Revered for their storytelling skills coupled with campaigns that tug at your heartstrings, Torani has carved a reputable niche in the industry within a relatively short span of time. Always at the frontlines of celebrating the skills of craftsmen, their chikankari heavy sensibilities and perfectly sound understanding of today’s market has ensured an upwards trajectory for the brand. Torani now opens their second store in the heart of Khan Market, Delhi adding another feather to their cap. We caught up with the designer to discuss his new space, the importance of brick and mortar stores and his future plans.
ELLE India: Congratulations on your second store. How’s this one different from your first one in terms of spatial design and aesthetics?
Karan Torani (KT): Thank you, ELLE India. Khan Market is the most expensive retail space in South East Asia, and so, the per square feet area is really limited in each of the current stores present there. We opened our first brick and mortar space in 2020- right before the pandemic which was around 450 square feet. And this one is exactly the double of that in terms of size and scale. We needed a larger area to express the brand’s many divisions in terms of clothing, jewellery and accessory categories. Our first store in Delhi will slowly transition into a prêt and everyday luxury category, while this one will become more festive and celebration wear.
In terms of the spatial design – it celebrates my evolution as a designer, which is a lot more flamboyant and free spirited than it was before. Given the product category was developing, I didn’t want the area to look like a store but a museum. You’d discover thousands of terracotta matkas hanging from the ceiling – a symbolic ode to my Sindhi roots, hundreds of elevations to layer clothes as pieces of art rather than just garments. A centre installation hanging with a boat atop with jewels and precious accessories. It’s a much more wholesome in comparison to all of our spaces before.
ELLE: In the day and age of e-commerce, what importance does a brick-and-mortar space hold according to you?
KT: While my brand is very much a product of our digital hustle, I, as an artist have always believed in valuing and savouring physical memories. Hence creating this space was extremely special. It’s not just a retail store. It’s a window into my soul and world. The world of Torani – where you can touch, smell and absorb the essence of our unique identity. Also I feel clothing, styling and dressing up is a very personal activity. Especially when it’s luxury. You are purchasing it with a lot of love and thought (not to mention the money) you need to be able to try it, take a pulse of how you feel when you wear it. And then make a decision. In a country like India, where we celebrate hundreds of festivals in a year, buying occasion wear and handcrafted festive clothing is a decision that most people can’t make looking at a screen.
ELLE: If you had to draw parallels between your new store and the set of a movie, which one would it be and why?
KT: It would be a cross between Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Mohenjo Daro meets Meera Nair’s Kamasutra. It takes heavy influences from the indus valley civilisation and is equally inspired by mythical Indian folklore. Cinema runs in my blood, and it invariably seeps into everything I do. The store launch itself is an ode to Gulzar Saab’s poetry and films and hence we decided to invite Vishal and Rekha Bharadwaj for the event. We’ve displayed the whole store like a museum layered with poetry, images and textiles.
ELLE: What’s next for brand Torani?
KT: Big expansion plans. Not just for clothing as a category but also in jewellery, accessories and perfumes. I look forward to opening stores in other cities across India namely Hyderabad and Kolkata to begin with. I have ambitions of making Torani global, though I feel we need to collaborate and partner more with institutions that bring a similar force and vision, more of which will be unfolding in the coming years.