India’s first Gucci store, at The Galleria at Nariman Point in Mumbai, has a neighbour. Jimmy Choo, a member of the holy trinity of the most coveted shoemakers (Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik are the other two), has arrived.
If you don’t stop to compare one Picasso heel with the next, it won’t take you long to get around, but if you enjoy the nitty-gritty of shoe construction, the 1,000sq ft space will keep you occupied.
Consider serious shopping only if you know how to work stilettos—that means 100mm (3.9 inch) or 85mm (3.3 inch) heels. There are just three flat styles—a not-so-pretty ballet flat, a Swarovski-encrusted chappal and a jewelled sandal, but we decided our lives wouldn’t be empty without them.
The Choo store
What life wouldn’t be much fun without, however, is the Rio, a large red clutch (Rs59,200). It’s a great evening bag, but if you like your office bag to go pop, take it to work.
It helps to chat up store manager, Pushpa Chhugani (French-manicured toes, framed by the Serene peep-toe pump in steel, with a 100mm heel). She’ll rattle off style names, tell you the inspiration behind the bags and point out the Hollywood stars’ faves (the Ciggy bag; try it in gold Nappa, Rs38,100). She tells us that the Ramona bag (Rs1,97,700) is already sold out. The brand doesn’t want fashionable ladies carrying the same bag to run into each other, so they’ve only got a maximum of two pieces of each.
Don’t choose from the company’s website or catalogue. Shoes we liked in the catalogue looked unimpressive in the store. And the ones we thought looked clunky turned out to be quite sexy, such as Sign, a shoe with an embellished metallic heel, Rs64,350).
There’s a good collection of boots and small clutches, which could double up as party or wedding wear. The Cruise collection comes to the store in January and, Chhugani says, a few pieces have already been booked.
There are times when the contents of your wardrobe or a trip to the mall just don’t satisfy. For those times, there’s Muse. The brown-shuttered store in Kala Ghoda, Mumbai, stocks international fashion’s “it” labels, and is as eclectic as its windows—faux pink flamingos and a bunch of birds nesting in a mannequin’s frizzy wig.
Visitors are greeted by an open wooden cupboard spilling over with a collection of desirables—panties that read “Little Miss Trouble” and boxes of teas from Paris. A wooden piano is cluttered with belts and hand-etched bangles.
The first level is an edgy, New York-style loft for casual clothing. You’ll find denim labels for men and women such as Seven For All Mankind, Paige and DVB. The men’s collection will be expanded soon. Currently, the denims start at Rs6,000. We loved the tees with crystallized zodiac motifs by e.vil (Rs4,200) and Thai accessories designer Disaya’s crystallized bear necklace (Rs10,495 and up).
But if an updated version of Phoebe Buffay dressing is not your thing, press three on the elevator panel. Here, purple Anna Sui tunics, a knitted gold kimono-sleeved top by Paul and Joe and Vanessa Bruno’s gold pullover are highlights. You’ll spot stuff by Hussein Chalayan, Diane von Furstenberg and Sienna Miller.
Twenty-something Tarini Jindal, who owns the store, says she wanted Muse to look and feel like it could be in New York, Milan or any of the world’s fashion capitals. We think she’s spot on. If the prices of the casual clothing were slightly lower than they are, she’d have to start sourcing all over again.