Old World Charm

The vintage collection of eyewear,cameras,typewriters,hats and wooden altars sourced and restored by designer Arjun Khanna reflects his love for all things rare and quirky.

Written by VIDYA PRABHU | Published: September 11, 2012 3:39 am

The vintage collection of eyewear,cameras,typewriters,hats and wooden altars sourced and restored by designer Arjun Khanna reflects his love for all things rare and quirky.

Save for the computer that is perched comfortably on top of a table,which has been put together by joining three worn out sewing machines from Merritt,nothing in Arjun Khanna’s store hints at the times that we live in. To begin with,there’s a collection of large,framed photos of the yesteryear maharaja,who stare down at you even as you enter the sprawling space at Colaba. On the right side,stand two rusty barber’s chairs that proudly show off their frayed cushion seating,with just a pair of mojris sitting on their leg rests. “To me,the chairs are a coup; they have so much character,plus they are very comfortable. Moreover,they are reasonably priced,” says Khanna.

Interestingly,the items in question are not just fashion-related pieces. Khanna,in fact,is very excited about the vintage collection of merchandise that he has sourced over a span of two decades and that too,from places far and wide (from the flea markets of London,Paris and New York to those in Thailand,South India and even Mumbai). “In this collection,I have restored many rare pieces without tampering with their original essence,” he explains,but not before clarifying that not everything in the store is up for sale. For instance,he plans to sell some maharaja photos in the future,but for now,they are a part of the store’s décor,just as the ’40s bomber jackets on the mannequins,the huge trunks belonging to his grandfather and the Norton 500 cc bike from the ’30s. “These things are harder to come by,so I can’t really part with them,” he confesses.

The vintage collection that Khanna has painstakingly curated comprises 100-year-old archival prints of Mumbai,a BSA cycle from the ’40s,projectors and Polaroid cameras (flash attached) from the ’30s,as also vintage trunks,altars,clocks,typewriters and hats dating back to the World War II period. Particularly eye-catching is the corner in which the solo cycle has been stationed: it has been done up with several black and white photos that have just one common denominator — the humble cycle.

Up for grabs are transistor radios from the ’70s,vintage lighters and a fairly big collection of toys — including robots and figurines from Star Wars and Action Man — that Khanna chooses to describe as “retro,more than anything else”.

Overall,the collection—which is on display at Khanna’s store till September 14 — is a treat and with prices starting as low as Rs 1,500 for a watch and going up to Rs 75,000 for a vintage Portuguese style wooden altar from Goa,there’s something here for every lover of vintage.

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