Over the last few seasons, fashion has fallen in love with India. The dynamic country has served as inspiration for brands as diverse as Chanel, Marchesa, and Prabal Gurung, many of whom have also discovered that the country’s garment workers are highly skilled in ornate embellishment and embroidery. With vibrant colors, metallic glitz, and a modern mood to match, the city of Mumbai, perhaps Indiaâ€™s most vibrant metropolis, is one unforgettable experience. Here’s a short list of what to pack for your jaunt.
Under the Sun
With steamy temperatures even in the dead of winter, daytime apparel requires a bit of breathing room. Go for a natural fabric with this cotton hot pink and orange tunic top by Michael Kors (with sleeves, in case your travels include religious sites) ($45.50). Below the waist, try these breezy linen pants in a wide-leg cut by James Perse ($145). If you plan on hitting the streets, go for a pair of shoes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty. Covered toes are best, but with the 90-degree temperatures, comfortable sandals, like these by Olukai with arch support ($130), are a traveler’s best friend.
This being India, let your imagination run wild when it comes to jewelry. Indian jewelry designer Amrita Singh makes gorgeous wares in metals but also in hothouse hues like this set of arm bangles ($60). For a day bag, go practical with a touch of British colonial style. We like this classic schoolgirl satchel by Cambridge Satchel Company in a matches-everything patent gray ($175.90).
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Mumbai will soon be home to a branch of the Soho House, the luxury boutique hotel meets club chain from the UK. Slated for next spring, the new house is the brand’s first in Asia and the timing couldn’t be more apt. Mumbai has emerged with a rich and cultural nightlife, which demands a little dressing up. Try a dress in a hot hue, or a sari-inspired cocktail dress like this coral design by Aidan Mattox ($290), which is both eye-catching and flattering. (Beauty tip: amp up the nighttime drama by rimming your eyes with kohl, like this pitch black pencil by Chanel ($28).) With accessories think metallic and embellishments. Heels in gold, such as these double-strap pumps at Mango ($99.99), pick up the light. Add this dazzling beaded clutch http://www.moynabags.com/item.php?sku=bbf2732 in antique gold ($229) and perhaps this gilded India-inspired diadem for an unconventional kick ($128).
Heat of the Day
It is tough to go wrong with a button-down shirt, but try adding a twist like this striped style with a Mandarin collar by Reiss ($72). Add to casual look by slipping on these charcoal cargo pants with a trim cut ($27.50) and these linen and nubuck Seavees ($150). For cool extras, tote around this red notebook to record your adventures ($11) and this rugged leather passport case for going through customs ($75). The finishing touch? This sandalwood bead bracelet ($220), a subtle ode to the materials of the region.
With an abundance of world-class restaurants and bars, your best bet is to polish up for after-sunset. This airy linen shirt is a good choice, especially when done in Indian pink ($130). Pair it with lighter-colored jeans, perhaps in khaki ($225 by Steven Alan), and these easy-to-pack Macalister boots in a breathable suede ($148 at J. Crew). Lastly, smart eyeglasses add intelligence to any look. New York-based Warby Parker offers affordable options, like this “Preston” style in sandalwood matte for under $100.
What to Do
If you’re looking for action, Mumbai has plenty of it. There’s hustle and bustle at Juhu Beach, in the district where the Soho House branch is slated and home to several Bollywood stars. Street vendors line the beach area hawking a bounty of local goodies. The area can get crowded, particularly on the weekend, so for a quieter escape, go during the week.
If internationally-acclaimed fare is your thing, it’s tough to top Indigo, which has served celebrities like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and President Bill Clinton. The menu has a European bent with ingredients like chevre, okra, scallops, and beef tenderloin. Best to reserve in advance for dinner or go during the more mellow lunch hours.
Also in the Colaba neighborhood, The Table is a hot recent upstart, and has become quite the “it” restaurant. Helmed by San Francisco expat chef Alex Sanchez, the menu has a California touch (think shitake-asparagus dumplings) with local flourishes (order the pork belly “paan”).
With fuel in your system, shop until you drop at Le Mill, founded by Cecilia Morelli Parikh, which carries locally crafted housewares and fashion along with select international designers. A former fashion buyer at Bergdorf Goodman, Morelli Parikh has a practiced eye and has picked out some of the best of the region’s fineries.
Photo Credits: Men Day: Top Left: Machus; Left Center: Machus; Bottom Left: James Perse Enterprises Inc.; Center Top: Net-A-Porter.com; Center Bottom: Reiss; Right: Gap Inc. Men Night: Left: Steven Alan Holdings, LLC.; Center Top: J. Crew; Center Bottom: Warby Parker; Right: Net-A-Porter.com. Women Day: Top Left: Amrita Singh Jewelry; Bottom Left: The Territory Ahead; Center: Bloomingdale’s By Mail Ltd; Top Right: asos.com Ltd; Bottom Right: NET-A-PORTER.COM. Women Night: Top Left: Chanel; Bottom Left: FreePeople.com, LLC.; Center: Neiman Marcus; Top Right: Moyna LLC; Bottom Right: MANGO On-Line Inc.