Delhi by Design

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With designers pushing the boundaries of tradition in the Indian capital, the city’s creative scene is beginning to bloom. Rachna Sachasinh talks to local design maven Kuldeep Kaur about the innovators behind the new studios, boutiques and brands.

DEBJIT BANERJEE “WHEN WE FIRST OPENED, I thought, Who will come?” Kuldeep Kaur recalls, laughing. “Delhi is a conventional city. People would rather go to the mall.” For decades, Delhi has been chastised for its buttoned-down style. Compared to Mumbai, with its colorful film industry, and Kolkata, a hub of modern literary culture— cities where creativity has always been naturally experimental—Delhi’s bureaucratic way of life has led to a more formulaic style, focusing almost exclusively on couture bridalwear and export garments. Things are pivoting, however, towards the local and the personal, and Kaur, a designer and the owner of Serendipity Delhi (, a travel-inspired homewares and design shop, is this new era’s biggest cheerleader. “There is an interesting alchemy between Indian-ness and individuality,” Kaur says. In Delhi, where past and present, traditional and modern are seemingly at odds and in collusion with each

Vintage colonial water flasks at Serendipity Delhi; jewelry studio Nimai has a moody boutique at fashion market Shahpur Jat; designer Kuldeep Kaur. OPPOSITE: Serendipity Delhi’s bespoke Suzani pillows, inspired by Kaur’s travels to Central Asia.

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