A few steps from the Mykonos spa at Lado Sarai, a new resident beams in with geometric structure and detail-oriented pastels. OLIO, frequent guest star of our Facebook newsfeeds, designers of relaxed, contemporary everyday dresses, and makers of that one fried egg dress everyone wanted, is having its first birthday party.
The venue is this popular online brand’s first studio. We sneak a preview hours before the store officially launches, and owners Aashna and Sneha are still putting finishing touches on the space. As we enter, we’re greeted with racks of pastel dresses, tunics, and more, and a changing area that borrows from our favourite, the 'Elemental' dress.
Wide-leg trousers in fine cottons and bright, sunny dresses chase away smoggy winter funk, while details like sewn-in cotton balls, food-inspired appliqué – that sushi! –and pom-poms on colour-blocked silks remind us of school weekends spent working on craft projects, in a good way. There’s some fun jewellery too, still to make its way to the store.
Summery and airy for the most part, OLIO’s collections are organized by theme and not season. Called “stories", each collection is marked by colour palette and sensibility. For instance, a chance collaboration with Blue Tokai resulted in a new Bean collection, dominated by beiges, burgundys, browns and granular details.
Space, The Final (Shirt) Frontier
Team Aashna-and-Sneha had its beginnings in bhane, Meharchand’s beloved hipster label, where Sneha worked as a designer and Aashna on branding. Starting OLIO as an online label gave them the “flexibility to avoid being dictated to by seasons,” they say, and has allowed them to set their own terms for the number of collections they’ll do in a year. (Six so far.)
Wide-leg trousers in fine cottons and bright, sunny dresses with details like sewn-in cotton balls, food-inspired appliqué – that sushi! –and pom-poms on colour-blocked silks chase away our smoggy winter funk.
While the bulk of their business still focuses on online sales – international deliveries become integrated into their platofrm in March – their new space is an attempt to develop new collaborations. The storefront will retail clothes, but the remaining area is a studio, workshop, and soon-to-be gallery space.
A large centre table in varnished wood dominates the studio space, bearing potted succulents and a grand cactus plant. High benches, a small desk and other neat details add to the ambience, otherwise marked by stark geometric shapes and clean lines. Grey cement floors hide yellow tiles underneath – we always knew Lado Sarai was the Kansas of India! – and whitewashed walls ensure that the eye is drawn to the clothes.
Having poured their energies into setting up house, Aashna and Sneha’s next new arrivals are planned for spring-summer. For now, they’d like attention lavished on existing babies: the muted, architectural Bean clothes, shimmery grey Sitara – for off-beat festive wear – Sunny Side Up, and others.
While we, too, have had our eye on the 'Fried egg,' the store yields a quieter 'Froyo' shirt that combines a panel in mint against self-textured grey linen. We’ll take it: cool is the reason for this season, after all.
Getting there: F 125, Lado Sarai, lane before Crescent Mall; or shop online at www.theoliostories.com. Fried Egg dress for Rs 3500; Froyo shirt for Rs 2400.
Accessibility: A low stair up into the store; studio a few steps up; no ramp access. Washrooms available on studio level.
Image credit: Tenzin Lhagyal
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