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Commun India – A Designer Exhibition With a Difference

Tehnaz Dastoor

This time of year there are a plethora of exhibitions in Kolkata and visiting even a few between work, is too time-consuming and exhausting. Besides a number of these are not up to the mark and often we return feeling let down.

What one tends to do is go to seasonal favorites such as Pause for a Cause or others which come highly recommended such as Nikhil Mansata’s Commun India at the Park Hotel, which blended fine furniture, International Fashion brands, Table and bed linen, Objects d’Art, Rugs, Kashmiri shawls, and stationary and wrapping – all with a flair seldom seen in the city.

The star of the show was Anita Mansata who show-cased her new RAW line of Burma Teak unpolished furniture which displayed the wood grains beautifully. There were a number of charming yet utilitarian pieces for order such as oval and rectangular glass-topped dining tables, coffee and side tables, consoles, a beautifully designed multi-functional dressing table, settees and wicker-woven chairs among others. Anita is trying to revive wicker furniture and the artisans connected with this dying trade, to re-build their capabilities and capacities to continue to work in their beloved craft.

The ever-popular Kashmir Looms had a wide range of shawls and wraps ranging from a few thousand for the woolen shawls to over Rs. 3 lakhs for the beautifully woven kanis. They were the first company to produce the en vogue metallic shawls and had also brought down some well-priced and beautifully woven pashminas in ikat, stripes, solids and geometric weaves.

The well-known designer Rajesh Pratap Singh presented well-curated men’s and women’s wear lines of his seasonal favorites. Péro by Aneeth Arora showcased bandhinis in blacks and whites on silks and cotton tunics, shirts and bottoms and a kiddies line called Chota Péro. Their SS ’17 Collection – the Forbidden Garden complimented their Home Collection which had a lovely but pricey range of hand towels which they launched in India for the first time!

Among others also present were Lemill, Bodice and Velvet Ribbon. Lemill had a curated collection of international clothing, shoes and accessory brands ranging from Stella McCartney, Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten, Valentino Balmain, YSL, Cloe to many, many more. Bodice displayed their AW ’16 and SS ’17 Collections of classic cuts with an Indian aesthetic. The well-priced brand had a number of eager customers picking up clothing throughout the exhibition. Velvet Ribbon displayed beautifully crafted cards, personalized stationary, wrapping paper and bags which could be used from anything such as birthday parties to up-scale weddings.

It is not often that Kolkata gets to partake in an exhibition which gives the buyer such a wide variety of choice – from international brands to Indian designers, all willing to come to the city and show-case their most recent collections. Kudos to Nikhil on this first show and we do hope that he will continue to undertake more exhibition bringing a greater range of brands to the city!