Nupur Kanoi's winter collection Protea on display at her Kolkata store
A pristine white door greets you at the Ballygunge Gardens address of designer Nupur Kanoi’s flagship store, and as you walk down the pebbled path, you are suddenly flooded with light from all sides. We quickly notice the skylight, through which light filters and gets reflected back on the whitewashed walls.
Before long, we were greeted by the queen of the mansion herself, Nupur Kanoi who looked resplendent in a sky blue cotton cocoon shirt dress, at the entrance of the 1,500 sq ft outlet.
The designer tells us how this store was a three-year-long project, executed with the help of her friend and teacher, scenographer Swarup Dutta, who turned her ideas into reality. It was a trip to Puducherry and inspirations from French colonial architecture, which got her to include potted plants — from sansevieria, money plants and even little shrubs of arelia.
“As I have grown as a designer, the space has grown with me, it is a reflection of what I feel,” says the 40-year-old. “I wanted to have a French café kind of feel where you feel almost as if the place can change itself at any point,” elaborates the ex-student of La Martiniere for Girls.
“The foliage has been done by landscape artiste Najib Bava and the artwork on the wall has been done by Alisha Dutta Islam,” she is quick to add. With this new store, she also remodelled her logo, done by her cousin Aparna Kakrania from Design Dimensions.
Nupur wears many hats — designer, entrepreneur, daughter and backpacker. Her clothes are not just a reflection of her tastes, but of the varied things she picks up from places she visits, and the details she observes. Her recently launched autumn-winter collection is a good example. It was inspired from her trips to Capetown, South Africa and has three sections — bead work with botanic prints, Bandhani and mochi work. Most of her works are in crepes, silks, cotton and chanderi.
Protea, the national flower of South Africa denotes hope and peace. While looking at the flowers bloom in a vineyard, noting the contrast of their vivid colours against a clear blue sky in Capetown, she was inspired to recapture their essence on fabric, in native botanic prints.
The vibrant and intricate thread work in geometric floral motifs is inspired from Bo-Kaap village, which specialises in mochi, a style of thread work that originated in 18th century Gujarat and the bandhani against the colour green imitates the endless wine plantations of the Western Cape.
Although she herself prefers a punkGoth style, her clothes are a combination of East meets West, comfortable, relaxed and colourful with easy silhouettes. Her collection on display includes kaftans, jumpsuits, saris with snap buttons, retro jackets and long flowing, nautical dresses.
The easy, breezy style of her bespoke range has made her a favourite choice of A-listers like Shilpa Shetty, Priyanka Chopra and Freida Pinto. Even debutante Sara Ali Khan wore her creations for the promotions of her film Kedarnath. “My clothes reflect my mood and the store reflects my personality,” explains the soft-spoken couturier, who started her label in 2006.
Her vision: “It shouldn’t be just a store, but it should reverberate parts of my nature and character. Rather than just be exposed to the clothes, I want people to have an experience.”
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