If it’s October then it surely means one thing – it’s the time of the year when David and I venture on our ‘Grand Tour’ – a rather optimistic euphemism and romantic vision of what is essentially our major buying trip of the year. It is the start of a long selection process that sees us curate the new collections for Autumn 2017 and somewhat incredibly, Spring 2018.  First stop New Delhi, India.  

Bowl of rice

!Incredible India! As the current tourism slogan goes here.  Well, it certainly is an enormous blend of contrasts for sure – on one hand you are blessed with five-star luxurious hotels that are reasonably priced and delivering unfaltering levels of customer service – to where us privileged westerners and middle class Indians retreat from the heat and dust (and smog) of city life – yet on the other hand the city is one of the dirtiest and most chaotic in the world. The traffic is relentless 24/7 and extreme poverty is pretty evident – for example on the drive in from the airport we saw groups of people sleeping, completely exposed, under the flyover just opposite our hotel. I am choosing to hope and believe that this is a tiny minority as despite that, there is an outpouring of positivity and modernity that slaps you round the face like a wet herring. (I fear the writer might have met too many Swedes on this trip already). All the young people are glued to their cell phones and tablets like back home in Blighty. Indian families are very strict about their children’s education – good manners and culture are high on the agenda here. There is a huge building boom and the country is prosperous and everyone is joining in… 

The south of India is entirely different – certainly it still has elements of the third world but there is real spiritual quality about it and the surroundings are lush and verdant. The smog is gone and pace much slower – this is the land where the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel hails from.

Stone terrace

Water feature

As to the purpose of our visit, they do produce some extraordinary products for the modern world – exquisite fabrics, wonderful glassware, wire-work and lighting – to see the fruits of our labour you’ll have to wait a few more months I’m afraid.  This has been a grueling but exciting few days and has once again delivered. Incredible India!  We salute you…