You don’t have to be a loyalist of the (m)other label to raise questions about the politics of genesis. If you can get over the chicken-or-the egg question – of which there really is no debate - a quick trip to CORD's new store makes clear that while this brand sits dangerously close to its ancestor/ influence/ inspiration/ older sibling / spouse, it also has a bit of its own thing going on.
CORD is airy, woody, spacious and neatly organized with a distinctly hipster vibe. Tables that are just like the Other place display leather wallets, money holders, and accessories with taut (and taught) precision; vintage clocks, cameras, and animal figures that invoke an old-money-hunter-dude fetish/ privileged country bumpkin lifestyle sit between these pieces.
Two long racks of clothing stretch out on either side of the main display, for men and women. A large wooden bookshelf showcases bags and backpacks, and a smaller rack displays a mixed canvas and leather collection of purses. In one corner, a merlot-red bag placed against the white-just-washed wall is beautifully stark, declaring itself 'product of the week.’
Our bias kicks in to signal that much of the merchandise is indistinguishable from the store next door. This would cause plain confusion to someone unfamiliar with the anatomy of divorce. However, for those more closely involved, we recommend getting over the same-same discourse, and stopping to pay attention to the details.
Here, some good feelings arise - though not from the forced Kinfolk magazine, too obviously placed and unread. They come from interacting with the excellent store manager who explains everything patiently, while tiptoeing around the wooden floor in her perfectly polished shoes.
With her warmth, we are able to give CORD a full, albeit slightly pained look. We come to admire circle leather bags, large, well-made wallets, and fold-over totes with magnet enclosures. We check out prices, and without doing a real survey, are able to determine that this could be a cut-price paradise for some not-die-hard loyalists.
And for those who can’t swallow a strict, economic comparison, they may find themselves drawn to less similar and quite lovely products: for instance, semi-circle bags, large enough for full days out, printed with delightful tropical motifs like huge banana leaves.
Where CORD does finally cut the cord fully, is with clothing. The aesthetic is Lovebirds meets Bodice meets 11:11. And though this is a bit like Designer Tapas, something tempting and affordable is miraculously produced. We find billowy, mustard-yellow tops, a series of oversized emerald dresses, plaid jumpsuits with delicate ladybug shirts underneath: perfect for a summer picnic, anywhere in the world.
After careful consideration, we leave CORD empty-handed, but also reluctantly impressed: an effect of the politics we find ourselves caught in, mixed with the overwhelming feeling of just, you know, liking some stuff a lot.
Getting there: Kala Ghoda, Rope Walk Lane, Opposite Kala Ghoda Cafe.
This review was contributed by Meher Varma.
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