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Kaaya: an experience to cherish

by Aradhana Sinha, New Delhi Correspondent, Lucire

Kaaya jewellery

DRIVING down Ring Road (it goes around Delhi and hence the name) even when traffic is at its peak (which it often is), one’s eye is drawn to the imposing deep maroon building with turquoise green pillars which looks like a house of fashion. A combined effort of the New Delhi based fashion duo Ashima-Leena and jewellery designer Paayel Seth, Kaaya is ‘the unique expression of a complete fashion fantasy’.
   Inaugurated about two months ago, Kaaya (broadly meaning appearance in English) is already attracting a regular stream of customers. Some are old clients (the label of Ashima-Leena first appeared on the fashion scene in the early ’90s). The new converts are, however, on the increase. The store stocks other designer labels too; this in fact is one of their unique selling points.
   For Harvinder, from the small town of Farukkhabad in the large state of Uttar Pradesh in central-eastern India, the shop provides an outlet of the kind she does not have access to in her native town. No wonder she brings her lehengas (long flowing skirts) all the way here. The sale of her creations from this shop has inspired her to come laden with zardosi work (gold thread embroidery) next time.
   Spread across four floors, Kaaya holds out a promise of being more than just a store for women, ‘furnishing an experience to cherish...’
   It is for this experience that the bride-to-be steps inside. The ambience, the service, the creations don’t let her down. For a price that is. But then those who shop at Kaaya are not in the habit of looking at price tags. Situated in South Extension, perhaps the most important among the élite shopping centres of South Delhi, a "happening" part of the capital of India, customers with time and money to spend are the target. Some just stop by on seeing the building, some have heard about it from friends, while some are regular clients of either Ashima-Leena or Paayel Seth.

   The basement is devoted to diamonds. Set amidst rubies and emeralds, or just on its own, Paayel tries to give the stone her own touch. Chokers, lockets, rings, earrings (studs, small dangling ones)—there is plenty to choose from. The gold jewellery section, too, offers a wide selection. Though the traditional designs are still popular, Indo-western designs are coming up, the kind of pieces which can be worn with equal ease with both western and Indian outfits.
   What is more, you can get a piece designed specially for you, for that once-in-a-lifetime occasion. Some brides-to-be sit with the jewellery designer and the fashion designer discussing their outfit and asking for jewellery to match with it. Depending upon the design, the item can be made in as little as a couple of weeks.

Those who shop at Kaaya are not in the habit of looking at price tags.

   You can choose the little knick-knacks to go with your outfit, too. This is the best part as these small things are extremely important in an Indian wedding. For example, the store keeps a collection of fancy bindis (the dots, now available in many more shapes than mere circles and ovals, which highlight the woman’s forehead), and bangles. You can also pick up a matching purse. Even if you are planning a special party and want to wear something ethnic, these small items come in handy. So do the make-up and the perfume counters.
   Besides ethnic Indian chic, there is one floor devoted to western wear—both formal and casual. Skirts, trousers, jackets, sweaters, even jeans can be found on the top floor. The concentration apparently is on Indian wear as that seems to be the strong point of this team.
   One part of the top floor has been reserved for the art café. Here you can rest your tired legs. Or your companion can browse through a magazine, or the newspaper, sipping hot coffee or tea while you shop to your heart’s content.
   Kaaya offers its customers a package if you are planning a special party and specially if you are planning your wedding. They offer to match designer clothes with designer jewellery. Designer cards, make-up arrangements and flower decorations too are part of the package. So is the packing of the trousseau. And the personal attention. The last is what makes the experience memorable.

A R A D H A N A   S I N H A

Aradhana Sinha is Lucire’s New Delhi Correspondent.

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