Urban life meets crafts legacy
New Delhi's acclaimed textiles enterprise of apparel, accessories and decor arrives in Mumbai to offer high aesthetic quality but at a price
On Wednesday afternoon Shades of India opened its first Mumbai store at Bandra, a mix of fashionistas and culturati soaked in the fine design explorations as the sunlight streamed in through the French windows. While the catering staff passed trays of hors d'oeuvres, actor Nandita Das stayed on the first floor, while negotiating with photographers bargaining for "one photo". In a corner, Mandeep Nagi, the brand's design director, and chairman and husband David Housego played pleasant hosts.
At the centre of the buzz stood the main attraction: apparel, home décor and accessories collections. The main floor is dedicated to clothing and accessories while menswear and soft furnishings are placed upstairs. The apparel section is divided into sub-brands —Afsana, Neem Living, Carnival, Calcutta and Saree Collection (Rs 13,000 to Rs 26,000). These are ethically produced capsule collections of separates featuring kurtas, jackets, sheer overlays, dresses, shirts, sarees, blouses, stoles and trousers. Each relaxed ensemble carries the quiet confidence of India's heritage of hand-made textiles and textures without the urgency to prove a legacy. If you prefer shapes that are classic and crisp with the agility of neutral tones, and rhythmic disruptions of surface texturing, then these should be your go-to options.
When it comes to the India-inspired home décor in the market, clichés rule. So it helps to know that the soft furnishings section has long been setting benchmarks with the application of indigenous textiles. We saw a mix of crochet and jute, hand-punched gold foil used to create napkin ties and table runners. We loved the blankets and dohars (summer blanket made of three-layered cotton muslin at R6,500), which could double-up as throws or bedcovers, and silk quilts (R21,000). Moving away from subdued tones, they are serenading the colours-loving Mumbai shopper with shades of turmeric, aqua blue and green.
Established in the early 1990s, this is the couple's passion project. It operated internationally for several years, before launching its first store in New Delhi in 2012. As the design director to dress up the interiors of Rashtrapati Bhavan in 2012, Nagi is responsible for designing four collections of apparel a year, accessories to accompany them and two collections for the home. "We are a textile brand", she says, "in which I seek to convey a unity of style."
Where: Shades of India, 185, Waterfield Road, Bandra West
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