Edwin Lutyens, the early 20th-century city planner of New Delhi, called his creation the 'Rome of Hindoostan'. Little did he know how apt the Italian reference would turn out to be. India's capital has emerged as a centre of global fashion, its beautiful people no less fabulously frocked than the high-heeled who totter along the ancient streets of Italy's eternal city. Walking in New Delhi, however, is not recommended. (Nor is it advisable to hail taxis because vehicles and drivers have questionable reputations.) Forget the pedal tri-shaws (below left) and other travel-magazine cliches; hire a car, grab a map and plunge into the city's colourful boutiques. Centrally located, the Park Hotel offers delicious Indian fare, sleek suites and a well-edited selection of souvenirs inside The Box (below right; 15 Parliament Street, tel: 91 11 2374 3000). The tiny boutique endorses the good work of a Gujarati NGO committed to women's empowerment. Check out its mobile-phone cases with intricate embroidery (365 rupees/HK$70) and brocaded cowbells (465 rupees) for those who prefer to ring the old-fashioned way. The latest Indian designers can be found at The Crescent at the Qutab, on New Delhi's southern edge. At Namrata Joshipura (G-9, tel: 91 11 2952 2301), fashion editors from around the world snap up slim-fitting dresses with plunging necklines stitched in gold thread (18,000 rupees). Nearby, at Balance by Rohit Bal (G-5, tel: 91 11 2952 1515), India's best known designer shows off his talent for ready-to-wear with handsome silk dress-shirts featuring anything from delicate flowers to raging bulls (from 4,990 rupees). Neighbour Manish Arora Fish Fry (G-10, tel: 91 11 2952 1582) represents the next generation of local talent with his outrageous creations. Expect swing skirts festooned with an aquarium of glittering underwater life such as seahorses and starfish (18,950 rupees) and statement-making coats with Indian gods (20,000 rupees). Don't skip the upper floors, where Ranna Gill (F-5, tel: 91 11 2952 1590) takes inspiration from Diane von Furstenberg's form-fitting wraps but makes them her own with nifty weaving tricks and chain-link embellishments (from 7,500 rupees). Rajesh Pratap Singh (8-9, The Garden Village, Garden of Five Senses, Said-ul-Ajaib, tel: 91 11 9310 02857) may be the best-known name among the 11 Indian designers to congregate at leafy arcade Garden of Five Senses, but the others are on the rise. This is the place for sublime fitted jackets (20,500 rupees). This season's pouf skirts (2,800 rupees) make a flirty appearance against the white lacquered walls of Aparna Chandra (shop 1, Garden of Five Senses, tel: 91 11 4051 9011). This designer completes the look with ruffled silk blouses (from 1,500 rupees) that also work with wool hound's-tooth shorts (1,800 rupees) for when temperatures eventually drop. Ana Mika (14, East Bazaar, Garden of Five Senses, tel: 91 11 6457 0330) updates traditional hand-block cotton printing. Her translucent silk dresses with peacock-inspired imagery (5,000 rupees) will spice up hot summer nights.