Style guru Monica Vaziralli is the woman to go to for
the latest on fashion in Mumbai. We caught up with her to find out
a little more about the city's fashion scene, the top Indian
designers to look out for, and where to find those one-of-a-kind
items in the city...
Graves: Mumbai is your domain and home - can you tell us
a little bit about the energy and vibrancy of the
Monica Vaziralli: 'Mumbai is like New York, a journey through
the city unfolds many stories and the city's pizzazz is
unbelievable. I grew up in Mumbai and hence know all the right
people and sources of entertainment, it also gives me the
opportunity to knock on all doors.'
Mumbai © Sapsiwai -
Given the city's size, how do you keep tabs on new
openings and fashion in Mumbai?
'Because people know what I do I receive invitations to a lot of
openings and events, which is a great way to determine what's
interesting. There's also a social calendar in the local newspapers
if I end up missing something.'
How does the Mumbai fashion scene compare to those in
Europe's fashion capitals, like London and Paris? How have you seen
it change over the last decade?
'Indian designers are right up there with the rest of the world,
and I would have to say that they are swiftly becoming the best.
They have great talent, style and are just as good as the global
household brands. Few have become household names outside India,
but that doesn't mean they are not as accomplished. In terms of
price they are more competitive. Over the last decade we have seen
designers change to encompass Western style and they have managed
to blend the ethnic East with the chichi West.'
Who are the most exciting Indian designers working in
fashion in Mumbai at the moment?
'My personal favourite is Monisha Jaisingh because she has
managed to create the perfect synthesis of Western and Indian
styles. Another exciting name to watch out for is Tarun Tahiliani
who has blended craftsmanship and local textiles with a tailored
Monica Jaising fashion © Monica
You are the go-to person in Mumbai to act as a guide for
fashionistas and shopaholics alike, how did you find your way into
'I have been an interior decorator for the past 35 years and
after a while my taste and eye has been able to extend beyond home
décor and I have been able to pick up on the quality, style and
trends of the fashion world. It has been a gradual process, a
development of taste that transcends a single discipline.'
What's your number one piece of advice for shoppers who
are coming to Mumbai for the first time?
'Take time to look around, if you're in a hurry it is really
difficult to get the feel of the city, the designs, the fabrics,
the trends and the people. I can advise you on what to buy, but
ultimately it will be your own eye and style that will define your
purchases and you can only build that up by imbuing yourself with a
greater knowledge of your environment.'
Mumbai Fabrics © Ella Hanochi -
Haggling is part of life - how can an outsider possibly
secure the best price - where do you start?
'Haggling is part of a bygone era or for market stalls - if
you're interested in the type of design and fashion that I can
advise you on then you are going to be paying fixed prices from
internationally focused stores, where striking a bargain is really
Where are your favourite spots to unwind in the city
after a long day of shopping?
'My personal favourite is the Willingdon Sports Club; housed in
a wonderful old colonial building it is the place to go to meet
people from many different walks of life over a cup of tea or a
drink at the bar. For something a little more luxurious then I like
to meet clients at the Eau Bar at the Oberoi or the Sea Lounge at
the Taj Mahal Palace.'
Eau Bar at The Oberoi, Mumbai ©
What is the best way to quickly immerse oneself in
Mumbai and to get a real feel for local life?
'The best way to get to know Mumbai is to be introduced to
someone locally who can give you all the local news, insider tips,
ideas on what to do and where to go. Mumbai is relatively small and
us locals can always introduce you to people from many walks of
life that can give you an even more detailed snapshot of the city,
depending on what you want to know.'
If you would like to adventure into Mumbai yourself you can view
our itinerary; Saffron &
Sandalwood for further information.