Raseel Gujral Ansal likes peaches, yellows, reds, fuchsia, oranges. Yet when she spots an Alma MM Orange Sunset bag (Rs1.07 lakh) at the Louis Vuitton store at DLF Emporio mall, New Delhi, where we are on a luxe shopping tour, she says she would never buy it. “I love the shape of the bag and the shade is great but I don’t like to buy things that overtly flaunt the brand identity.” The bag is embossed with the LV logo all over. “My idea of a luxury bag is not a Birkin or Fendi either. I like accessories to merge in with my outfit, not stand out.” At present her favourite handbag is a three-year-old chocolate hobo bag with tassels from Miu Miu. And no, you cannot see the brand label.
Style statements: Ansal at Casa Paradox, DLF Emporio mall, in a kimono-kurta top from Janavi, Armani jeans and an Alpana Gujral neck piece.
Ansal, an interior designer and partner at Casa Paradox, a luxury furniture and accessories store, describes herself as a “shopper who will not buy outfits and accessories that are mood-of-the-moment pieces. I prefer things that I will enjoy using for a while, and which work with pieces I already have.”
At work she prefers to wear clothes that are not too revealing and footwear that is comfortable, but for a night out on town she “always wears stilettos which have at least a 5-inch heel”. Ansal says she never wears skirts and dresses and prefers trousers, pyjamas and even lungis. “I like to pick up classic pieces in Western wear as opposed to what is ‘in fashion’ right now. That way I can wear them longer, like this four-year-old Galliano ankle-length trench coat that I still count among my all-time best buys.”
One of the reasons why Giorgio Armani is a brand she likes is that she finds products at this brand understated. At the Giorgio Armani store, she zeroes in on a calf-leather python imprint bag (Rs1.04 lakh) and cannot resist a pair of calf-leather shoes (Rs37,000) for her husband. “The colour of the bag will work with any outfit and I like its shape.”
As a shopper, Ansal knows her mind and normally never asks for an opinion from shop attendants or takes anyone with her while she shops in Delhi, which according to her is the best city for her shopping needs. “I know where I can get what I want and buy it when I need it. Plus with all designers being friends I can ask them to make a version of an outfit that is less embellished.” Apart from Delhi, the only other place she likes to shop at is Milan. “The atmosphere at Montenapoleone is great because all the brands are on this one street and you get the latest stuff.”
To compensate for her “fire-shades” fetish, she deliberately looks out for outfits in blues and greens. At Ensemble, she spots a multicoloured lehenga and while she finds it beautiful, she says this is “an outfit that would be a one-time statement piece. I may like it but I will not buy it because I can’t wear it again.” She chooses a midnight blue sari from the Ensemble Design Studios’ Jewel and Pearl collection (Rs69,900) and a dull gold ari work sari by Aarti Talwar (Rs74,000). It’s the colour of the outfit that attracts her to these pieces.
However, she slips up on her “no reds, pinks” motto of the day at the Abu and Sandeep store. After almost deciding on a green and white pearl-encrusted flowing kurta, she changes her mind when she spots a fuchsia-coloured empire-waisted kurta and churidaar from the Mesh collection (Rs1 lakh). “I love the neckline on that piece. In fact, I will have to go back and buy it now,” she confides as we walk out of the store.
Though Ansal likes to buy designer saris (her favourite brands include Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, Kotwara, Ravi Bajaj, Suneet Verma), as far as jewellery is concerned she is partial to her sister Alpana Gujral’s pieces and Cartier. “I like Cartier jewellery designs because their designs are art deco.” At her sister’s store she picks an elaborate neck piece made with freshwater pearls and garnets, black onyx, rubies and polki (Rs1 lakh approx.), while at Cartier she chooses the Panthere Pelange necklace with an emerald (Rs32.30 lakh). She also points out the Ballon Bleu de Cartier (Rs7.71 lakh), a watch she already has. “I prefer wearing watches with a large dial because they look better on a small wrist.”
The collection and the range
1. Ensemble: Sari with blouse from Jewel and Pearl collection, Rs69,990.
2. Alpana Gujral: Neck piece with freshwater pearls and garnets, approx. Rs1 lakh.
3. Abu and Sandeep: Kurta and churidaar from Mesh collection, Rs1 lakh.
4. Giorgio Armani: Calf-leather, python imprint bag, Rs1.04 lakh.
Photographs by Madhu Kapparath / Mint