It’s the 16th edition of the Duchess Utsav and the excitement levels among the organisers are as high as it was in the first year. Started in 2002, this annual exhibition brings together designers and brands showcasing clothes, shoes, accessories, home décor and, of course, food. “It was started with the idea to help women and provide a platform for home entrepreneurs,” says Rathi Nilakantan, one of the organisers.
In its first year, the utsav had around 50 stalls and the number this year has swelled up to 72. Given people’s love for all things organic, the event also introduced a separate set-up titled Organic Market, that has fresh food, plants, oils and eco-friendly items. Nearly 90 brands approached the organising committee this year, to be part of the exhibition. “We hand-pick designers after going through their creations,” says Nilakantan.
Here’s a pick of some of the brands to look out for:
A well-known sari store in Kolkata since 1972, the brand, over the years, has made space for designer creations to cater to the varied requests of their clients. Suruchi Pret is coming to Chennai for the first time and brings a mix of traditional and western silhouettes by designers Disha Nimi, Buttonhole, Anusri Pramanik, Shwet, Saatvika, Kritika Saraogi among others.
Started by Lovejit Visveswaran and Lakshman Shankar, new city-based store Shalaka features quirky lifestyle products. There’s dinnerware and home decor in vibrant hues, handmade organic skin and beauty products, clothes, bath salts — all curated from different parts of the country. On display are products from brands such as Freedom Tree, Mumbai, Y Store, Bengaluru, Nauchandi, Skinsense and Tantrik Life.
This is Bagri’s fifth time at the exhibition and she knows exactly what her clientèle here prefer. Back on popular demand, the designer who has been running her eponymous label for 26 years says that this time, it’s a festive special collection. “It’s mostly ethnic wear with a mix of fusion wear as well,” she says. Choose from palazzos, dresses, gowns, Anarkalis and jackets in shades of yellow, pink, peach, powder blue and coral.
Looking for accessories to jazz up your ensemble? Limra Jewels, a Bangkok-based jewellery brand, showcases its range in Chennai for the first time. “These are diamond jewellery with micro settings in 18-carat white, yellow and rose gold,” says Jyothi Narayan, Regional Sales Advisor. There are cocktail rings, pendants, earrings and bracelets made of sapphires, rubies and diamonds.
(Duchess Utsav is on today and tomorrow at Savera Hotel, between 10 am and 8 pm)