Fourteen years since she forsook her finance background and decided to follow her passion, and a decade since he launched her label Malaga, accessory designer Malini Agarwalla says she’s come a long way. “I came into the business not knowing anything about accessories. So, it has been a steep learning curve. But it is a passion; I don’t feel like I’m coming to work every day because I enjoy it so much,” says Agarwalla, who’s enthusiasm is apparent even as she bustles around her new flagship store on Hughes Road, which opened earlier this month.
The 800 square-feet space, spread across two levels, is compact, yet packs in Malaga’s couture and diffusion pieces. The subtle interiors, with neutral walls and gold leaf accents, let Agarwalla’s signature handbags, footwear and jewellery stand out. Delicate gara embroidery clutch bags in monochromes and jewel tones, intricate zardozi work on truck art inspired bags and glass displays showcasing Malaga Bespoke, a line of clutches with precious gems such as rubies and emeralds, catch one’s attention instantaneously. But what’s even harder to ignore are the vibrant colours of Agarwalla’s new pet project — a festive apparel line, just in time for the wedding season. “Accessories are my passion and I don’t want to lose that focus, but I’ve also always enjoyed clothes. I first tried out a small capsule collection at the Palladium (Lower Parel) store and it was well-received. So I said, why not? This particular collection has lehengas and churidar sets with gota patti, zardozi and cord work. I’ve also used gara embroidery in pastel shades and teamed a variety of blouses with ombre saris,” says Agarwalla.
And while designing clothes may have been a big step, it’s just one more feather in Agarwalla’s hat. “From designing basic bags, we’ve gone on to do bags in every conceivable medium, with embroideries, precious stones, the works. We also have a pret line called Pimento, conceived with my daughter’s inputs, where we take orders, make footwear, sell products online and also manufacture items with co-branding for stores like Pantaloons. We also design ethnic collections, resort wear and office wear too,” says Agarwalla, encapsulating Malaga’s salient milestones in a nutshell.
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