An afternoon at en Inde
An afternoon at en Inde
In English language, en Inde translates as “in India”. “This space is my idea of India today, not contemporary or old India, just India,” clarifies Indian born, London raised, Anupama Sukh Lalvani, seated next to a plush Le Mill couch. Dressed in an all-white, chic jumpsuit, coordinated to a row of thick bangles stacked in one hand, Lalvani looks content in her confines. The space she is talking about is en Inde, which is not merely a concept store but an installation of Lalvani’s creative cognition. On prodding further on her concept, Lalvani puts is straightforwardly, “You’re entering into my head when you walk into this store. This place is my lifestyle.” Clearly, the idea of a store in Lalvani’s head does not remotely align with the regular retail stores, but is, in fact, an extension of her personality.
Anupama Sukh Lalvani, Founder and Creative Director, en Inde
The store, which rests in the fancy expanse of the upcoming Meharchand market, politely implies the presence of personal elements- of travels, of inspirations and of a dream. “My partner Sonal Sood, who is the Co- founder of en Inde, and I started doing trunk shows around India and Europe, envisioning a very ambitious journey for the brand. We did not have our own retail space and to present the whole story, our concept, we wanted to have a retail space”. en Inde’s core is built on Lalvani’s travelogue and excerpts of it can be seen in different nooks of the store. “I have traveled corners of the world, picked up a lot of artifacts, art, ideas and then been inspired.”
At first, en Inde is a blend of colossal photography prints, unfinished walls and sun-kissed bay windows, overlooked by a lush head of peepuls. Her enthusiasm for all-natural reflects in the meticulous display, which, at first, might come across as effortless, but on a closer view illustrates architectural expertise. To the side of one bay window is an unfussy rack of designer clothes from Indian & French designers flanked by a limited collection of flats by Laurence Dolige. A magnetic collection of deep-brown earthen-wear, complimented by an array of banana baskets, speaks volume of her association with THWAAG, an NGO in Karnataka. Spread out lavishly in a glass coffee table, right in the centre of the store, is their fine display of in-house jewelry; while the other end makes for a quite section of cutlery & other home accessories by Le Mill and Portugal brand Cutipol. Interestingly, the only pop of color is contributed by neon leather bracelets from a New York based brand The Middle. Rest everything, is a strong recurrence of organic. en Inde, without a doubt, is a house proud woman’s attic.
Her incessant love for organic is noticeable in each and every outfit she’s handpicked for the store – from Pero’s breathable fabrics to Eka’s fine cotton wear- all befitting a color palette. She could have easily overcrowded the store with a flux of organic silhouettes, but she lets her fine selection of designer outfits breathe. A few shirts, dresses and saris-weaved using exquisite textiles-sum up for the summer offerings.
Display of exquisite textiles
Lalvani’s fierce jewelry imbibes in its structure, the very soul & spirit of the store. Inspired from the essence of tribes worldwide, her ardor and more importantly, her vision for jewelry is revealed in the juxtaposition of steel and jute. “To me, steel depicts female empowerment and jute brings out the vulnerability of a woman.”
Women come here looking for a statement piece,” says Lalvani on en Inde’s jewelry.
en Inde takes painstaking efforts in putting an exclusive collection together and an effort like this comes at a considerable price. A single jute neckpiece from their Roots collection is priced at Rs 16000, a plain hand-woven sari from Anavila at Rs 6000 and Cutipol’s delicate cutlery starts at Rs. 800. The thematic assortment of the store is artistically deliberated, keeping in view the conservative Delhi consumer. “We curate every single piece that comes to this store. The clothes here are pretty conservative.” From being downright clueless about Delhi’s reception to the store, she has come a long way to finally gauge the nerve of Delhi fashion. “People in Delhi need some persuasion to pay Rs 6000 for an Alexander Wang t-shirt as they still prefer saree and salwar kameez over a Thakoon, Erdem, or Vera Wang. So we have sarees, at the same price, and they sell like hotcakes.”
A concept, like that of en Inde’s, primarily works because it breaks the monotony of a tried and tested retail space. Delhi, for instance, has had its exhaustive dose of malls and the consumer is open to exploring off beat concepts, designers and market places. Precisely why concept stores are increasingly stepping on this new wave of contemporary reform, and finding an abode in comparatively younger markets, specifically Meharchand market or its older cousin Hauz Khas Village. What is also exciting is that innovative entrepreneurs like Lalvani are exceedingly supportive of collaborations with brands and designers, willing to bank on this very scope of change. “Ours is an open retail space and we welcome designers and artists who align with our philosophy.”
Lalvani, who has traveled to different parts of the country, looks positively at expanding her concept, targeting intriguing markets and retail spaces, much like her store in Delhi. “I would like to have a chain of stores all over as I believe people in India are ready to step to the other side. We would be touring India and putting interesting things together.
“Clients do hang out here for an hour or two, and there is always lunch and wine to go with it. I like to provide my clients with that sense of comfort.” says Lalvani on her space.