If you are anything like me, one of the first things you did when you came to India was buy aaaaall the clothes. The colors, the fabrics, the embroidery and the prints of Indian clothes are so hard to resist and you can easily turn collecting different silks and fabrics from different states into a hobby. Unfortunately, if you are anything like me, most of those clothes are now in your bottom drawer, waiting for that once a year event when you get to pull them out. Most women in Bangalore don’t wear ethnic clothes except for festivals, weddings and family gatherings so you might feel a bit silly going around in a kurta (don’t, they are the comfiest things ever). This is why we shopped till we dropped to come up with this ultimate guide to modern, easy to wear Indian and fusion boutiques.
From yoga brunches to the most beautiful tableware, Nicobar doesn’t need an introduction. Good Earth’s more hip and affordable sister is heaven for anyone looking to infuse a bit of minimalistic Indian chic into their wardrobe. Their cuts are super flattering, the materials are high quality and everything is so easy to mix and match with what is already in your closet. I live in their basic pajama pants and kurtas. If you are looking for a modern, minimalist take on sarees they have a wonderful collection as well. Nicobar recently launched their jewelry capsule collection inspired by spices and the objects found in nature, which is absolutely lovely and also makes a great gift.
THE VINE TIP: keep an eye out for their iconic Nico wrap dress. It gets sold out almost as soon as it lands and it is reinvented every season in a different way: polka dots, worn over pajama pants… It is extremely flattering and super wearable and won’t look out of place at Olive Beach for brunch or an actual South of France beach.
Nicobar, Above Good Earth, No. 4 Walton Road, Off Lavelle Road and First Floor Forum Shantiniketan, Whitefield Main Rd, Thigalarapalya, Whitefield, www.nicobar.com
This multi-brand boutique just opened its first Bangalore boutique on 12th Main in Indiranagar earlier this year, cementing the street as the coolest destination in the entire city. Think modern ethnic jewelry, beautiful home textiles and streamlined kurtas. Even if ethnic clothes are not your thing, definitely check out their denim selection. I got this amazing embroidered denim vest with little mirrors and pompons that looks like it came straight from Net a Porter. I love their basic kurta suits in white, black and moss green as an everyday work wear option. They also source beautiful scarves, shawls and duppatas, which make for a great gift. Online, Jaypore has a great collection of affordable art to add a bit of whimsy to your new Bangalore home.
THE VINE TIP: follow them on Facebook for super fun in-store events like tarot readings and Kintsugi.
Unfortunately, Ogaan still doesn’t have a boutique in Bangalore, but I live on their online store. This is seriously the one-stop-shop for luxury Indian fashion, the Indian Net-a-Porter.com. Ogaan has helped launch designers like Sabyasachi into superstardom and is a great place to discover designers before they make it huge. They source everything from wedding lehengas with heavy embroidery to cool jumpsuits and light capes. Check out their accessory section for some really unique finds everyone back home is going to be jealous of. I love Am:Pm for modern Indian tailoring (you can find their boutique at Leela as well) and Love Birds for quirky separates.
THE VINE TIP: Next time you are in Delhi, go to their Hauz Khas boutique! It is stunning!
Ogaan, boutiques in Mumbai and Delhi, online at www.ogaan.com
They say women who wear black lead colorful lives and boy are they right. The most stylish of colors combined with modern and Indian silhouettes, verging on avant-garde while still being totally wearable, Turnblack is India’s first (only?) all-black label. Made from the highest quality materials, their clothes make chic dressing easy and the prices are great as well! I love their structured linen jackets, perfect for the monsoon.
THE VINE TIP: Check out their menswear collection next time you are looking for a gift! Their Jailhouse Rock shirt is super stylish without being loud, perfect for a night out.
Turn Black, online at www.turnblack.in
I feel like a lot of expats sleep on Global Desi- quite unfairly! This is a cheap and cheerful brand that has a ton of hidden gems that don’t break the bank. I sometimes find it a bit overwhelming to shop ethnic is physical stores because by the time I match my kurta with my bottoms with my duppata I am exhausted! Global Desi online shopping is great for that. Now, what did I mean when I said hidden gems? Let me tell you a story about our family dinner the other week. My husband is from Tamil Nadu and most ladies in the family wear sarees, if not regularly, then definitely for any social occasion. I got this beautiful black georgette saree from Fab India that I love to wear with a basic black crop top and heavy silver but I never drape it myself, I always ask my neighbor to help me. This time I said listen Tena you have been an Indian daughter in law for six years, it is time to do it yourself. So I armed myself with safety pins and YouTube tutorials and started draping… Two hours later I was still half-naked, my makeup melted from all the stress and I got into a screaming fight with my husband who begged me to just. Put. Jeans. On. Enter Global Desi’s saree jumpsuits. They are brilliant! The drape is already there, it is all nicely secured in its place, they are super flattering and just feel a bit more modern. Look for them in the jumpsuit category!
Global Desi, 7 locations throughout Bangalore including RMZ Galleria, Forum Shantiniketan, Phoenix Marketcity, Commercial Street, Innorbit, 1MG and Mantri Square Mall, www.globaldesi.in
Sanjay Garg, the designer behind Raw Mango, uses only hand-woven textiles and it shows in the quality. This is your go-to when you want clothes that feel and look special. Think kurtas, sarees and separates in most lush fabrics, with exquisite embroidery, that manage to feel current and understated. Their Colaba store in Mumbai is a delight, but Bangaloreans rejoice! They relatively recently opened a flagship store on Walton Road and I highly suggest paying it a visit before the festive season hits. This is your shortcut to the best-dressed list!
THE VINE TIP: Cinnamon by Ulsoor lake stocks a small but well-curated selection of Raw Mango as well alongside other local brands. Great one-stop destination for your modern luxury!
Raw Mango, No 5 & 6, Walton Rd, 560001, www.rawmango.in
Apart from being the most romantic restaurant in Bangalore, Grasshopper stocks a small but very well curated clothing and accessories line. Dresses, jackets and separates made from the finest fabrics come in clean lines and earthy tones, perfect for layering. These are elegant, understated items that will not look out of place in Sly Granny, going around Hampi or on a beach in France. I love ageless fashion that accentuates rather than overshadows and this is precisely their aesthetic. Next time you make it all the way to Bannerghatta Road, indulge not just in the food and the atmosphere, but also in a bit of shopping.
Grasshopper, 45, Near Meenakshi Temple, Kalena Agrahara, Bannerghatta Road, 560076, Facebook Page
If you want something that screams ‘glamourous chic’ then Pernia’s Pop Up Shop is definitely your go-to. I’ve been shopping on the online store for a few years but was elated when Bangalore got its very own store at The Leela Palace. This injection of modern ‘red carpet’ worthy pieces was just what the Collonnade needed to officially make it a fashionista’s shopping destination. Pernia’s houses a range of premium designers from all over India stocking an array of attention-grabbing gowns and dresses, pantsuits, shoes, bags and accessories. The nice luxury and spacious fitting rooms make it all the easier to want to try everything on and feel oh so very special.
Pernia’s Pop Up Shop, The Collonnade, A-6 (Level A), Ground Floor, The Leela Palace, 23 Old Airport Road, 560008, www.perniaspopupshop.com
On entering this gorgeous store you know instantly that you’ve arrived in a place where you are sure to get something very unique and exclusive. Set to a backdrop of ‘Old World Charm’, highly modern yet timeless collections of clothing and home décor sit carefully curated in this 19th Century building. Stockists have been carefully selected on their ability to offer rare and innovative products and there is pretty much something to suit all tastes. My recent purchase was a modern edgy metallic sari paired with a one-sleeved blouse – this is one of those stores where it’s very hard to just window shop.
THE VINE TIP: The small café located in the centre of the building is really quite enchanting – They offer a really nice masala chai and a selection of freshly baked cakes and savoury options.
Cinnamon The Shop, 24, Gangadhara Chetty Road, OPP Rbanm Ground, 560042, Facebook Page
I first accidentally stumbled in this store after a (boozy) Leela Sunday Brunch. I was looking for lightweight cotton clothing but they had to be high quality and stylish with an artisanal ethnic look. This store hit the nail on the head and surprised me with beautifully cut shirts, dresses and palazzo pants- I walked out a very satisfied customer even if I did spend a bit more than my budget. I also fell in love with the cotton bedding and intricately embroidered cushion covers. Created and flown in from Jaipur, everything in the store celebrates traditional Rajasthani craft but aesthetically is an amalgamation of modern, edgy and timeless.
This is the secret weapon to my best dresses: exquisite quality silks plus Pinterest plus a great tailor. I have been salivating over Ganni silk wrap dresses for ages but never really got around to buying them. This summer I bought a bunch of silks and had three wrap dresses made and I live in them! What I love about it is that I can use traditional Indian patterns and prints to make something super modern and fresh. We have easy access to good, affordable tailors here so it would be a shame not to use them. Another good option is the fabric market for cotton and linens. I always feel like I am about to win Project Runway when I go there. I also have a friend who always shows up in the most amazing, unique dresses and she finally told me her secret: they are her old sarees transformed! I love the idea of giving them a new lease on life and a more modern take.
THE VINE TIP: To find the correct Mysore Saree/Silk, head to Itsy Bitsy on Commercial Street and cross the street onto Kamaraj Road, then head upstairs. Bring your own TP for the bathroom if you are in for a long day of looking at fabrics and trying on sarees!
Mysore Saree Udyog, Mahaveer Mall, 316 1st Floor, Kamaraj Rd, Sivanchetti Gardens, 560042