Of princess, pastel flowers and homegrown slow luxury brand - Akutee

Ghatge added that the name is not just a nod to her lineage, but also an ode to all the women in her family.
Last Updated : 18 May 2024, 09:32 IST
Last Updated : 18 May 2024, 09:32 IST

Follow Us :


Bengaluru: Mostly in pastel shades, whimsical flowers trail the length of pallus, dupattas and the arms and body of jackets.

Painstakingly hand painted or hand embroidered, they would have been a family secret of the Ghatge royal women – a princess lovingly embellishing the clothes of her loved ones.

But thanks to cricketer Zaheer Khan's astute business sense, it turned into a homegrown “slow luxury” brand, Akutee.

“Hand painted embellishments have been part of my childhood; my mum’s been doing this for so long that I took it for granted. But my husband (Zaheer Khan) encouraged me to make it into a bespoke collection,” said Sagarika Ghatge, actor, model and former national-level hockey champ, who runs the label along with her mother, Urmila Ghatge.

The mother-daughter duo had unveiled their collection in Bengaluru at the Four Seasons. For the one-night-only event on May 16, the hotel’s exclusive whisky parlour, The Collection, turned into a viewing room for a carefully curated collection of sarees, dupattas and blazers.

When they finally decided to take the plunge almost a year ago, ‘Akutee’, princess in Marati, became the natural choice for a brand name, said Ghatge.

“Well, she is a princess,” shrugged Khan.

Ghatge added that the name is not just a nod to her lineage, but also an ode to all the women in her family.

“Akutee is a step back in time, to an era marked by impeccable taste and poise,” said Ghatge.

Design inspirations, she added, are straight out of the gardens of the royal Ghatge family of Kolhapur.

“My mother is really into gardening and often flowers that bloom in our garden find their way into our clothes as hand-painted motifs,” said Ghatge.

Passion was one thing, but business was an entirely different ball game, agreed Ghatge.

“We decided not to rush into it, to take it very slow. My mother first mentored a lot of artists who now help her recreate the designs that she had already done over the years – since she was 16 years old – adapting them to suit today’s garments,” said Ghatge.

Things picked up pace much earlier than they thought, said Ghatge.

“We have put together a home collection, too, now. We are in the process of launching it,” said Ghatge.

Khan chipped in with how he's pushing them to embellish men’s wear too.

“They made a kurta for me for Eid. A lot of my friends and acquaintances were very interested in it, and they kept asking me about it. So, yeah, I think, they should now focus on menswear,” Khan told PTI.

It will happen when the time is right, insisted Ghatge.

“I am very happy with how we are progressing. It's all happening at the right time. Because we don't want to compromise on what we are doing, it’s about doing things in the right way, getting the right people, mentoring the right artists, who would like to be a part of Akutee,” said Ghatge.

Although Akutee for now is synonymous with whimsical flowers and butterflies, Ghatge said she is open to other influences as well.

“There’s a lot more we can do tomorrow, of course. India has so many different kinds of arts to draw inspiration from,” said Ghatge.

The one-night showcase in Bengaluru was sponsored by Nebula, Titan’s luxury timepieces brand in 18k carat gold.

“This is the second edition. First one showcased jewellery. We are planning about four in a year, each one will explore different elements of finer aspects of life. It may not be just clothes or jewellery, it could be music, it could be art…” said Shalabh Arora, Director of marketing at Four Seasons, Bengaluru.

Published 18 May 2024, 09:32 IST

Follow us on :

Follow Us