Designer doesn't always have to be synonymous with prohibitive price tags, proves Kakoli Roy's Ethnique
The countdown to the festive week has already begun. Next week, this time, if you're not flaunting your moves in a ras dandiya/ garba party in a backless choli or not doing the dhunuchi in style at a Durga Puja pandal, you're a sore loser. You also have to look your stellar best while you are at it. Where's the fun, otherwise?
Here's some help to get you started. Designer Kakoli Roy's two-year-old boutique Ethnique is having its annual exhibition to showcase the festive collection.
The self-taught 42-year-old, who's lived in the US for 15 years, is a bundle of fresh ideas and her designs bear ample testimony to that. Where else would you find knee-length A-line dresses in corduroy with Gujarati ari embroidery on the edge?
Kakoli blends modern silhouettes with ethnic embellishments in her dresses, kurtas, tunics and racer back tops (R 500-2000) mostly in cotton and silk. The fabrics are sourced from Ahmedabad and Delhi and her manufacturing unit in Bangalore does not repeat styles.
So every piece is designer and affordable at the same time. Says Kakoli, "I design for women in their late 20s to mid 50s who want to have fun with clothes, are experimental and comfortable being fashionable. They should define fashion and not the other way around.
They are for women who balance work and home, don't make too much effort, yet looks trendy. They are also for those who don't necessarily have big bucks but possess an eye for fashion."
Her signature styles are the monochromatic dresses with Rajasthani mirror and Rabari work from Kutch in Gujarat. For the festive season, she also has a few halter and spaghetti sleeves cotton blouses with hints of brocade (R 500) and colourful leggings.
She's bold in her use of colours and the same extends to her bags (R 400-1, 200) also that she sources from artisans in Gujarat.
At the erstwhile banker's store, you'll find handpicked contemporary and traditional jewellery (R 400- 4000) with semi precious stones set in silver and other metals sourced from Mumbai and neckpieces with Rajasthani threadwork that are pure conversation starters.
It's her personal touch and individual attention that her clients appreciate the most, making the place a far cry from the mall experience. And they all flock to her through word-of-mouth publicity. "They like what I create and I have many repeat customers," says Kakoli who's often spotted wearing her own creations.
It's something like a women's locker room, really. "I give women style tips and they trust me, which makes my job fun. I'm a great sounding board to them," she reveals.
When she left India two decades ago, women were not fashionable enough, recalls Kakoli. "Today, they are much more comfortable in their own skin. They like straight, neat lines with emphasis on the fit," adds Kakoli who always dreamt of having "a warm, fuzzy place where women could buy clothes and jewellery."
Some day, she would take her label back to California where she's spent almost half her life and also enroll for a professional course in a fashion school. But before that, Kakoli would foray into shoe designing with leftover pieces from her tailor's nook. We can't wait!
Where Ethnique, 745 Krishna Temple Road
Indiranagar, 1st Stage, Next to Sony Service Centre
ON from September 27 to October 1, 11 am to 7.30 pm