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(Offbeat) Shopping in Delhi
Melding slangy street culture, hipster cool, fashion's excesses, and expat enthusiasm is a new trend in Delhi shopping: call it consumer design kitsch.
With the state-run shops near Connaught Place, India's capital is still the central stop for crafts from all over the country; and its many Fabindia outlets are the go-to for casual native garb in natural-dyed fabrics and simplified cuts. But if you're looking for something a bit different, check out the new batch of fashion and design stores that market an Indian sense of humor with a hipster twist. You'll find chic boutiques and upstart brands that combine traditional handicraft traditions, preposterous color combinations, and sometimes a lewd sense of humor. The new purveyors of kitsch run the gamut from eco-conscious to hedonistic, excessive to elegant. What they share is a sense of raw creativity and a cosmopolitan design aesthetic that wouldn't be out of place anywhere in the world.
Happily Unmarried's Connaught Place store carries products like an ashtray shaped like a sandaas, or Indian-style squat toilet. Also fun are wine-bottle stoppers shaped like old-fashioned water pumps and CD stackers in cylindrical tiffin carriers. (Bombay Life Bldg., N35-A Connaught Pl., Outer Circle 11/2331-3326 www.happilyunmarried.com; other outposts in Select Citywalk mall, Khan Market)
Good Earth. Geared to the sophisticated shopper, Good Earth sells items like jewel-toned, pop-art cushion covers and other high-end home accessories. 9 Khan Market, Central Delhi, Delhi, 110021. 11/2464–7175. www.goodearthindia.com. Select Citywalk Mall, Saket, South Delhi, 110017. 11/2956–5600. 18 Santushti Shopping Complex, Chanakyapuri, 110021. 11/2410–0108.
Just Around the Corner. Find bright fashion and brands from around the country here. Look for Indian bobble-head dolls from Chumbak (www.chumbak.in), eco-Bollywood-stylings from Indigreen (www.indigreen.co.in), and elephant dung stationery from Haathi Chaap (www.elephantpoopaper.com). Upstairs is a retro kitsch-influenced fashion studio (11/4616–8007). 36 Shahpur Jat, South Delhi, Delhi, 110049. 96/5421–6252. www.justaroundthecorner.blogspot.com.
Play Clan. The design collective (also in Mumbai and Goa) has collaborated with the likes of Paul Smith. Popular items are cushion covers and totes with maps of Indian locales, Mughal-ruler playing cards, T-shirts, and more (they even add custom kitsch to Converse shoes). Select Citywalk Mall, Saket, South Delhi, Delhi, 110017. 11/4053–4559. www.theplayclan.com. 17 Meher Chand Market, Lodhi Rd., Central Delhi, 110003. 11/2464–4393.
Purple Jungle. This shop is a riot of color wrangled into kaleidoscopic order by two French expats. Packed into the ground floor are bags, cushions and home accessories—many using recycled products. Upstairs are pricier items like trays and hand-painted trunks. 16 Hauz Khas Village, South Delhi, Delhi, 110016. 96509–43683 or 11/2653–8182. www.purple-jungle.com.
Also in Shahpur Jat, check out Alter Ego (87 B Shahpur Jat 11/4175–1846) and The Wishing Chair (86A Shahpur Jat 11/4657–2121), with whimsical products to spruce up your home.
Fish Fry. Bursting at the seams with whimsical fashion is iconic Indian designer Manish Arora's prête Fish Fry store. 3 Lodhi Colony Main Market, Lodhi Road, Central Delhi, Delhi, 110003. 11/2463–8878. www.manisharora.ws. G-10 Crescent at the Qutab, Lado Sarai, South Delhi, 110030. 11/2952–1582. DLF Emporio Place, Nelson Mandela Marg, Vasant Kunj, South Delhi, 110070. 11/4606–0966.
For more affordable Punjabi-hip clothes, try 1469 for Sikh-chic T-shirts (2 & 12 Janpath, Connaught Pl. 11/2332-9461 8 Defence Colony Market 11/4155-6393 www.traditionalvalue.com).
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