Splitting Dosas and Trying On Lehengas With Amrit and Anaa Saber

In celebration of Diwali, Shopping with Vogue takes a trip to “Curry Hill” with Amrit and Anaa Saber.

Photo: Courtesy of Liana Satenstein / @liana_ava

Welcome to Shopping With Voguea series in which we sift through a fashion lover’s favorite store. For this edition, we eat with Amrit and Anaa Saber at Saravanaa Bhavan and try on clothes at Anita Dongre in celebration of Diwali. 

DJ and host Amrit and writer and model Anaa Saber have given me an address to meet them in Murray Hill—which they refer to as “Curry Hill” because of the vast amount of South Asian stores and food—along with strict instructions not to look it up and see what restaurant we’re going to. They want me to be surprised by our breakfast. We’re meeting there before shopping for their outfits for Diwali, a five-day holiday celebrated in South Asian culture by a multitude of religions including Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. It’s often referred to as the festival of lights; the ladies refer to it as a New Year. There are feasts, hanging of lights, and gift-giving. “For Sikhs, it is also about celebrating justice and freedom because our guru refused to leave prison without his other political prisoners,” Amrit says.

Photo: Courtesy of Liana Satenstein / @liana_ava

When I am en route, Saber texts me, “see you thereeeee” punctuated with a kissy face and a meme of Sandra Bullock rowing blindfolded down a river in the movie Birdbox. Even though I only know Amrit and Saber through social media, I like them already. Amrit, who goes by her first name publicly, runs the IG Live show Ask Amrit, which focuses on conversations about sex, love, and dating. Saber is a writer who focuses on South Asian designers, and you may have seen her on the runways, too. This past season, she walked Collina Strada alongside her mother. Both women are South Asian. Amrit was born in Singapore and was raised outside of Perth, Australia. She is Sikh and has a Punjabi father and a Gujarati Indian mother, who is also part Thai. Saber was born in Long Island to Pakistani parents and is Muslim.

I end up at the restaurant Saravanaa Bhavan at 81 Lexington Ave. The restaurant, which has a cafeteria vibe, is known for its dosas, a thick, folded pancake that is stuffed with lentils or potatoes. Saber arrives first, wearing a Damson Madder top along with Diesel jeans that I suspect are vintage. “They are new!” she tells me. “I asked my friend who works at Diesel for five different washes.” While we wait for Amrit, Saber tells me about growing up in a predominantly white town on Long Island. “I was always craving something different. Obviously, I had darker hair and darker skin. There was no person of color, which is so crazy to think of,” she says. “The way I fit in with my peers was with fashion. I used fashion as a shield.” When Saber got home from school, she’d watch Bollywood movies and dress up in her mom’s saris. “So much drama!” she says.

This story originally appeared on: Vogue - Author:Liana Satenstein