On Aug. 23 in Mumbai, just as the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council’s 2012 India International Jewellery Show was getting started, its sister show, the fashion-focused India International Jewellery Week, was winding down. And after five days of almost near-constant runway shows, it was only fitting that IIJW’s grand finale should be a first-rate fashion show.
People were being turned away at the ballroom entrance of the Grand Hyatt Mumbai; inside the show, it was single room occupancy. (Actually, beyond SRO—think European soccer match. That’s how packed it was!) The first half of the evening—a salute to “a glittering panorama of exquisite jewelry”—featured models in jewelry by regular sponsor PC Jeweller, 22k gold and diamond Kundan and Polki pieces offset by precious gems: massive bib necklaces, chandelier earrings you could practically swing from, shoulder dusters that reached the collarbone, armlets, headpieces, and more. Amidst all the diamonds, the most popular accent stone appeared to be the ever-popular emerald.
Backed by Bollywood movie music, the models—in matching French braids and buns (all the better to show off their enormous earrings)—walked in gold, black, and cream eveningwear by Kolkata designer Anamika Khanna. One, however, wore her hair loose around her shoulders and entered to thunderous applause and a carnival of colored lights: Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit Nene, who showed off one of PC Jeweller’s finest (and perhaps simplest) creations, a pearl-laden Polki Raani Haar collar and choker.
GJEPC brand ambassador Sonam Kapoor
The second runway portion was dedicated to “The Best of the Best,” when all of the 30+ IIJW designers choose one amazing piece from their new collections to display on the runway. Again Anamika Khanna provided the couture—a little less traditional and a bit more playful here—but this time the music was live: Indian pop-rock singer Kailash Kher, backed by his band Kailasa, serenaded the models as they walked the runway.
Sonam Kapoor with the models
There were too many highlights to mention: Laksh Pahuja’s fiery dragon headpiece; Amrapali’s nine-row emerald and Polki Raani Haar; Eekani’s diamond choker with massive emerald pendant (there we go with the emeralds again!). However, the most sparkling sight, according to the crowd, was model/actress/GJEPC brand ambassador Sonam Kapoor, whose entrance was preceded by a crystal chandelier rising from the floor to the ceiling (very reverse Phantom of the Opera!). Kapoor glittered at every angle in a Polki necklace, bangles stackled almost elbow high on both arms, a Maang Tikka, and ear studs.
Post-show, GJEPC vice chair Sanjay Kothari reminded the crowd that the still-fledgling IIJW’s goal was to prove to the world “what India is capable of producing, designing, and manufacturing.” It looks like the group succeeded, on every level.
Madhuri Dixit in PC Jeweller designs