Grace, Glitz and Glamour Gather at the Woman of the Year Awards Gala 2017


BURLINGTON, MA—Everyone made a fashion statement at the 15th annual Woman of the Year Awards Gala. Fashionistas, who look for fashion trends every year at the Woman of the Year gala, said all three—grace, glamor and glitz—came together at the red carpet event on May 26 at Burlington Marriott Hotel in Burlington, MA.

“Classy” was another feature of this year’s Woman of the Year Awards gala, said Raj Sharma, who has been named among the nation’s top wealth advisors by Forbes magazine.

Raj Sharma

“Clearly the best so far, well organized and executed, less glitzy yet more classy,” said Sharma, managing director and head of The Sharma Group, a high-end private advisory boutique within Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking and Investment Group. “It was heartening to see so many high achievers in our community representing a broad range of pursuits. I think we are maturing as a community with a shift in focus from safe and tried careers to endeavors that uplift society as a whole. This trend augurs well for our community and the way it is perceived in a larger context.”

Preeti  Munjal, an Andover resident and a fashionista, said the Woman of the Year gala was indeed a “Wow” event this year where attendees turned out in full galore with glamorous Indian designer wear, elegant western dresses and graceful gowns.

“Gentlemen did not lag behind either and created their own style statement by wearing chic ethnic wear like sherwanis and western designer suits.  The event had no dearth of stunning red carpet fashion, which was complemented with equally stunning jewelry, accessories, shoes, hairdos and makeup,” said Munjal.  “Fashion statements were truly made in bold, sensuous and striking designer wear at the red-carpet ceremony of the ‘Woman of the Year’ event.  Majority carried themselves with confidence, elegance and grace.  There were few fall outs too but they were way outnumbered by the exquisitely dressed ladies and gentlemen.”

The winners and the nominees of the event looked very elegant as well and so did emcees and hostess of the evening, said Munjal.

“The emcees of the evening, Mandy Deb Pant and Jharna Madan, dressed in festive Indian sarees, coordinated their accessories with utmost detail.  Overall, they both looked really splendid,” Munjal said. “Manju Sheth, host of the event, looked ravishing in her black and gold embroidered ethnic wear.  She sure grabbed the limelight by creating a buzz as she stood out in style.  She paired her outfit with long golden earrings, matching purse and elegant shoes. Accessories always play an important role in the overall persona of an individual and Manju Sheth sure aced in that proficiency.”

Gopika Narula

Gopika Narula, an artist, said she noticed Sheth’s black and golden dress, Taniya Nayak’s jewelry with white outfit, Namita Dodwadkar’s elegant gown, Aditi Taylor’s subtle yet elegant saree, Twinkle Morbia Gautam’s overall look, and Jaya Arvind’s blue saree, among others.

“As an artist by profession I am drawn to colors, patterns and overall impression – whether it is wearable art, stage, decorations or displayed art. If I were to compare this event in terms of fashion ….. Red Carpet event comes to my mind. Everyone was well dressed,” said Narula. “If I ask you to name an event/place where one can see a combination of both inner and outer beauty, success, passion to follow the goal, achieving great height in respective professions, inspiration to others, poise and compassion to help others in addition to balance the family life – I am sure INE WOY 2017 would come to your mind.”

She said INE WOY has been providing a platform to honor and recognize achievements of women in the community.

From left to right: Mandy Pant, Aditi Taylor and Jharna Madan

“These women are diversified in terms of their profession, passion, charity work and belief…but they have one thing in common… they never gave up. They decided to follow their heart, work hard and fulfill their dreams,” Narula said.

Hostess Manju Sheth (right) with her daughter Shaleen Sheth

Just like in the movie ” Night at the Museum” all the artifacts come to life, in a same way at INE WOY 2017 event the dresses like Indian handlooms and ethnic wear from sarees and comfy separates to contemporary style of dressing including western dresses, flowing gowns, long kurtas with lehanga/plazo came to life – thanks to poise, confidence and elegance with which they were carried, Narula said.

“Colors ranging from bold shades of gold, black, pink, red to subtle yet elegant colors like cream, peach, and white,” said Narula. “The dressing style seemed well thought of but completely effortless. I also noted attention to details like accessories, hair, footwear and tasteful, beautiful and intricate jewelry that compliments the overall look.”

Shibani Mathur

Shibani Mathur of Jewels N More said WOY 2017 was a glamourous and inspiring night bringing the New Englanders together to create a memorable event.

“The theme as per my observation was BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL!!  The bold and bright Reds, Royal Blues, Fuchsias and Pinks were top choices of color and sprawled all over the ballroom. Where we saw women adorning bright Reds mostly, Men were not too far behind and some boldly flaunted red shirts and ties,” said Mathur. “The unique mix of traditional and modern to create a fusion was very evident. The classy and timeless traditional silk sarees were by far the top choices, but georgettes and net sarees where not left behind, many chose to wear gorgeous long Anarkalis with lots of gold and sparkle as well.”

Nevertheless it was refreshing to see quite a few flaunting gowns this year, Mathur said. Men were seen looking suave mostly in suits and some did champion Indian ethnic attire.

“A tactful juxtaposition of sequence , lace and contrasting blouses and clever use of smart bold accessories and exquisite jewelry pieces created a new flavor to some traditional sarees whereas a few decided to adorn Kanjivaram traditional south saree without disturbing the elegance ,” Mathur said. “My 2 favorite sarees of the night were again a traditional and the other a contemporary. Simply loved the turquoise traditional South Indian saree worn so gracefully by Deepa Mangalat and her charm was unparalleled, the other favorite was Satya Paul statement saree with a sequence blouse very elegantly and tastefully worn my Jasmin Shah. No matter what you wear, it is how you carry it that makes all the difference!! Tradition vs Trendy, both work equally well this season, be bold to carry your attire well and make heads turn.”

Dr. Shashikala Dwarkanath (center) with her trademark saree with “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” print. Manju Sheth (left) and Upendra Mishra (right)

Mathur said the inspirational night culminated for her with a wonderful message when the lifetime achievement award was presented to Dr. Shashikala Dwarkanath, and in her speech she gave a brief description of her saree with a message from Vedic scripture written on it “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” – a whole world is one family.

“This not only inspired me to think that fashion is not just a statement or a piece of clothing worn according to the trends but can also spread profound messages and be very meaningful.  It inspired me to reignite my passion for fabric painting as I sat thinking, the event truly reflected the message on the saree. People from all walks of life, all different cultures and heritage, different professions and surely various fashion choices were attending the event as one community, as one family.”

Twinkle Morbia Gautam

Twinkle Morbia Gautam of Syna’s Collection said Women of the Yearhas been her most favorite event since last four years. With time, it has become an eminent and depicts the “RED CARPET Affair” of the South Asian Community in New England.

“Glamour with grace and confidence was what the gorgeous guests adorned themselves with at this 2017 gala. The evening dazzled with 21 women finalist who have made a mark for themselves in the community. And each finalist looked the epitome of elegance and confidence,” Morbia said. “What predominated the evening in terms of fashion was ‘Sarees with Weaves of Indian cultural and regional specialties’, right from Silk sarees with traditional borders, Patolas (Gujarati Specialty), Kalamkari to Banarasi.  Simplicity, comfort and ease of carrying them gracefully were seemed to be of utmost significance.”

Morbia said she was awestruck with the fusion outfit, formal crepe jumpsuit paired with black stole, worn by the finalist Taniya Nayak.

“The stance with which she (Nayak) carried the bold neckline with such poise and elegance was commendable,” said Morbia. “What caught my eyes, was an American woman, wearing a very simple red ‘Bandhani Silk’ saree with kutchhi embroidery in Guajarati style.  The pride of owning cultural value was oozing out from how confidently she was carrying that simple saree.”

 Jewelry was elegantly and gracefully displayed at the event as well.

“Jewelry being my professional field, my eyes did lay on ears, neck, wrists and fingers of every women present there,” Morbia said. “Couldn’t take my eyes off from our very own beautiful Jharna Madan’s stunning Kundan & pearls Necklace set.  Her real gold jewelry showed off the intricate craftsmanship.”

Morbia said men need to pat a bit more attention.

Vaishnavi Kondapalli

“Men, they need to adopt traditional blends as formal wear in future WOY events. Like past few years, again, they were dressed in their classy suits lacking blink of tradition,” Morbia said.

Pushpa Karna

Singer Vaishnavi Kondapalli said she couldn’t help notice the beautiful ladies in lovely outfits.

“It seemed like the women chose to leave their Kanchivarams and decided to go chic with cocktail dresses, salwars and anarkalis,” said Kondapalli. “Jaya Voruganti displayed  simple elegance with her red saree. The hostess Manju wearing classic black and gold was very sassy. I loved the MCs of the show Jharna and Mondira sporting spring color outfits. I loved the sight of ladies adorned in their best outfits and it sure was a display of vibrant colors and seemed like the spring has blossomed and we are ready for summer.”

Pushpa Karna of Aalok Fashion, summarized the fashion scene at the Woman of the Year Awards gala in one sentence: “Everyone was in their best and beautiful dress and they were so happy and cheerful.”

Karna added: “Many women wore sarees, but fusion fashion was also there. Most of the young girls had fusion dress.”



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