Bold and The Beautiful

GloveNitya Arora’s hand glove.

From haathphool and maang tika to waist belts, nail jewellery and hair accessories, body jewellery is the girl's new best friend.

When Mumbai-based jewellery designer Nitya Arora started working on this year's Spring Summer collection, her plan was to design contemporary pieces that would blend with modern ensembles. "I thought of the peplum dresses that have now made a comeback. Almost immediately after, it struck me that I could achieve a similar cinched waist effect with a peplum waist belt. I strung together colourful tassels to make these belts," she recalls.

Much like this waist belt, several other body accessories have now garnered popularity. For instance, the label Outhouse has come up with ornate body harnesses this season; fashion designer James Ferreira has ventured into jewellery designing with a line of nail jewellery and three-in-one rings that drop on the side (around the knuckles), while Shruti Bheda's label Blur Designs has a collection for ear cuffs and elaborate hair accessories. Suhani Pittie too has been winning people over with her metal belts, hairbands and ear buttons. Meanwhile, the haathphool (comprising a ring that flows into a delicate bracelet) — designed by Eina Ahluwalia, Amrapali and others — is become sought-after.

Today, jewellery designers are creating accessories that look beyond the usual. This shift, Pittie believes, is part of an attempt to reconnect with our cultural heritage. "There is a certain revisiting of history happening through jewellery ideas, whether it's war-inspired knuckledusters or body harnesses or romance-inspired ear cuffs and hathphool," she says. According to Arora, body jewellery has been part of tradition across countries and cultures. "For the longest time, gypsies have been flaunting their love for body jewellery items that are available in flea markets of Rajasthan and Goa. Similarly, in places such as Turkey, women are known to wear bold jewellery, including necklaces that travel from the collarbone to the navel. Rajeev Arora, founder of the brand Amrapali, concurs that jhoomars, maang tikas, haathphools and hair accessories have been part of Indian bridal wear for long but are now being contemporised. "With these items getting reinvented, they are now being worn not just with Indian dresses but also with Western ensembles," he points out.

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