RIGHT from the beginning of her career with acclaimed designer Michael Aram (known for his hand finished metal-based home décor line) Manreet Deol, 37, loved the creativity of being a designer. “I have always been creative. In high school, I started fashioning jewellery out of recycled materials. I think this sowed the seeds of a future design career,” says Deol, whose new project is a line of sculptural contemporary jewellery called Manifest Destiny (MD) that was created last summer in collaboration with her brother, Samraat Deol.
Though from Punjab, the designer spent many years in Delhi, where she studied accessory design at NIFT. “The Inlaks Scholarship in 2001 took me to New York to study at the prestigious Parsons School of Design where I got a degree in design marketing. After an expansive career in NYC, designing for brands such as Aram, Jay Strongwater, Waterworks, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Judith Leiber, I decided to move back to India in 2009,” Deol informs.
Origin in eccentricity
Her richly textured bracelets and bold pendants are created using unique methods. “Just like the great masters, every MD piece begins as a clay sculpture that I create. It is then cast in various metals using the ancient artisan technique of sand casting,” Deol elaborates. “Our creative process and technique perfectly reflects the handcrafted ideology that we want our brand to reflect globally,” she adds. Despite its bold accents, Deol assures that her pieces fall under the category of “everyday wearable art” and she insists,“Our inspirations are varied and eccentric —gnarled corals, sensuous vines, bold rock sculptures, tribal and urban art, music, street food, all somehow influence a unique visual vocabulary that is at once familiar and also unexpected.” How often does one see aluminum jewellery , she asks. ‘‘It’s lightweight, has a beautiful shimmery silver colour and does not tarnish. It works beautifully with our large pieces. ’’
For now,the collection only features pendants and bracelets, but Deol plans to add earrings along with other fashion accessories such as scarves. Popular among expats, Deol takes inspiration from various artists and says, “Everything from minimal mid-century art to the iconic sculptures of Richard Serra and the beautiful lyrical paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe are awe inspiring. I also love the work of jewellers like JAR and the classics created by Verdura.” Why Pondy? “The first time I visited Pondicherry was in 2001, just before I was moving to the US. I was instantly smitten and could think of no better place when I shifted back to India a few years ago. What began as frequent trips led to me moving here full time in 2011,” says Deol, who has just had her first trunk show in Mumbai.
Her products range from Rs. 1,200 to Rs. 5,500. She will have a trunk show at The Amethyst Room at Chamiers from March 21 to 26. Details: manifestdestin.in