Maharani is a shop known to the fashion and fabric cognoscenti, located in a well-trodden block of the Fulham Road, the window is an invitation to the treasures within. For thirteen years Sarah Mahaffy has satisfied and indulged her knowledge of and passion for textiles and design. An Oxford graduate, Mahaffy had a long career in book publishing, both as an academic publisher and as one of the founders of Boxtree, which published books tied to television programmes and films.
Mahaffy has formed a strong relationship with Archana Shah, who designs lovely clothes for elegant Indian women and during her thrice yearly visits Mahaffy may make some unnoticeable adjustments to designs to suit her European market. The Maharani shop is packed with colour and monochrome, beautiful dresses and jackets, linen and silks from Bihar, dip-dyed matka silk from West Bengal, organic cotton and cotton, signed handloomed shawls from Maheshwar and blankets from Kashmir, and even a rare Shekawati shawl from the Thar desert. There arevintage textiles as a point of reference to the embroiderers and weavers from different areas, whose work is collectable and a testament to the detail and romance of the Indian craftsmen.
Mahaffy gives lectures focusing on textiles and her experiences in India in the shop. She is also the UK representative of Quo Vadis Travels, based in Delhi, arranging trips to India and occasionally taking small groups, with a focus on textiles.
Once you have visited Maharani you will be sure to return, the clothes are as unique as India itself and the shop clearly lives up to the accolade of being one of Anna Harvey’s, the late Vogue fashion editor, favourite shops.