As someone who has been visiting Fort Kochi from a young age, the transformation of this beautiful neighbourhood has been a sight to behold. With indelible markers of culture from the many people who’ve called it home, it has always been a vibrant space for art and the exchange of ideas. But since the inception of the Kochi Muziris Biennale, Fort Kochi has slowly but surely transformed into a hub of creative expression.
Most recently, in tandem with the latest Biennale, rechuu by Bodice opened up. Housed in a converted two-story Bungalow in the quaint Princess Street, rechuu is merely a walk away from the main Biennale venue. The 200-year-old space offers an experience that is conceptualised and curated by Ruchika Sachdeva, the founder of the fashion house Bodice. As a designer and creative director, she has combined Indian craftsmanship with thoughts of minimalism and androgyny to become a South Asian voice of recognition in the global landscape of design.
The concept store features both fine art and applied art; while the featured brands speak to moments of everyday luxury with deep Indian roots, the featured artists speak to the all-pervasive strive for intellectual challenge that many have come to associate with Fort Kochi. In bringing this concept store to life, the team worked with the local artisans to bring their vision to life. This can especially be observed in the façade of this store which is adorned with calligraphy in Hindi and Malayalam. The concept store is a study of creative expression, rather than a quest for the perfect output. In their own words, ‘It’s about questioning whether we are artists or creative entrepreneurs or somewhere in between. It's about cringing at the word ‘fashion’ while being a part of the very same ecosystem. It’s about wondering why we go through so much pain for the sake of creation. It's about freedom from how things are ‘supposed’ to be.’
Featuring fashion, art, design, books, and objects, rechuu is a collective of India’s finest talents whose craft draws from their Indian roots to create products of global excellence.
In addition to the pieces from Bodice that marries indigenous fabrics and heritage weaving techniques with contemporary style sensibilities, designs from fashion houses like Abraham and Thakore, Pero, Raw Mango, Maku Textiles, Eka, Savio Jon, and Harago have been featured here. These labels are all tied together by their unwavering focus on the sustainability movement and the value they place on preserving traditional Indian textile practices.
The concept store also features pieces from Phantom Hands which is a Bangalore-based furniture studio that handcrafts design-driven modern furniture. The select pieces featured here further accent the vintage appeal of the concept store. Their most popular design perhaps is the homage and re-edit of the classic Chandigarh chair with veritable history to its name.
One from the mountains and another from the plains - Pahadi Local and Gunam Beauty are two wellness brands that have been featured at rechuu. Pahadi Local draws from the bounties of the Himalayas to create mindful wellness products that are carefully sourced and have been embraced by the locals for their effectiveness. Gunam Beauty was founded by a Keralite who grew up surrounded by the natural ingredients of the land. It combines Indian ingredients with French formulation expertise to create effective products that adhere to a global standard of quality.
The store features toy sculptures from the anonymous artist Princess Pea, who challenges the ideas of femininity and womanhood through her body of work. Her practice that revolves around the ideas of identity, self-worth, and the female experience treads the line between fairy tale and mundane - much like the experience at the rechuu store.
The concept store also features books by the photographer Dayanita Singh. This renowned artist’s works are primarily about how people relate to photographic images. The store features a collection of her book-objects that are books, art objects, exhibitions, and catalogues - all in one. The store also features the works of Prarthana Singh, a photographer who captures the dichotomy of progress and tradition through her authentic portraiture of Indian women.
This concept store is a temporary instalment, much like some of the best experiences in life. While it is currently open every day from 10 am to 7 pm, it will close by the end of February 2023. If you are at Kochi Muziris Biennale or dropping by Fort Kochi, this concept store is a worthy addition to your itinerary.
The store is located at:
Bodice x rechuu
1/577 Princess Street
Opposite Forte Kochi Hotel
Fort Kochi, Kerala 682001
You can follow the concept store via Instagram.
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