From hand-painted sneakers to Bollywood poster art, we scout out the best of Mumbai’s fashion and shopping scene.

Raw Mango's New Collection: Shaher
Friday, 25 July 2014 11:10

What: Preview of Raw Mango’s new collection of saris, “Shaher” at Ensemble , Great Western Building, 130/132 Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, prices start at Rs 5,000.

Why: Borderline personalities, head to Ensemble this weekend for a preview of Raw Mango’s new fleet of pleats titled Shaher. We love the metallic and silk threads used in the traditional Mashru weaving techniques in rich greys, blacks and silver. We(ave) the people!

When: Now until July 31.

Jodi: Fashion Label by Ex-Elle Stylists
Tuesday, 22 July 2014 11:27

How do you do India on a dress without auto rickshaws and cows and generic desi block prints?

You draw fat Cherrapunji rain clouds that have begun to burst; you do geometric prints held together by Kutch embroidered patches; you work with block printers in Vishakhapatnam to make a fun pineapple print that can be the prize of the fruit bowl anywhere in the world.

Say Namaste to Jodi, a fun new women’s clothing label and lifestyle brand created by ex- Elle India magazine colleagues and stylists Karuna Laungani and Gauri Verma, that launches on on July 25.

Cut From The Same Cloth

“We’re greatly influenced by brands like Free People and Anthropologie, who get a lot of their work done from India”, says Gauri, who wanted to take something that was local and traditional, and turn it into a globally recognizable piece. This involved development in Pune and Vishakhapatnam, production in Ahmedabad and Mumbai, making Jodi what they call a “geographically secular” brand.

Go through their look book or their interesting Instagram account (@thejodilife) and you’ll find Karuna and Gauri’s collective love for craft turn into cotton crop tops and shirts with mirror work patches that are traditionally seen on women in Gujarat; an adorable fish printed shirt with turn up sleeves; a couple of geometric block print shorts; a pretty hand-blocked floral skirt with denim waist band; and a bomber jacker with neat vintage elbow patches, among other pieces.  We love that Jodi’s clothes are a mix of cute non-clichéd Indian motifs and contemporary silhouettes, with a price point that’s at par or even slightly cheaper than Zara.

Grab A Pair

Launching this Friday, July 25, with a limited number of pieces from their collection, the brand will introduce new designs every month. “While designing this line, we put together a mood board of things we love and felt inspired by- prints and graphic patterns were obviously a big part of it,” says Gauri.

While the channel to sell Jodi in larger cities is primarily an online one, Gauri and Karuna are planning to use physical retail spaces in Pune and Ahmedabad and slowly branch out into home décor as well.

At the end of their look book, against mustachioed dogs and rainbow fish, Karuna and Gauri end with “we hope to add much colour and wonder into your world.” Let the season begin with those pineapples then.

Getting there: Jodi launches on on July 25, prices start at Rs 1,099. See their Facebook page here, Instagram feed here.

Pack On Your Face: Purearth
Friday, 18 July 2014 15:14

What: Wild Rose & Seabuck Face Cream from Purearth, currently available at Four Seasons Hotel, Worli, see their website here and order online, Rs 5,000 for a 50 ml bottle.

Why: Get kissed by a rose with Purearth’s Ayurvedic Wild Rose and Seabuck Face Cream. Made by hand in small batches, each product is put together by Himalayan women, is sans any chemicals and in aid of free trade. Other products in the range include exfoliating face sands, fruit oils, body polishes and more. Newly launched in India, the international brand is now available online and at The Four Seasons Hotel, and will soon be on fashion store Le Mill’s shelves too.

When: You want to glow and behold!

New Store: The Bombay Shirt Company, Kala Ghoda
Thursday, 17 July 2014 10:58



Just when you thought Kala Ghoda was bursting at the seams, tailors trot in to sew it back together. 

Across the street from The Pantry and down the road from Obataimu, The Bombay Shirt Company has opened a handsome store with wooden interiors and see-through panes and buttons for doorknobs. Drop a pin(tuck) on the map.

This made-to-measure shirt company started out as an online store back in 2012, run by co-founders Alex and Akshay whose need to buy a good shirt in Mumbai remained unfulfilled. Read more about their journey here. And so they started this shirt builder that now sits in Kala Ghoda and extends its service to women too.

Mock Meets

Walk into the store where you won’t be able to buy off the rack, but you can try samples on, feel swatches and smile at collars named after The Godfather. After you browse the sample racks, you can take a seat at their round table like setting at the centre of the store and work with their expert to customize collar, cuffs, pockets, buttons, placket and pleats. Of the men’s samples at the store, our eyes went straight to the tiny daisy print shirt that isn’t overtly floral and perfect for a day off from work. Also see the nautical striped one with chipped white Ozwald Boateng collar that can very easily star in The Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou; and another with randomly sprayed techni-colored dots that looks like confetti from last night’s party. The other shirts were pretty straightforward – solid coloured, striped and checked, and a few that we didn’t love with dual print collars.

The rack for women across the space for men is skinnier and not as nice, with shirts that remind you of the advent of Cotton World in the city. Think close fitted shirts with thick darts and  florals that aren’t petty enough. The soft blue versatile linen shirt was the only one that we considered getting.

The best part about the Kala Ghoda store is that it remains open until 9.30 pm, which means that even your last meeting for the day can be about looking sharp.

Getting there: No 3, ground floor, Sassoon Building, Kalaghoda, Fort, call 8879621003 for an appointment, shirts start at approximately Rs 1,900.

Must Read: Meena Kumari The Poet
Friday, 11 July 2014 11:15

What: New poetry book - Meena Kumari The Poet: A Life Beyond Cinema available at CMYK Bookstore, at Good Earth, Raghuvanshi Mill Compound, Lower Parel.  Also available at Crossword and Kitab Khana, Rs 595.

Why: Judge this book by its cover, for the poetry inside is as pretty as the illustrated cover (check out the lovely floral sari blouse). This poetry collection written by yesteryear Bollywood actress Meena Kumari, has been published by Roli Books and translated into English by Noorul Hasan. Inside you’ll find love, loss, loneliness, silence, angst and death. It’s all you need on a rainy day like this. 

When: You need a new kind of Shayar and Funk.

Sit On This Pocket Sqaure
Friday, 11 July 2014 11:00

What: The Pocket Square, a new chair design by Ajji –The Odd Product Company, email in This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , call 98920-84870, retail price Rs 70,000.

Why: Is it a bird? A plane? A giant cheese slice?

Silly references apart, this is actually The Pocket Square, the newest design to come out of Ajji, also behind mad designs like The Pink Sink and The Dot. Stemming from primarily the same design principle – a mix of lycra, canvas and stainless steel, The Pocket Square is ‘just about having fun’, according to product designer Lekha Washington. If you can figure out how to sit on it, that is.

When: Now. Please (Khur)see.


Sponsored: End Of Season Sale At Phoenix Marketcity!
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 17:07

***This post is sponsored by Phoenix Marketcity***

What: End of Season Sale at Phoenix Marketcity Kurla, view the Facebook page here, follow them on Instagram and Twitter on @MarketcityKurla.

Why: Sale-ors, tip your hats at Phoenix Marketcity Kurla, where the End of Season Sale has begun. Starting now until August 17, get super deals on brands like Zara, Debenhams, Hush Puppies, Catwalk, Puma, Reliance Mart, Blackberrys, Levis, Aldo, Charles & Keith, Swarovski, Vero Moda, Bebe, Jack and Jones, Only, FCUK, La Senza, Lifestyle, Diesel, , Hamley’s, Mango, Promod, DKNY and more! After, you can get a drink at one of the mall’s bars with all that money you just saved. #GetGreedy

When: On until August 17.

11.11 by CellDSGN Goes Online
Thursday, 03 July 2014 20:37

What: 11.11 by CellDSGN goes online, for details call 9711863974, visit, view Facebook page here, Rs 9,000 for a shirt.

Why: How about a Buchmaid jacket to wear over those girlie florals? Or a Parsi Jacket as an hommage to Homi? Buy these and other clothes with names like Beatrice and Isable with CellDSGN’s cool new prêt line, 11.11 that’s now available online. Pricey they are, yes, but the clothes are pretty with interesting details. See blue cotton silk Sundust bandhani dress and Dual Shirt for men, ideal for breezing through the mucky monsoon.

When: You need a block (print) party.

bpb Review: RaRa Avis Store, Shahpur Jat, Delhi
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 11:37

We’ll spare you having to ask the burning question about the RaRa Avis Store, Shahpur Jat’s newest fashion boutique. Yes, designer Sonal Verma who is the voice on the phone giving you directions and your personal consultant at the store has something to do with the famous steak joint with the same name in GK. Something meaning she’s married to the owner and together they’re building an empire where animal meets world in more ways than one.

If there’s any beef in their relationship, they’re making it work. While Verma’s partner perfects his meats, Sonal translates her love for leather –which she studied at NIFT’s leather design course – to product.

Her small but bustling store is a dedication to taxonomy, where insects are memorialized through intricate embroidery. Here, no one needs to wait for the cows to come home: if Verma challenges you to find a piece without leather in her collection, do not accept. Aside from a small gold jewelry collection (not made by her) you’ll find subtle and not so subtle evidence of leather everywhere – she uses Indian hides for the garments, cuffs and belts and Italian for handbags. Whether the material takes the form of a delicate tassel on a long cotton dress, it will leave you moo-ved by its versatility.

Shoppers note: RaRa’s long dresses (all white) with leather neck lines are one of her best sellers and perfect for the beach, especially if you’re channeling your inner RiRi. My personal favorite however, was an ikat printed cotton jumpsuit at Rs.7,900 that highlighted essential pockets with leather in a sober tan. For a simpler indulgence, wide t-shirts finished with leather straw pockets are quirky and classic. Between these pieces, hanging on the rack, you’ll also find chunky all leather necklaces (about Rs. 4,000) that are a little hard to pull off but would make a pretty thing in a frame.

Right from Verma’s Facebook page, which features anthropomorphic figures; to her typewriter font filled catalogue, its clear what the designer is going for: her stuff consistently achieves a cool human-animal juxtaposition that would’ve been awesome in a market dedicated to say, Surrealist fashion instead of er, wedding lenghas.

Sadly, leaving her shop opposite the insanely hectic Bikaner Sweets, the less magical species that swarm us quickly bust any rainforest pixie fantasies we had going. To feel the fins of a fish instead of our phone stressed hands, breathing room is need number one.

Getting there: 253 Shahpur Jat, Opposite Bikaner Sweets, call 9810840487, Rs 7,900 for a leather trimmed cotton jumpsuit.

This story was contributed by Meher Varma, who looks at clothes, aesthetics and beauty through rose-tinted anthropological lenses.

Kichu: Jewellery For Non Stoners
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 12:34

During a winter trip to New York, this Scouter spent hours poking around a Soho store called Evolution, goggling at taxidermy animals and medical models, seashells, asteroids, minerals and incredibly cool fossils.

What we really wanted was to walk out with the six feet high taxidermy polar bear, but bought instead a shiny green dung beetle that was turned into a brooch. Yesterday, this brooch – we call him Fargo – felt like he had found his crew in new Indian jewellery brand Kichu’s cupboard: a scarab necklace, shark tooth pendant and a ring with antlers. Carry-bou!

Family Jewels

Crafted from metal and brass or gold plated, Kichu’s creations evolved in the mind of Kichu Dandiya, who grew up in a home where everything was “painstakingly handmade”. With parents who had design backgrounds, the world around Kichu was a constantly evolving creative space. “I’d spend hours in my father’s office looking at his jewellery designs and sketching my own,” she says. Being incubated in an environment like this had its effect on Kichu, who eventually, after studying in Mumbai and Panchgani, jet packed to London to pursue Jewellery Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design.

A few years later, she’s ready with her own self-titled collection of minimalist, base metal brass and gold plated pieces.  Evolution, indeed.

Macchu Kichu

Attempting to break away from the cookie cutter, large stone statement pieces, Kichu’s aesthetic follows simple, bold clean lines with minimalist designs that are not heavily textured. While Kichu draws her inspiration mainly from nature and organic motifs, her designs are primarily urban - bpb loves her shark tooth and scarab pieces.

Currently based in Jaipur for the proximity to her karigars and the exposure to vibrant art and culture, Kichu tells bpb that her process is pretty labour intensive, each piece being handcrafted after the entire design is finalised, versus a factory setup.

Currently in the city for her very first exhibition – the pieces are available at the popup shop at Olive Mahalaxmi until July 8 - Kichu tells us that she is in the process of looking for a retail space, is currently taking orders and is willing to customize as well.

One polar bear on a chain please. Fargo will be pleased.

Getting there: Catch Kichu at the Stylecracker Pod @Olive Mahalaxmi until July 8, see her Facebook page here, prices start at Rs 1,000. No shipping charges for large orders.

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