The L’Indochine adventure continues


Asian lifestyle boutique opens flagship store at Mega Fashion Hall
Today, there are many traditional crafts and textiles in Asia that are undervalued and unappreciated.

Exposed to such beauty in their frequent travels, entrepreneurs Char Carlos and Leona Laviña-Panutat were inspired to establish a concept store where the handiwork of indigenous peoples and tribal communities will be given their due share of the spotlight.

This gave birth to L’Indochine, the year-old lifestyle store at SM Aura, which opened its flagship branch at the SM Mega Fashion Hall officially opened on August 27.

In an interview with The Manila Times, Carlos, talked more about the beginnings of L’Indochine. “Whenever my partner and I go abroad, we’d find a lot of interesting crafts from different countries. But for many, the word ‘crafts’ is misinterpreted as old-fashioned, which is why we sought to curate these beautiful finds in an interesting way for our store,” she said.


A bold wooden cabinet with carved patterns from Thailand

Thus, the well-curated and exquisitely designed items—with a distinct and modern Asian style—are now gathered at L’Indochine’s two locations, with the flagship store specially featuring new finds from India, Myanmar, Indonesia and Thailand by C&L, the business partners’ collective name.

Elaborating some of the brand’s highlights, Carlos shared, “We have lacquer ware from Vietnam, which is very special because it takes 20 layers of paint and 75 to 100 days to make.

“Then there are the batiks from Indonesia, which are all handmade. You will see imperfections say on a batik pillowcase, but we embrace them as it just goes to show that they are indeed handmade,” she added.

A bigger space
Asked why they decided to open a flagship store, Laviña-Panutat related, “We began getting requests from our customers in the north to open a branch in the area. At the same time, we also wanted a larger space to execute all the exciting ideas and plans we have for the store.”

Thus, the new flagship store covers an area of 251.67 square meters, almost three times bigger than the L’Indochine SM Aura branch. As a result, the space provides more opportunities for special design concepts, as well as highlighting larger items and furniture.

Carlos added, “At the same time, we also wanted a store where you will feel like you’re entering your well-traveled friend’s apartment.

We realized that dream here at the Mega Fashion Hall. We are now seated in the sala area where we can come together. In the future, we may even hold workshops or parties here.”


Pretty ceramic knobs from India

Moreover, the store’s location at Mega Fashion Hall has inspired C&L to focus on increasing their fashion and accessories collection. Apparel from India, Thailand and Indonesia are soon to make their way to L’Indo-
chine’s racks.

Elements of style will also be evident in the brand’s home collection, which will focus on accent pieces from show stopping ceramics, bright and cheerful batik pouffes and pillows, block print textiles, assorted glass and fabric lamps, to colorful glass and serving ware.

Indeed, in so short a time, L’Indochine has become a favorite haunt of interior designers, as well as everyday folk looking to add a touch of exotic to their home, or simply in search of exquisite gifts.

With two branches now serving the brand’s growing number of patrons, there will surely be more visual adventures to be had for the local market from the colorful corners of Asia.


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