They have inundated India’s retail galaxy with brands like Alberta Ferretti, Lanvin, Moschino, Alexander McQueen, Saint Laurent, DvF, Stella McCartney, Jean Paul Gaultier, Dolce&Gabbana and many more which they retail from their boutique Kitsch nestled in Kala Ghoda. The dynamic duo who straddle the chic corridors of Delhi and Mumbai have become a significant style presence over the years. Since October is the breast cancer awareness month, a percentage of the store’s sales will go to a charity. Now it’s over to the gorgeous duo.
How do you both work together? Have you defined roles for each other when it comes to handling business? Are there moments of conflicts or disagreements? If yes, how do you iron them out?
Charu: Priya and I have separate spheres of everyday functioning. All the big decisions however, are taken together. Of course we disagree! We’re sisters. We’re supposed to. But these disagreements are usually easily solved because we share the same vision for Kitsch.
How are your personal styles different? Priya... how do you think Charu dresses and Charu what do you think of Priya’s style?
Charu: Our personal styles are quite different. This is a good thing because it leads to a ton of variety at our store. Priya’s my elder sister, so I’ve grown up thinking she has an amazing fashion sense.
Priya: I think Charu has a very unique sense of style. Her outfits always reflect her mood. When she’s happy and cheerful she’ll wear floral patterns and girly clothes. She can also sometimes be quite punk rock in her fashion sense.
What are the common things which you both enjoy doing?
Charu: We enjoy travelling, reading, tennis, yoga, beach holidays, eating out and shopping.
What according to you is lagging in India’s luxury retail scene? What should the government do to encourage it?
Charu: The luxury retail scene in India has definitely seen a change. People are much more aware of all the nice things that can be had and a niche market has come about which is more than willing to put a price on luxury. However, there is still a lack of mass appeal. The duty/import taxes are a hurdle and results in a lot of counterfeit products being purchased or spends happening outside the country which could have happened in India.
How has recession and the depreciating rupee affected your business and how have you faced this challenge?
Charu: The drastic fall of the rupee has affected us substantially. This was definitely reflected while working out the pricing of our collection. At Kitsch, we pride ourselves on offering prices that compete with the international markets and often a lower price, so I’d like to say we took it in our stride!
How would you compare the luxury retail market of Mumbai with Delhi? What difference do you see in Mumbai and Delhi customers?
Charu: One difference that I do notice is that Delhi customers prefer the more obviously branded items, while this may not be an obvious consideration in Mumbai.
How do you interpret luxury? Who are your fave Indian and international designers and why?
Charu:The perception of what constitutes as luxury is open to debate. Some say that anything that is a rarity is a luxury. Others add that exquisite craftsmanship, design and innovation all sum up to be luxury. My favourite international designer is Hedi Slimane for YSL. I appreciate his aesthetic sense because it reflects my personal sense of style. In India I really like the works of Atsu, DRVV, Pia Pauro, Masaba, Shantanu & Nikhil, Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahiliani, Sabyasachi and Anamika Khanna.
Priya: My favourite Indian designers include Rohit Bal, Sabyasachi, Tarun Tahiliani and Anamika Khanna. Internationally, as of late I think Jason Wu is fabulous. You’ll find lots of stuff by him in Kitsch. I also like Marchesa.
Which city is more high fashion - Mumbai or Delhi?
Charu: I think each city has a unique and distinctive fashion sense. It’s very hard to pitch one against the other.
Priya: I can’t pick a favourite between the two! Both cities reflect a very distinctive taste in clothing, shoes and accessories.
How has been the response to Kitsch?
Charu: The response to Kitsch has been overwhelming. In response to all this attention we have a monthly calendar full of events at Kitsch. For the month of October for instance, we’re doing a campaign called ‘Head Over Heels’. If you come shop at the store you become a part of a lucky draw that allows you to win a pair of free shoes every month for six months! And there are additional discounts!