Chintz chic

Ritu Kumar show models
Models at Ritu Kumar’s new flagship store at Kala Ghoda 

Fashion passion was in the air as veteran designer Ritu Kumar launched her largest flagship store at Kala Ghoda, the art district-cum-retail hub of the city, much sought after for its old-world charm and colonial architecture.
Celebrated was the age-old technique of chintz and hand-block printing, a vintage craft of India which brought the East India Company and the South East Asian regions to the shores of the country to trade in these highly-skilled and aesthetic textiles.
The collection captures the designer’s interpretation of the hand-block printed ensembles which she created in the 70s and 80s, thereby setting up a rare classic directory which now is synonymous of the brand. These were meticulously collaged with hand-blocks from the five different schools of printing in India.
Ajrakh printing, a technique which goes back to at least 2000 years, native to Kutch and Gujarat, forms a capsule which celebrates the age-old vegetable printed, resist technique of printing used for both religious and daily use, a dyer’s craft miraculously carried down to our present age, which forms part of the Revival Series of the Ritu Kumar design house.
A contemporary take on the embroidery of the Bhuj area forms a collection of prints on Murshidabad silk which resonates with the desert theme, translating it on a sandscape backdrop. The chintzs and kalamkaris with their perennial classicism forms a section of the print section, almost Europeanised but central to the theme of the interiors of the store.
What sets apart this space from other stores in the city is the expanse and specialised attention to reviving and bringing back focus to palampores or kalamkaris, which were all the rage in the 17th century Europe. Ritu has worked on recreating this wall-to-floor prints over the last six months, in order to add an element of history and magical appeal to this new store.
Spread over a sprawling 2300 sq feet, this new Ritu Kumar store is a veritable museum of India’s rich textile history. The store was designed in conjunction with Mumbai-based architects Shweta Shah and Pranav Naik of Studio Pomegranate. The store also boasts of a unique installation of Benarasi cotton, in an attempt to vitalize the handloom weaving of the holy city of Kashi.

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