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Bhatia in his closet. Photographs: Nayan Shah/Mint
Bhatia in his closet. Photographs: Nayan Shah/Mint

Gaurav Bhatia | Wardrobe whizz

The Mumbai-based fashion aficionado on Jaipur fabric for shirts, printed pochettes, and Italian footwear

Out of The Closet | Gaurav Bhatia

It is 3pm and at Gaurav Bhatia’s Mumbai residence, the offer of champagne precedes that of tea. For the director, marketing, Moët Hennessy India, it does seem more apt than indulgent, much like his fashion choices. Although very luxurious, you see a point to his clothes as he explains every purchase with the same knowledge and care with which he talks about his art collection. In fact, he explains that the process for shopping and buying art is the same for him. “I do my research when I am abroad; speak to locals, hit art galleries and then shop. Style is the way you curate your life. It’s never just about the clothes."

His walk-in closet is a reflection of his love for the classic and rare. Not too large but spacious enough, lined with vintage pure teakwood cupboards and made cozy with a Turkish kiln, a wooden chair and lamps. “I wanted this to be like a den," he explains. For Bhatia, “good manners and great conversation" may be real style, but we also spoke to him about his fashion choices and obsession with scarves and shawls. Edited excerpts:

You travel to Asia and Europe often. How does your workwear change in these continents?

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Gaurav Bhatia likes clean, simple fragrances

I usually wear double-cuffed white shirts, nothing cleaner and fresher than that. My favourite place to buy them is Charvet, a French brand that has 114 shades of white! I do enjoy adding a bit of maverick through my accessories, such as cufflinks, ties and pochettes. I carry an old grey Moynat ostrich skin bag I bought in Paris years ago that holds everything.

Are you obsessed with accessories?

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He loves to buy shoes by Berluti

I also collect shawls, pashminas and scarves, and have at least 50 of them. I like to add a touch of India to my look while travelling and the old jamavars from Srinagar or shawls bought from Delhi add a bit of swagger that I love. I don’t wear jewellery but I have one turquoise ring by Pomellato—it reminds me of Portofino and the ocean.

How do you style your Indian wardrobe?

I don’t like the overdone Indian look, with too many colours and embellishments, but I like wearing kurta-pyjamas. Or it can be as simple as adding kainchi Kolhapuris with my trousers. I wear Raghavendra Rathore’s Jodhpur pants with linen or Polo shirts and Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla’s Chikan work on light-coloured kurta-pyjamas with a sliver of gota. I like crisp cotton kurtas by Brigitte Singh of Jaipur. I’ve recently bought fabric from Idli by Thierry Journo from Jaipur and made simple kurtas.

What do you enjoy about shopping?

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A Want Les Essentiels de la Vie bag and a grey ostrich skin bag

Any skeletons in your closet?

All the trendy stuff I bought in my 20s—Moschino, Versace, etc. I am a 1980s child and now when I look at the stuff, I think, did I actually wear that? Today I am a “less is more" person. I prefer to buy curated pieces that are classics and age well.

Many pieces have been passed down to you as family heirlooms. Do you enjoy vintage?

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He always wears ties with suits

What would you suggest as grooming essentials?

A Biotherm moisturizer, some hair wax from Aesop, Aveda shampoo, and I am good to go. I like clean, simple fragrances from real perfumeries. I use Acqua di Parma Bergamotto di Calabria by day and Tabarome, Green Irish Tweed or Vetiver by Creed for the night. I recently made my own fragrance at an old artisan perfume house in Grasse—inspired by the sights and scents of the beautiful Italian coast—an amalgam of tobacco, Sicilian lemon and amber.

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