Men’s jewellery extraordinaire Robert Tateossian on the Indian market and the power of Titanium
Leaving a cushy investment banking job for the fashion world has its risks, but Robert Tateossian felt it was time to be his own boss. Today, the world heralds him as the “King of Cufflinks” and celebrities like Naomi Campbell and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, swear by the brand. “I started designing waistcoats first, but they were taking up so much room in my tiny office that I needed something smaller. So, I began to think about cufflinks. All the guys from Merrill Lynch wore them but they were never very exciting—all knots and circles,” he shares. The Tateossian ethos was to create a cufflink that would be both masculine and funky. Gradually, the brand inched into women’s jewellery and accessories as well, and takes credit for the masculine bracelet trend.
Launched here last year, Tateossian plans to expand to airports and stand-alone stores in India in 10 years. “I don’t think cufflinks with gemstones will work here, but the animal designs, the compass or the watch designs may work better,” says the founder. Capitalising on the success of the 2012 collection, the A/W collection appeals to the businessmen and the silver lovers. “The ‘Easter Island’ cufflink takes centre stage. We also have a business collection of affordable cufflinks,” says Tateossian.
Tateossian’s latest collections to foray into India—Spazio, Mechanical and Titanium—mark major innovations in the men’s jewellery market. “Titanium is lightweight and very durable and used in car racing and surgeries. We always like the challenge of new materials. Titanium is difficult to work with so it feels like an achievement when we see the outcome,” he enthuses. The Mechanical collection sees the launch of the Tourbillion and Vintage Skeleton cufflinks. “Using the tourbillion movement, the polished piece is set off beautifully with a gold colour wheel and enamel elements which rotate when the cufflink is shaken.” Vintage Skeleton is sourced from a private collector’s personal eight-year collection with rare watch movements from the 1940s. The Spazio collection, however, is a limited edition with only 25 pairs of each design available. Constructed with rare meteorite, brain coral and dinosaur bone, each piece has a story to tell.
Swarovski studs: Only if you are the brave guy who likes bling
Blue cufflinks: Play it safe. They match navy, grey and blue suits
Mother of pearl and onyx: For the conservative but dapper dresser
A rare stone or glitz: Save this one for the big day
Tateossian is available at tateossian.com and at Collective, Chennai. Prices start from Rs 11,200 onwards. Details: 2833 2128
— Divya Karthikeyan