Looking at Nicobar and Good Earth together feels like you know this family: the footloose younger sister who loves but doesn’t want to be like her married-rich older sibling. No wonder you go to one for wedding gifts and the other when you want to treat yourself.
Nicobar, which we’ve come to know from their website - and Mumbai and Delhi stores - aims for contemporary, playful and above all functional aesthetics; they offer I-live-alone design for people who enjoy having company over. Now they’ve literally moved into the loft above the family house on Lavelle Road, opening the country’s third Nicobar store in a 2,800 sq ft space above Good Earth. (It helps to have connections.)
Nicobar offers I-live-alone design for people who enjoy having company over. There’s a koi fish pond and little patches of green in the compound, but Team Nico brings with it touches of the tropics as well: think orchids in coconut shells, white brick-finish walls, and pinewood shelves lined with tableware in soothing shades of blue-green, charcoal and off-white. The distinctive brassware pops up here and there - mind that notorious pineapple! - but there’s nothing pink, a big difference from the store below.
At one end of the spectrum sit stone-finish sushi platters and slate-grey pinch pots. At the other are ho-hum shiny glass votives and ingenious lotus-leaf brass thalis. Everything is loosely held together by a generous dose of whimsy - you’ll find dragonflies, tigers, and the moon and stars strewn across different objects as you amble around.
The team hopes to use the expansive store for small performances or shows, we’re told: this explains why there’s a lot of moveable and retractable furniture all over the place, including a giant wooden swing that’s sadly not for sale. Bag your spot here for a future concert.
Everything is loosely held together by a generous dose of whimsy - you’ll find dragonflies, tigers, and the moon and stars strewn across different objects as you amble around.
In other rooms, there are other small wonders: a travel section contains slouchy pants, comfy knit tops, shrugs and travel accessories and organisers. Further on, lined against the back wall, a small section showcases a rather limited menswear collection and a few curated books on sale. The quirk here is a photo booth outside one of the cane and rattan-weave dressing rooms: inside, there’s a tropical backdrop with a vintage style camera booth, perfect for that sea-shellfie.
The greater part of an upper level is dedicated to womenswear, soft cottons and chanderi weave kurtis, dresses, pants and tops, all part of Nico’s ‘island living,’ quasi-resort aesthetic. The colour wheel remains dialled to cool-and-cloudy, but the greys and blue-greens are rewarded by stray pops of lime green, pink and red, and little printed or embroidered details - a tiger here, a dragonfly there - that make us smile, despite the notorious “similarities” Nicobar clothes have to designs by other Indian designers, most noticeably Péro by Aneeth Arora.
For shoppers trying to find something that isn’t in the physical in store, a large Mac at the bar-shaped counter is waiting to assist via the Nico website. At checkout time, we unpatriotically wish for an offshore account, especially for all the five-hundred rupee notes in our wallet. Not all islands offer such services, but we’ve bookmarked at least five things to return for. This little sister may act footloose, but don’t go expecting her to be fancy-free.
Story as it appeared in Brown paper bag