Bibhu Mohapatra Designs Fine Jewellery With Forevermark
When Indo-American designer Bibhu Mohapatra’s creations are worn by the likes of US First Lady Michelle Obama, Gwyneth Paltrow, Priyanka Chopra, and Kangana Ranaut, one can be assured that his designs are nothing short of spectacular. Known for his contemporary chic design sensibility, the Odisha-born designer has now partnered with Forevermark Diamonds to create his first ever collection of fine jewellery. Dubbed Artemis, the celestial collection has three key motifs — including the sun, moon, and stars — seen on gorgeous earrings, rings, bracelets, pendants, and brooches. Hauterfly caught up with the designer for a tête-à-tête about his new collaboration and designing for the Indian market. He’s what he had to say:
Did you always want to design jewellery?
When I started out, it was always clothes. My love for designing started with playing with fabrics and using my mother’s sewing machine. I never thought I would be designing jewellery too one day, but I’ve been thinking about it for a decade now!
Why such a long wait then?
I wanted to build a brand first and then find the right partner to take it ahead.
So how did this collaboration come with Forevermark?
A friend of mine works with Forevermark Diamonds. When I expressed to her that I’d love to explore the jewellery segment, she set up a meeting with her team. I met Sanjay Jain and we brainstormed about the possibility of working on a line that would be interesting to both of us. We wanted to design fine jewellery that had longevity and inclusiveness. It wasn’t about creating exclusive, one-of-a-kind pieces that only a few people could have access to. We wanted to create a collection that had a range of products to attract a broad group of people based on the aesthetics, price point and simple design sense.
How different and challenging is it to design jewellery?
Designing jewellery is very different from designing clothes because the materials are so different. It’s a different cycle altogether, so it was great to have the Forevermark team support me in the process. When I presented them with my initial sketches, they gave me a lot of technical feedback — like the metal content or the size of the diamonds, the value, and all those things — and sort of held my hand through it. They told me what the key attributes of a successful jewellery design should be and that really helped.
And what are they?
The jewellery needs to feel precious, it should be empowering, have a unique design which can be perceived as valuable. It needs to have quality. It needs to have longevity. I learnt a lot from the Forevermark team. It was fairly easy to adapt to and now I feel empowered too! If I had to do the collection again, I have an idea or two about what to tweak or change.
Why choose a celestial inspiration for your first collection?
I always knew it had to be something from my heritage. So I looked into the vedas and some of the rituals speak about the alignment of the sun, moon, and stars, and how they determine a person’s life and their relationships with others. That was very interesting to me. These pieces are very personal; they tell stories, whether it’s being gifted from a mother to her daughter or from a husband to his wife.
Who is Artemis for?
I design for the Bibhu woman, who is evolved and understands the value of a beautifully crafted piece and the quality of the materials that have gone into its making. She is someone who knows what fine jewellery is from the ones that are not. She is very versatile, confident, and empowered. She’ll find that these pieces go very well from day to the evening. She could be living anywhere, be it here or in the Middle East, America or Europe, because the world has really become a smaller place. And the same person wants to make Artemis a part of her life because of its versatility and how it fits into her life.
What are the first pieces you designed?
The pendant and the earrings with the medallion (mariner’s compass), and the cuff with the brushed metal. They are the key pieces because they have the insignia and some of those elements are sprinkled through the rest of the collection.
What is your vision for Artemis?
I’d love for Artemis to evolve into a much bigger and broader category. Something like an organic evolution of this collection because we want to build it as a brand that has a presence; that lives for a long time. I don’t think we can do something completely radical in terms of design since longevity is the key and I’m perfectly okay with that.
A wedding collection and then menswear, and shoes, and perhaps accessories. The shoes that you saw last night at the show were from my collaboration with Christian Louboutin.
Would you consider doing a bridal line exclusive to India?
I don’t know if I’d like to do a traditional Indian collection. There are so many incredible designers here who create such exquisite collections, so I’d rather do something else to capture a different part of their lives. But who knows, I never say never!
The Artemis collection will be available at the following locations:
Mumbai: Mahesh Notandas, Om Jewellers
Delhi: Hazoorilal Legacy, NTS Navrattan Jewellers
Bengaluru: C Krishniah Chetty, Abaran
Kolkata: Sawansukha Jewellers
Vadodara: Narayan Jewellers
Chennai: Vummidi Bangaru Jewellers
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