Rest Ashored: Nicobar brings it's island aesthetic to Chennai

As Nicobar forays into Chennai, co-founder Simran Lal says the brand is a perfect fit in the city’s landscape
Rest Ashored: Nicobar brings it's island aesthetic to Chennai

Encapsulating timelessness and laidback leisure has been the calling card of Nicobar since it set up shop in Mumbai in 2016. New Delhi-based couple Simran Lal and Raul Rai started Nicobar as an independent arm of the parent brand Good Earth, the luxury retail brand with Indian aesthetics at its heart. The label took shape as a fashion, and home and travel accessories label that communicates the tropical ethos of its namesake island. As they open their first store in Chennai following Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Jodhpur, 46-year-old Simran talks to us about how Nicobar aims to infuse design in everyday living.

<em>Founders Simran Lal and Raul Rai</em>
Founders Simran Lal and Raul Rai

How does Nicobar take on the spirit of Chennai?
Chennai has historically attracted artists, poets, musicians and is now not just a cultural hub but also a global city. This very culture reflects a unique blend which we think is what defines a Nicobar customer.

Good Earth’s aesthetic has been embraced well by the Chennai buyer. How does Nicobar fit in?
Both Nicobar and Good Earth are born out of a desire to shape culture yet reflecting the different milieu of their birth. There is enough out there for weddings, festivals like Diwali and parties, but not for coffees and Tuesdays. That’s where Nicobar comes in. 

We love the story behind the restoration of the 92-year-old bungalow for your last store in Bandra. Tell us what we can expect at the Chennai store. 
Sprawling 2,300 square feet (and then some), our newest outpost in Chennai stays true to the vibe of the east coast — fresh, open, and starring enough timber and greens to take the place of a tropical garden. With a colour theme that centres on relaxing whites, earthy neutrals and fun pops of green, the store is modern with an Indian undercurrent.

Are there any new collections you’re launching in Chennai?
In women’s wear, we’re bringing out one of summer’s greatest patterns – gingham, evocative of warm days lolling on picnic blankets. We’ve got the staples — tent dresses, shirts and trousers. We’ve also got a limited run of shift dresses with tie-sleeves in Chanderi, exclusive to the Chennai store.

What would be three must-haves for Chennai, one from each category — fashion, home and travel? 
The porcelain Alphabet Mugs and Candles which are inspired by India’s rich linguistic heritage; the roomy Tokyo Bag in charcoal stripes and cotton webbing straps; and the Nico Dress – a Nicobar favourite with a hint of old-Hollywood glam, in a red polka on slick white cotton.

<em>The Nico Dress, The Tokyo Bag and Alphabet Mug</em>
The Nico Dress, The Tokyo Bag and Alphabet Mug

Priced  Rs.350 onwards. The store in Rutland Gate opens on July 22. Details: 43087878

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