Bespoke, crafts and power dressing – Ahalya S brings it together at her new abode
IF there is one person in our city who seemingly has never had a bad hair day, even in the figurative sense, it is Ahalya S. Over 12 years, and during her 18-month break from active retail after her stint at jewellery brand, Rasvihar, she has presented an imperturbable tranquillity to the world at large. Truth be told, she has been furiously working on her inventory, when not helping regular clients repurpose jewellery tucked away in their lockers.
‘‘This break has helped me re-evaluate what I want to do. I am clear now about bespoke being close to my heart. The recent months have seen me have actual conversations with clients, to listen to their stories and engage with them on so many dimensions,’’ she begins. Jewellery is very personal, she agrees, ‘‘revealing the wearer’s innocence, ego, how she perceives herself and wants the world to see her.’’ Thus, when the Psychology graduate-turned-jeweller opens the doors to her carefully restored heritage bungalow, Kingsley, today, clients will want to have first dibs on a distinctive line that exceeds 400 pieces.
Ideal of luxury
Ahalya agrees that her jewellery has evolved to become ‘‘finer, with cleaner lines, and more expensive looking.’’ This is the time for precious jewellery, she insists, even if women are splurging on spectacular designs that fall under the costume category. ‘‘Women, especially in senior management, have referred to my jewellery as a form of power dressing,’’ she chuckles, adding, ‘‘and yet, here it is you who wears the jewellery, not the other way around.’’
The eponymous line will feature statement gold jewellery, besides a more ‘‘affordable and liberating’’ silver line, and a selection for children. As expected, everything comes at a premium. ‘‘Luxury is all about perception,’’ Ahalya goes on to explain. ‘‘We are expensive but the time taken to handcraft the jewellery is important to the craftsmen and to us. More than words of appreciation, it is money that indicates their worth and gives the craft longevity.’’ Perhaps to offer visitors a better understanding of the skill involved in the making of her jewellery, her new abode will include a workshop to view how the jewellery is made. ‘‘I do not want to ‘museumise’ the process, but this is not jewellery created in a sterile environment,’’ she says. Kingsley will include a room featuring her Kanakavalli Kanjivaram saris, and another for blouse fabrics.
Meanwhile, the Chettiar house, restored over five months by her cousin and architect from the UK, Gayathri Selvan, together with interior designer, Elamma Kuruvilla, features black Italian marble flooring, the original teak beams and doors and soon, Flos Italian lighting. Next month, a gift room, featuring gold lacquer jewellery boxes and onyx hairpins among others, will be introduced. As Ahalya puts it, this is just a quiet launch, with the big opening scheduled for October. But you are welcome to begin shopping now.
Jewellery from Rs 30,000 and Rs 4000 (silver), saris from approximately `6,000. Details: 42855111
— Rosella Stephen