Jewellery designer Ridhi Asrani is on cloud number nine. Recently, her “Dwar” earrings were worn by Seema Patel (played Sarita Choudhury) in the second season of And Just Like That (AJLT). Since then, her phone hasn't stopped ringing with congratulatory messages and order delivery requests.
When asked about how the sourcing of the earrings for the show happened, the Hyderabad-based designer called it a “charmed outcome”. "It felt like throwing a lucky dice, kissing my knuckles and then the universe winking at me. I have been a major Sex And The City fan for as long as I can remember. Season 1 of AJLT had a lot of Indian representation on the show… a lehnga on Sarah Jessica Parker, the Diwali party and the inclusion of Sarita Choudhury to the ensemble cast," she says.
On a whim, Asrani wrote an appreciation message to Danny Santiago (stylist and costume designer of AJLT) and expressed how much she enjoyed the Indian representation. This led to Santiago noticing her jewellery work and asking her if he could source a few of her pieces. And just like that, her work made it to the show.
In an interview with Lounge, the designer talks about her East meets West aesthetic, the changing jewellery client and more. Edited excerpts:
Absolutely. I think it makes way for expansion in newer territories, mainly the fashion capitals. It is a great head start to be seen and known internationally by buyers, audiences and the fashion community. The show has definitely put the earrings and the brand in the limelight; there is a lot of interest in the brand at the moment by American jewellery writers, bloggers and women who love the fashion on the show.
The Dwar earrings are what I call a “hoop on a loop”. It starts off as a stud earring that has a hammered texture on it. They are laced subtly with champagne coloured crystals in a pave-style setting to mimic the 18k gold-polish. It goes on to be a layer of hoops that are entwined. I wanted to create a hoop that has dramatic flair yet is extremely comfortable to wear. The door-knockers seen at temples inspired me to create the main element of the piece, which is what they're named after.
It’s my love for mixing the old with the new, marrying traditional to the modern. The brand’s design DNA is very much inspired by Indian mythology, spirituality and history. It is a heritage-hipster embrace and allows me to add freshness and whip up a signature aesthetic. The inspiration coming from India helps me bring in an authentic sensibility and serves as an anchor point in design choices. When I design I ask myself, “Will a Paris or New York fashion girl love this piece?”, which allows for a strong, bold and maximal configuration.
Yes. I think apart from just stacking rings, bracelets and necklaces, there’ll be a lot of stacking on the ears in the near future. I personally love stacking my stud earrings (which are modular and hence allow for more playful styling), with hoops from my collection or from my personal jewellery collection. I think layering up earrings is a trend we should have fun with.
For a woman who loves her aesthetics, be it her Instagram grid or the vignette on their bedside table. And for the person who looks at fashion as an outlet for self-expression, who is fearless in their authenticity… and then for someone who dances to their own beat. If it had to be a celebrity figure, it would be Rihanna or Elizabeth Taylor, and my favourite, Princess Diana.
I think it’s all about making it personal. People are gravitating towards buying a piece to make it their own, by styling it differently, with a little quirk or tweak here and there. It’s all about original thought in style. They want to choose what feels “like them” versus following what’s in trend. Mixing and matching different pieces, metals, textures to make interesting permutations is also big. People also are assigning more value to the piece in terms of other parameters such as craftsmanship, materials, appeal and the values of the brand versus just evaluating its value by an old standard like metal or gemstones.
Yes, it is definitely having a moment. I do have signet style rings that come in a set of three. When I first designed it, a man loved it and said he would totally wear it and I look to adding more pieces that men can have fun with. But to me, it’s all about being creative… a man can take my flower-inspired stud earrings and use them as cufflinks, for example, and it would work.
I love it. Unlike trend-driven fashion jewellery, everyday couture jewellery tends to have a timeless quality. It transcends fleeting trends and fads and can be cherished for years to come. This timelessness contributes to the longevity and value of the pieces and is more like an investment. I like that someone can wear a pair of earrings with a classic white tank and denims while out on a lunch because they want to add that little chutzpah, and then take the same piece to the dance floor on a disco night with a sexy slip dress.
In India, it’s Amrapali for how they blend the old with the new; Sabyasachi for his eclectic play with stones. Internationally, my top favourites would be Anabela Chan for her whimsical proclivity, Fernando Jorge for a pure, strong aesthetic that is unseen, and Joel Arthur Rosenthal (aka JAR) whose jewellery is the closest thing to magic. Since my aesthetic heavily borrows from the 1980s, Verdura remains my most favourite.