A kaleera redux
If you have been ogling at Priyanka ChopraÃ¢ÂÂs kaleeras, jewellery designer Mrinalini Chandra is the one you need to stalk
Jewellery designer Mrinalini Chandra, who is from Lucknow, had never really known what the fuss over the kaleera was. Worn by Punjabi brides on their weddings, the umbrella-shaped hanging accessory is usually worn on the wrists and is part of an important marriage tradition — the bride shakes her hands over the heads of all the unmarried girls, and whoever the kaleera falls on, is supposedly the one destined to be married next.
"But, I was fascinated by them, and did a version of the kaleera at my 2014 Lakme Fashion Week show. It has never been revisited before, and I wanted to do something different with it," says the 30-year-old. The motif designer made one that had miniature Mughal thrones hanging from it, the quirkiness of which got noticed by everyone.
Sonam Kapoor wearing Mrinalini's kaleeres
But it was this year in May, when Chandra sent a pair of kaleeras to Sonam Kapoor as a gift for a wedding, that life went into high gear. The kaleeras were made of exquisite dancing peacocks and the Aisha actress instantly fell in love with them.
"Sonam had worn my jewellery in her movie Khoobsurat, so we decided to send her a gift of love on her special day. She ended up liking them so much that she wore them on the wedding day," says the designer, who last year also became the first Indian designer to design a jewellery collection for the game Candy Crush Saga.
Since then, life has been a whirlwind of designing personalised kaleeras for modern brides. Chandra, who makes her sustainable kaleeras by dipping recycled metal into gold, has made a wide range of diverse kaleeras. There was one with vintage cars for a bride whose husband loved them. Her most recent hit was the one made for Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas's wedding, with the initials N and P incorporated in the jewellery.
"I always urge the girls to choose something modern and edgy, something that connects the dots for them, and tells a story. It's also a game between sisters and girl friends. For example, for Priyanka's wedding, since the initials were incorporated, if they fell on someone's head, they had a memento to take home from the wedding," says the designer.
Chandra credits her success to keeping the conversation always about her work and keeping it fresh. As far as inspiration goes, the designer says, "I find humour in every day things. This is not some hard-core conceptual jewellery. If I like a chair, I make a chair."
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