Rashmi Varma was born in Canada, but she’s a Bihari at heart. She takes great pride in her cultural roots and embraces India in her own unique way. Having spent her formative years travelling and experiencing a different world, her take on all things Indian is so refreshing. It’s visible in her work too. Take her draped sari-dresses for example, they combine the graceful Indian drape with the comfort of a western dress. They come in many colours, textures and fabrics; cleverly referencing Indian embroideries too — albeit in a pared-down, minimalist style.
Having had a long relationship with New Delhi on her many trips to the city for work or vacation, she decided on setting up a studio and home in the capital few years ago. Her eponymous label is based out of the city and fuelled by her experiences and the city’s vibe. To delve deeper into the mind of Rashmi Varma, we decided to see the city we call home through her fresh pair of eyes.
Here are some of her favourite haunts and corners:
Craft Museum, Pragati Maidan
“Probably my favourite place in Delhi is the Craft Museum — the moment you enter into the museum grounds you feel like you are someplace away from Delhi. Charles Correa's architecture that celebrates Indian materials feels authentic and appropriate. I wish we could see more of this sensibility within our urban environment. You get a sense of India's past that is a living tradition, which for me feels modern — not some dusty old relic. I especially love the museum for its great textile collection and library.
Jama Masjid and Kinari Bazaar
“Old Delhi near Jama Masjid area and or Kinari Bazaar. An obvious favourite for so many people. So many things to see, buy and taste.. the energy is exciting.”
Begumpur Mosque and Park
“The Begumpur mosque borders a massive park by my house that I go to for my daily morning walks. The extensive park is lush green and every morning I pass by this beautiful and quiet monument. The historical monuments that surround us in Delhi are what makes this city quite special. The mosque’s design is elegant and utilitarian, something that I try to achieve in my own work.”
Ruins at Shahpur Jat
“There is a tiny old ruin here in Shahpur Jat that I like to look at. It’s small and kinda random. This is a small version of what I like about the Begumpur mosque. 700 yrs of history near my studio with crazy crowded urban dwellings surrounding it and it’s being used as junk storage space!”
“Lota is delicious. Consistently good with everything that they are doing — mixing regional Indian cuisine and presenting it in a fresh way. The palak patta chat and chai are a must.”