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Caroline Weller has spent the bulk of her design career working corporate gigs in New York — Calvin Klein, Club Monaco, J. Crew, Express and, most recently, Armani Exchange, where she was senior vice president of women’s design. Her career took a sharp left when a consulting opportunity relocated Weller to Jaipur, India, where she was able to “become the true gypsy I’ve always dreamed of.”
This story first appeared in the June 4, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
A gypsy of the jet set, if you will, since Weller and her husband have homes in her native England, plus France and Switzerland. Adding India to the mix pushed Weller to launch Banjanan — derived from the Hindi word for gypsy — a collection of travel-ready gear inspired and produced by local artisans in Jaipur. “Necessity breeds invention, or in my case it bred creativity,” said Weller. “I needed a whole new wardrobe to embark on this lifestyle, and I really wanted to produce a clothing line that did two things: be incredibly stylish and glamorous but also at the same time very down to earth that you can wear with a real ease. I also wanted it to be incredibly packable, things that you can roll up in a suitcase and were of excellent quality, and that you can wear to different occasions like a lunch on the beach and also out to dinner.”
The Banjanan caftans, maxidresses, tunics and pajamalike pants are made of silk and cotton, trimmed in embroideries and done with hand-blocked prints according to local traditions, resulting in a bohemian look. Designed to be seasonless, the collection is currently in Barneys New York, Aerin Lauder’s Southampton, N.Y., store and on indiahicks.com. Prices range from $34 to $250, wholesale.