The best part about the recently opened Palladium at High Street Phoenix is The Collective. Palladium was meant to be Mumbai’s first luxury mall. We are still trying to figure out what it is that makes Global Desi or Make and Bake luxurious, but there’s no such problem at The Collective.
Aston Martin jacket by Hackett, at The Collective, Rs24,000.
The Aditya Birla Group launched The Collective’s first outpost in Bangalore late last year. The multi-brand international designer store was a new format for the Indian market, and Mumbai just got its own branch. The 17,000 sq. ft store, spread over two floors, houses everything from Armani to Versace, from Aquascutum to Victorinox. The first level deals with accessories and all things casual. The brilliantly styled denim wall offers cult brands such as 7 For All Mankind, Rock & Republic and True Religion, as well as Earnest Sewn and Adriano Goldschmied. But it’s Armani Jeans, the staff tells us, that’s the best-seller. Browse through case after case of functional, dressy or quirky watches and cufflinks, and a section of over 400 sunglasses (one of the few places in the men’s-only store where women can indulge in some retail therapy). Shoes, leather goods, bags and casual shirts pass by in a blur; there’s just too much to take in. The upper level is all tie walls, made to measure as well as off-the-rack suits, tuxedo jackets, formal shirts and a small section of Indian wear that is exclusively designed for The Collective by Manish Malhotra, J.J. Valaya, Tarun Tahiliani and Rohit Bal.
Cleverly, The Collective has incorporated ways to rest your weary feet after all that browsing, trying and buying. The Bespoke Café on the first level is a slightly more relaxed version of The Tasting Room at Good Earth, at the neighbouring Raghuvanshi Mills (both cafés are managed by Riyaz Amlani’s Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality Pvt. Ltd). It offers a small menu of coffee, wines, pasta, sandwiches and salads, which you can enjoy while relaxing in dimpled booths or chairs. The upper level has a Jean-Claude Biguine salon, so a massage or pedicure can be included in your shopping routine.
But as impressive as the space and the list of brands at The Collective are, what really sets it apart is the staff. It’s not often that salespeople give you space to browse, yet are available if you have a question. They are incredibly well informed about the products they are selling. They knew, as all good sales staff should, the exact percentage of copper in those rose gold cufflinks, and what inspired the accessories brand Nooka to create those funky-chunky watches. They have been trained to help customers create looks and go out of their way to please. One customer was so happy with the man who served him that he sent him an invitation to his wedding. Another customer wanted her gift wrapped in a very specific way, so that the content of the gifts could be seen, as is traditional while gifting a shagun. The store’s general manager asked for a day, went shopping for the required stationery and obliged by wrapping it according to the specifications.
A reliable dry-cleaner with a home pick-up and drop service within 72 hours is part of the many facilities on offer. And if you’re a high roller, you can be sipping champagne in the plush confines and anonymity of the celebrity lounge, while the staff brings in what you want from the shop floor. Hopefully this good service is not just an initial burst of energy, but will sustain itself.
Prices at The Collective can start from Rs500 for a lip balm from Anthony Logistics and go up to Rs4.5 lakh for a watche from Momo Design. If you’re male and happen to be luxury shopping, there’s no better place to be.