Store Review: Atosa
In January, Zoya, the multi-designer boutique in Bandra, owned by Azmina Rahimtoola, Aparna Badlani and Jyoti Gwalani, suffered a fate all too common in the city. The bungalow that housed the boutique was taken over for redevelopment, forcing the partners to shut down. After three months of “heartbreak” Rahimtoola and Badlani (Gwalani left for personal reasons) have opened a new, multi-label boutique called Atosa in Khar. Like Zoya, this too occupies the ground floor of a two-storeyed, residential bungalow, this one in a quiet and leafy bylane in Khar.
For the new address they chose a new store name (Atosa is the name of a Persian princess), but have stuck to stocking merchandise that Zoya regulars are likely to recognise. There isn’t much decorative flair to the 1,000 square foot space, other than a metallic bronze ceiling. Of the 25 labels, 20 are Indian and five are from Singapore and Thailand. Atosa offers a mix of formal and casual Indian and Western wear, accessories like bejewelled clutches, basket handbags, party shoes, sparkly ballet flats by Taramay; chunky necklaces and thread bangles by Jamini Ahluwalia; copper and agate neckpieces by Goan designer Paul; and ethnic, silver jewellery by Neelam Narang. Since their Zoya days, the partners have always been partial to the breezy, resortwear by Goan designers, Wendell Rodricks and Savio Jon, and their eponymous labels can be found at Atosa. You will find Rodricks’s signature loose, flowing gowns in sheer fabric and white cotton kurtas as well as tunics by Jon with bright blue, green and orange seams. Priyadarshini Rao’s spring/summer 2011 collection of halter dresses, floral print blouses, lightly embroidered sleeveless tops and floor-length dresses in silk occupy a whole section of the store.
We spotted a white, zippered jumpsuit by Arjun Saluja; sexy, backless cocktail dresses by Gauri and Nainika; comfy-looking angrakha tops and straight cut kurtas in khadi and mal by Aneeth Arora; and sorbet coloured, ankle-length dresses by James Ferreira. We also loved LFW 2011 debutante Vaishali Shandangule’s flowing, chanderi-based tunics.
Our least favourite pieces were by the international labels. Both Thai label Chai Gold and Singapore’s Abyzz, from what we could gather from their online look books, make perfectly pretty monotoned silk and jersey tops and dresses. Atosa however, seems to have chosen their less attractive pieces including an asymmetrical beige and black net dress (Chai Gold) and a white cowl neck (Abyzz) that you could just as easily (and probably more cheaply) find at an export surplus store.
At Atosa, Badlani and Rahimtoola have displayed that they still have a nose for what’s au courant. Their list of international labels is less than satisfactory but after four years at Zoya, their choice of Indian designers is mostly spot on. Prices start at Rs3,000 for neckpieces, and at Rs5,000 for cotton tops and tunics.