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:: Spotlight :: Chitra's Closet Winter Collection 2012

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

A trip to Chitra’s Closet in Melbourne’s north is like stepping through the looking glass into a magical world. The boutique is a child’s fantasy treasure chest of beautifully handcrafted, sumptuous garments, brought to life with loving care by designer Chitra Mangma. The tiny 1910s building on Sydney Road, Brunswick, which houses Chitra’s Closet, is reminiscent of a Gingerbread House, with Chitra’s hand painted floral murals juxtaposed with raw, exposed bricks. Along with vintage rocking horses, Mary Poppins umbrellas and shelves of quirky accessories, these create an eclectic backdrop to the display of brightly coloured silks and flowered cottons. Sydney Road, with its reputation for being the hip new strip on Melbourne’s north side, is the perfect place for Chitra’s Closet, and Chitra is often seen peddling her bike down Sydney Road to work, dressed in an extravaganza of colour and texture.

Born in north-east Thailand, Chitra left behind a fast paced career as an advertising executive to move to Melbourne in 1997 - on a whim, and without a word of English. This carefree spirited enthusiasm is in everything Chitra does. Inspired by her love of clothing and textiles, she quickly enrolled in a fashion course and after graduating in 2002 she opened her first boutique on a wing and a prayer. Melbourne, and Australia, was quick to take note. In 2006, Chitra was one of only six up and coming designers invited to show in the prestigious New Generation parade at Australian Fashion Week. Since then, Chitra’s Closet has become a well-established label. The business has been running for eight years now and has successfully staged sixteen fashion shows, each showcasing Chitra’s unique style and executed with flair.

Chitra designs for a modern, elegant woman who is seeking something different and is not led by mass produced chain store fashion. She said, “The Chitra’s Closet girl wants everything in her life to be beautiful.” Chitra’s Closet garments celebrate old world style, grace and elegance; with silhouettes to accentuate and flatter womanly curves. As well as being vivid, eclectic and flattering to the figure, Chitra’s collections are recognizable for the daring contrasts of fabrics, prints and colors, as well as hand stitching features, contrasting trims and covered buttons. All garments are made from one hundred per cent natural fabrics.

And, with that, Chitra showcased her new collection in a fashion show like no other at the Lux Foundry on Wednesday, May 16 2012. Located in the unique heritage listed building of Brunswick, the Lux Foundry was reinvented; from its café ambiance by day it became an ingenious airport by night.

As Chitra said, “You don’t have to travel the world; let the world travel around you.”

Chitra’s range is available exclusively through her boutique at 97 Sydney Road, Brunswick. Phone 03 9387 3135. Her website is here

Pictures from the launch night can be viewed here