LFW: Jewellery tells a global story

Jewellery designer Suhani Pittie broke out of her oxidised silver mold with her recent Lakme Fashion Week collection, called Free Religion. Suhani’s jewellery was a mix of two worlds—though “very Indian in my DNA”, she made the most of several nomadic influences in this collection.

Expertly rolling several eras and cultures into a cohesive gypsy-inspired collection, the jewellery had both rustic and contemporary touches. For instance, necklaces or individual pieces in antique gold finish were combined with turquoise stones, coloured enamelled pieces, or coloured fabric. Suhani made ample use of beads, stones and studs and symbols open to multiple interpretations. The oft-used crescent could symbolise Islam, Shiva’s hair adornment or the Chinese Yin.

Suhani Pittie neckpiece with crescent Model wearing Suhani Pittie jewellery at LFW

My favourite piece from the collection was a neckpiece that started as a temple necklace, added a foldable steel plate (it really was foldable, I checked), with a small metal Ganesha and coral and turquoise pieces.

Model in Suhani Pittie's jewellery

Speaking Chic says: Very artistic, but the retail collection may be a card swipe or two.

LFW: Glass on your neck

Eina Ahluwalia’s Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2010 collection for Breathing Space was characterised by two main themes: mini glass containers (“Containment”) and felt (“How I Felt”). Building up on the concept of containment, Eina used miniature vases, bottles, jars to symbolise urns that contain our ashes.  The oversized glass pendants also seen in the collection made quite an impact on the ramp, and were strung on sterling silver with semi precious stones.

Eina Ahluwalia's LFW show Eina Ahluwalia pendant

Felt created by Dutch artist Beatrice Woonders was used as stoles, or studded with semi-precious stones for neckpieces. I asked Eina why she used felt. “I wanted to do something more interesting and challenging beyond gold and silver,” she said. Simple, straightforward, and well-put!

 Eina Ahluwalia at LFW

 Speaking Chic says: Some very interesting concepts, and clearly the artist in Eina shone through. She says her work is in the space between art and commercial jewellery. Indeed, but she just about makes the cut into commercial.

What do you think of Eina’s jewellery? Tell us!

Transformed: Vintage to Ultramodern!

I still remember the moment I first spotted it. It was late evening and I was in my PJs, rummaging through mom’s cupboard. The beige fabric had perhaps lost some its shimmer, but a good dry clean could restore some of its erstwhile glory. I dug deep for more information on this six-yard fabric, a sari I didn’t remember seeing earlier. The sari was her wedding gift from an American family friend, Mom explained. Unfortunately, she had no idea who the designer was.

Vintage sari

My surprised reaction was, “I didn’t know you had such a lovely sari!” The netted fabric had flowers woven into it, giving it the appearance of lace. Best of all—it was vintage!

Vintage definition It was to be my first family appearance in a sari (a cousin’s wedding reception) and I wanted it to be memorable (for them and for me). Now that I had discovered the perfect sari, I had to face a formidable challenge. Being a vintage garment, my look had to preserve the essence of the sari, but I didn’t want to look an auntie either. I concluded that I needed to drape the sari the traditional way, wear classic jewellery, while creating a look that stated modern, elegant and “quarter-life-crisis-has-just-struck-me” simultaneously.

Blouse hunt

It’s only in the past few seasons that the sari blouse suddenly rose to prominence on and off the ramp. The plain, self-colour blouse was boring; variety in colours, fabrics and embroidery were à la mode. Blouse-hunting turned out to be harrowing process, going from store to store, looking for the right match, comparing materials. The brocades were in the wrong colour, the velvets were too plain. We emerged from a trifle disappointed from all the stores we visited.

At the last store on the list, I pulled out a swathe of orange, sequins-laden georgette. I held it up against the sari, took it out in the sun, and voila! The rows of the little gold embellishments did not just spice up the sari, but also made it super stylish, with a dash of colour and bling.

Vintage is forever, so are diamonds

It was the ultimate fashion conundrum— what do you pair with a vintage outfit? How do you give it your personal signature while paying tribute to the original creator who laboured over it decades ago?

For starters, the accessories had to be timeless. And there’s nothing more timeless than diamonds. I opted for a dangling pair that ensured I looked my age, and teamed it with a simple ring and matching gold-and-diamond cuff.

Plum it up

It was an image of Dita von Teese on a beauty portal that inspired my makeup. Her bright red lips were too hot to handle for me, but I stole her idea of drawing attention to my lips. I followed the natural-looking layer of foundation with muted lilac eyeshadow and pink blush from MAC, but jazzed up the lips much as I could with an intense purple Lancôme lipstick that would stay through the event.

I already had a great haircut, so I just blow dried it the right way—a sideswept fringe across the forehead that had people asking for my stylist’s number!

Hey there, gorgeous!

The compliments that evening ranged from “So who did your makeup?” to “You’re looking sexy!” to “That’s a lovely sari! Which designer?”

But that all didn’t matter. The best compliment came from the original owner of the sari, my mom, who said, “The sari is perfect for you. It’s yours now!”

Wearing an invaluable vintage garment albeit with a contemporary touch is a sartorial experience I’d advise all young women to try. Why? Because it made me feel good, it made me appreciate the real artisans, and because it was one of my biggest style moments. I left the reception as radiant as the bride.

This post is the official entry to Star World Betty of Elle Contest- http://www.starworld.in. Being an ardent fashion follower and blogger (feel free to explore the Speaking Chic blog and the Twitter feed) as well as a word lover, getting a chance to work at Elle would fuel my passion for fashion, style and writing. Elle India’s approach of balancing high-end fashion and spot-on trends with engrossing features and cutting-edge photo shoots is the perfect launchpad for a career in fashion writing and blogging. I hope to make this kind of writing be taken seriously in India, and developing an online Indian fashion destination. With the great insights into the fashion and publishing industry that I get from the internship, I would improve my fashion knowledge and eye for fashion, style, aesthetics and trends. I’d learn about the fashion business, how to identify trends and ideate, the ropes of styling, magazine design and photography, and even what it takes to produce a 200+ page magazine month after month with great content. At the end of the two months, I would be in a better position to combine my journalism and content development background with fashion to develop a distinctive writing style that would make me a better fashion blogger and writer (I aspire to be India’s answer to Cathy Horyn and Suzy Menkes :-)). Above all, the internship will be the experience of a lifetime, and I will emerge enriched in every way possible.