Embroidered silk cushions reminiscent of a Ritu Kumar classic, colourful Oriri-print wallpapers from Shivan & Narresh’s archives, monogrammed napkins à la Dandelion and modern silver trinkets by Tribe Amrapali will now be gracing our homes, and the future looks only more ambitious.
Home décor has undergone a pandemic-driven change of magnanimous proportions. While spending the big bucks on customised evening-wear outfits may be undergoing fluctuations, an extra cushion or new bedsheet will always find a place and a reason to fit in our homes. For this reason, luxury brands are understandably looking to tailor their output to focus on delivering a well-rounded lifestyle for their customers.
LuxeBook speaks to Dandelion, Ritu Kumar, Shivan & Narresh and Tribe Amrapali to get an insider’s take on this growing trend and what we can expect from the future.
On the Way Home
Amrish Kumar, Managing and Creative Director at Ritu Kumar, says their collection has been a long time in the making. “We are very textile-oriented who also do a lot of revival work, which is why our style lends itself beautifully to home products,” says the second-generation entrepreneur. Kumar also sees it as a market opportunity, considering the home décor industry has only grown in India.
At both Tribe Amrapali and Shivan & Narresh, expanding into home décor was a pandemic-led decision. “Since the pandemic, we’ve seen a shift in this culture, as many individuals are now actively working from home,” says Akanksha Arora, CEO, Tribe Amrapali.
Shivan & Narresh’s home décor journey began in 2017, when they had designed Narresh’s New Delhi residence, Primera. In 2019, they collaborated with the eclectic décor brand Bent Chair for their first-ever furniture line. And yet, it was the pandemic that compelled them to go back to the drawing board to envision a wholly independent home vertical.
When it comes to Samyukta Nair, one could say that décor runs in her blood – after all, she hails from the family that founded The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts. She worked as the Head Design and Operations at The Leela and launched many fine dining restaurants, including Jamavar and Bombay Bustle in the UK. With adequate experience and knowledge to hold her in good stead, Dandelion was started by Nair in 2015 as a sleepwear label. They launched their first home collection in 2020, during the festive season and a second in the summer of 2021. “Sleep is such a personal choice. We wanted to give those people who buy from us, our community, a choice which was beyond the confines of their bedroom, and yet very intimate,” says the food and fashion entrepreneur of Dandelion Living.
Not your mum’s dinner set
Dandelion’s founder launched her home edit with dream pillows embroidered with words of intent such as ‘gratitude’ and ‘balance’. The pillows were introduced at a time when the world needed a sense of centring. The brand’s second collection has a host of quirky table mats, cocktail napkins and tableware. As Nair puts it: “We wanted it to be young, whimsical and fun.” According to her, what sets Dandelion apart is the personalised offerings— everything from monogrammed napkins to cushions are available on the site.
Tribe Amrapali made the transition from jewellery to homes with a collection that encompasses handmade painting by artists in Jaipur, photo frames, and even pen stands made in silver and gold with intricate designs. Festive objects like traditional silver diyas, small Ganesh idols made with silver and semi-precious stones, and antique silver boxes are also part of the home vertical.
When it comes to Shivan & Narresh’s home vertical, some of their core products include eclectic rugs, art wallpapers and table linen, and cushions. The collection embodies the spirit of escapism; the Art Wallpapers, in particular, are representative of vivid travel stories and intricate motifs.
And Ritu Kumar’s Home offerings has antique kansa vessels, crockery with Indian floral patterns, votive candles, and cushions in typical Ritu Kumar embroidery and colours. The research for Ritu Kumar Home and her fashion label comes from the same place, and both adhere to the same set of aesthetics unique to her brand.
Home v/s Couture
Amrapali’s Arora talks of the challenges they faced when trying to design home décor vis a vis jewellery. Jewellery is a small-scale item, as compared to home decor. The designers at Tribe Home had to take into consideration the weight of the items in the collection. As most items were made with silver, they could get heavy, and also shoot up prices, something the brand consciously tried to avoid. “While designing, I always consider my personal sense of each design,” says Arora. She imagined how the paintings would look in her house or how the decorative objects would look on her coffee table, before approving the final design.
Nair of Dandelion concurs, “I think the ideating process is completely different and more visual.” When one buys a garment, they might wear it for a day or two and perhaps forget about it for a while. But buying prints for one’s home is a whole different ballgame altogether – they must stand the test of time, at least to a considerable extent. Durability then becomes as important as aesthetic considerations. Dandelion and Tribe Amrapali agree that a major challenge was getting consumers to see the brand as more than its established identity in sleepwear and jewellery. “For us, we had our reservations on whether people would actually buy home decor items from a jewellery brand, but to our absolute delight, our home decor items are selling quite well,” says Arora.
In a previous interview with LuxeBook, Shivan & Narresh had discussed the shift from couture to home décor. The duo had said that the process shifts from finding creative inspiration to finding the right balance when it comes to proportion, size and scale. They argued that while couture is more intricate and meticulous; in the case of homes, understanding how large the print will be for wallpapers becomes paramount. Designers have to factor in the kind of fabric needed for rugs or how user-friendly table linen will be for the indoors and outdoors, and so, the technical quotient in the entire design team needs to go up in such a case.
Need for Home Décor
Nair always planned to grow the brand in ways that were meaningful to her. Coming from a hospitality background and seeing people become more house-proud during the pandemic, launching the Dandelion Home collection seemed inevitable.
Arora ascribes the home décor trend to people spending the lockdown cooped up in their big holiday homes, farmhouses, and beach houses. “There is a need to decorate and reinvent the place where one is spending their maximum time,” says Arora. She also believes the work from home culture is here to stay, considering that many have now already converted a corner of their home into an office space.
“The sentiment during the pandemic has been rather similar for all creative people who were bound indoors. Hence, it doesn’t come as a surprise to see many luxury brands expanding into home and interior offerings as an integral part of their product umbrella,” says Shivan. The duo considers this as a fruitful opportunity for luxury houses and designers to expand their portfolio. Not only has it facilitated Indian brands to exercise their influence on offerings that are beyond traditional means of fashion, but has also helped tap into the entry price-point market through more commercial offerings for homes. In a way, brands are attracting a more diverse demographic.
Designers would like to expand their vision, work with artists having similar sensibilities, and even get experimental.
Tribe Home, on the other hand, is hoping to go ahead with their pre-pandemic plan of expanding their physical stores to house the collection.
Shivan & Narresh have only recently started designing ‘The Bohemian House’ this May.It personifies quiet elegance with beautiful arches, glistening greens, gilded mirrors and a walk-through bar. In the coming months, the duo will launch a range of luxury lifestyle accessories that tell a personal story through home décor. A range of eclectic rugs and decorative cushions are also part of the upcoming collection.
“Fashion designers who turn to home bring a lot to the table – more than anything their fabulous aesthetic,” signs off Nair.