Retail Therapy: Kiran Rai

March 17, 2010 by Lila Delilah

Kiran Rai founded the popular fashion brand, Sir Alistair Rai with a line of t-shirts that had slogans such as, “Adopt Me Angelina” and a portrait T-shirt of Mahatma Gandhi. The Kitson buyers saw these t-shirts and the brand has been in rocket mode ever since.

Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Halle Berry and Jessica Alba are fans of Kiran’s designs, which has expanded into ready-to-wear and accessories. Today, her collections can be found in over 500 retailers including, Nordstroms, Intermix, Henri Bendels, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.

This week, we caught up with Kiran to talk a bit about our favorite pastime– shopping. After speaking for a short while it became evident that Kiran’s style has two very distinct tracks, one that’s easy going and relaxed and another that’s completely polished and sophisticated. Kiran’s split life between Arizona and NYC is literally, poolside to Upper East Side. She has a weak spot for Chanel but is lusting after a classic pair of denim overalls. If these two items aren’t diametrically opposed, what is?

Read for yourself and let us know what you think.

What’s your most prized “deal?”
Around Halloween time I went to Screaming Mimi’s (a downtown vintage shop) looking for a costume. I ended up getting a fox hair coat for $120. It’s really beautiful.

The best deal was a YSL jacket I found at a thrift store in San Francisco for $60. I wear it all the time. Since the recession I find that vintage and consignment shops are booming with more product then ever before.

Biggest regret that you didn’t purchase?
It’s almost ridiculous, but I wanted these Chanel flip-flops made of cheesy PVC. I think about them all the time. They are a plain black flip-flop, the bottom of the sole is gray and there is a small logo on the side. They almost look like Havaianas –but Chanel Havainas. I thought they were just too ridiculous but I would have worn them all the time.

This season you are looking for…
This season I am looking for denim accents. A really good denim shirt or Ralph Lauren overalls. The look takes me back to 1984. There is something about it that just feels right.

What’s your number one shopping tip?
If you cant get it out of your mind go back and buy it. I used to just buy, but then I realized that I just ended up with lots of things that I don’t even wear. I have become more frugal. If I think about it for a week, it’s mine.

What’s your biggest weakness?
Chanel! I am a huge fan. I think it’s timeless. The pearls, the bags, cloths, shoes—I have tons. I have enough ballet flats to open a dance studio.

Is there an item for which a shopper should never mind paying full price?
I say Chanel. It’s timeless. I don’t feel like this about any other designer besides the House of Chanel. It’s worth the money. You only need one timeless bag in black. You will remember more about buying your fist Chanel than you will about your first boyfriend. It’s the truth!


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