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The Good Life

With the smell of kebabs wafting the air from the nearby Hauz Rani area,the afternoon mood at O’Palacio is one of late lunches after a night of revelry.

Written by Georgina Maddox |
November 22, 2009 3:35:27 am

Extravagance has a new address in Delhi-O’Palacio,where art meets food meets fashion

With the smell of kebabs wafting the air from the nearby Hauz Rani area,the afternoon mood at O’Palacio is one of late lunches after a night of revelry. This is Delhi’s latest destination for art,fashion and lifestyle,and designer and owner Nakul Sen is recovering from Friday’s launch party.

Visitors have been streaming in since Saturday morning,and Sen shows them around the 15,000 sq ft casa-style establishment that is spread over two levels. Situated off the dusty streets where goats graze and children twirl tops,O’Palacio is a haven of white walls,pebbled pathways and green lawns.

Inside the gates,it is a smorgasbord where four design stores share space with a cosy restaurant that serves authentic Portuguese cuisine,and sculptures by N Radhakrishnan and Yusuf Arakkal dot the green. Outside,a smattering of wooden tables and chairs foretell evenings of candlelit dinners.

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“My partner and wife Christina and I conceived O’Palacio while vacationing in Goa . We dined at a delightful restaurant,Casa Portuguesa and decided it was time to bring the romance of Fado singers and Portuguese cuisine to Delhi ,” says Sen,who is in his mid-thirties and has been designing eveningwear for stores in Paris,Madrid and London for the last 12 years under an eponymous label.

He makes his debut into the Indian market with the fashion store in O’Palacio,also called Nakul Sen. Though Sen does not collect art himself,he is aware that fusing fashion and art is a winning formula. The viewer is torn between appraising the colourful canvases by the likes of S H Raza,Paresh Maity and Bose Krishanmachari the vast Galeria de Arte,and the crushed silk and crochet fabrics of Delhi-based Shyam Narayan Prasad at his nearby store.

Zoya,a Mumbai-based store,boasts a range from designer laptop bags to an autumn line by designer Arjun Saluja,and light pastels by Wendell Rodericks bring a touch of verve to the classical beauty of Gayatri Khanna’s black-and-white line displayed in opposite showroom,named Gayatri. Sen’s own showroom bespeaks a Dutch decadence,with sprawling leather couches,a black dome topping off tiled marbled flooring and his own creations displayed under flattering lighting.

“Even though our label has a presence in Europe,I’ve just entered the Indian market because earlier there was no scope here for evening gowns. Indian women would think nothing of spending a lakh on a Ritu Kumar sari,but they would hesitate to spend even Rs 50,000 on an evening gown. That’s changing now,” says Sen.

The artwork ranges from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1 crore,depending on artist,medium and size of the work. There is also a tasteful selection of photographs in the corridor of the Gallery. “We plan to showcase some international artists as well as curated shows from India . There will be book readings,classical music recital—nothing too loud though,we hope to attract a genteel crowd,” says Sen.

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