Jewelry designer Mrinalini Chandra — one of the most coveted names in the industry today — clearly has an affinity for all things whimsical. She has, after all, turned chairs into bejewelled adornments and fishes into ornamental shawls. With ‘endless love, laughter and happily ever after’ as her mantra, Chandra has taken it upon herself to give fashion jewelry a couture update with dollops of handcrafted finesse. Her pieces are a perfect marriage of complementary contradictions — old-school yet modern, vintage yet eclectic, trendy yet timeless. What’s more, her army of patrons include the who’s who of fashion favourites like Sonam Kapoor, Esha Gupta, Asin, Jacqueline Fernandez, Kalki Koechlin, Karisma Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra and more.
Tell us about your foray into jewellery design and about the launch of the brand.
Like many young girls, accessories always held a special place in my wardrobe but it was only much later that I realized that it was my professional calling. The more time I spent learning about the delicate nature of jewelry during college (editor’s note: she received her masters from the Creative Academy, Milan and Fashion and Lifestyle Accessory Design degree from NIFT, New Delhi), its profound relationship with the wearer drew me to explore this particular art form further. I honed my skills at Tanishq and Mont Blanc before officially launching my label at Lakme Summer Resort 2014.
Your brand is well known for giving the Indian aesthetic a modern twist. Tell us more about the thoughts and ideas behind your various collections.
Creating aspirational wearable art has always my ultimate dream and Indian handicraft techniques and textiles have always inspired me. It was perhaps this love for delicate and intricate handcrafted artworks that made me pick a field that allows me to indulge in the same. I am very hands-on with my work. I think of myself as more of an artisan — I like to sit with the metal and create new things using my bare hands. Truth be told, there’s nothing quite as fulfilling.
What are your key inspirations?
I draw inspiration from everything around me. Variety inspires me. It’s the love for experimenting with design that leads me to create dynamic forms while keeping the beauty of the pattern intact. There is scope for so many new things and that challenges me to experiment and take risks in terms of material, forms, craft, techniques etc. Since I love traveling, I often take several cues from art and architecture too. Nature, of course, has been a ubiquitous influence across my collections.
What are the top trends and must-have jewellery pieces this season?
Palm cuffs, hath phools and hair accessories are reigning trends at the moment. For someone who likes to go that extra mile with their jewelry, our unique introductions like metal scarves composed of a fish motif, arm spring, elbow cuffs, fingertip rings, gajra hair pins and maathapattis should be go-tos.
Which pieces dominate your personal jewellery box? Tell us about your go-to pieces.
My personal jewellery box is dominated by statement earrings and glass bangles. I also love tribal finds and a lot of my personal jewelry pieces have been acquired during my various travels around the globe. I believe in allowing one accessory to dominate my look and avoid unnecessary clutter.
Do you have an advice on the right way to accessorize?
It is quite interesting to see people accessorize in unexpected ways today. Experimentation is essential and the wearer must always style the accessory in a manner that stays true to their aesthetic. After all, it’s this individual touch that gives jewelry life. I sometimes see people falter when picking the right jewelry for an outfit — the key is that the two should complement each other but never clash and fight for the limelight. A lot of thought needs to be put into this, particularly if you wish to go OTT. Balance is everything.
Which are your favorite pieces from Luxemi’s collection?
I absolutely love the glass kundan earrings available on Luxemi — they promise to give any Indian outfit such an interesting facelift!
What do you think of Mrinalini Chandra’s creations? Tell us in the comment box below!