Datta Phuge’s nickname is “the gold man”, and it’s easy to see why. His knuckles, neck, and wrists are weighed down by the precious metal – signet rings, chunky bracelets, and a medallion that even an Olympic champion might envy. And on top of that, draped resplendently around him, glittering in the light, is a shirt of gold.
‘Extravagant fashion statement’
Weighing a staggering 3.3kg (about 7lb), it cost him a cool quarter of a million dollars (£162,000). It’s an extravagant fashion statement, to say the least, but for Phuge it’s an important one.
Given its impractical nature, the shirt only gets an outing on special occasions, like parties and important functions. It elicits a mixture of reactions, Phuge says. Some people are impressed. Others are sniffy about what they regard as the excessive bling. Either way, to ensure the shirt stays on his back, Phuge has a security guard with him wherever he travels.
‘Ultimate manifestation of achievement’
A team of craftsmen decided to make a gold cloth based on an Italian weave, using a special machine. They drew inspiration from old images of Indian kings wearing suits of armour. To prevent it scratching, they stitched a velvet lining inside. The finished shirt is heavy to wear and a little clunky. It can’t be washed so care needs to be taken not to let it get dirty, or indeed too sweaty.
Phuge says wearing it makes him feel good. For him it is the ultimate manifestation of achievement and gives him a status he has craved since he was young.
Every six to eight months, when his company turns in a profit, he buys something else made of gold. Next on his list is a mobile phone made entirely from gold, and perhaps a pair of gold shoes.
Would you drop $250,000 for a gold shirt? What is your most expensive luxurious indulgence so far?
Source: Rajini Vaidyanathan, BBC News
Image: Incredible Things