Hauz Khas Village (the royal water-tank) was famously called the national capital of ethnic chic by New York Times correspondent, Barbara Crosette. The medieval village complex adjoining it has been converted into just that. Indian arts, crafts, textiles and designs are wrapped in 21st century shopping bags for elite shoppers and tourists. The mud-plastered shopping kiosks has a 13th century water-tank, a mosque, a tomb and an Islamic seminary for backdrop.
The Village ,as the Hauz Khas shopping market is popularly known, is comprised entirely of old houses converted into air-conditioned boutiques, book stores and showrooms for handicrafts and antiques. Renowned fashion designer Bina Ramani was the first to set up shop here in the late 1980s. The others followed suit and voila, it has turned into a fashion and cultural hotspot !
The roads are narrow muddy lanes and what little road is available is taken up by the big cars of the shop-owners. Sagging electrical cables, potholes and cattle will greet you.
However, once you step inside the shops, you are transported into another world because a lot of effort has gone into making each shop “differently ethnic.”
For women looking for designer wear and accessories, the choices are unlimited. Ogaan sells hi-fashion apparel from India’s leading designers with prices of some pieces exceeding Rs. 1 lakh each. White is well ahead of others – it is the first to stock jeans from J Brand (colored denims – fuchsia, turquoise, red, yellow, purple…). Serfontaine and Rock and Republic and the only place where you can pick up a clone of a St Erasmus necklace (a South African luxury jewellery brand). Munkee Doo offers funky clothing and hand-painted sneakers. Nappa Dori has made a name for leather accessories. Lola’s World has children and ladies apparel including Parisian label Nana Ki. Hauz Khas has shops selling European designs with Indian fabric for cotton kurtas, silk skirts, chiffon dresses and pashmina leggings. Check out swimwear and resort wear made from Italian fabric at Shivan and Narresh.
This Delhi shopping Market has shops that stand out from the rest – the Indian Popular Art is one such with old Bollywood cinema posters, old calendar art, vintage cards and photos. Another is The People’s Project which stocks crafts from artisans and holds regular workshops. Yet another is Yodakin – a store for non-mainstream books, music, movies and periodicals. Also, Ahaana Organic, a shop devoted to sustainable agriculture and sells organic rice, grains, pulses and herbs. The Grey Garden Store is very good as well – it sells Mia Morikawa’s accessories label, Kapawow and lifestyle products from Austria.
Hauz Khas Village is home to chic restaurants as well. Flipside and Kunzum are coffee and wi-fi places, Elma’s Bakery for tea and scones, The Living Room for music and food, The Grey Garden for thin-crust pizzas, Naivedyam and Gunpowder for South Indian delicacies… the list goes on.
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