Because, it's summer all year
Mumbai's winter is known to be now-you-feel-it-now-you-don't. So, here's a round-up of the coolest Chikankari buys to equip you for the oncoming summer.
Raised in Lucknow, surrounded by artisans, entrepreneur Mati-ur-Rehman thought of bringing the art to Bombay. In 1976, he set up the store on Hill Road and it continues to attract customers with its window display of Chikankari kurtas in light pastels. The business is now helmed by his son Saif.
"The hand embroidery is done on cotton, muslin, silk, chiffon, organza and net. Earlier, only white thread was used on pastel shades of muslin and cotton garments. Now, we experiment with coloured and silk threads. The addition of mukaish, kamdani badla, sequins, and mirror work is appreciated," says Saif.
What we like: Tanzeb, a full-length handcrafted dress with white chikankari, and badla embroidery.
Onward price: Rs 1,800
At: Lucknowi Craft, Rizvi house, Hill Road, Bandra
From Chowk in old Luckow, the family behind Noorkari knows how much time and effort goes into making a single product. "Started by our great grandfather, the chikankari business dates back to 1930. We saw how brands sell fake, machine-embroidered pieces on Chinese fabric and decided to educate our followers," says Shivi Tandon, creative head and co-owner.
What we like: The sarees in pastels and white on white.
Onward price: Rs 1,800
Nazakat Chikan Lucknow
At their Hazratganj store in Lucknow, Mohit Amarnani often attends to customers personally, educating them about the craft. While the brand was established by Amarnani's father in 1987, they took to selling online three years ago and continue to educate customers through Insta stories and highlights. Taking the contemporary route, they have jackets and accessories including beige gold potlis with Chikankari work.
What we like: Pure georgette and Chanderi collection.
Onward price: Rs 5,000
At: Bandra, @Nazakatchikanlucknow
Their stuff is made of dreams. Think 24-kali lehengas, sarees with pallus and beautiful yoke anarkalis with gota pattis. "I started the business on a whim because I personally love Chikan work. Four years ago, I travelled to Lucknow to get a few pieces done and found some really good karigars. I work with them now," says founder Hema Belani. The business has grown by word of mouth and Belani takes effort to spread awareness on the quality of fabric, embroidery and after-care. "Some of the mukaish pieces are so intricate, the workers' fingers bleed while working on them. That's also why the newer generation is hesitant to take up this work. It's a rare art form and I hope that people appreciate the effort that goes into it."
Onward price: Rs 7,000
Distinct, comfortable and timeless, Neemrana's tunics, shirts, and dresses are designed to stand out. Made using block printing with vegetable dyes to embroidery on silk, these pieces are made possible through an extraordinary collaboration with artisans across north India."With diverse colours and prints, delicate hand embroidery and skilled craftsmanship, our goal is for each piece to be as unique as the customer who wears it. Alongside, we intend to preserve the ancient craft and offer backing to the artisans of India by offering training and trade support," says co-founder Rehan Ansari.
What we like: The Gia dress with all-over embroidery on pure silk georgette.
Onward price: Rs 500
At: Bandra, Opera House and Juhu (Nakashi), neemranachikankari.com
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