She has a disclaimer when Fortune India asks to do a photo shoot with her. “It’s just a room and I do all my work there sitting on the floor, sometimes,” she says. “The big things are not in the room; the big, cool things are in my head.” A graduate of London’s Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, and popularly known as Little Shilpa, Chavan is India’s best known milliner and studied under the legendary Philip Treacy. Showcased on the runway, her work has been described as art. Her work is shown in fashion boutiques and collections such as Al Sabah in Kuwait City. She has also made hats for Lady Gaga. She is inspired by everything from roadside toys to skylines in different cities.
He is the only living Indian jeweller whose work has been featured on the cover of Christie’s Hong Kong catalogue (in November 2010, a lotus necklace with a 12.29 carat Golconda diamond). His work features in the Christie’s and Sotheby’s catalogues, but Mumbai-based Modi says his great dream is not about global acclaim. This third-generation diamond jeweller says Indians are starting to rediscover the value of their heritage. “Jewellery has been seen as an investment, but it is much more,” says Modi. “Our forefathers knew that it is the greatest art and, at its highest level, it is priceless. After you satiate your desires for a home, car, and clothes, comes jewellery. We are on a learning curve, but I am confident that we will once again create some of the greatest pieces in the world, not just for global customers but our own.”
For the last year, Gupta has been described as “the find from India” in Milanese furniture and design circles. A graduate of London’s Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, her work is displayed at Spazio Rossana Orlandi. She won the prestigious Elle Decor International Design Award in 2006, 2009, and 2010, in not one but three categories—bedroom, kitchen, and furniture designs. After a coveted solo slot at the Salone Del Mobile (Milan’s annual design fair), in April, she moved a notch higher with a showing at Sotheby’s in May.
Stanford MBA Seth’s Casa Forma, a bespoke interior design firm, entered the limelight by winning two Design et al International Design and Architecture awards last year. But the London-based firm and Seth have been on the radar of London’s super rich ever since it was founded in 2007. The firm has worked on everything from Sloane House, one of the most expensive homes in London, to numerous properties in Mayfair, Kensington, and the Berkshire Polo Club. Projects are also under way in Monaco, Dubai, Delhi, and Mumbai. While the firm is secretive about its client list, there are whispers of the Hindujas and F1 baron Bernie Ecclestone being fans.
His clients include international design houses Kenzo and Armani. Scion of three generations in the textile business, Jain smiles when told that his nondescript store, Maharani Art Exports, near the clock tower in downtown Jodhpur, Rajasthan, is frequently referred to as a hidden gem in world fashion. “I have no desire to be better known,” says Jain. “I am here to serve and select the best fabric and handwork for my customers and clients.” His store is a treasure house of fabric: Everything from the patchwork quilts of the region to delicate cottons and mulmuls, to intricate knitwear and precious pashmina shawls. There is little that Jain cannot pull out on demand.