At home with style
The Priyadarshini Rao Label is a portrait of the attire expressions of women today who stand for personalized style statements. To the core audience of this designer, fashion is self signified. The Priyadarshini Rao store at Khar, Mumbai, is a physical re
Clad in undertones of an industrial palette, the store frames its character to suit the sharply cut garments in freshly mined stone tones based on Indian textiles and weaves. Accents of Indian elements add the finishing touch to the store's rhythm. As the store designer Tejal Mathur, outlines, "One dialogue with the statuesque designer, Priydarshini Rao, and I could imagine her stumbling upon a loft-like space in, let’s say, a Williamsburg in Brooklyn with the structure as it is and adding subtle Indian elements to form the storyboard for the store. And from that point on the idea took form and evolved organically as I went on." One look at the store and the Priyadarshini Rao name itself stirs a series of expectations in the customer. The 1,100 square feet of exhibit has its access from a leafy by-lane. Rough cement patterned flooring fashioned exclusively for this store lays the carpet to the entry. This flooring follows in continuity inside the store as well. The store facade does full justice to those expectations, creating a welcoming entrance. The store entry begins with a few steps to a raised platform which set the pace for the movement and with enough glazing revealing a trailer to the drama to be unfolded inside. The windows display in its simplicity does not make the customer pause in her tracks and instead keeps the movement flowing. The doors to the interior are made like flaps in an otherwise consistent store front which add to the welcoming tone. Crossing the threshold, one is exposed to what we may call the world of Priyadarshini Rao couture. A coffee table with a chandelier, which looks straight out of the baroque era, but which at the same time gives off the vibes of a homely entrance, complete the picture. The displays are zoned as per the collection beginning with the formal wear and moving on to Indian wear and pret Indian collections. The store houses men's wear as well and it has its own dedicated section. Ample movement space, large mirrors and adequate seating spaces suggest luxurious retail therapy. The trial rooms have been endowed with elements of a private dressing room. They are very spacious and can be expanded or collapsed to serve as one or two trial rooms. Customer comfort has been treated with a hands-on attitude. The overall ambience spells of an intimate experience where the pace is slow and the customer can inhabit the space like it’s a world of her own.
To create an experience such as this, the design had to be treated right with elements to create the right ambience and complement the merchandise. “The store has to be an extension of the label's personality, which is everyday luxury clothing for a customer. The store must invite the customer to embrace that lifestyle. We are essentially looking at a store that displays not more than 400 pieces and not over-detailed in terms of features and accents that take away from the clothing. As we sell western as well as Indian clothing, the provenance of the store must seem neutral with slight Asian influence. Postmodern vintage is how I would describe it,” explains the fashion label creator Priyadarshini Rao on how the design of her retail abode had to effectively communicate the core of her offerings. A loft-like space with historical connotations linked to postmodern times, add to it a dash of industrial feel but juxtaposed with subtle feminine expressions; and it pretty much sums up the store as far as the design language is concerned. With a 12 feet ceiling height, there's enough to convey a sense of pervasive space. The unpolished cement flooring, created in its exclusivity, emanates an old world finish. Exposed brick walls have been painted white and the ceiling left unfinished which takes us back in time. The walls are 2-3 brick thick which speaks of age-old construction patterns. The exposed pipe network and non-ducted air-conditioning further the composition of an ‘over grunged’ space. Industrial lamps hung from the ceiling are balanced with handcrafted furniture sourced from all over the country including Mumbai Flea Market, Agra and Pondicherry, and it adds to the vintage elements of the plate. The ancient baroque chairs and carved mirrors pronounce sophistication and enhance the stylish appeal. The colour palette builds on the same concept with use of muted hues like whites, earth and greys. Unfinished surfaces could not ask for a better combination. An immediate eye catcher and, what Tejal Mathur believes to be the highlight of the design, are the hanging rods. Carved wooden plates used as rod ends symbolize intricate attention to detail. They are instant attention grabbers and have a high probability of being the signature for the store. As for the store’s lighting, industrial looking light fixtures are offset by well-finished focus lights that throw the spotlight on the products. Warm lights are an indisputable choice to set the mood of the concept. The lighting has also been done as per the zonal requirements. LED lights have been used as a practical approach. Deep tones come through as a comprehensive result of the lighting design which suits the tastes of both the designers and showcase the merchandise in its most beautified form.
In the words of Priyadarshini Rao, "The store talks of a lifestyle it wants its customers to adopt. Many have described it as a home of someone with good taste. There is adequate seating at all parts of the store and if one wants to sit down and have a conversation over a cup of coffee, it’s just the right ambience there." If we talk of the mood stirred by the coherent result of the likes of two impeccable designers, it could be summed up as tranquil. The loft like space presents a canvas to the work of art of the renowned label and helps in spotlighting the collection. This compliments an important idea of the brief; 'Indulgent, but not harsh on the clothes or the wearer', which was taken quite seriously to create a feminine setting which not to be interpreted as delicate. The store is also a platform to showcase jewellery by Bharathi Raviprakash who enters Mumbai through this Priyadarshini Rao store after marking her presence in Chennai and Bangalore
Design Team Tejal Mathur: Head Designer, Team Design Ashneet Kohli: Design Co-ordinator, Team Design Raisha Goradia: Design Co-ordinator, Team Design
Lights & Lighting
Focus Lighting, Mumbai
Tejal Mathur Designs, Mumbai
Bharat Floors, Fort, Mumbai
Furniture Big Door, Bandra, Tejal Mathur Designs, the Flea Market in Mumbai
U&I Complete Office Solutions, Mumbai
Material/s used for the store Mannequins from BasX Mannequins, Switzerland Ceiling (the type of ceiling that is developed / designed)
SN Sharma, Contractors
Gurutek-Mumbai, and Anchor Computers