Shopping in Mumbai
It’s not as cheap as it used to be, but getting a quick shot of retail therapy in this city still inspires the heady, reckless feeling which comes with the certainty that no one back home will own anything as exotic, colourful or distinctive. Although all the big international brands are here, the stores and markets are brimming with quirky treasures, and the real excitement comes with browsing roadside stalls selling gilded slippers and sparkly bracelets, or admiring the delicate work of local designers such as Abraham & Thakore, whose brocades and silks have been displayed at the V&A. The art of sexy concealment has been perfected in Mumbai, alongside the vibrant and the unashamedly gorgeous.
It’s not the New York nightclub, nor is there anything bungalowlike about the moody concrete mansion block that houses this three-ﬂoored lifestyle store. But it is brilliantly set up as if you are visiting a dusky vintage home crammed with clever ﬁnds and clean-lined Asian homewares. Long tables laid for a smart dinner party showcase linen tablecloths, gold antique picture frames are hung in clusters on the wall and wooden chests are crammed with knick-knacks and 1930s-style headbands (spotted in Fenwick for double the price). There’s an in-house fashion label, The Bungalow, by former YSL and Lanvin designer Mathieu Gugumus Léguillon – sharp menswear is particularly popular. Grants Building, 17 Arthur Bunder Road, Colaba (+91 22 2281 9880; www.bungaloweight.com)
The Mumbai version of Paris’s Colette is in a 1930s former rice mill in the docklands. It was opened by three young fashion-forward women (one helped set up Indian Vogue, another created the windows at Hermès). It may seem odd to come all this way for Isabel Marant high-tops, Acne jeans and Raquel Allegra T-shirts, but there are also the prettiest candles, colourful dhurries from Jaipur, super-ﬁne shawls from Kashmir, table linens, childrenswear, clutches and arm cuffs – as well as a ﬂorist and a café serving mango-and-rice salad and crumbly homemade banana loaf. A second branch recently opened in Breach Candy. 17–25 Nandlal Jani Road, Wadi Bunder East, Masjid Bunder (+91 22 2374 2415; www. lemillindia.com)
This trendy white space, just around the corner from the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, oozes with glamour, edge and eccentricity, and new collections land nearly twice a month. Accessories are displayed on old sewing machines topped with glass, walls are decorated with modern Indian art. You’ll ﬁnd fashion by established designers such as Manish Arora and Rajesh Pratap Singh, up-and-coming Indian labels and a sprinkling of international brands. Highlights include boxes of retro Bollywood posters and eye-popping jewellery. 1 Reay House, Best Marg, Colaba (+91 22 2287 6276; www.bombayelectric.in)