Designer Mrunalini Rao’s flagship store is now open in Hyderabad
It is set to house her entire range — from new launches in ready-to-wear to the bridal line as well
Hyderabad's Mrunalini Rao recently opened the doors to her flagship store in the city. The Jubilee Hills outlet is indeed a vision, yet minimal to the hilt. Initially, Mrunalini launched a studio workshop in September 2019 that did not have adequate space for all her collections. And that’s what led to the creation of the flagship store.
It borrows from the nostalgia of two kinds — colonial design heritage and the designer’s childhood. “It reminds me of my grandparents’ home. We tried bringing all of that to life here through the customised furniture, rafters on the ceiling, 30-year-old mango trees, uneven wall textures, arches all through the store, the flooring and the colours we used,” says the city couturier.
Before the pandemic, Mrunalini also had a plan of opening a store in Bengaluru. However, instead, she decided to make the flagship store on her home turf a rather unique experience before venturing to other cities. “It was tough to keep up with the timelines as the lockdown was declared at different times in different cities. But Hyderabad was open for a few hours, initially. The team put in all their efforts to make it come alive at this point,” she elaborates when we ask her how she managed the launch.
When the patrons walk into the store, they can expect to spot the highlighted pieces of her recent collection. One can also find ensembles from her first eco-friendly prêt line called Uri. “With the increasing demand for ready-to-wear and bridal, we needed more space to display both the lines,” says the designer, who has dressed A-listers from Tollywood such as Keerthy Suresh, Trisha and Lakshmi Manchu.
Her newest collection Vana from Uri as well as Mrunalini Rao fusion and bridal wear from the same
collection are on the shelves here. One can’t miss the elaborate and exclusive bridal section. “The first floor is dedicated to bridal wear and the rooms have beautifully crafted mirrors with a huge stone engraved with the Sanksrit shloka, Asathoma Sadgamaya,” says the designer.
A happy place
She has taken inspiration for the decor from Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa’s body of work and infused it with things that are close to her heart. “Every single element right from the entry gate revolve around the things that happened in my life. The walls, flooring and furniture subtly narrate the story of my brand. I want people to feel at home when they pay a visit. I want it to be a happy place for everyone,” says Mrunalini.
We learn that the embossed tree of life at the entrance is a nod to the designs through which she has received recognition in past years. “The birds on the wall representing freedom, furniture with our handcrafted fabrics and embroideries that I love, a vintage wooden staircase taking us to the first floor with frames and antiques that I have personally collected over the years are all close to me," says the designer, signing off.
Rs 7,000 upwards for the prêt line.
Rs 40,000 for fusion label.
— Paulami Sen