Kanchivaram to Couture: Chennai’s shopping scene explored
Chennai, or more dearly, Madras, is a confluence of the modern and traditional - known as much for its masala dosa, filter coffee, and pattu saree, as it is for its ethereal designer boutiques, continental cuisine, and modern art scene.
When it comes to shopping, whether you have your eyes set on the bright colours and motifs of exquisite South Indian silks, or the modern silhouettes of western wear, Chennai will not fail you.
IN PURSUIT OF THE LUSTROUS KANCHIVARAM
Kanchivaram pattu has an interesting origin story - with zari (gold thread) sourced from Surat, pattu nool (silk thread) procured from Karnataka, and woven traditionally by families gathered together - it speaks of a truly syncretic affair, much like that of Chennai’s. Kanchivaram sarees with their rich spectrum of colours and designs, are often graced by intriguing golden mangoes, peacocks, temples, and more.
For more curated collections of these scintillating fabrics, head to Aavaranaa in Alwarpet, Silkworm Boutique in Nungambakkam, or Sarangi in Mylapore. Your trip to Chennai is especially incomplete without a visit to Kanakavalli at Kingsley, in Kilpauk.
THE BEST OF BOUTIQUE SHOPPING
From twirl skirts in tea garden prints to circle sundresses, Chennai’s designer boutiques put a modern spin on traditional textiles. These couture brands are keen on eco-friendly practices and strive to protect the nuances of traditional craftsmanship.
@thegluttonandtheowl for FabIndia
To find the crème de la crème of clothing, jewellery, and home and lifestyle accessories, all under one roof, make your way towards Anokhi in R A Puram, Amethyst in Royapettah or Maal Gadi in Besant Nagar. Kalpa Druma on Cathedral Road and Fab India on TTK Road are well known for their fine hand-woven Indian clothing and home décor.
If you’re on the lookout for a designer attire to wear to a grand affair, we’d be happy to point you in the direction of Tifara or Renasci.in (previously known as Montage), both in Nungambakkam. Evoluzione in Nungambakkam is all about modern sensibilities and eclectic designs, apt for the urban woman.
THE WORD ON THE STREET
Home ground of tactful bargainers and style savvy locals, street shopping in Chennai is a universe of its own. Popular mention goes to Pondy Bazaar, a local market in T Nagar for nearly everything under the sun - imitation jewelry, garments, footwear, bags, accessories, and much more.
Pantheon road, aka Cotton Street, is the place to be for cotton fabrics of all kinds and shades, as you would’ve rightly guessed. Godown Street in Parrys, and Sowcarpet are buzzing wholesale markets that specialize in textiles and North Indian fabrics, respectively.
Do not miss the delectable restaurants and street food that are quintessential to these areas.
STREETS PAVED WITH GOLD
Kanchivaram silks are best paired with south Indian temple jewelry. If you want a taste of Chennai’s jewellery scene, Gopalapuram is your best bet. Home to popular brands such as Tanishq, Khazana, Prince Jewellery, and Jaipur Gems, it is the ultimate luxury destination for gold shoppers. It is also the sought after spot for bridal jewellery. Studio Tara in Alwarpet is another must visit for new age shoppers.
What’re you waiting for? Go shop as the locals do and enjoy Singara Chennai, with all its fine nuances.