How the physical store is evolving at Evoluzione


Expect minimalist décor, a café serving single-origin coffee, and Instagrammable nooks at Evoluzione’s relaunched retail experience in Chennai

There’s a flurry of activity in the Evoluzione store as I walk in. Founders Tina and Atul Malhotra are in deep discussion with their staff on which outfit belongs on which rack, and in what order they ought to be placed. “It is a little busy in here,” says Atul, as he steps away from that conversation. He is understating the fact that the multi-brand luxury retailer is readying for a relaunch on Sunday, while actively serving customers.

Coming up on two decades since the Malhotras launched the store, they felt it was time to re-brand and bring in some young blood. While son Arnav curated a men’s edit back in May and continues to be involved in the menswear section, daughter Ananya gets a space dedicated to her jewellery collection. The Delhi store underwent a similar revamp earlier this year, helmed by Chennai-based architect and interior designer Vikram Phadke, who is a long-time friend of the brand.

Changing it up

“Working with the second generation was quite exacting,” laughs Phadke, adding that it made for a much better project. “They came in with a specific brief — and we had long, intense brainstorming sessions before deciding on any detail,” he says. The exercise has been an effort in putting the focus on customers, becoming approachable, and breaking the notion that Evoluzione is only about bridal wear and luxury designer clothing. The everyday section has shirts and blouses starting from as low as ₹4,500, from brands like Bloni, Antar Agni and Love Birds, says head of marketing and strategy, Devanshi Kapadia. In addition to this, the ground floor has a café serving Delhi-based Blue Tokai’s single origin coffee — step in for some Monsoon Malabar or Nachammai Estate brews. Gayatri Narang’s Minus 30, a vegan ice cream brand also from Delhi, will help scoop up some indulgent flavours. These offerings are a way of getting potential customers in the door.

How the physical store is evolving at Evoluzione

Another important aspect is incorporating Instagram-worthy elements. To this end, the retail space “will also host multiple art installations both at the entrance, and on screens leading down to the basement”, says Atul. Phadke mentions that customised lighting from Netherlands-based design houses, Brand Van Egmond and Moooi, will be seen in the 7,000 sqft store next month. Meanwhile, look for the ornate mirror on the first floor, which is an antique sourced from Thailand — perfect for framing that mirror selfie.

The switch from the store’s earlier minimalist look is emphasised by the design elements. Think plush couches dotting the space, with coffee table books on fashion stacked on shelves. Elegant racks of clothing line the five different sections (bridal, bespoke, occasion, everyday and luxe). Atul walks us through the bespoke unit — suits for both men and women, he emphasises — which has a speak-easy vibe, complete with wood panelling and velvet armchairs. The dressing rooms, on the other hand, are wallpapered in pop art by Instagram artists like Mehek Malhotra (@gigglingmonkeystudio).

As Kapadia points out the colour palette of millennial pink and burnished gold in the Luxe area, Atul shows us the details. “These buttas on the glass partition have been hand block-printed. The pattern repeats itself on the wall in concrete and the sheer curtains in hand embroidered beads or thread-work,” he says.

How the physical store is evolving at Evoluzione

Customer first

Phadke says that being ‘young, fresh and contemporary’ was at the heart of every brainstorming session. “Retail is all about creating experiences, and that is what we have tried to do here,” he explains. For Atul, it is about giving a universal experience to the customer, whether they come in for a cup of coffee, or for a personalised appointment.

Evoluzione is no stranger to experimenting and staying ahead of the curve — after all, they started retailing luxury clothing in a basement in conservative Chennai. Looking at the multi-level space it has grown into, the risky venture has definitely paid off in the long run. Some, however, were way ahead of its time. Back in 2011, the Malhotras launched Evolv in Express Avenue, which aimed to fill the void between mid-market and luxury offerings. “At that time, consumers might not have been ready for that concept, but perhaps now they are,” muses Atul, not ruling out the possibility of going in that direction again. Perhaps a new project as they complete 20 years in 2020?

Evoluzione is at 3, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam. 28333627

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 6:30:10 PM |

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