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Verve People
May 10, 2017

Designer Tehzeeb Lakhani’s Favourite Items From Her Personal Collection

Text by Saumya Sinha. Photographs by Prerna Nainwal. Hair and Make-Up by Nidhi Agarwal

She gives us an update on her minimalistic approach to her interiors and wardrobe

Whether it is her eye for utilitarian design, her repertoire of vintage collectibles, or her soulfulness when it comes to fashion, space and jewellery, Tehzeeb Lakhani places a premium on form and functionality. The designer who works with her mother, artist Kahini Arte Merchant, on interiors and runs a jewellery label called Akaliko, knew from a very young age that she wanted to do something creative. The graduate from London College of Fashion initially studied Interior Design at Rachana Sansad, Mumbai but went on to pursue jewellery only to later come back to interiors ­— her “true calling”.

Ever since, Lakhani has designed a number of commercial and residential projects, with a recent one set to come up in Lonavla. Rejecting the trend of bold colours and graphic prints, she stands out with clean undertones and distressed accents. “I think my approach varies depending on the space, location and client but in general I like a mix of contemporary and classic elements. I don’t like to box myself into a particular category. It is very limiting not only for me, but for the client as well…I like to work with them to create something that they will love, but through my visual lens and aesthetic.” Her own home in Mumbai is an exercise in minimalism and understated opulence, filled with self-painted walls and antiques and collectibles picked from Chor Bazaar and markets in Amsterdam. “We have broken down as many walls in the house as we could to make the most of this compact apartment.”

Lakhani boasts an enviable wardrobe which complements her design philosophy. “I think my personal style is strongly influenced by the place I am in at the time but on the whole, I like sticking to a neutral palette with clean silhouettes and accessorizing with eclectic thrift shop and boutique finds.” Her first brush with fashion was when “I ‘stole’ my mother’s (now) vintage Dior earrings and pranced about the house with them, long enough for a photo to be taken!” Her affinity for all things vintage is directed towards the eras from the ’40s to ’80s. Whereas in decor, she says, “I love it all — from art nouveau, art deco to the retro ’50s and the bohemian ’70s. I think this influence comes from my mom who has always pointed out all the beautiful buildings in Mumbai to me as a child, making me take in the details.”

Travel, architecture and nature inspire this jewellery designer, who carves sleek, off-kilter pieces out of brass. Lakhani’s idea of daywear includes a structured oversize shirt with pants or jeans and minimal accessories; she fancies black lace and statement accessories for evenings. Bodice, Raw Mango, Helmut Lang and Prada fall among the coterie of brands she likes to don while a cleanser from Forest Essentials, face wash and toner from Prada, Andy Wolf sunnies, and her black and silver YSL and Prada bags (for nights out) are her travel must haves. Partial to summer fashion, she enjoys playing dress-up in tropical weather but also looks forward to bundling up whenever she gets a chance.

The avid traveller shuffles between New York, Italy, Berlin and London for all her shopping needs abroad yet what is inarguably the most treasured piece in her wardrobe is her Sabyasachi wedding sari. She swears by a pair of sunglasses, a crisp white shirt, and a versatile pair of black trousers.

The artistically inclined fashionista observes that her two worlds as a designer tend to influence each other. “I think fashion plays a huge role in my interiors and vice versa. We tend to subconsciously follow print and colour trends from current styles and apply them to decor. My jewellery also has a strong architectural and art deco influence, so the connection is very apparent.” And the same is evident as soon as you step into her home and soak in the contemporary vibe of the space and her outfit — a buttoned-up drawstring shirt worn over voluminous grey trousers paired with the timeless charm of her minimalistic brass neckpiece. As she waxes lyrical about people and things that inspire her, one cannot help but notice that Lakhani’s own label and home are a breath of fresh air for all those looking for something original.

Lakhani picks out some of her favourite items from her carefully curated personal collection….

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