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Canvassing for art
(From top): Italian ambassador Antonio Armellinii at Blues Clothing Company; Anjolie Ela Menon (left) and Nina Pillai; Manna De at Bangalore’s Bijaya Sammelani; Kumarmangalam and Neerja Birla at Gallery Art & Soul

The booming art mart is acting like a magnet pulling in people from all walks of life. The newest is businesswoman and socialite Nina Pillai who’s the chairperson of Triveda Fine Art.

Triveda held its first auction recently at which it notched up sales of Rs 7 crores and sold 62 of the 131 creations that came under the hammer.

Pillai, along with partners Hariram Sastri and his sister Janaki Ram, welcomed guests to The Grand Hotel to a preview the day before the auction. It took the three partners eight months to put the collection together.

Pillai spoke at length about India’s booming art scene. “Indian art is bursting at the seams and we’re taking this opportunity to promote young artists who need a platform to showcase their work.” Ompal Sansanwal, Sarab Soni and Meena Sansanwal were some of the newer artists present.

Paintings by artists like Jamini Roy, Gaganendranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose and Francis Newton Souza were some of the famous works on sale. There was also Jagdish Swaminathan’s much talked about Bird and Moutain series, Anjolie Ela Menon’s Waiting at the Window, MF Husain’s Horse, Year of the Horse, Gandhi and Bengali Girl.

“In recent years, art has become the most attractive business and investment.” said Sastri, who’s been a collector for at least a decade. Others who attended the event were Anjolie Ela Menon and Laila Khan Rajpal.

Viva la Italy

What would you prefer — Versace, Corneliani or Cadini' Blues Clothing Company (BCC), Delhi’s best spot for Italian brands opened formally in the capital’s South Extension-I, after undergoing major renovations. The sprawling store has given one full floor to each of its brands.

Italian ambassador Antonio Armellinii inaugurated the store and was shown around by Abhay Gupta, executive director, BCC. Fabio Greggio, Asia Pacific director for Versace unveiled the Versace line while Corneliani had its export director, Cristiano Corneliani, do the honours.

“Our store is about the international experience. Versace is a fashionable brand for the younger lot while Corneliani is serious and subtle. And they needed separate spaces for their collections.” said Gupta.

On display were the autumn/winter collections of these brands. Single-breasted suits, soft flat front trousers and Nappa trench coats from Versace stole the show, while the Corneliani collection portrayed sheer class. Cadini made its mark with a range ready-to-wear suits.

Bengal calling

It’s not everyday that Bangalore gets to hear Manna De live. But the city’s Bengali elite hit pay dirt recently as living legend De performed at a Bijoya Sammelani organised by the Chancery Pavilion hotel.

The event at the Chancery aimed to bring the who’s who of Bangalore’s Bengalis together at a sparkling evening with music and food — two of the community’s prime passions. De got a standing ovation as he performed some of his biggest hits. While Coffehouser adda and Ami je jalsaghare brought out the nostalgia factor among a (mostly) ageing brigade, Ai meri zohrajabeen and Laga chunri mein daag managed to satisfy fans of the maestro’s Hindi music.

Manna-da was definitely a tough act to follow, but as Bangalore band Aurko took stage they looked determined to have the crowd on its feet by the end of the evening. And how they succeeded, with energetic performances of some of their songs from the album Nadiyaa, along with covers of old and new hits.

The food was a good mix — keeping company with chhanar dalna and kosha mangsho were an antipasti platter and vegetable au gratin. Seen tucking in with great gusto was Bengal IT minister Debesh Das, the chief guest for the evening, corporate head honchos like Dr Mitra, chief of R&D at Himalaya, as well as representatives from the theatre and art world like Ranjon Ghoshal of theatre group Forum Three.

Yamini Sehgal at the Absolut show

In good shape

Sculptor Arzan Khambatta’s latest collection Emerge was unveiled at Mumbai’s Gallery Art & Soul recently. Known for his experiments and versatility with media like stone, clay and wrought iron to name a few, it is of little surprise that the city’s swish set was out in full force at the opening night of the show.

Emerge showcased gigantic figures in different mediums like copper, mild steel, stainless steel, bronze and carved wood. From mermaids to elephants to other fantasy-filled figures, Khambatta’s pieces really stood out. His expertise was evident in his characteristic finishing touches to these monumental pieces. “I am known to be a chirpy and fun-loving person. But this collection explores a serious side of me,” he said.

The pieces were exhibited to a distinguished audience. Spotted in the crowd were Kumarmangalam Birla with wife Neerja. Also present at the do were Yash and Avanti Birla, Brinda Chudasama Miller, Suchitra Krishnamoorthy and Subhash Awchat.

On a high

Absolut Vodka’s third label collection was launched in Mumbai recently at the ITC Grand Central Sahar. Oodles of oomph, electrifying music and the glamour quotient of attending celebrities made it the talk of the town. So far the Absolut tradition has been to ask upcoming global designers to design one essential item each season. And this year, Absolut launched its lingerie collection.

The four new faces of Absolut in India were also introduced at the venue. Yamini Sehgal (Delhi), Rucha Gawas (Pune), Deepika Kaushal (Ludhiana) and Ekta Dhar (Calcutta) were selected from a nation-wide model hunt called Absolut Elegance. These beauties showed off the collection to perfection on the ramp. Corsets created from black rubber, singlets, beach bikinis and multi-layered pieces reminiscent of nineteenth century crinolines were some of the ramp-scorchers from the collection.

Choreographer Shabbir Mohammed had dancers setting the stage on fire to the tunes of Shakira. Actors Preeti Jhangiani and Parveen Dabbas, socialite Monica Vazirally and most of the Mumbai Page 3 regulars were seen making the rounds. Absolut’s Zone Director for Eastern Europe, Middle-East, Africa and India, Andrew Mcdonald was seen playing the genial host.

Photographs by Kashif Masood, Jagan Negi and Rupinder Sharma

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