Riddhima Kapoor Sahni was already knee-deep in preparing for her jewellery collection’s showcase at the upcoming London Fashion Week, frazzled with Zoom calls that went on for hours and figuring out logistics when she found out that the show is going to be preponed because the Queen of England has passed away.
“Everything was going as planned and on schedule but then this tragedy happened in the UK,” she said, when asked about how she was feeling about debuting on a global platform like the LFW, “We had to prepone our show by two days and everything has been so hectic. It’s just two days after I get there, so my nerves are shot right now! (laughs). It’s been a very hectic three days for us so I’ve had no time to even think about how I’m feeling or sitting and just thinking about the show!”
The showcase will feature pieces from her collection with Punjab Jewellers, paired with British luxury high fashion label Helen Anthony which is spearheaded by designer Naeem Anthony. Recounting the story of how the collaboration with the UK-based designer happened, Sahni said, “I was randomly going through my emails at the end of a long day and I spotted one from Helen Anthony’s team in my inbox, offering a collaboration at the London Fashion Week. My eyes almost popped out in excitement! We had to grab the opportunity immediately.”
This happened at the beginning of August and since then, according to Sahni, it has been a whirlwind. “I got my team together as soon as I could and flew to Bombay to sit down with them and start working on the collection. Then it was a series of numerous Zoom calls and meetings to discuss how it was all going to come together.”
The jewellery designer had not met Anthony before the collaboration but was excited because of all the “amazing things” she had heard about him. “It was actually amazing to be able to work alongside him. He is somebody who is so talented, creative and, most importantly, he knows exactly what he wants, just like me. Right from the beginning, we were both on the same page, so there was no conflict. He knew exactly where I was coming from and so did I, so it was great working with him,” she said, “He sat with us for every meeting and picked out each look meticulously. He was so gracious and generous with his time and input. Our Zoom calls lasted for hours!”
Not only is she designing for the runway showcase, Sahni would also be opening the show as a model for Anthony, decked up in the designer’s creations and her own jewellery. “I’m overwhelmed!” she said, “I’m super excited and also anxious. I’ve walked ramps before but I don’t know what to expect with this one because this is an international platform. It’s an opportunity that I couldn’t have missed, but I’m still nervous and anxious.”
Another reason why the collection is super special for her is that she has dedicated it to her daughter Samara, even naming it after her. “She’s been a good luck charm for me with everything that I’ve done. She’s always brought me a lot of luck and I’m hoping that it works again, now that we’re venturing into something so big on a global scale.”
This makes it understandable when she says she wouldn’t be able to pick a favourite piece out of her collection since everything is precious to her.
But this love and passion for jewellery weren’t always there. By her own admission, she was never “a jewellery person” until she got the opportunity to appear in an advertisement for a jeweller along with her mother, Neetu Singh.
“I hated jewellery, I never wanted to wear jewellery!” she says, “Even on the day of my wedding, I asked my mom if I could just go as I was, and not wear any jewellery. My mother was shocked, she said ‘Are you mad!’ (laughs). Then my mother and I got the opportunity to endorse a jewellery brand together and seeing all those beautiful pieces on me just made me fall in love with jewellery!”
The experience inspired her to reach out to her jeweller friends to customise jewellery for her based on her own designs. “Every time I would wear those pieces, I’d receive a lot of compliments which led me to believe that I could do this for a living! That’s when I partnered with Punjab Jewellers and the rest is history.”
Her design journey has led her to this moment where her work will be viewed and appreciated by a global audience. But it would take some time for all that to sink in. “All I’m thinking of right now is how to pull off the show now and I just need all the good wishes from people around me!” she says, laughing as she signs off.