I’ve often wondered why people dress up to go to the mall. I’ve watched with brow furrowed as teenyboppers in tube tops and stilettos totter onto escalators — didn’t they realise there’d be a LOT of tramping around involved?
Now, it’s different if you’re headed to the mall to play Princess for a Day.
I’m pretending to be a millionaire… so the clothes maketh the woman.
My day at the mall actually starts in front of my closet. What to wear? What to wear? I pick a sheer navy blue mini skirt, a white blouse and white low-heel shoes.
And then it’s off to InOrbit, Mumbai’s biggest, bustling-est shopper’s paradise.
I decide to ease in slowly, so my first stop is Shoppers’ Stop. There’s a mega sale on — isn’t there always? — so it’s a supreme effort to not actually buy anything. But then that was the deal — spend the day here, pretend, but do not purchase.
Besides, a princess would just turn her nose up at knockoffs anyway. So I tear myself away after some avid browsing and head to the Esprit counter.
Here, I pick up (mentally, of course) a strappy, knee-length dress — hot pink (Rs 3,000). Perfect for that brunch I plan to host at the Marriott. And there’s a bag to match (Rs 4,000).
I walk around a bit and find myself next to the knockoffs again. No! I head to the Van Heusen counter. A cream cashmere sweater (Rs 1,500), dreamily soft, would be ideal for my next trip to Aspen.
And I’ve found the perfect pair of jeans to match: Calvin Klein (Rs 5,000). A slim, silver-buckled belt to go with it (Rs 3,300), and the outfit is complete.
From the corner of my eye, I see a PYT in a strappy purple number pick up the jeans and a silver-weave bolero (Rs 3,000) and head off to the Tommy Hilfiger counter. OMG, is she insane?
I decide to leave Shoppers’ Stop and head out into the rest of the mall.
Hidesign looks promising — and on display is a set of three gorgeous tan bags for Rs 7,000. Not too bad.
But then I see a beauty in the Guess window. Off I totter. It’s a large cognac shoulder bag (Rs 7,890). A walk around the store reveals sunglasses that match (Rs 5,700). Both are definitely going into the imaginary shopping cart.
I head back into Shoppers’ Stop for lunch — there’s no way a princess would eat at the food court. Gourmet Citi is hushed and beautiful. There are flowers everywhere, and an array of olives and cheeses to nibble on. There’s ice-cream from the US, Swiss Lindt chocolate and olive oil and wheat pasta salad made to order. There’s also sushi and cigars.
The prices are frightening — the only thing that actually seems affordable is the cheese and garlic loaf (Rs 40). The rest seem to be dollar prices converted at rather unfair exchange rates and then supplemented with every octroi and Customs duty acquired along the way.
My fantasy lunch done — I had a salad sprinkled with black olives and a slice of cheese (cheddar with wine, garlic and herb) on crackers — I head to the home furnishings section.
A beautiful four-poster with red drapes, counterpane and cushions (Rs 42,000) would look just right in my fantasy sea-facing bungalow on Carter Road. So would the teak divan sitting beside it (Rs 30,000).
It’s time now for the real lunch. I head out to the food court and get some chhola bhatura at Shamiana (Rs 84).
And then it’s back to shopping for the princess.
Tag Heuer looks inviting. I walk around bravely. At the Movado counter, a platinum beauty glitters under a hushed yellow light. I try it on. The clasp is barely visible and the diamonds on the face sparkle like, well, diamonds. It’s Rs 58,700. Why not? Into the mental shopping cart it goes.
Now that I’ve got the watch, I might as well get something to wear it with.
Satya Paul? Sure. A signature orange georgette sari with black swirls and hand-stitched bead work (Rs 30,000) is not exactly my style but it sure feels good against the skin. Where would I wear it, I wonder?
But then I’m not me, right? I’m sure She has some sort of state event coming up that she could sashay into wearing this.
I browse some more — there’s some chiffon (Rs 10,000), some crepe and organza (Rs 12,000). I don’t know much about saris, but some of them are quite lovely.
Opposite is a Charles & Keith, with the most darling rust shimmer stilettos to match my sari (Rs 3,099).
And finally, the coup de grace. In the Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri window, a gold and ruby set — earrings and necklace for Rs 4.2 lakh.
I think that would do it, even for a princess.
As for me, I’ve had about enough by now. My feet ache, my head is swimming from the noise of endless crowds pretending to be princesses too.
It’s time to head home, make some coffee, sink into my worn leather couch and watch Friends. This weekly column explores the city’s low-cost pleasures.