Coastal Chic

Indian luxury lifestyle brand Nicobar breezes into the Capital with a fresh new store at The Chanakya. We speak to the co-founder CEO Raul Rai on what drives its travelling, India-inspired, socially conscious spirit.Launched with pomp and ceremony in 2016 with two-decade old parent company Good Earth keeping a fond eye on its newest child, Nicobar, the Indian lifestyle brand that's dedicated to conscious-but-comfortable fashion for men and women, travel accessories, and home decor, tableware, bedding and soft furnishings, has an equally exuberant party recently to fete its new Delhi store at The Chanakya, right next to its concept cafe, Nico-Caara. ‘We launched Nicobar because we felt that there was a plethora of design inspiration across India and the Indian ocean,” says Raul Rai, who co-founded the brand with his wife Simran Lal (daughter of Anita Lal, the founder of Good Earth), and now serves as its CEO. The spirit of Nicobar is inspired by journeys across the Indian Ocean. What promoted this former investment banker from New York, who studied at Boston University before getting his MBA at Harvard University, to get into retail? It was about a vision, a passion, says Raul. When I lived in the US and Europe, I wished we could create things out of India to represent the world. Friends who visit want to take gifts back from here. Where do we take them, besides Good Earth? Once he saw international brands like Anthropologie getting products manufactured over here, he decided to create his own label. Raul takes me on a quick tour of The Chanakya store (Nicobar also has two outlets in Mumbai and one outlet each in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Jodhpur, and Goa), pointing to one of his star products - the simple kulhar. It is a classic made fresh, with clean, modern lines rooted in an ancient tea culture, a design icon that is reimagined and handmade for chai or champagne, says Raul. The kulhars come in sets of four under collections such as Ceylon and Galle. He points to a roti box: Instead of Tupperware, ours is made from brass and wood, with tongs, and will stay with you forever,” he says. The Kandy collection features alphabets on mugs that tell the Indian story - so it is U for unth (camel) and Y for yoga. Nicobar home currently has 33 collections, made and sourced from all over India, each piece decorated by hand.