If, for whatever reason, you feel the need to snatch up Western designer duds whilst in Bombay, Kitsch is probably your best bet. Stocks a tiny and well curated selection of brands, including Stella McCartney, Hervé Leger, and Lanvin. Be forewarned—Kitsch does not absorb the price of the import duties, so, if you can afford these clothes in the first place, you might be better off just buying a ticket to the states and shopping there. Or pay the shipping fees on Net-A-Porter.
N.B. that it’s odd that the least kitschy place in Bombay snapped up that name. Kitsch is anything but.
48, Dr V. B. Gandhi Marg
Near Rhythm House
Monday to Sunday, 11am to 8.30pm
Sabyasachi sets the tone with an alluring entrance: before your hand reaches the door it has mysteriously swung open, tumbling you into a wonderland-like rabbit hole of mustachioed maharajas, enameled mirrors, old ticking clocks, and dapple-cut lamps. It’s… entrancing! (Pardon the pun.)
For my money, the final showroom doesn’t quite measure up to the promise of these first two foyers, but the clothing is undeniably beautiful. Even if you’re not looking to buy, Sabyasachi, a rising star in the internatioal fashion firmament, is a fabulous place to view intricate and traditional ceremonial sarees, kurtas, etc. There are also stunning displays of gems, so luxurious that I shied away from asking the price, as I’m so obviously an imposter.
Unfortunately, none of the charming curios are for sale, but if you fall in love—never fear! Head to Mini Market.
52 Dr. V. B. Gandhi Marg
Near Rhythm House
Monday to Saturday, 11am to 7.30pm; closed on Sunday.
Fabindia is a veritable emporium of affordable Indian silhouettes in an endless array of bright, fun prints and colors. The cuts and styles are simple and don’t scream “India!” in that annoying way, so you can bring separates home and integrate them into your everyday wardrobe. My favorites are the blousey harem pants or the short sleeveless kurta tops. They also have stunningly beautiful and affordable scarves and dupattas.
And the price is practically impossible to beat, especially since the quality is incredibly high. Furthermore, your money is being well-spent—Fabindia is run by married couple who source their fabrics and products from over 7,500 craftspeople and artisans across the country. They’ve also made a commitment to maintaining traditional handloom weaving and printing techniques. And most impressively, Fabindia promotes the market-based poverty-alleviation and financial inclusion models through its reliance on community-based companies owned by local craftsmen to source the products.
My favorite stuff at Fabindia, though, isn’t the clothing—it’s the furniture and home wares, which are cheerful, affordable, and often very lovely.
And if you get hungry…
Head to KALA GHODA CAFE for a snack. It’s one of a kind in Bombay, and absolutely worth experiencing. Try their own delicious blend of joe alongside a Melly Salad or a sandwich or waffles.