Suhani Pittie’s tribal tales

The Hyderabad-based designer’s new collection pays tribute to tribals and their ‘exemplary existence’.

Published: 07th April 2013 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th April 2013 11:08 AM   |  A+A-

The first time she applied to India Fashion Week, her application was rejected. They said she didn’t have enough work to her credit to merit a slot on a national platform. Years later, Suhani Pittie is not just a regular at most fashion weeks, she is one of the stars. And why not? She has garnered a reputation that’s as sparkling as the jewellery she creates and her innovations are as eagerly awaited as every turn of the season. Her latest line for S/S 13, Dances with the Earth, is inspired by tribals and what the designer likes to call “their exemplary existence”.

Pittie says the realization of a parallel society that lives with tremendous hardships but is still in sync with the soul, the spirit and the universe around it made her stop and think. “Whether it is the Dongrias of Orissa, the Aborigines of Australia or the Navajos in America, all native dwellers are privy to an insight that is intimate and profound. Their lives are far removed from our own, and they live where we all began. They value the universe and all its forms and realize that the human being is a very small component of this network of relationships. This is diametrically opposite to our urban lives where it is always about ‘self before the world’. It moves me to see how their spirit is so rich in spite of every threat they face,” she says.

Stemming from the belief that jewellery has always been connected with spirituality and revolves around the concept that spirits exist in humans, as well as in animals, plants or inanimate objects, Pittie’s ornaments became a celebration or an offering to a spirit of nature. “Copper, one of the earliest metals used by human beings, forms the crux of my new offerings. I have used flora and fauna motifs generously,” she says.

But it was the designer’s use of coloured cord ‘coils’, representing the oneness of nature, that made heads turn at the recent Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai. The ‘circle’, explains Pittie, has been given a lot of importance and manifests itself as a calm, clean spiral bangle in some pieces, as well as a fierce ‘spoke’ in some neck-pieces.

Pittie says she was amused by the response to her latest creations. “The audience responded really well to the designs. People are now open to experimenting with rustic patterns—an area completely ignored earlier. Using acrylic as a contrast to copper, my new line boasts ear buttons, cuffs, ear kanautis, belts, bangles, anklets, armbands, necklaces and is priced between Rs 2,100 and Rs 26,000. “It’s intricate yet earthy. Strong, yet calm. It incorporates everything I believe in and now it’s for you to enjoy wearing it,” she says.

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