Every year, a bunch of brides besiege Ambika Pillai with queries on designers they should approach for their wedding trousseau, jewellery and shoes; even home décor dilemmas. Politely, the 52-year-old celebrity hairstylist and make-up artist directs them to her friends and favourites from the fashion industry.
This regular nagging session has now led to the setting up of Style Loft by ambikapillai, a multi-designer space at her South Extension (Delhi) salon, which was formally launched on Tuesday night. “I thought about this around four years ago, when I still had space at Ansal Plaza, Delhi, but for some reason it didn’t work out. This is better because South Extension is a hotspot for shoppers,” says Pillai.
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Interestingly, this move was riddled with a great dilemma, as she had to pick between an appam and stew café and a fashion store. “Given my love for food, it was a tough choice. I might still do a café some time ,” she says.
Retailing at Style Loft are creations by 11 fashion designers, all priced under Rs 30,000. There’s also jewellery and home décor to choose from. “I have stuck to my guns here; I don’t want my clients to have any complaints. There’s both prêt and couture,” says Pillai.
Interestingly, the line-up boasts a mix of young and old labels — so there’s Malini Ramani with her bold cuts and gowns, Raakesh Agarvwal with his red-carpet glamour, also new kid on the block Dhruv Kapoor, with his edgy and contemporary western wear. Nandita Mahtani, Pankaj & Nidhi, AM:PM and Poonam Bhagat are also on the roster.
It was in the ’80s that Pillai began her career as a make-up artist. She gets nostalgic talking about her journey, from the time designer Rohit Khosla ruled the fashion world in the ’80s and models Mehr Jesia and Lubna Adams walked the ramp, to now, when there are hundreds of designers and numerous fashion weeks held across the country. “There is new blood in the industry; these are exciting times, and Style Loft in a way reflects that,” she says.
With a plethora of multi-designer stores scattered around metros, Pillai feels Style Loft stands out for being a one-stop shop for everything. She says, “There’s a salon, there are clothes, jewellery and things for your home. Except shoes, we have everything.”