Couturier Kalpana Sonthalia's label Adorning God opens a boutique store in Kolkata
Diwali is that time of the year when celebrations include decorating your home, buying new clothes and having scrumptious festive food. Though socialising has been dialed down this year, when it comes to your space of worship and the deities that are at the core of this festival — the fervour is upbeat. On cue, we have the fêted couturier Kalpana Sonthalia opening her first store, Adorning God, in Kolkata on
October 26. Offering exquisite adornments and accessories for idols of gods and goddesses, the Chennai-based designer is known for her stunning bespoke collections. Now, with this launch, you can meet experts at the store, along with the figurines to design and order festive wardrobe essentials for your favourite deities.
Though the designer’s brand, Adorning God, is renowned among Kolkata’s discerning clientele for its customised dresses for the divine, it is the unexpected demand and travel restrictions dur-
ing the lockdown that made Kalpana decide to establish a permanent address for her creations in the city. “All my customers were really disappointed when I couldn’t arrange the much-in-demand
exhibition before Janmasthami. Hence, I decided to set up a boutique shop to cater to all the demands throughout the year,” says Kalpana, whose unique designer collections are sought-after among
those who want to add that special touch to the festivities.
The wide selection of clothes and accessories available at the store showcases a keen eye for detail and a focus on exquisite materials. The vibrant and brightly coloured clothes are made of pure, handwoven cotton, chanderi, gota and silk, and are embedded with semi-precious stones and pearls that are apt for your favourite deity.
The intricately designed accessories are made with precious stones, pearls, beads and tassels, and have a vast collection comprising palakka mala, mulla mottu mala jewellery from Kerala and the stunning temple jewellery including kreedam and kempu pieces from Tamil Nadu. There are also ritzy traditional handcrafted pieces inspired by the rich heritage of Jaipur and Kolkata to cater to the eclectic tastes of her customers. We had a chat with the elegant and soft-spoken couturier about her splendid Diwali collection, and the trends that are doing the rounds when it comes to accessories for deities in your Puja space.Excerpts:
Tell us how it feels to set up a store in Kolkata, that’s also your hometown?
It is a great feeling that after 10 years of designing for the gods, I am able to come to this position that people are loving and appreciating my work so much that I am forced to open a permanent store for them. The journey has been incredible — what started as a passion many years back, has organically turned into my profession — and I feel very happy that my patrons in Kolkata will have access to my creations all through the year.
What will be trending when it comes to dressing deities this Diwali?
I have come up with a new collection, which is inspired by nature and freedom. During the lockdown, we realised that man, by nature, doesn’t want to stay locked away inside. It’s our nature to grow and
be free, which was unnaturally curbed by the pandemic-induced lockdown. We are still fearful of venturing out and socialise due to the coronavirus. So, my Diwali collection celebrates freedom of spirit, and has drawn inspiration from nature and its undaunted spirit of growth and freedom. It has elegant and gorgeous bird necklaces for gods, apart from a wide collection of accessories including neck and ear pieces, bangles and headgears in miniature floral patterns and relief work.
The dresses are all made of sustainable organic fabric, and this time I have made them with pure silk. The contrast borders in vibrant colours make them extremely eye-catching. I have embellished the outfits with stones, pearls and zari work. The colour palette has been kept bright and celebratory, keeping the over-arching gloom in mind. The tones range from bright yellow and red to midnight blue and emerald green among others. Since the fabric used is pure, it’s low-maintenance and one can easily wash them with mild detergents at home.
What are the future collections you are working on?
My next collections will be for Sankranti and Holi. I am still working on it. But, rest assured that there will be a lot of surprises in store for the patrons to keep the spirit of the celebrations intact.
Adorning God opens at 26, Amherst Street, Kolkata, on October 26. It will be open everyday from 11 am to 5 pm (except on Sundays). For an appointment, call 98300-75009 or 94320-12987.