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Antique Futuristic
Published: Volume 16, Issue 1, January, 2008
Verve advocates the super-cool spaces where you would rather be seen, in 2008

BOMBAY ELECTRIC, Cutting-Edge Boutique
The very stylish Priya Kishore sees her boutique, Bombay Electric, as a metaphor for Mumbai itself. “This is where the very modern and history co-exist very happily,” she says of the city and the space she has created in the noisy hub of Colaba. A tiny al fresco style courtyard, hard to come by, leads into a space that is laden with history and swishy style. The New York Times has pronounced the store as ‘Mumbai’s answer to Barneys’ New York’. Kishore points out that the enormous wooden beams that have centre stage, were a gift from the king of Burma to the industrial house of Tatas, so many decades ago. “We took such care renovating,” she says. “We wanted to preserve the best elements, restored the levels as they originally were and preserved the original wooden rafters.”

Her excitement and energy for this space are apparent. It was divine providence, she maintains, that brought her to these square feet, unused for 50 years. She has added her own intelligent and well-travelled touches in forms that do not necessarily belong to any one genre. An industrial look is maintained by the hanging of large weighing scale tops, from the ceiling. Singer sewing machine bottoms are painted white and topped with glass to substitute as counters for faux-kundan accessories. Clothes racks have been morphed to resemble huge clothes hangers. “I have designed them to look like they are floating. The hero, after all, is the clothes.”

All this is offset by enormous mirrors in antique frames, a 700-year-old antique display cabinet from Kerala, aluminium trunks from Bhendi Bazaar covered with cushions. “It is amazing. When you put things in a new context, they look different. The same with clothes, you keep seeing things in a new light.” The collections on display are eclectic, to say the least. The in-house brand, Ghee Butter, reveals its own twist of humour. The clothes racks have designers who are young and new. A collection of beautiful items like silver antique jewellery rub corners with highly-modern sunglasses from Japan, a brand called ‘Blind’ that made its appearance in The Matrix.

And there’s Kishore herself, in a shift by new designer, Drashta, paired with Balenciaga sandals, a student at Oxford of politics, philosophy and economics, who gave up her dream to be an anthropologist for a space that she created to stimulate the senses. And succeeded.