Uber-luxe fashion accessories
The elegant DIOR JOAILLERIE collection is Parisian designer Victoire de Castellane’s tribute to the brand’s design philosophy. The hand-crafted collection is imbued with historical references, translated into pieces of beauty through powerful forms and an interesting colour palette. The iconic Rose des vents has new jewellery creations in emerald and malachite; it can also be combined with Rose Céleste medallions.
Bally—founded in 1851 by Carl Franz Bally in Schönenwerd, Switzerland—is an Alpine-origin brand synonymous with beautifully crafted shoes, bags and accessories. It has a rich heritage of shoemaking and over the years, has extended its handcrafting skills to other fashion accessories. The Bally Vestige Bags and men’s accessories such as leather wallets and belts are part of the brand’s A/W 2020 collection. Soft shapes and sculptural silhouettes are accented by Bally’s signature 1851 hardware. The gold-tone hardware celebrates the brand’s founding year with interlocking “B” details and is inspired by the long-standing heritage of shoemaking.
GENES by Lecoanet Hemant
Genes Lecoanet Hemant’s timeless ‘Love in Black and White’ is a range of reinvented classics in a colour palette of, well, black and white. The upcycled styles, such as a shirt playfully combined with a t-shirt, a piece of t-shirt sleeve cut into the shape of a heart and inlaid on a shirt is Didier Lecoanet’s attempt to return to his French roots and the artistry of garment making.
Jewellery and watches
Swarovski Crystal Flower Watch, Gold Plated
Swarovski’s Crystal Flower Watch has a bezel that features two intertwined rows of bright crystals on rose-gold tone PVD coating. Nestled among these sparkling lines sits a grey sunray dial with crystal index markers and the Swarovski logo at 12 o'clock.
The quirkily named young jewellery studio, Housee of Cleeo, creates contemporary versions of Indian jewellery. Like these modern Blue Lapis studs. Blue Lapis is a stone rarely used by Indian jewellers, who opt for emeralds or rubies when it comes to precious stones. This makes it a rare acquisition, or gift.
The designers at Raniwala 1881 have upended jadau and polki jewellery traditions to create minimal, urban pieces studded with emeralds, blue sapphires, rubies and corals. Minimalism is the overwhelming trend of a world dealing with a pandemic, and these pieces keep it simple even as they allude to ancient traditions of jewellery making.
Handmade and artisanal
The social-venture group, Studio Coppre has revived the ancient tradition of using copper to make weaponry and other such, and leveraged it in exciting new ways. They work with artisans across Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal to create a range of chic cookware, tableware and their striking diyas, tea lights and votive.
Baaya brass banyan tree
Baaya, a luxury handmade retail brand has put out The Exclusive Collection, with classic patterns, designs and craft traditions such as copper enamelling. The brass banyan tree is a handcrafted artefact that can be used as an accent décor piece; it can also be personalised for the person you are gifting it to.
Puja Bhargava Kamath’s handcrafted Bidri brand, Lai, has put out striking modern ceramics with art that marries a bit of Jamini Roy and Bengal’s Kalighat paintings. Puja has collaborated with a fifth-generation artisan family, helmed by a Shilpguru or master craftsman, to produce limited edition, design-forward objects.
Home accoutrements and objet d’art
The broken twill weave, popularly monikered Herringbone, is a distinctive V-shaped weaving pattern and resembles the skeleton of a herring fish. Considered a design classic, Janavi India—a brand known for the exquisite cashmere shawls it retails at Bergdof Goodman to Saks Fifth Avenue Liberty at London and Lane Crawford—has launched a range of Herringbone patterned bed furnishing, like this vibrant ‘Elephant Navy in Duchess Satin with personalised motif Herringbone’ Blanket. Duchess Satin is a lustrous fabric used for couture bridal gowns in the western world.
Obeetee has collaborated with designers such as Tarun Tahiliani and Raghavendra Rathore for a series of designer rugs, with prices beginning at Rs 2.6 lakh. Tahiliani-designed rugs brandish three distinct design structures: The Antique Frames Collection with elaborate painted borders drawn from Mughal miniature paintings; The Chikankari Collection with the traditional Persian garden vines; and The Abstract Art Collection inspired by the designer’s works of art.
For the ObeeteeXRaghavendra Rathore collection, designer Raghavendra Rathore has dived deep into the royal grandeur of the Marwar region, specifically Jodhpur, for core inspiration. It explores the imperial motifs, colours and patterns that are emblematic of the designer’s aristocratic lineage.
Good Earth - Papier Mache Decor
Good Earth’s Puspanjali Collection features three special edits that find an evocative way to reference flowers, which are at the core of prayers and rituals across all religions. My favourite are the papier mache products, inspired by the heritage craft of Kashmir that upcycles waste paper into delicately hand-painted decor pieces. The range features vivid blossoms in quintessentially romantic styles on decor trays, trinket boxes and bowls.
Kika Tableware’s curated sets of table accessories references our 2020 obsession: A way to connect with nature, even as we were shut within our homes. Their kingfisher trays are particularly fetching.
Curio Casa, Don't Test Me
Curio Casa’s Don’t Test Me is a minimal and edgy vase with gold tones.
Spirits and wines
We lost winemaker Kapil Sekhri, the co-founder of the fabulous Fratelli Wines, to a heart attack last month. He was known for his experimental streak and the proof of that is TiLT, a wine-in-a-can, a concept he was working on. Fratelli just launched India’s first wine-in-a-can makes for a lovely gift. TiLT has been crushed, fermented and blended at India’s largest privately owned vineyard by the winemaking team, led by winemaker Vrushal Kedari under mentorship of Peior Masi, Fratelli's master winemaker from Tuscany. It combines various indigenous varieties such as Thompson, Sharad, Purple and DIlkush along with hints of regular wine varietals such as Chenin and Syrah.
Frank Gehry with the Hennessy bottle
Hennessy, an exquisite cognac brand, has a limited-edition decanter designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, which celebrates the 150th anniversary of the world’s most expensive cognac, Hennessy X.O. In his signature sculptural style, Gehry reinterprets Hennessy X. O’s classic bottle by marrying gold with glass. 150 years after its creation, at the 2020 harvest season, Hennessy X.O commissioned a World Odyssey, unveiling Frank Gehry’s creation on September 25.
Indian designers Shivan and Narresh have collaborated with Chivas, to create the packaging for ‘The Blend of Paradise’, which marries exotic flora and fauna with intensity of colours.
Beauty and wellness
Increasingly, Indian luxury beauty brands are going back to their Ayurveda roots to create a range of beauty and wellness products not just for women, but men too.
The Kama Ayurveda collection for men spans a Himalayan Deodar Face Cleanser that “preps the skin for a comfortable shave”; Pure Vetiver Water, a refreshing face mist and natural astringent that “hydrates, balances the pH balance of the skin”; a mint lip balm; Hydrating Ayurvedic Face Cream; and my favourite, the Khus Natural Soap, made using vetiver or the summer classic, khus. If you have grown up in the 70s north India, you will remember that piquant Khus scent, when water was sprayed on khus curtains that sheltered the elegant havelis. This is a great way to relieve those memories.
From what we see in Europe, which is struggling with a second COVID wave, the road to opening up is long and full of disruptions. Wellness, then, is at the centre of experiences that brands are attempting to create at home.
Cureveda is a young Ayurveda-powered wellness company. Its Glow & Sparkle Combo has a blend of several skin products, from adaptogenic beauty protein powder infused with “sea buckthorn, Vitamin E from sunflowers seed”, and Cureveda’s Sparkle a “plant-based formula to boost immunity and detox the body”.
House of Three
The House of Three’s wellness box is a soothing blend of natural materials: Jamdani place mats, espresso cups, assorted Podi's from Udupi Kitchen, coffee from Ainmane, a Jamdani mask, spirulina by Blue life, a glass Jar by Chairs & Company, and natural kadha powder by Manak Mew.
Food and Beverage
Starbucks Diwali blend
Starbucks Diwali Blend is made from coffee grown in the Valparai, Jumboor and Suntikoppa estates located in the verdant hills of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and pays tribute to the region’s coffee culture. This complex blend balances acidity with warm notes of cocoa, hints of chocolate and spice.
Graiz, a gourmet food company, has tied up with The Spotted Cow Fromagerie, an artisanal cheese brand to create a formage feast you won’t be able to say no to.
The Spotted Cow
The Spotted Fromagerie is a small Mumbai-based creamery that hand-makes vegetarian and preservative-free artisanal cheeses.Deepali Nandwani is a journalist who keeps a close watch on the world of luxury.