilm in 2013, vintage motifs and delicate lace designs have taken over the wedding world. At Ananya, 2014 will be the year of pearl embellishments! Sweet pearls give an elegant and feminine touch to your stationery and set the tone for a luxurious celebration. Pearls can be hand embellished onto any of the Ananya collections and are a special accent for vintage-style designs. Pick pearls for timeless stationery with a romantic glow in 2014.

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No matter what trend you choose, you can’t go wrong with Radiant Orchid, Signature Style or Vintage Luxe in 2014!

Wedding Stationery Inspired By Movie Magic

Tired of attending weddings lacking any imagination? Stumped on how to give your wedding the all important “wow” factor? Why not plan your wedding based on your favourite movie! Movies make fantastic inspiration for fun and fabulous celebrations. At Ananya, we love a good movie themed wedding! The roaring 20s has always been a popular theme for parties and weddings, but no more so than in 2013 with the release of The Great Gatsby. Starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Carey Mulligan as Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, The Great Gatsbydepicts the glamour, luxury and extravagance of the time period. This is the perfect theme for modern brides wanting a bit of old world opulence and sophistication.

Your invitation is the first glimpse your guests will receive of your wedding, so make sure to incorporate the theme early. We’ve designed the striking Gatsby Glamour collection for our fab, flapper brides.

Haylie
Haylie
Haylie and Mathew
Haylie and Mathew

Why not make your big day extra memorable by creating a bespoke monogram design? At Ananya, we create personalised monograms, which are wonderful keepsakes from your wedding and can be used on all manner of things to remind you of your happy day.  Here is a Gatsby inspired wedding invitation with a monogram of the couple’s initials at the top.

Julia
Julia

All little girls dream about their fairytale weddings- many of which aspiring to be a true princess on their big day. This is why movies make great ready-made wedding themes. Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp and Mia Wasikowska as The Mad Hatter and Alice, was a huge hit in 2010. Being inspired by Alice would make your wedding day a quirky and creative affair that no one could forget! We designed the Queen of Hearts collection for our fun loving brides who aren’t ready to give up their childhood dreams.

Mad hatter
Mad hatter
Eat me
Eat me
Curiouser
Curiouser

Remember, movie magic doesn’t just come from Hollywood. As 2013 celebrates the 100 year anniversary of Bollywood, we have created this limited edition Bollywood Bliss collection of stationery. This collection brings the glitz while allowing you to showcase your culture.

Rupa
Rupa
poster
poster

No matter what movie you choose, remember to stay true to yourself and make your wedding memorable in your own way. Just don’t forget hand embellished crystals on your stationery for an extra spark of magic on the big day!

Wedding Stationery Trends for 2013

2013 has arrived and with it, come the dreams and aspirations of every bride to have her perfect wedding. So what are the trends for 2013 that will help her create the wedding of her dreams and also one that is a la mode? Below are our thoughts... Glitz, Glamour and the Great Gatsby

Great Gatsby green and black wedding invitation
Great Gatsby green and black wedding invitation
Great Gatsby cream and gold wedding invitation
Great Gatsby cream and gold wedding invitation

With the much-anticipated movie the Great Gatsby finally being launched later this year, the 1920’s fashion has already begun to make an appearance. Translating this retro style into stationery will mean soft and shimmery backgrounds, dreamy and lace-textured looks and floral motifs - all heavily encrusted with crystals. Designs can also be bold and geometric and attention grabbing. Quite simply, a feast for the eyes!

Ombré: Shaded, Faded, Gradient

Ombre shaded wedding invitation
Ombre shaded wedding invitation
Ombré shaded green and brown wedding invitation
Ombré shaded green and brown wedding invitation

The shaded or Ombré look has definitely caught on, and will continue to be favoured in 2013. The dipped and dyed effect gives the look of colour graduations from dark to light. Often based on a monochromatic colour scheme, three different complementary colours can also be combined. The Ombré look has pervaded clothes, fashion accessories and even cosmetics and will be seen in stationery with dramatic effect.

East Meets West

Bespoke paisley lotus wedding invitation
Bespoke paisley lotus wedding invitation
Bandhani Bliss India inspired wedding invitation
Bandhani Bliss India inspired wedding invitation

The enduring allure of India and the East is such that time and again, top fashion and beauty houses such as Chanel and Boucheron have been drawn to its multi-faceted heritage for inspiration. This fascination with the East will continue to play an important part in 2013 because of its undying appeal.

Couples are not shying away from choosing strong, dramatic gemstone colours that are rich and exotic, and tones that spell opulence. The designs create a modern interpretation of traditional images and symbols, skilfully harmonising the East and West. Studded with crystal embellishments, they are Bollywood come alive!

Making a Personal Statement

Monogrammed crystal cake topper
Monogrammed crystal cake topper

Couples will want the stationery to be an expression of who they are. Whether adopting the latest on trend colour or other popular themes, they will want those themes to be intertwined with splashes of their own choosing – wanting the wedding invite to create the right tone – their tone.

Monograms will continue to be highly favoured as a way to express who we are and what we stand for as well as aspects that embrace our cultural heritage. They can also be adapted for use in a variety of ways to suit one’s needs. Monograms can become a work of art when embellished with crystals, adding that special exotic sparkle and shimmer.  It’s no wonder that such gorgeous invitations often become a keepsake – a fabulous souvenir to look back on with pride.

Cool Colour Hot Trend

Mint Modern wedding invitation
Mint Modern wedding invitation
Exotic Emerald wedding invitation by Ananya
Exotic Emerald wedding invitation by Ananya

The soft and soothing colour of mint looks all set to become a hot trend in 2013. After the fiery, passionate, colour palette of 2012’s Tangerine Tango, the cool, crisp and fresh tones of mint will be most refreshing. Emerald, Pantone's Colour for 2013, will also be a very popular choice. Cool and serene or majestic and mesmerising, Emerald can be used as an accent colour to add that all important sparkle or as a predominant colour, as deep and vibrant as the Amazon jungle. The main colour can be carried through the entire suite of stationery with variations on tones.

Fantasy and Fairy Tale

Pink butterfly wedding invitation
Pink butterfly wedding invitation

Given the uncertain and volatile nature of the events of 2012, weddings in 2013 will be a great excuse to escape from the concerns of everyday living. The stationery will reflect a fantasy world full of magic and beauty. Soft colours, birds and butterflies, layering of designs and a touch of sparkle will create romantic and captivating stationery.

Classic and Always in Fashion

Classic monochrome wedding invitation
Classic monochrome wedding invitation

For those of us who like simple and understated chic, the classic look will always be in style - a relaxed feel with timeless designs and quiet luxury that speaks volumes. Soft colours, monochromes, monograms, minimal fuss and beautiful.

What are your favourite trends for 2013? We'd love you to share your ideas with us.

Credits: All invitation designs by Ananya

Let's Hear It For New York!

ananya is heading to the Big Apple! We’re very excited to announce that we will be exhibiting our wedding stationery in New York City at the Wedding Channel Couture Show, which is the premier bridal industry trade show in the city. It is a biennial event, where designers, press and retailers of the bridal world meet and announce the latest wedding trends and fashions. It is a chance for us, and several other British companies, to introduce ourselves to the New York wedding market. The show is taking place in the InterContinental Hotel New York Barclay, in Midtown, Manhattan from the 9th of April, during International Bridal week, and we are absolutely thrilled to be taking part. There will be a special 'Royal Britannia' showcase arranged by our fabulous PR company, Propose PR, which will involve an exhibition of wedding necessities inspired by the Royal Wedding, including favours, evening wear and shoes, as well as ananya’s stationery!

We are planning on showcasing several of our wedding stationery collections at the show, including Royal Romance (our Royal wedding inspired collection), Viva Vintage, Peacock Panache and Picture Perfect, as well as some designs we have created especially for the event.

ananya's NYC wedding invitation collection
ananya's NYC wedding invitation collection

We are especially excited about the prospect of introducing ourselves to the wedding market in the United States, having worked with some American clients in the past. It is certainly an area where we would like to expand and we look forward to creating more exclusive wedding stationery for US clients.

ananya goes across the pond this week, and we cannot wait! Although we cannot be there in person to experience the city that never sleeps, our designs will be showcased and hopefully will speak for themselves...

Until next time...Namaste and enjoy ananya life!

My Royal Monogram

The monogram commonly affiliated with Louis Vuitton, weddings, stationery and luxury cars, has its roots in royalty. Historically, a monogram was used as a royal signature. The Romans and Greeks used monograms as currency (transitioning from the barter system). High society Victorians adopted and personalised the monogram to signify their place in society. Fast-forward a generation or two.…then came the evolution of the distinguishable monogram – LV (and others in the world of luxurious fashion).

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