The crisp clothes by Varana, a new luxury fashion label, might be rooted in Indian tradition, but the brand’s absolutely certain about one thing cut out the kitsch.
Sujata Keshavan design maven says that in 2012, in tony Mayfair, Alexander McQueen’s flagship London store opened to the public. “Boudoir chic”, the fashion spreads called it “Poky,” She’s been responsible for stripping the space of its dark and dingy corners and transforming it with the help of architect William Russell into a cathedral of light and warmth; home, since May this year, to Varana, possibly India’s first international luxe fashion and lifestyle brand.
She further adds that together, the three bring untold experience to the brand, but, interestingly it’s the first foray into fashion for all of them. Varana sells “everyday luxury” womenswear, pretty much a genre of one in the international market, but this is something Keshavan’s been pondering for over a decade.
According to her there are lots of B2B brands in software and engineering products, but there’s nothing in the lifestyle, fashion, apparel, or home spaces. India is the manufacturing hub for so many private labels.
Varana’s is not the east-meets-west of kitsch mirror-work slapped onto a jacket, or a Jaipur kurti masquerading as a dress. The amalgamation of the aesthetic begins with Varana’s design team, which has Indian textile designers from the National Institute of Design, but French and Italian pattern makers and designers.
The brand’s first collection takes inspiration from the Taj Mahal, and comes not only with floral and geometric motifs, but also with a layer of history. Buttery muslin blouses are rendered in jamdani weaves; pantsuits are painstakingly wood-block-printed with inlay patterns from the Taj; dresses are worked with aari needlepoint all three crafts contemporaneous with the construction of the Taj Mahal.
All these people have just stumbled onto the store, because we’ve done no promotions.” Interestingly, they haven’t had much of an Indian clientele, because Keshavan says Indians abroad tend to spend more on traditional outfits, and, “there’s always a feeling of, ‘Oh, we’ll get this in India.’”