Wearable pieces, not locker prides
Brides look beyond gold and diamond jewelry for their trousseau
If you are attending a wedding, adorning yourself with anything other than gold or diamond jewelry was considered blasphemous. It still is, in a large section of society. There is always a diktat of living up to expectations of elders. After all, costume jewelry goes against the principle of ‘signs of prosperity’. If this is the unspoken rule for those attending a wedding, forget the plight of the bride, who has no option but to adhere to chunky traditional jewelry. But somewhere, in small pockets, there are ripples of change that seem promising enough to envelop more naysayers into its fold. Jewelry pieces should be dialogue starters than just locker prides, believes Hyderabad-based designer Suhani Pittie, whose collections have made a mark in Lakme and Wills Lifestyle Fashion Weeks. “Today’s Indian bride is confident and sure of what her lifestyle is going to be after marriage. I see a lot of people opt for practicality, parents included. Many brides come to me with old pendant or brooches and want to mix it up with slight modern aesthetics to develop pieces that they can wear on normal days,” she says.
Designer Nitya Arora, who showcased her collections at Lakme Fashion Week and was recognised after her pieces were worn by Sonam Kapoor, feels contemporary designer jewelry is becoming a part of the trousseau as brides prefer to wear statement pieces for pre-wedding and postwedding functions. She describes her creations as rare, artistic and esoteric statement jewelry. “I love playing with textures, so I use anything from metals like copper, brass, silver, wood, glass, crystal, semiprecious, acrylic to rare materials, enamel, fabrics and even leather,” she says. She suggests mixing and matching statement pieces with real jewelry to arrive at an exciting combination. For instance, she recalls wearing gold and diamond earrings paired with her Brides look beyond gold and diamond jewelry for their trousseau large necklace creation called Cleopatra, which she designed as part of her line for Lakme Summer Resort 2012.
Does fashion jewelry augur well with parents? Suhani doesn’t have a tough time convincing parents. “They understand that besides the few precious investment pieces, young women would use fun and wearable pieces more often,” she says. She designs at least 3-4 heavy bridal pieces in a month and women want to mix steel, copper and other exciting metals to arrive at pieces that they can wear for wedding reception, sangeet or cocktail dos. Innovation, she says, is possible for South Indian weddings as well. “I get orders for vadiyanams in a modern avatar. I use temple jewelry pieces and mix it up with copper and patina chains. At times, I even use traditional naths (nose ring) to make hair pieces,” she says. Designer Eina Ahluwalia from Kolkata believes that understated jewelry is more powerful than their louder counterparts and likes to treat her creations as works of art. She is known for her conceptual jewelry and one of her lines, Wedding Vows, sends out a message against domestic violence. These pieces, she describes, “Use strong motifs that invoke the power of the goddesses such as swords, knives and the trishul, intricately used to denote the symbols of empowerment.” She has used 22K gold plating, silver, blown glass, ceramic, wood, bone, fabric, felt, resign, pigment, silicon, plastic and acrylic in different collections. The shift towards buying contemporary jewelry as part of the bridal trousseau, she says, stems from brides becoming surer of their lifestyles. “Brides today are getting married because they want to, not because they must. They are much more involved in their own weddings,” says Eina. Like Suhani, she has encountered parents who realise that heavy polka and kundan sets will just sit in the lockers. “Parents are open to the idea of mixing traditional wedding jewelry with more wearable jewelry,” she says. This change is made easier with the overhaul of wedding wardrobes, which are beginning to have simpler silhouettes. Lightweight silks, Indo-western ensembles for cocktail dos and receptions necessitate a change in jewelry too. The trick is to find jewelry that’s classy and contemporary. As Suhani sums up, “As long as the look is precious i.e, there is a design element and a strong Indian DNA, it’s appealing. Jewelry cannot look frivolous.
STONE SPELL - JEWELLERY DESIGNER PAVAN ANAND