One is a jewellery designer from Jaipur who is known for her opulent kundan and meenakari designs. The other is a sari and textile exponent whose Kota and Banarsi weaves are to die for. And when the two come together, you can be sure of a visual treat.
A few days ago on April 7th, Sunita Shekhawat and Vidhi Singhania came together in an “intuitive association between two houses of design that are devoted to rarefied art forms”. They presented their latest spring-summer collections at Sunita Shekhawat’s studio in Defence Colony, Delhi.
On display were handwoven textiles we could not resist running our fingers through, and jewellery that compelled us to look twice.
Both collections were an ode to the designers’ homeland, the Indian state of Rajasthan. Using their own individual canvases to express a vibrant colour palette, the senior designers were inspired by bright and pastel tones of foliage and the basant season.
Art and craft connoisseurs mingled over high tea and shared their admiration for these distinctive and powerful houses of design, whom one can call the original revivalists. Known as upholders of legacy of Kota and of Mughal kundan-meena, both Vidhi Singhania and Sunita Shekhawat paved the way for the reclamation and re-imagining of their respective handicrafts for over 20 years.
They have both been recognized globally and nationally as upholders of the legacy of their respective crafts – meenakari for Sunita Shekhawat and the narratives of Kota weaves for Vidhi Singhania.
Vidhi’s creations are renowned for the intricate karigari that goes into transforming the weave into a piece of art. Her saris feature a dexterous detailing with meticulous hand embroidery and hand painting. She works with weaver communities in Kota and Varanasi, teaching them new designs and ways to preserve their art while making it more lucrative for younger generations to continue the knowledge legacy.
On her part, Sunita’s jewellery is recognized for its minimal aesthetic with a heady balance of shape, proportion and motif.
Not only have they preserved these crafts but have also evolved their repertoires by involving and investing in artisan communities across India.
Patrons and guests who came to view the collections and indulge in ‘detail therapy’ included Vani Tripathi, Monica Jajoo, HH Rajshree Kumari of Bikaner, Anju Ralhan, Charu Munjal, Madhu Verma, Pooja Chauhan, Karuna Shriram, Ashwini Bahadur, Meenakshi Singhania, actress Monica Kohli, K Shriram and Bani G Anand.
Both the hostesses were beautifully dressed in delicate Kota saris from Vidhi’s collection and meenakari jewellery by Sunita Shekhawat. Meenakari is a form of jewellery design in which colourful enamel is painted onto gold by hand. One of Sunita’s specialties is double-sided meenakari, which allows the wearer to use a single piece in two distinct ways.
Joining Sunita in welcoming the guests to her atelier was her daughter, creative director Niharika Shekhwat, along with Vidhi’s daughter-in-law Sanaa Singhania.