We check out the designer's Goa showroom, with saris, skulls, and dresses that tell stories.
Taking time out of the most awesome Goa wedding ever, we tracked down fashion designer Miriam Strehlau’s workshop and showroom, hidden behind the Shore Bar on Anjuna Beach. We’d spotted her acid-trip-meets-French-whimsy pieces at stores like Bombay Electric and Bungalow 8 in Mumbai, and thought we’d find more here, and at better prices. We were only half right.
Warning: If you’re looking for flea-market rates, this isn’t the place for you. Strehlau’s prices are pretty steep, especially considering her somewhat dilapidated studio. Spending Rs 4,000 on a sequined boucle jacket, no matter how pretty it is, seems like a crime when you have to struggle into it behind a rickety old screen in lieu of a trial room.
Of Skulls and Saris
You’d have to be stronger willed than us, though, to bypass the large leather tote studded with gold rivets in the shape of a skull (Rs 5,000). The epitome of cool-ugly, it was ours the minute we laid eyes on it. Other bags, in bright cotton fabrics with cheerful embroidery (Rs 1,000), were perfect for the beach or lunch with friends.
Wandering around the store, we marvelled at the randomness of Miriam’s stock. In a single cupboard, we found a bright blue jumpsuit (Rs 1,500); ugly, synthetic-y ballet dresses; and bomber jackets made from a sari Madhubala might have worn (Rs 4,000). Miriam also uses old saris, which she finds at local markets, in skirts (Rs 3,000 and up), hair pins (Rs 500), and even a dreamily patch-worked, satin-lined blanket that looked like it belonged on a 19th Century four poster bed (Rs 8,000). Other home-stuff includes some fun art, cool cushions and a trippy, shaggy rug made from tufts of multi-coloured silk (Rs 4,000).
The Great Escape
A chat with the petite designer revealed that she can customise sizes and designs, and ship to Mumbai. We even got a chance to see her in action when she asked one of us scouters to model a corset dress she was building, complete with whale bones, layers of shredded silk, mismatched buttons, and cut-outs of popular icons like Marilyn Monroe and three-leaf clovers (price undecided).
A dress like that, we thought as we stared in the mirror, is more than clothing. A dress like that is an entire story, one that could go a hundred different ways, end differently every day. Desperately reminding ourselves of how far away our next pay cheque was, we beat a hasty exit, escaping while we still could.
Getting there: Miriam Strehlau, Govekar Vaddo 75, behind Shore Bar, Anjuna. Visit http://www.miriam-strehlau.com for designs and to order; also stocked at Bombay Electric and Bungalow 8, Colaba.
Read more Goa recommendations from bpb here.
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