Designer, Mrinalini Chandra for the first time has displayed her everyday wear silver jewellery collection titled ‘Meer’ at the on-going popup bazaar called Shower of Gifts at Vivanta by Taj, Panaji. Her designs of maang tikkas, earrings, necklace, bangles, brooch and others have been worn by Bollywood celebrities like Karishma Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Vani Kapoor, Huma Qureshi and many others. NT BUZZ spoke to Chandra to know about her collection and more
VENITA GOMES | NT BUZZ
Q: You have showcased your work for the very first time to the Goan audience. Tell us something about this collection which you have displayed at the popup bazaar?
We are very excited to launch our very poetic new line of delicate everyday wear silver jewellery called, ‘Meer’. It’s named after my favourite poet and philosopher. I’m hoping just like his poetry the collection will find many admirers in Goa. The collection comprises of gemstones and German silver.
Q: What inspired you to venture into fashion?
Like any other girl I have always had a deep association with fabrics, gemstones, my mother and her friend’s jewellery but it was only much later I realised that it was indeed my calling. The more time I spent learning about the delicate nature of jewellery during college, its profound relationship with the wearer drew me to further explore this particular art form. Eventually, I wanted to pursue a career in fashion and went to NIFT, New Delhi. Then a jewellery design competition hosted by The World Gold Council changed my life and I became sure of my career as a fashion and accessory designer. I went to do my masters in Italy to specialise in the same. Also, the support of my family and friends is a big reason for where I am today.
Q: You have earlier worked at Tanishq (New Delhi) and Mont Blanc (Germany) before launching your own label in India. How has that helped you in your career?
It helped a great deal. I feel it has shaped my entire way of thinking and enhanced my design sensibility. It gave me a global perspective towards art.
Q: What inspires your designs? What are some of the things you like working with?
I draw inspiration from everywhere. Variety inspires me. There is scope for so many new things. This thought challenges me the most to experiment and to take risks in terms of material, forms, craft techniques etc. Since I love to travel, a lot of my inspiration comes from art and architecture. Also the influence of nature is quite dominant in my work. Other than that, handicraft techniques and textiles always inspired me. It was perhaps this love for delicate and intricate handcrafted artworks that made sure I picked up a field that will allow that indulgence. I am very hands-on with my work. More of an artisan myself, I like to sit with the metal and create new things with it. It’s a very fulfilling activity. I love what I do so every new project is fun and exciting and I cherish the journey once it’s over.
Q: Your debut collection called ‘Please have a seat’ showcased in Lakme Fashion Week 2014 left the fashion fraternity in awe. Tell us more about that?
Yes, it was my debut collection with Lakme Fashion Week. I still get goose bumps when I think of my first show, Summer/Resort 2014. The concept comes from an incident of being lost in a furniture museum during college days in Paris. It is an ode to the mundane. Living and celebrating small joys. It’s the derivation of inspiration from the objects of daily use as objects of art – chairs. The collection ‘Please have a seat’ is a reminder for everyone to take a deep breath and live the moment. In today’s day and age, and our constant struggle with ourselves, we forget to absorb or even notice the simplest and most mundane experiences that life generously offers. One such very mundane experience is sitting peacefully in a beautiful chair. To find your favourite place and call it home – your chair. There is so much beauty in that piece of your favourite furniture. Admire its form, material, craft, making and admire the things that you see when you sit in it.
Q: When you work with celebrities what are some of the ideas you take into consideration and focus upon? Do you have a stereotypical image in your mind that you keep while working with them?
When I am designing I imagine it is for women who can relate to my jewellery, who would love to wear them and enjoy the playfulness as much as any other girl. I like to keep it real and genuine. A lot of our celebrity clients are quite dynamic in their choices and it gives us a chance to think and work out of the box. Of course a celebrity’s look is definitely something I keep into consideration while working on a custom design. The outfit, venue, event etc all play an important role, like red carpet look would call for something more statement than a movie sequence or film promotions. Even though I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoy working on custom projects. The uniqueness of them challenges me and gives me great joy to see it translate for a special person who wanted just that.
Q: Could you trace the change in fashion trends over the years?
It’s been four years for me now and feels like a decade of the ever evolving fashion trends. I feel fashion moves in circles. What my mother wore in her college days has made a comeback (The retro flared denim, hoops and chokers). In fashion, what we think is current and relevant will move on quickly before we know. The key is to identify one’s own style and choose comfort over anything else. Rest will come and go.
Q: How do you cope with fashion trends that are changing every day?
That’s the most fun part of fashion that it’s ever changing. It’s a bitter sweet feeling. I love the newness yet at the same time one doesn’t live a certain trend as one would if it didn’t change so fast. A lot goes into creating one collection so it’s nice when it’s loved and wanted for longer.
Q: Do you compromise on quality to make a product within a certain range?
Never have, Never will. We are always willing rework the design according to the clients budget, but never the quality of the product.
(Popup bazaar will be open till June 23 at Vivanta by Taj, Panaji from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.)