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In 2013, we launched H Project, a shop filled with extraordinary products with extraordinary stories. A mission of H Project is to highlight and support different cultures, crafts and artisans from around the world. Now, every year, under the curation of Alexandra Weston, DVP, Brand and Creative Strategy, our visionary behind it, we’ll be collaborating with renowned designers to “uncrate” the special stories, richness and traditions of a specific culture and its crafts.

 

The first stop on this world tour was India. We couldn’t imagine a better guide to bring this dynamic concept to life than designer and tastemaker Waris Ahluwalia, founder of House of Waris. Born in India and now based in New York, Ahluwalia embodies the romance, magic and sophistication of India. In November 2013, he helped lead the Holts team on a journey through Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur and Mandawa, sourcing enchanting products and introducing our team to artisans and their age-old techniques. From block-printed textiles to hand-woven rugs, the spectacular pieces we found on this journey, along with an exclusive collection of jewellery and accessories from House of Waris, were showcased in an “Uncrate India” shop within H Project from April 1 to May 31, 2014.

 

Read Alexandra’s travel diary from her adventures in India, and scroll down to learn more about our partner Waris, plus watch our behind the scenes video!

DAY ONE

NEW DELHI

Lodhi Gardens were a magical moment of serenity in the midst of the city’s chaos. I loved watching families and couples enjoying real life moments together in this incredibly beautiful place.

DAY TWO

UDAIPUR

Seeing the local artists working on our Holt Renfrew X House of Waris prototypes from Batik scarves to marble bowls was exhilarating, it was really happening. At the Batik studio hearing ‘Auntie’s’ stories and understanding the importance of how our H Project shop was helping them, while watching the sun set over the city was a life memory.

DAY THREE

DRIVE FROM UDAIPUR TO JAIPUR

Life is lived out on the streets in India, so our eight-hour drive was filled with animation. I just stared out the window the whole drive taking it all in.

DAY FOUR

JAIPUR

It was fun to really get hands on in Jaipur at the carpet factory dying wool.

DAY FIVE

JAIPUR

Waris and I laughed almost the whole way up to the Amber Fort on top of our elephant trying to hold on for dear life! There was so much to take in, the colour, the smell, the sounds, the views while trying not to fall off.

DAY SIX

MANDAWA

I think I was a pretty fast learning apprentice at the block printing factory!

DAY SEVEN

MANDAWA

Wherever we went, Waris’ friends welcomed us like family. In Mandawa, the prince welcomed us to his castle and organized a private dinner for us on top of the castle turret—it was moments like this that will stay with me forever.

MEET WARIS

Our partner in Spring 2013’s “Uncrate India” shop is Waris Ahluwalia, one of the world’s leading tastemakers. A self-described storyteller, Ahluwalia is equal parts jewellery designer, actor (spot him in his pal Wes Anderson’s films), artist, fashion muse and style icon (on best-dressed lists from Vanity Fair to GQ). Inspired by and handcrafted in his native India, his luxury jewellery collection, House of Waris, has earned him a nomination for the prestigious CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and fans around the world.