A timeless wardrobe

Joanna Lobo | Updated on January 25, 2018

Slow fashion: It was Kanika Karvinkop’s work with vintage stores in New York and curating high fashion from smaller cities and States that got her hooked on to the idea of a vintage closet

Soaking in vintage: Karvinkop in designer James Ferreira’s bungalow in Khotachiwadi, Mumbai

Colours of a tribe: The idea behind Karvinkop’s vintage pop-up isto celebrate the diverse influences on the Indian wardrobe

Colours of a tribe The idea behind Karvinkop’s vintage pop-up is to celebrate the diverse influences on the Indian wardrobe

Living in the past: No Borders is Karvinkop’s roving shop dedicated to vintage fashion

Living in the past: No Borders is Karvinkop’s roving shop dedicated to vintage fashion

A fashion stylist is curating a nomadic shop highlighting hand-picked vintage pieces, and art

James Ferreira’s bungalow in Khotachiwadi is a heritage treasure. The 200-year-old house doubles as the designer’s residence and studio, and is located in a tiny hamlet in the heart of Mumbai. Faded brown wooden balconies lead into sloped ceilings, red walls and a colourful chandelier collection. It is chock-full of vintage furniture, paintings, and art.

Last month, the bungalow became the perfect setting for a vintage pop-up, No Borders. Draped on furniture that’s seated generations, and on doors that have welcomed hundreds, and in a balcony that has witnessed many a Christmas celebration, were hand-picked vintage clothes and accessories. There were a ’50s antique brass bag from Pakistan; Christian Lacroix ’80’s trousers; a ’90s metallic mesh top by Ferreira; a ’70s Vogue Paris original dress (Lanvin Pattern); a tapestry, flower-patterned jacket from the ’80s; a pearl Thierry Mugler ’80s jacket; and a handwoven Banarasi jacquard dress in silk linen with metallic floral motifs.

No Borders is fashion stylist Kanika Karvinkop’s new roving shop dedicated to vintage fashion, and art work. Mumbai and Ferreira’s house were the first stop on this travelling closet’s journey. “No Borders shop is actually part of a bigger idea — a concept store that I am opening in New York, which is about bringing diversity in fashion, culture and art. There, I will be curating designers I like, showcasing designs inspired by a place’s culture and heritage, but made modern and fashionable,” says Karvinkop, 30, who divides her time between New York and Mumbai.

The idea originated from a project she did last year, which opened her up to the idea of how fashion designers are inspired by local culture and countries. “Jean Paul Gaultier created pieces inspired by India, Hermès has done saris, and even Chanel has a Paris-Bombay collection. That’s what led to the name, No Borders,” she adds.

It was her work with vintage stores in New York and curating high fashion from smaller cities and states that got her hooked on to the idea of a vintage closet. She also did a project with Refinery29 that went deep into the history of Indian fashion, and is inspired by how women styled themselves back then. “Vintage hasn’t even started here; many consider it to be just old clothes. I am here, so I thought of testing the waters to see how it would be accepted,” she says. “It is huge abroad and everyone likes to know the stories behind these pieces.” Stories like the background of a bag made from fossilised stone/shell, embellished with an amber stone latch and beautiful beads — this was once used by film stars in the ’80s.

Karvinkop’s No Borders collection showcased clothes from the ’20s to the ’90s, including brands like Christian Dior, Valentino, Issey Miyake, Thierry Mugler, Moschino, Versace, Guy Laroche, Calvin Klein, and Kenzo. There were also some of her favourite Indian designers — including Rahul Mishra, Rimzim Dadu, Pero, Shift, Eka, and Anavila.

Karvinkop’s interest in fashion and couture has been a constant although she read sociology and economics. Then in Malta, while doing a course on creativity and innovation, she decided it was time she focused on what she really liked: fashion. A three-year stint at Grazia India was followed by freelance work with Nylon, Refinery29, Wonderland and Bullett. “I love doing editorials and researching the history of fashion for shoots. I will keep doing shoots because that brings my creativity to the forefront,” she says.

This year will see a similar pop-up in New York, featuring some popular Indian designers, followed by the launch of an online store.

Shop: Price range: ₹7,000 to ₹30,000. Karvinkop’s travelling closet pop-up will be at James Ferreira house in Khotachiwadi from March 1 to April 24.

Joanna Lobo is a Mumbai-based freelance travel writer

Published on January 24, 2018

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