The Telegraph
Sunday , June 6 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cool comforts

It’s that time of the year when even the thought of stepping out of home can make you perspire. But if you’re among the lucky ones who can actually afford to stay indoors, why not go that extra mile — or metre — to wrap your surroundings in cool comfort? Think wispy sheer drapes, light curtains and invitingly soothing bed linen.

This summer take your pick from a range of collections that can lighten your interiors and your mood too. We’re talking pastels, beige, whites, and maybe even a dash of sunny hues, on the colour palette, minimalist designs and embroidery, and even unusual material like paper and fragrant fabrics (with aromatic herbs blended into the weave).

That cotton is by far the most favoured fabric in summer goes without saying. But luxury home textiles brand Maishaa has taken this to an even higher level of comfort. Its summer offerings in bed linen like the Marco Polo and Softmante lines boast of the finest cotton fabric with a thread count of over 600 per 10 square centimetres (regular cotton sheets have a thread count of 200-250). Higher thread count means better quality and durability.

And what makes these two collections extra special is a blend of Sofin, a micro-fibre four times finer then natural silk and 40 to 100 times thinner the human hair. “Sofin increases the smoothness of the fabric and lends it a pearl-like sheen,” says Arun Garg, president, Maishaa. Since luxury never comes cheap be prepared to write a cheque for anything between Rs 7,895 to Rs 8,895 for a Marco Polo sheet and Rs 2,895 to Rs 3,395 for a pillow case. Softmante bed sheets start at Rs 6,995 each while pillowcases are priced between Rs 1,795 and Rs 1,895 a piece.

While cotton undoubtedly rules the roost, other fabrics like linen and cotton blends and even polyester, surprisingly enough, figure extensively in summer collections. High-end home furnishings brand Muslin has a new summer collection of curtains in cotton and linen in myriad shades of beige and white. Designs include light thread embroidery and simple stripes — another popular summer pattern.

Sangeeta Saha of Muslin says polyester, especially for sheers, is also favoured because it is relatively low-maintenance. Muslin’s polyester sheer drapes are mostly in pastels and shades of whites and also combinations of the two. Pick these up for anything between Rs 250 to Rs 1,600 a metre and curtains starting at Rs 350 to Rs 750 a metre.

Hop over to FabIndia for more options. Take a pick from the silk-cotton sheer drapes with chanderi work (Rs 960 a panel) or the mul fabric ones (Rs 375 to Rs 400 a panel). Looking for something even more exclusive? Try the Winddrift and Moonwalk collections from Atmosphere (priced at Rs 2,100 and Rs 2,300 a metre respectively). These sheers are made of loosely suspended threads in between two layers of silk fabric. “It makes for a stunning visual effect, especially the Moonwalk collection in which the material has a metallic sheen to it,” says Ami Bhatt, brand manager, Atmosphere. Another hugely popular line is the silk-embroidered Gingko collection of sheers (Rs 2,300 a metre).

While most of the summer collections go heavy on the whites and pastels to beat the heat, there’s no reason to give the more cheery shades a cold shrug altogether. So if you’re ready to forgive the sun for its excesses and celebrate the sunshine instead, check out Neha Jalan’s summer line at Onset in Calcutta’s Hindustan Park. Neha, who believes that “our homes are as deserving of a summer makeover as our wardrobes”, has silk curtains with “happy” pinks and greens prints on a white or off-white base. These come for Rs 1,350 a metre while her silk-cotton bed covers in bright sunny hues are priced between Rs 9,000 to Rs 12,000 a piece.

And if you want to give curtains and sheers a miss this summer and go with blinds instead, check out Kazage’s new summer collection, Ekon. ‘Eco-friendly’ is the buzzword for Minakhsi Almal, who opened her store in the posh Sunny Park area a year ago. Her blinds are made from paper with a minimal blend of silk and cotton. The paper, imported from the UK, is especially treated at her factory in Lucknow to make it durable and water-resistant. “So these blinds are not affected by the humidity,” she says. Priced between Rs 100 and Rs150 a square foot, these beauties come in colours like vanilla, beige and silver grey.

Maishaa too has innovated with its fabrics for the summer. Sample this — an Egyptian cotton bed linen line called Fragrance. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like — these bed sheets and pillowcases are woven out of cotton that has been blended with aromatic herbs. Choose from lemon, aloe and ginseng to soothe your senses. The collection starts at Rs 545 (for a pillowcase) to Rs 5,000 (for a sheet). And the fragrance lasts up to 15-20 washes.

But if you’d rather leave aroma therapy to spas, take comfort from the fact that Maishaa’s Marco Polo and Softmante summer lines are completely ‘odourless’. These collections proudly flaunt the Sanitized seal, a worldwide recognised symbol for anti-microbial protection, which means these fabrics have been treated for protection against bacteria, yeast and fungi. Result: They’ll always remain ‘odourless’.

So, what’s stopping you? If you’re looking for relief beyond just the air conditioner, take a pick from these ‘cool’ furnishings options and welcome summer into your home.

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