Posted On Friday, December 28, 2012 at 10:02:54 AM
He calls himself “the gold man” and to live up to this self-image, he ordered himself a shirt in gold. Datta Phuge, a chit fund businessman from Pimpri and whose wife Seema Phuge is an NCP corporator, took the delivery of his custom-made 3.25 kg 22 karat gold shirt on Thursday; he had jewellery weighing 5 kg loaded around his neck and wrists as accessories.
His next, but by far more modest, aspiration in the making is a gold covered mobile phone. “The gold shirt has been one of my dreams and I am elated to collect it today. It will be an embellishment to my reputation as the ‘Gold man of Pimpri’,” Phuge told Mirror.Preening over his Rs 1.27 crore costume, he said he will wear it to ring in the New Year on December 31.
About 15 goldsmiths laboured over 15 days, working 18 hours a day, to make 14,000 gold flowerrings, interwoven with one lakh spangles, which was assembled on a fabric base of imported white velvet. The shirt has six Swarovski buttons and a gold belt to complete the look.
“After extensive research on the design and the look of the piece, I decided to give it an armour-like appearance,” says Tejpal Ranka who designed this opulent apparel. Phuge, clearly a lover of bling, owns about 10 gold chains (including three chains of 70 tolas or 700 grams each), six bracelets and 25 rings, collectively weighing 10 kilograms.
But his most prized possessions are custom-made personal effects, which include a pen and a wristwatch made by the same jeweller. Now, the shell of a phone from Nokia’s gold series is being further gilded. It is likely to cost him another Rs 2.5 lakh.
The phone is expected to be ready in a month’s time. “The body would be retained and the cover would be made in gold. This will be challenging as the elasticity of plastic cannot be matched by gold; so the skill set of the designer is put to a complete test,” said Ranka.
Phuge sees a lot of wisdom in his style of flamboyance. “People buy cars and go on holidays abroad. For me, gold is the ultimate passion. That is the reason I have spent a whopping amount of money on the shirt. I am looking at it as an investment which will keep appreciating.
I inherited a fair amount of gold; I also want to leave behind a sufficient amount of gold for the next generation,” he explained. He has, however, not set himself a target on the quantum of gold he finally hopes to hoard. He is also not bothered by security concerns. “I have my own security system in place. I always move around with bodyguards,” he said.
What the style Gurus say
► Design wise it is basic. But kudos to the designer for thinking out of the box, though I wonder which man would pay to wear it
- Swapnil Shinde
► What is it — shirt made of gold? Perfect for Ramleela as it is too dramatic and impractical to wear
- Pria Kataria Puri
► It looks like a gold mesh shirt-style jacket. It is not my style and it has no structure or shape. And looks very busy with the red buttons
- Maheka Mirpuri
► I haven’t seen the piece up close, so it is difficult to comment. While it must be intricately crafted, I see it more as a novelty item
- Nachiket Barve
► As if there is not enough bling on clothes. Would love to see someone wearing it. Maybe, I will be surprised
- Narendra Kumar