This past Thursday was the first time I’d gone out in Mumbai in about a month. I’ve been out-of-town, and during that time, the temperature has cooled and the humidity has dissipated, and I find myself willing to venture outside more often. There’s so much going on this month that I began to feel like I was back in New York, when on any given night there are twenty competing events going on.
On Thursday evening, I walked around the corner from my house and went to Bombay Electric, Mumbai’s first (and perhaps only?) concept store. Curated and co-owned by Priya Kashore, it’s an eclectic mix of East meets West, with an accent on contemporary Indian designers and the occasional Western branded pieces, such as accessories from Comme des Garcons and shoes from United Nude. Tonight she was hosting a small party to celebrate the new arrival of a collection by Delhi-based designer Sonam Dubal. Sonam’s exuberant embrace of pattern and embroidered texture is expressive but never ostentatious and he manages to modernize the idea of embellishment into something that could appeal even to those who typically espouse minimalism.
The one-and-only Ms. Divya Thakur. Divya owns a design consultancy firm, Design Temple, and she is one of India’s leading aesthetic lights. She’s had a recent show at the V&A, her second edition of tongue-in-cheek, Indian-inspired products is about to be released,and she’s working on everything from film title design to brand identities to ad campaigns. She also likes to shop after a few glasses of champagne.
After Bombay Electric, Bandana, Divya and I headed over to a group photo exhibition, filled with a couple hundred revellers. It was a fun party, but we were only there for five minutes, so I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures.
Next we all headed to the Judith Leiber launch event, held in the Articullate Art gallery. Hosted by Sangeeta Assomull and her husband, Madan K. Assomull, it was a very different scene, filled to the brim with the city’s tireless social figures. Mumbai is interesting to me in part because of its multi-layered aspect, where different scenes co-exist and often overlap, making for an unexpected mix. This happens in all cities probably, but since physical space is at a premium here, and there are a limited number of venues, social interactions tend to be condensed into a couple of square miles, at least in South Bombay, and in a night out you can stumble across a huge cross-section of people.
About forty-five minutes later, Divya and I went to Roohi’s house for dinner. Roohi is a dynamic businesswoman, as well as a devoted mother and wife. She’s down-to-earth and quick to laugh and she makes people feel very welcome. She also serves some of the best food I’ve had in my life. Seriously. There were probably 20 dishes laid out, when dinner was served at midnight, after another hour or two of cocktails. From cheese souffle with a hint of green chile, to slow-cooked biryani to lamb chops in a spice-inflected cracked pepper sauce, I managed to make my way around to everything. Embarassingly, I was, as usual, the only person to eat three helpings, plus dessert. Homemade profiteroles, a gingerbread house, Christmas pudding, chocolate cake. I really like food.
Earlier in the night I had missed the Jimmy Choo store opening event, but I figured I’d post some pictures of it to illustrate just how strong the luxury explosion is in this emerging market.
The interior of the store.
I went to bed that night exhausted and overstimulated and very, very full. The weather here might be langurous, but there is a lot happening all around. And this, I think, is just the beginning.