Honey Vijayan of Kalaniketan, a small boutique for exclusive ethnic Lucknowi chikan wear in Panampilly Nagar, is on top of the world. It was her designer kurta that none other than the prince of Mollywood, Prithviraj, wore on his wedding day. The picture that was splashed on the front pages of most of the newspapers had Prithvi looking classy, dressed in a totally unimposing yet elegant and chic kurta with a lot of intricate detailing. His brother and actor Indrajith as well as their uncle (Mallika’s brother) also wore chikan work kurtas, all from Kalaniketan, says Honey.
So did she knew about Prithvi’s secret wedding? “No, it was a shock for me,” says the boutique owner who has been in the business for almost two decades. “They said it was for a grand occasion. Later I was told that they are buying the clothes for Prithvi’s housewarming ceremony,” recollects Honey.
She says it was Poornima Indrajith who first came to the shop a few days before the wedding. “She took a 3-metre cream coloured silk kurta material embellished with embroidery. Two days later Mallika came with the silk piece and said since they don’t have the time to get it stitched she wanted a stitched kurta.” She chose a white cotton readymade kurta with heavy chikan work for Prithvi and a similar one with less detailing for Indrajith. “The piece that the groom wore was a unique one filled with muri and shadow work with silver embellishment. “Mallika called Prithviraj who was in Thiruvananthapuram over the phone, and also spoke to his costume designer to get the correct measurements,” says Honey. Honey also did a few alterations on the kurta as per order at her stitching unit.
“Mallika was impressed by the collection. She came with her friend. Even her friend’s husband bought a shirt from the shop. Mallika said she would return on Sunday evening for more shopping. And when I saw all of them wearing clothes from my collection on Monday, on the wedding day, I could not believe my eyes,” says Honey.
Honey, who runs the boutique with her sister Lulu Ravi says chikan work saris and dresses will never go out of fashion. That could be the reason why she has an elite clientele. “The wedding collection at the shop is the most sought after,” she says. There are pure georgette saris with gold add-ons, chanderi silk with heavy chikan work, kota saris with golden aari and badla work and more. For men, apart from shirts and kurtas, there are chudi bottoms and silk stoles. She has stocked stitched and unstitched kurtas and saris in a range of materials from pure cotton to supernet with ethnic work. Her sister Lulu who is based in Lucknow works with a team of artisans. “We have more than a dozen weavers working for us. But the challenging part is to come up with something new every time because customers always want something different,” says Honey.
It was only recently that she started an exclusive collection for men. “We started sourcing a few shirts initially. They were a big hit. These shirts can be teamed up with kasavu mundu or beige trousers. Because of the demand we started concentrating on men’s wear,” says Honey. Now they have an impressive collection for both men and women. There is ample option for casual dressing as well as for parties. Their collection is trendy but at the same time not over the top.
God is in the details and this is evident when you look at the embroidery work on most of the creations. Each is a masterpiece on its own. “We love traditional embroidery. Sourcing the fabric, dyeing it - everything is top-notch,” says Honey. She has customers all through the year from all age groups, not to mention an enviable celebrity clientele. She can be contacted at 9388604367.