The city is the set for the finest in Indian pret, shown in a warren of run-down mansions and buildings.

Photos by:

Amit Mali

Words by:

Alia Allana

Deepa wears the Ripple bustier and Petunia pants ITR BY KHYATI PANDE

The True Love

Take a drive with JoJo and Deepa along the neglected lanes of the Bombay Port Trust and discover the hidden gems, garments, and mansions.

Deepa wears a blazer ALAMELU; Jojo wears a handwoven denim vest MARGN and trousers KARDO.
Deepa wears a blazer ALAMELU; Jojo wears a handwoven denim vest MARGN and trousers KARDO.

IN 1665, FOLLOWING the grand London wedding of Charles II to Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza, Bombay (or Bom Bahia as they called it) was ceded to the British Crown as dowry. Three years later, the King transferred the islands to the East India Company (EIC).

In those days, Bombay was nothing like the city that it is today. It was a set of neglected islands that people in power didn’t mind parting from, nor celebrated acquiring. The famed English diarist Samuel Pepys, in an entry from September 1663, talks about “the knavery of the Portugall Viceroy, and the inconsiderableness of the place of Bombaim,” referring to it as “a poor little island.”

But little did the British know that these paltry little islands would become their new base in 1687.

The neckpiece on Jojo: stylist’s own.
Jojo wears a handwoven denim vest MARGN and trousers KARDO.
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IT WAS GERALD Aungier (governor of Bombay from 1669 to 1677) who led the process of developing the city. He had set up an Anglican mint, made detailed reclamation and causeway plans to link the city, and built the St Thomas Cathedral in Fort. He also promised legal rights and freedom of religion to all merchant communities who immigrated from across the country to Bombay, including the Gujaratis, Parsis, and Jews. The city grew financially and culturally during this time. Essentially, he had prepared the city to function as the Company’s new base.

So about a decade later, when the British base in Surat was facing troubles—its Tapi river was silting and Shivaji had attacked and plundered the city twice—the Company had somewhere to go.

Bombay was a blank slate that they could build up the way they saw fit.

Deepa wears a corset embellished with crystals TARUN TAHILIANI, layered with a red Bemberg silk printed trench coat LINE OUTLINE. Jeans model’s own. Boots SEZANE PARIS.
Deepa wears a draped cowl dress TARUN TAHILIANI from the original Kutch collection, pulled from the designer’s archives. It is paired with a mushroom-twill Dhana open jacket ASEEM KAPOOR. Neckpiece from the Jat tribe in Kutch.
Jojo wears a shirt KARDO with Balochi embroidery panels along with a jacket and trousers KARDO. All trainers BATA.

Alia Allana

Alia Allana is the chief reporter of Object.

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A Broken Home

In Moulmein, in lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people – the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me. I was sub-divisional police officer of the town, and in an aimless, petty kind of way anti-European feeling was very bitter. No one had the guts to raise a riot, but if a European woman went through the bazaars alone somebody would probably spit betel juice over her dress.

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