The new line by Hidesign revives an age-old tanning technique.
At a time when the fashion industry is rife with revivalists, Hidesign launches its East India Collection.
The line, comprising bags for both men and women, is crafted from East India leather, which is tanned using a special technique that was perfected and popularised over 100 years ago by the East India Company.
“It was only when I had started Hidesign, sometime in the late late-’70s, that I discovered it. I was fascinated to learn that the finest Italian leather goods are made with this Southern Indian tanning technique,” says founder, Dilip Kapur.
Tanned with locally sourced myrobalan seeds and wattle bark, and softened with pungam oil, the hide takes on a special sheen that sets the leather apart from chrome tanned hides.
“This is what makes it so sought-after,” explains Kapur, adding that vegetable tanning takes over a month to complete, while chemical tanning takes just three days.
The collection is created entirely from Spanish lamb and Indian goat leathers, and employs clean lines and simple designs with solid brass accents. “With such fine leather, the less you do the better,” says Kapur, before picking his favourites.
“There’s the Myrtle 02. This beautiful, smooth Spanish lamb has a natural glow. The handcrafted flower straps make it extra special. For men, I love the Indigo 02 — a cross body bag with a rugged masculine look with big pockets and solid brass buckles.”
Before signing off, Kapur hints at a newer and much bigger project for next year.
Rs 3,295 upwards. At Phoenix MarketCity. Details: 30083339
— Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo