Best Of Mumbai 2016: Shopping
Despite all the curveballs thrown by 2016, it was a year when you could easily shop away the blues. Two highly-anticipated international brands arrived in Mumbai after months of hype. While we found plenty to splurge on at Muji, H&M‘s collections were disappointingly meh. Among the high-profile store launches by Indian designers, there was Anavila’s flagship part-studio, part-showroom in Khar, and Manish Arora’s bridal wear boutique Indian by Manish Arora in Kala Ghoda. Ensemble’s Lion Gate outpost was overhauled and returned with new labels like Maku, Three and Chola in its fold. Home decor heavyweight Good Earth debuted the decidedly younger-skewing clothing and accessories label Nicobar.
There were also plenty of pop-ups to keep our credit cards warm. Bazaars such as Kitsch Mandi, The Lil Flea and The StyleCracker Borough grew bigger with more stalls and attendees. Celebrity stylist Tanya Ghavri held Dhoom Dhaam Weddings for brides-to-be, and followed it up with a trunk show featuring resort wear for honeymooners. And just this past week, stylist and design consultant Nikhil D curated The Lady Pow, which focused on vintage finds. At the mostly underwhelming Lakmé Fashion Week, there were a few things that caught our eye, all by new labels: Asa’s experiments with cotton warp and paper yarn that lent their fabrics a unique texture; Kanelle‘s slashed knits and patchworked denims and Ekam‘s bomber jackets and sweatshirts. Here are our picks for the best new stores, labels and pop-ups we got in 2016:
Best new clothing store
At Mumbai-based Anavila Misra’s 1,200 square store in Khar, the clothes are showcased on industrial pipe-like racks instead of mannequins. For her lines of home décor accessories and fabrics, in various shades of cream, there’s a neatly-appointed corner that’s very Instagram-worthy: a wooden bench is surrounded by framed preserved flowers, embroidered cushions and curtains, floor pillows and plants. Fans of the fashion designer flocked here for her breathable linen kaftans, tunics and kurtas as well as curtains, dinnerware and handmade jewellery. People often complain that girls don’t really take to saris. In an effort to help change this, along with her signature lamé gold drapes, Misra sells a handful of saris for kids and sari-clad dolls at the store.
Anavila, Dhairya Apartments, 11th Road, near Madhu Park, Khar (West). Tel: 98208 14910.
Best new lifestyle store
In March, with the simultaneous launch of an e-store and a boutique in Kala Ghoda, the folks behind Good Earth presented Nicobar, a young, spiffy cousin of sorts. With Art Deco-inspired tapas plates, slate trays, marble coasters and ikat bed covers and a travel line of organisers, kits and pullovers, Nicobar help make both our homes and holidays worthy of magazine spreads.
Nicobar Design Studio, 10 Ropewalk Lane, above Kala Ghoda Cafe, Kala Ghoda, Fort. Tel: 022 2263 3888.
Best new international chain
Minutes after it opened doors in August, Muji was flooded with frenzied shoppers, each of whom wanted a piece of the brand’s globally-loved Japanese minimalism. In the relatively small space of 2,200 square feet, Muji Mumbai stocks wardrobe basics, home décor accessories and stationery-you-don’t-need-but-want-anyway. Like their adorable customisable stamps for those season’s greetings you’re never going to get around to mailing. Their beauty range was a pleasant surprise. We know a couple of beauty editors who swear by their DIY face lotion sheets and essences. Among the other budget breakers: their sneakers, made from reclaimed wool generated during the manufacturing process, and their flashlight/table lamp, which you want merely for its smart design.
Muji, Third Floor, Palladium, High Street Phoenix, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel.
Best new accessories label
Mumbai-based Suhani Parekh’s jewellery, which she sells under the label Misho, can be best described as wearable art. The Goldsmiths University art graduate started out making sculptures in stainless steel before making the switch to sterling silver jewellery. She debuted her designs in January with a pop-up at Bungalow Eight. In April, she had received the Grazia Young Fashion Award 2016, and it’s easy to see why. Parekh plays with simple dots and lines to create arresting shapes for clip-on lip accessories and grid-like earcuffs. Her Bauhaus- and geometry-inspired designs are frequently spotted on actresses like Sonam Kapoor, Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin, and in November, Deepika Padukone was seen flaunting Misho rings at the MTV Europe Video Music Awards.
Best new online shopping portal
There was much buzz around Nnnow.com, a portal that brings together international brands like Gap, Nautica and Calvin Klein with Indian indie labels such as Doodlage, Runaway Bicycle and Lovebirds. It was pipped to the post by PR pro Kalyani Saha Chawla who revealed in early December what she had been working on for months, a new affordable fashion site called Lulu & Sky that rivals the likes of Koovs. It came into the spotlight after actresses Alia Bhatt and Parineeti Chopra wore Lulu & Sky separates to the Global Citizen Festival. The e-shop is the closest thing we’ve got to an Asos, with sharp lookbooks to help break down current trends. It’s a marked departure for Chawla, who recently completed ten years as vice president of marketing and communications at Christian Dior in 2016. While it’s not as wallet-friendly as say H&M, Lulu & Sky does deliver on its promise of staying on-trend with items such as an all-metallic skirt (like the one spotted at Christopher Kane’s Fall-Winter show and frayed denim dresses that’ll remind you of Marques’ Almeida. A cart load here will set you back by about as much as you would pay at Zara.
Best new pop-up/shopping bazaar
The Design Collective
The Design Collective was started this year in Delhi by six young brands: jewellery labels Dhora and Kichu and clothing brands Anomaly, Anuj Bhutani, Cord and Kardo. When they came to Mumbai for a pop-up in December, held in association with youth culture website Homegrown, they roped in vibrant home textile maker Safomasi, stylist Tania Fadte who showcased her relaxed clothing line Mogachea, fragrance maker The Bombay Perfumery and bath and beauty products purveyor Ayca among others. Each had plenty of options under Rs10,000. It wins our vote because it got a bunch of cool – and affordable – brands under one roof.
Our Best of Shopping list was put together by fashion and culture journalist Sonam Savlani, who has worked with such publications as Elle, Vogue and Grazia.