Angadi’s Zari-Tinted New Chapter

Author: Sanhati Banerjee | Date: September 30, 2019

Publication: The Voice of Fashion

The launch of Angadi Heritage, an extension of the 600-year-old Bengaluru textile establishment is a roseate exercise in brand building

On a rain-splattered evening, the four-storied, top-tapering, tiered structure of the Angadi Heritage, resplendent with large rectangular windows spread across the height of the well-lit stone façade stood imposingly in Bengaluru’s Ashoka Pillar Road. This was at its private preview hosted by K Radharaman, the founder, CEO and design head of The House of Angadi, on September 27. The 600-year-old textile establishment that garnered massive Instagram traction and rose beyond-Bengaluru fame with actor Deepika Padukone’s golden-sheened Kanjeevaram wedding sari last year today stands at the peak of that inflection point. As it unfurled its new multi-designer destination, the brand presented a curation of its in-house labels and a spurt of home-grown labels. All, channelling contemporary retail of luxurious Indian textiles.

Inside, a stone sculpture of the mythical yali—part lion, part elephant, part horse, a South Indian temple iconography regular, stood fierce yet poised under a huge chandelier on the ground floor. A figurine of the two-headed mythical bird, Gandaberunda—the official state insignia of Karnataka and a prominent leitmotif of Kanjeevaram saris stood on a burnished piece of antique furniture. While filter coffee in brass cups and saucers and spiced buttermilk were served to welcome, it was hard to miss the inverted railings suspended from the ceilings to hang saris and the well-placed repurposed antique cabinets, chests and tables to store handcrafted textiles. The pinks, greens, yellows, reds and blues of the saris gleamed against the deep-burnished wooden surfaces.

Saris displayed at Angadi Heritage.

A walk-through of textile installations on the top floor featured the design interventions by Radharaman for The House of Angadi’s limited-edition design label Advaya. It featured alongside some archival textile pieces from his personal family collections. The man himself took guests through some of the signature pieces like the Linen Kanjeevaram to a unique three-layered fabric with metallic yarns. Advaya Tussar Ikkat was framed right at the entrance. Dressed in a pair of denims and formal shoes, white shirt worn with a bundi, Radharaman coursed through with knowledge and anecdotal spontaneity. From pointing out how his petite grandmother would never feel weighed down under a big bordered sari to demystifying the classic 1000 buta Kanjeevarma sari with a broad double pettu (border) made using the traditional Korvai technique. The latter is in the permanent archive at the National Crafts Museum in Delhi.

K Radharaman, the founder, CEO and design head of The House of Angadi, at the textile showcase at Angadi Heritage.

The India Contemporary Aesthetic

Angadi Heritage collaborated with award-winning architect Brinda Somaya for the tiered structure that draws inspiration from the majestic Vidhan Soudha of Bengaluru. It blends the architectural style of a long central courtyard of a palatial Chettinad mansion. The interiors have been designed by another award-winning architect Abha Narain Lambah of the Royal Opera House in Mumbai and Bikaner House, Delhi fame.

Lambah has incorporated chequered tiles in the foyer and a gold-painted coffered ceiling on the ground floor with glazed epoxy flooring that complemented the display of saris in a vibrant palette. The gold evokes zari—a signature of Kanjeevaram saris.

The second and third floors house products across categories such as womenswear, kidswear, accessories, personal care and perfumes. From leather accessories by Nappa Dori, personal care by Pure Earth, fragrances by The Perfume Library to saris by Anavila, apparel by Urvashi Kaur, 11.11, Injiri, Rimzim Dadu, Akaaro and menswear by Suket Dhir, Antar-Agni and Rajesh Pratap Singh, the store also put together kidswear by Love the World Today. This curatorial selection will share space with The House of Angadi’s own in-house ready to wear and sari labels and also menswear in the form of sharply cut men’s jackets, waistcoats and bandhgalas at the all-new Angadi Heritage store set to open in the first week of October.

Smart Retail

“Indian handloom products are generally perceived as a commodity in India, unlike the West where handcrafted products are considered luxury. Our aim is to celebrate this legacy in a majestic space that showcases the finest Indian products in a manner that befits their stature,” says Radharaman. The textile walk-through culminated in a select studio visit the next day morning where the designer held a small, intimate session on the technical matrix of warp and weft and the pictorial vocabulary of weaves. As Angadi Heritage seems poised to appeal to a millennial audience by cleverly balancing sari talk with immersive shopping, a smart retail tag comes well in time for the brand that is fast forwarding to global aspirations.

The writer travelled to Bengaluru for the launch of Angadi Heritage as a guest of the brand.