Rise of the Phoenix

Known for its ‘less is more’ approach, muted hues, soft, pliable garments in leather and polyester, and geometric accessories, Indian luxury maison Perona is embracing change with determination. With a wilful use of recycled polyester, ethical manufacturing practices, sustainable tanneries, sustainable and non-toxic materials, there’s a will to do good for people and the environment. We speak to Perona’s Co-Founder and Creative Director, Shruti Mangla, as she launches a new store in the Capital.

Lifestyle Insider Womenswear by Perona

Your brand story has always been about minimalism. How does the Fall collection, Phoenix, take this forward? Why did you call it Phoenix?

The past few decades have been the age of individualism. The centre of human consciousness was directed towards the attainment of quantitative goals and wealth accumulation. Value creation was just a concept, one not understood by many. This year, the global pandemic has made all of us pause and re-evaluate the fundamentals upon which we had built the pillars of our life.

The current situation and its implications have slowly, but steadily made us realize the changes we had wanted to make all along. We had to work individually and collectively to alter our mental, physical, and environmental state that was far less severe.

What occurred as a result is a paradigm shift of perspective from one of wealth accumulation to value creation. Pretentious display of our exterior had made it hard for us to be calm, content, and relate to each other as human beings. In contrast, our new lifestyle of simplicity took off the layers, revealing our true self, providing us access to essential virtues like humility, perseverance, compassion and grace. This is the Phoenix, which has risen out of the ashes.

Phoenix is the embodiment of a simple arrangement of creativity. It is a quiet and peaceful contemplation. It is a collection that celebrates the paradigm shift of humanity from complexity to simplicity, and is a continuation of our core philosophy – minimalism. It is a celebration of the mythical being that is reborn from its ashes, signifying the continuity of life, hope, and constant growth. The collection is a manifestation of the aesthetics of subtraction. It lets the beauty of the product emerge from less rather than from more.

Lifestyle Insider Womenswear by Perona

Your colours are beautifully muted and remain monochrome – what is the colour palette for women and men that you played with?

Modern hues of browns, blues, greys, and neutrals set the mood to welcome winter. 

Across womenswear, a palette of both dark and light colours reflects a sense of optimism in line with the phoenix collection. Blues and greens are inspired from the ocean, whereas neutral tones are inspired by the sand, and are used to give design elements an ethereal quality.

For menswear, with the use of whites, neutrals, navy, black, and olive tones lend a casual ease to the palette. This palette holds global appeal and proves versatile across the category. Wine hues are intense in tonality and feel fresh but are also sensitive and luxurious. Black is a perennial failsafe, and in an uncertain commercial period, it proves to be more popular than ever.

Lifestyle Insider A monochrome look by Perona for men

What are some of the silhouettes that you have played with – for not only the jackets but dresses and pants – what are the shapes that inspire you?

Designs and silhouettes created are soft, flexible, malleable with the body for the wearer’s comfort and contentment. For womenswear, A-line cocoon silhouettes offer a timeless sensibility to ensure comfort and balanced proportions to the wearer. The popularity of utility-oriented design language shows no sign of slowing, as consumers continue to value function and form in equal measure. Styles are designed to be transitional and multipurpose while still being classic in soul and relevant in style.

For menswear, the collection is a terminal for immortal designs abiding by the laws of art, and its tailoring is no exception. This philosophy makes the design details and classic silhouette intended to be slightly more exclusive.

Lifestyle Insider Womenswear by Perona

What are some of the fabrics that you have used – do you continue to use polyester from Japan, for example?

At Perona, premium leather and fabrics are sourced for their purity to ensure quality remains a sensory experience. We continue to use the best of materials and procure them from across the globe after thorough research and sampling. We continue to use premium Italian leather, Japanese polyester, and cotton, along with a wide range of technical fabrics and blends. This season, we have also introduced high-quality merino wool and cashmere across our winter collection.

Lifestyle Insider Perona men's jacket

How have you introduced upcycling in this collection – what are some of the unused fabrics that you have used and in which way?

Perona sources recycled fabrics such as polyester, cotton, tencel refibra, and lyocell. By using recycled cloth, we do our bit to ensure these fabrics don’t end up in landfills, resulting in bringing down the consumption of virgin raw material. We also take textile leftovers and garments, which are broken down into fibres, spun into yarns and finally woven into fabrics to be reused in making fresh garments.

Recycled polyester is a man-made fabric produced from synthetic fibres. Recycled plastic is used to make products such as accessories for bags, such as zips. Recycled polyester and plastics make use of existing plastics like old water bottles or old PET bottles and by recycling single-use plastic, one dramatically decreases greenhouse gas emissions as well as water usage compared to producing virgin polyester.

Refibra lyocell is a fibre made from a pulp containing cotton residue from cutting processes and wood. It therefore gives us the advantage of cotton waste recycled into a new fibre, reducing the need to use virgin raw materials.

Straps of leather and waste paper generated from our factories are given a new lease of life, as they are recycled and used in making our labels, product tags, and other packaging materials. Currently, we only use plastic bags for packaging our online orders and for stock movement between our respective stores. Significant steps are already being taken to omit this last step as well, and make our overall packaging design truly sustainable.

Lifestyle Insider Perona men's shirt

And the processes themselves in terms of manufacturing – have you always tried to be sustainable and cruelty-free?

Perona’s foundations have always been built on a strong aspect of sustainability and ethical manufacturing practices. All of Perona’s self-owned and operated facilities uphold internationally acclaimed certification of being ISO 14001 compliant facilities. This means that our factories have achieved the intended outcomes of its environmental management system. They provide enhanced environmental performance with responsible use of its resources and lowest impact on the environment taking into accountability measures like traceability, water usage, and chemical management, ensuring other environmentally sound practices at every step including zero discharge of hazardous waste.

When you shop at Perona, you can be assured that all the chemicals used in our products are non-hazardous and non-toxic, and comply with the Restricted Substances List of Europe.

Perona facilities uphold the international certifications of being SA8000 and SMETA compliant factories. As one of the most widely used audits, both these certifications ensure that responsible business practices in labour, health and safety, environment and business ethics are practiced by the company. Perona customers can be rest assured that their products were made by craftsmen in a safe, fair and equal working environment.

Lifestyle Insider A laptop bag / briefcase by Perona

Leather from Italy is one of your mainstays – do you continue to dye it in India and do you follow eco-friendly practices? Where is it dyed?

Perona leather garments, handbags, and small leather goods are all made of authentic leather of the highest quality, sourced in Italy, Turkey and India. The tanneries comply with the highest benchmark of sustainable business practices in the leather industry, as they are certified by the Leather Working Group (LWG) as Gold or Silver rated tanneries. The Leather Working Group upholds an environmental audit protocol that promotes sustainable and ethical business practices within the leather industry, ensuring compliance across stringent measures of environmental preservation. We do not dye the leathers ourselves. Instead, we procure finished leathers from our tanneries.

Your bags are always inspired by geometry – what were you going for this time, and who designs these accessories?

The geometrical shapes of Art Deco have been a continuous source of inspiration towards the brands’ approach of product design. The designs this season continue to build on the same philosophy with an inherent sense of longevity in mind. The artisanal range of bags and accessories in muted, earthy, warm winter colour tones are crafted in premium Italian leather, along with the use of technical fabrics and hardware such as nickel.

We have a strong team of international and inhouse designers that work together towards the development of each collection. My team and I drive the product design and development process to create and manufacture all our products. She has a team of international and inhouse designers that work together to develop our collection.

Lifestyle Insider A crossbody bag by Perona

The crossbody has become a big favourite – what are some of the other ‘It’ bags from Perona?

The dual tone circular bag Zoe, the half-moon clutch Cora, and the croissant-shaped clutch Ella, have all become an instant classic in the Perona product universe. This season, leading technological innovations have been brought forth across our range of bags and accessories. We have a foldable laptop bag for instance, which can be easily accommodated in compact spaces for travel. Form and functionality have always gone hand-in-hand at Perona, and the same philosophy will be prevalent in all our creations, all the while with ensuring designs remain timeless.

Lifestyle Insider Perona men's sleeveless jacket

Now with Work From Home becoming the norm – how do you mould your collection to be 'utilitarian' – and how do you tread the line between comfort and workwear? What are some of the trends that we will see from you at Perona?

The collection is a manifestation of the aesthetics of subtraction, letting the beauty of the product emerge from less rather then from more. We believe simple dressing embraces honesty and truth; it brings forth the unique identity of the wearer rather than overpowering him or her. The products represent the merging of two worlds. The collection is designed to be soft, flexible, moving with the body and enhancing the mood of comfort and contentment in the wearer. This demonstrates multifunctionality, fluidity in the system of living, working, and dressing. 

Lifestyle Insider The new Perona store at DLF Avenue, New Delhi

Lastly, congrats on the launch of your new store. How challenging is it to launch a store during the pandemic and what is your plan for 2021?

There is no doubt that the pandemic has unleashed multi-dimensional crises on mankind and humanity. At Perona, we try and embody certain core beliefs:

  • All adversities finally come to an end. Mankind has survived many adversities and we would do so in this pandemic as well.

  • Our endeavour in such adversity is to make ourselves stronger across all dimensions, while being mindful to preserve.

  • So while our expansion plans might have slowed due to the pandemic, they have not stopped.

  • Our new store embodies the same thought as our Fall collection “Phoenix”, as we work to do our bit to build a better world together.

Lifestyle Insider Womenswear by Perona


Priya Kumari Rana

Lifestyle Insider is a kind of junction point, connecting people with diverse interests that touch on the more luxurious aspects of lifestyle – fashion, design, travel, food and spirits, art, watches and jewellery, cars, yachts, and aviation, and technology. People today don’t fit into boxes and categories. In our individual ways, we are interested in diverse themes, products, and the challenges that face our world today. You will judge how well this effort of mine caters to your passions and proclivities.

Lifestyle Insider is a showcase of all that is beautiful and luxe. Behind every creation, is a designer, chef, entrepreneur, or a design maison. I have delved into my own appreciation for objetsde luxe that I have admired over the years – be it a love of fashion from the world’s top Parisian and Italian fashion maisons and their ’90s muses, or the care that goes into sari and Indian textile collections in my own family. Growing up on four continents, as the daughter of a former Indian Ambassador, I’ve seen a remarkable array of historic places and met a myriad people. My aim is to bring my world view into this website, a curation of what I find particularly stunning, unique, and newsworthy.

It’s an exciting time for brands all over the world. With change comes opportunity. With the global ‘reset’ and uncertainty on many fronts, there is a chance to write a new script. Let’s be those pioneers.

A bit about me:
A luxury and fashion journalist with 25 years of experience in publishing and magazine journalism, I have edited some of India’s top fashion and luxury magazines. I got my BA in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and went on to receive my Master’s in English and French from the University of Strasbourg, France. I have also studied German and Film. I live in Gurugram, India, and look forward to once again exploring our world with a new-found freedom.

Priya Kumari Rana

Founder and Editor

Contact Us

Mail us @ lifestyleinsiderindia@gmail.com