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23.06.2016

Drapey tops, gowns and bling saris: you will find none of these at Brass Tacks. Just miles of soft cotton and calming silks fashioned not to blind you, but bind you into a well-tailored wrap around dress. Glee-VF? 

This popular women’s clothing store from Chennai launches in Indiranagar tomorrow, so we went under the shutters pre-opening, to tell you what to spend your pocket money on.

Cross (Stitch) Fit

The store is run and stocked by self-taught designer Anaka Narayanan, who had the idea to combine “well-tailored clothes with Indian vibes” while riding the subway in New York where she was an econ student and later, a financial analyst. The underground cars and streets of New York were like look books showcasing fashion influences from around the world, but Indian textiles and aesthetics were sorely missing, she found. 

Distract your best friend and grab the shirt available in two tones – indigo and sky blue – and sewing up elbow wounds with Madras checks patches. Meanwhile, short dresses get their collar tips brightened with inverted mini pyramids of colours: dangerous but flirty like a vampire’s fangs.

In 2007 on returning to India, she began teaching herself the foundational skills of cutting and pattern making from the designer’s go-to bible: Helen Armstrong’s Patternmaking For Fashion Design, working with tailors and NIFT students to perfect her voice and “measuring over a hundred Indian women to get sizes and fits perfectly suited to different body types”. That her mother ran a successful sari business in Chennai probably helped.

Let’s Patch Up

The rack you want to hit first at Brass Tacks is the one sporting a collection inspired by “boro”, the Japanese tradition of repairing clothes many times over to preserve them. Distract your best friend and grab the shirt available in two tones – indigo and sky blue – and sewing up elbow wounds with Madras checks patches. Meanwhile, short dresses get their collar tips brightened with inverted mini pyramids of colours: dangerous but flirty like a vampire’s fangs. 

The collection on a tongue shaped rack is more everyday: solid coloured A-line skirts, culottes and dresses lined with a sense of déjà vu. Boxy crop tops and wrap dresses are available in shades of coral, indigo, lemon, white and off-white. Banjara tribal influences interrupt these designs in the form of little details – single patches of embroidery –signature weaves and prints. There’s also a range of skinny dress pants which depending on where you work, could turn into your next office favourite. 

The Rainbow Room

An adjoining room appears to be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for those who weathered Brass Tacks’ storm of everyday clothing. Here we find a luxurious charcoal grey silk jump suit, shirts with choir-boy ruffles, culottes with blink-and-you-miss-it Kanjeevaram silk patches and skirts with delicate tribal prints. 

Grab these and skip into the large trial room where the mirror, halo-ed by green room style light bulbs makes you feel like a star. It also kind of makes it okay for you to throw an actor-sized tantrum should the jumpsuit not be available in your size. 

Getting there: Brass Tacks, first floor, 969-A, 12th Main Road, HAL IInd stage, Indira Nagar, call 40958201, Rs 1,500 for a boxy crop top and Rs 7,000 for the silk printed jumpsuit. Find their website here.

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