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    Introducing  Confluence, a crystal project that sees leading names in fashion and jewellery collaborate.

    EIGHT years ago, Swarovski would sit journalists down and talk endangered wildlife and panda figurines. Collectibles were a big deal to clients of the Austrian crystal major at the time, an obsession that began in 1976. Today, this category takes a backseat. It’s the brand’s role in fashion that is widely publicised, thanks to ambassadors and models, Miranda Kerr and now, Karlie Kloss. From wedding lehengas to bags, footwear, interiors, technology and saddlery, it appears no form of design is averse to a bit of shimmer. But first, there is the brand’s success in fashion jewellery, and its latest project, Confluence.
    Admitting that counterfeits and cheaper crystal alternatives from China and Korea have been flooding the market over the last two years, Vivek Ramabhadran, MD, Swarovski Professional India, had a plan last year. It involved holographic tags with a unique tracking ID and a stronger emphasis on fashion design. Confluence, launched on Monday, involves 11 top fashion designers and jewellery brands. There are names like Amrapali, Eina Ahluwalia, JJ Valaya, Manish Arora and Rohit Bal, each designing a capsule collection featuring the latest crystals with patina effect and pearl tones, plus an India Modern brief. Amrapali’s Tarang Arora, for instance, has worked with rose peach, siam and luminous green crystals in a heritage line called Flamboyance. The avante garde Gaurav Gupta has used the golden shadow crystal in many shapes, while Valaya’s Ranas of Kachch borrows royal accents from the Rana of Kachch in Nepal and the nomads (kutch). Manish Arora’s Indian pink crystal and neon green pearls are an extension of his vibrant spirit, while edgy jewellery brand Outhouse takes a bold turn with motifs like the black panther and the dragon fly. Logistics are handled by Swarovski, as it manufactures and markets the capsule collections. ‘‘Consumers today are more discreet with bling and appreciate sustainable features. We are the only brand in the crystal segment in India that is lead, nickel and cadmium free,’’ observes Ramabhadran. The 37-year-old Chennaiite isn’t about to let his clients overlook this detail.

    The 80-plus designs are priced between Rs 5,000 and Rs 15,000, and will be retailed at select stores like Amethyst and Evoluzione in October. Details: 28464060

    —Rosella Stephen

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