Marooned in a verdant residential area of Jubilee Hills, this little boutique has a rather clannish feel. Owned, conceptualized, decorated, and carrying designs by the 23-year-old Sushmita Konidela - yes, the daughter of the Big Guy of Tollywood, Chiranjeevi - this hermetic store is in the inside room of a house, and has real interesting interiors to speak of, too. A Harmon-Kadon music system that looks like one of the art pieces on sale blares thudding bass. Surrounding it are tasteful wavy chandeliers, a bright red hand-shaped couch and bamboo partitions.
Now for the clothes. Sushmita, who is a NIFT
Hyderabad graduate and subsequently studied fashion styling from London, designs all of them. On July 18, 2005, when I went, she was unveiling her monsoon collection that consisted of more ethnic wear compared to her Western summer collection. She uses only natural fabrics, mostly silks, cotton silks and raw silks. A printing and dyeing unit behind the house helps her actualize her designs.
Her particular contribution to the world of fashion? Block printing that imitates Batik. This adorns the kurtas and matches the real batik on dupattas, thus creating exclusive pieces. Simplistic cotton kameezes that come with elaborate cotton silk salwars/chudidars (a reverse tactic to the more run-of-the-mill designs) are another specialty.
A pastel green linen kimono top with a satin wrap is beautiful and out of the way, and is priced at Rs. 1,150. Definitely delightfully economical. This monsoon, Sushmita has tried out motifs inspired from Indian jewelry. And this means Keralite and Nizam jewelry designs, hand painted onto clothes. Worth a try, but don't forget to explain all the intricacies of what you wear if you want to milk your buy to the last.
Sushmita also custom designs shirts for men. Cottons from Rs. 750 and linens from Rs. 1,100. Men come with requests like a wardrobe redesign or a new look to suit a new job. Didn't know you had metrosexuals that fanatic in Hyderabad, eh?
Cotton saris for Rs. 975, dupattas, and patchwork curtains in offbeat dimensions (long and narrow strips between regular sized ones) share the space.
Finally, the exclamatory mark to her collection is handmade clay artwork by designer Amit Khanna from Delhi. A Coke bottle turned into a mask, pen stands and some other very interesting pieces are worth a buy. Paintings by Ravindranath (not a substantial collection) also hang out here.
You might not want to come all the way to this little hidden enclave just to buy clothes, but if you wish to look at real entrepreneurial spirit, or be a customer in a store with a real inner circle look, come in. A few clothes, like the Kimono I spoke about, really stand out. So, I will revise my opinion double quick. Do come here just to buy clothes, too. Or better still, get Sushmita to design some. That will be worth the visit, all right.