Bazaar On Wheels

Who would have thought you could pick up a wedding necklace at your neighborhood Marriott Hotel or a designer outfit while sipping chai at a local Indian restaurant?

Yes, if Indian Americans can’t go to the bazaar, the bazaar is coming to them! Over the past few years name brand as well as emerging designers have come to Los Angeles, Chicago, New Jersey and New York to sell their wares, holding trunk shows in restaurants and private homes.

If you happen to move in Indian circles and live in the suburbs, invitations for designer wear and jewelry shows materialize in your mail all the time. Some cards are elaborate and upscale with invitations to cocktails, others more prosaic, single sheet fliers with the where and when.

Designer Sonia Kumar of Silver Tulip in Delhi is one of the popular designers who bring in their collections every summer. Preeti Arora, a banker in Long Island, has organized exhibitions for her for the last seven years, drawing  large crowds.
Looking for real diamonds and emeralds? Many designers come to the US because there’s such a huge captive market, especially those who don’t have time to take an India trip. Recently the designer Deepa Mehra showcased some stunning jewelry at a private residence, and has done the same in London and Dubai. New Yorker Madhulika Shroff loved her jewelry so much that she’s now assisting her in exhibiting it here.

For those who want jewelry which looks real but isn’t, there’s the fabulous fakes of Art Karat, one of the big players from India that has turned this concept into a fine art, with upscale shows in hotels in several states where there is a large South Asian population.  The company, which designed the elaborate jewelry in several movies including Devdas and Monsoon Wedding, has stores in India.
“We don’t do just one or two shows here,” says Saket Modi of Art Karat. “We do more than 28 shows a year and import all the jewelry from India. We send out 235,000 invitations that go out every year so it’s on a much grander scale.”

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