If you are in an industry for 32 years, you get to know what works and what does not. That is what fashion designer Isha Mehra was counting on when she launched ‘Haveli by Isha Mehra’ last year. The niche curation steps out of home turf Mumbai for the first time, with the Summer Soiree at Express Avenue on Wednesday and Thursday.
The central atrium of the mall will play host to 13 brands, including city-based designer Vivek Karunakaran, who will be launching a new line of menswear for Valentine’s Day. Isha, who works with son Pranav Mehra to put together these events, says, “Singer Kanika Kapoor’s House of Chikankari will be with us for the first time. It won’t be the usual Lucknowi kurtas — she will have contemporary wraps and silhouettes as well.” Mehraab will bring chanderi collections for men and women, while silk saris from Roliana and Indian jewellery from Mallika by Alpana Kapoor will pair well, she adds.
“I took a break from designing for four years to run our family’s NGO. When I returned, I knew I did not want to design or manufacture any more. The market had also changed a lot, but it was really exciting. So I decided to create stories using brands and products,” says Isha. Their first show, at Bungalow 127 in September, was called Jewels and Threads, and it was an invite-only affair. “We transformed the place into a colonial-era haveli,” she quips, adding that they used period furniture as accents and to display merchandise.
In Chennai, the summer theme continues with linen saris, western wear and stoles by Soutache; easy flowing silhouettes in organic cotton by Rosetree; and pool-to-bar swimwear by Oceaniss. “The city is home to a wide range of people from across the country, as well as the expatriate crowd. I want to bring something for everyone,” she says.
City malls these days are going beyond retail therapy and offering patrons more reasons to linger. Long-time visitors of EA will remember a lone pianist playing tunes at one end of the atrium (where H&M is now located). With this event, they will upgrade the experience, as India’s first female harpist Meagan Pandian will serenade shoppers at the pop-up.
Munish Khanna, CRO, Express Avenue, says, “Omar Sait of Tryst Gourmet Cafe is organising a cheese tasting session, and harpist Meagan is performing live all day on February 13. On day two, we will have an artiste playing the Russian version of the santoor.” He adds that this is the mall’s effort to create an experiential social space, instead of just being a place where people come to shop.
Haveli by Isha Mehra takes place at Express Avenue on February 13, from 4 pm to 8 pm, and on February 14 from 11 am to 7 pm. Prices upwards of ₹3,500.