M For Morehttps://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/fashion/m-for-more/

M For More

Actor and designer Mandira Bedi extends her eponymous store to a multi-designer outlet, showcasing a mix of ethnic and western silhouettes.

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Actor and designer Mandira Bedi.

While her love affair with saris started over a decade ago, Mandira Bedi states that it was only when she launched her own store in Mumbai two years ago that people started taking her seriously as a designer. “Having a store meant that I was not operating out of a studio, garage or home. While I personally love saris, and am happy designing only those, we had a lot of customers asking for anarkalis, tunics and heavier bridal wear,” she says.

Last week, she extended the eponymous store in Khar to a multi-designer outlet, called M The Store. The space is now home to around 30 designers, featuring a mix of ethnic and western silhouettes, chunky jewellery, embellished clutches and shoes.

The actor believes that saris come within a certain budget, which can be restrictive commercially. “Often, buyers who walk in have an intent to buy, but don’t always want to shell out Rs 10,000-15,000 at once. But they don’t mind getting a tunic for one-third of that price. When the markets were down, our wraps and shawls would sell faster,” she asserts. M The Store, which also has an e-portal now by the same name, includes creations by established designers such as Gavin Miguel, Rajat Tangri, Anavila as well as newer names such as Rrisa, Palanquin and Veda Raheja.

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Mandira Bedi’s multi-designer store in Mumbai.

While the pret collection includes jumpsuits, flowy gowns and summery kurtas, there are lehengas, jacket-dhoti and anarkalis in the ethnic sections. “I have a merchandiser who brought me stuff from lots of designers before I zeroed down on these names. While taste is subjective, I wanted to ensure that the aesthetics match my sensibilities,”
she says, adding that she steered clear of bigger names as most have their own flagship stores.

Bedi’s own creations have a long shelf to themselves, a bright mix of Benarasi silks, satin georgettes and dupion silks, including pieces from her showcase at Lakme Fashion Week’s Summer/Resort edition this year. “Benarasi saris are often perceived to be cumbersome so I wanted to work on the construct. I’ve woven them with lighter fabrics,” she says. Counting the price point as her USP — the tunics start at Rs 3,000 — Bedi says that her store fulfils most budget and silhouette requirements. “The idea is to walk out with a complete ensemble. I also have my ready-to-wear blouses and lycra petticoats that totally transform the fit of the sari. At one of my exhibitions in Singapore, a buyer actually termed them ‘spanx for saris’,” she says with a laugh.