On the outside, it looks like any other art deco home in a leafy residential neighbourhood. On the inside, Collage surprises with its near-brutalist aesthetic and psychedelic artwork. But the juxtaposition – or “amalgamation of art, architecture and fashion” as founder Lata Madhu describes it – really works, acting as a launchpad for young brands that are reinterpreting age-old traditions within its walls. These include 11:11, which champions the use of heirloom cotton to create clothing such as natural-dyed denims and shibori drape dresses, and Divyam Mehta, whose fluid forms draw inspiration from modern art.
Osman Abdul Razak
For more than a decade, Osman Abdul Razak has used his sartorial sense to dress the city’s dandies. Known for his bespoke tailoring and matching accessories, this year he launched his ready-to-wear line of suits, jackets, shirts, waistcoats and pocket squares from his flagship store just off the Nungambakkam High Road.
High-profile designer Vivek Karunakaran, whose label has shown at many a fashion week and dresses film stars and celebrities alike, is another Chennai favourite. His printed shackets and structured, coordinated sets are must-haves.
Kalpa Druma’s flagship store in central Chennai is a maze of handcrafted products sourced from across the country: handloom curtains, block-printed napkins and quilts, bronze figurines, papier mâché masks, coir-bound stools, Thanjavur paintings, contemporary art and traditional games for kids – to list a few. If the stock can be overwhelming, the ever-patient staff are excellent guides. There’s also an extensive range of silks and a selection of organic oils, grains and bath and beauty products.
The Purple Turtles
A hike to the north is The Purple Turtles, which has a more contemporary take on home decor, with crafty wall hangings, handmade crockery, portable furniture and lighting – all at reasonable prices.