Lounge Preview | Raw Mango: Move over Alfonso

Sanjay Garg’s Mumbai store blends old-world charm with minimal modernism


The interiors of ‘Monkey Business’.
The interiors of ‘Monkey Business’.

Sanjay Garg established early on that he has an instinct for raw, unadulterated beauty in textiles . In the eight years of Raw Mango, Garg’s clothing line has developed a cult following among those who are drawn to his unusual colours, whimsical silhouettes and free-flowing drapes. His work represents that tangent of Indian fashion that has moved away from the overly ornate or kitschy. Garg’s collaborations with weavers from across the country have produced radical results in Chanderi, Mashru and Banarasi. Some of his works have made it to the Victoria and Albert museum in London. He retails from his studio in Chhatarpur, Delhi.

The new store in Mumbai, his second stand-alone outlet in the country, portrays the same brand philosophy, one that is careful not to overstate. “My India is not a maharaja India,” quips Garg. “The hardest thing is to simplify, to communicate with less.” The store, designed by Garg himself along with architect Ashiesh Shah and designer Isla Maria “Loulou” van Damme, embodies that concept.

A piece from ‘Monkey Business’.
A piece from ‘Monkey Business’.

You enter the 2,500 sq. ft space through a brick-paved courtyard. The main hall is spacious and deep with its double-height ceiling. A passage in the front houses all the delicious saris and the trial rooms are set in the back. A winding staircase leads up to the bridal section. Sculptures dot the entire store—some installed upside down, and all collected by Garg. With unpolished iron pillars, exposed wooden beams, a striking brass tabletop, and details like doorknobs, window latches, gaddis and dhurries, Garg blends an old-world charm with a minimal modernism, “like the work of Charles Correa”, explains Garg.

The store stocks handloom saris, lehngas, jackets and dresses, men’s bundis and handkerchiefs. It’s a mix of all Raw Mango collections, with the latest, Monkey Business—a fun line of combination silks woven with a monkey motif—for good measure. There are no mannequins, only clothes hung or folded away in glass almirahs lined with soft cotton. That’s the sweetest spot of this Raw Mango; reaching for the clothes evokes that intimate memory of finding some precious heirloom tucked away in mulmul.

Raw Mango opened on Friday at 1, Reay House, BEST Marg, Colaba, Mumbai.

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