Taj Coromandel's lifestyle boutique Khazana presents a slice of the city
At Khazana in Taj Coromandel, everything is lime green, salt and pepper, or a shade of coffee brown. There are green tables, coconut-filled gabion walls, plastic pots, palm wood tables, a miniature fishing boat and vintage Madras plastered on the wall.
Khazana, which opened recently, boasts of not just being a premier lifestyle boutique but one that is quintessentially Chennai. “This is a twenty-year-old brand across many cities. About a year-and-half ago, we closed since the hotel was being renovated. When we reopened we changed everything. We went local,” says Sarita Hegde Roy, COO, Taj Khazana.
Stoles, shawls and handicrafts are some of the items at the boutique. The store will also house sarees from Benares, silks from Kanchipuram and hand-block prints in chiffons and crepes revived from the Mughal era. Hand-made garments in mul and silk, antiquated vegetable dye prints on dupion crepe and evening bags encased in silk and studded with stones are all part of the collection. Also on display will be traditionally designed balis, necklaces and earrings.
Chris Browne and Debra Fox, the designers behind the store, explain its dynamics. “In the store, everything blends together. The store will not be compartmentalised and will house clothes, food, art and furniture,” says Chris.
“We're working with craftsmen from across the country to make our products dramatic. We've got traditional sarees and weaves, Madras-themed bags, some food items (instant idli or sambar packets) and also a coffee station where you can taste South Indian filter ‘kaapi' and buy it too, along with tumbler-davara sets,” Sarita explains.
The brand also offers support to local artisans. “We're trying to support smaller groups this way, placing orders, getting our items customised while reviving traditional arts. Our previous attempt at reviving Varanasi's weavers became a big movement by itself. This time, we've got plastic bags inspired by Madras checks, basket weaves from Chettinad and Kanchipuram silk sarees,” she adds.