3 cool accessory designers you need to know
They are determined to make arm candy a whole lot sweeter
BY Kavita Mohandas Rao | October 16th, 2015
SQUARE LOOP BY KANIKA SACHDEVA
If Woody Allen and Rei Kawakubo were ever to attend a fashion week in India, chances are they’d meet at the Square Loop stall. They’d nod in happy agreement at Kanika Sachdeva’s ability to pare down the frills and celebrate simplicity with her line of unisex bags. Square Loop has a minimalist, normcore appeal in a marketplace cluttered with examples of excess. The name itself is a juxtaposition, hinting at Sachdeva’s penchant for deconstructing all things conventional till something more raw and real emerges.
The style is edgy, architectural and above all, utilitarian. Expect roomy, modifiable panels, extra pockets and hardware that doesn’t tarnish. The bags can also be restructured, like the tote-slash-backpack that can be transformed with a simple adjustment. Handcrafted leather in a combination of finishes like nappa, natural grain, crackle and suede is colour-blocked in earthy tones and clean lines to give the bags a universal, even androgynous, appeal. The fact is, these bags, clutches and mobile pouches will age better than most Hollywood celebrities; the designs are timeless and trend-agnostic. And priced between Rs 5,000 and Rs 20,000, they’re investment pieces you won’t have to rob a bank for.
ELLE Loves: The ochre and beige messenger bag dangling off Sonam Kapoor’s shoulder in Yo Yo Honey Singh's ‘Dheere Dheere’ video.
Bag them at: Bodice, New Delhi; Indelust, Bengaluru; Amethyst, Chennai; Daflokk.com
On Kanika: Cotton shirt, skirt; both Bodice by Ruchika Sachdeva. Leather loafers, Clarks. Plastic sunglasses, her own. Leather bags; all Square Loop by Kanika Sachdeva
VITASTA BY ADITI DHAR
As with all good love stories, it was serendipity that steered Dhar towards bag design. Her first job out of NID landed her in the accessories division at Mexx in Holland, and saw her ladder up to a long stint at Hidesign as head of design for women’s handbags. Now, with Vitasta, she’s combining handcrafted luxury and everyday utility.
Quirky details put the fun in functionality — antler handles on messenger bags, words embossed on wallets, geometric beading patterns on iPad sleeves. The palette goes from vibrant tropical colours to classic tan and black, and a team of karigars handcrafts each element out of leather, wood, silk and metal. Vitasta’s strong suit is women’s accessories, but the brand is slowly expanding to include designs for men, thanks to her frequent collabs with fashion designers. In the offing is a range for Dhruv Kapur’s DRVV, featuring duffel bags, totes and backpacks with an angular, androgynous feel. Vitasta is also teaming up with menswear designer Suket Dhir to create men’s accessories in line with his philosophy of sustainable fashion. It offers customised designs too, and the bags start at Rs 1,899.
ELLE Loves: The black antler weekender bag that’s just waiting to be filled with a traveller’s tales.
Bag them at: Taj Khazana, New Delhi, Mumbai, and Hyderabad; Taj Coromandel, Chennai; Bombay Electric and Creo, Mumbai; En Inde and Second Floor Studio, New Delhi; Ahalife.com.
On Aditi: Cotton dress, Lovebirds. Metallic leather slip-ons, Koovs.com. Leather bags; all Vitasta by Aditi Dhar
SVJ BY SANYA V JAIN
While it’s unlikely that Monroe, Bardot and Moss would have shared a social circle in real life, they mingle like old friends on the SVJ website. The brand’s signature pieces are named after a constellation of film and fashion icons, and the polarity represents the range of women that SVJ caters to. What they all have in common, though, is a taste for the good life. Here’s a go-to brand for the woman whose calendar resembles a mall on the first day of a sale.
Combining the know-how she inherited (her family owns a leather business) with an education at Parsons and Central Saint Martins, Jain creates pieces that are the extensions of a rarefied lifestyle. Leather is a natural choice, given its versatility and street cred, and it’s embellished with Swarovski crystals, metal, satin and zardosi that’s created in-house.
SVJ isn’t about a single bag that makes the leap from work hours to happy hours, but different pieces (that start at Rs 5,000) for every entry in your planner. That’s achieved easily enough, with clutches and bags in whimsical shapes and sizes, a range of textures and colours you should avoid only if you’re in a witness protection programme. The patterns are big on animal themes, with everything from ostrich to anaconda on offer.
ELLE Loves: The pyramid-shaped clutch, which doubles as a conversation piece.
On Sanya: Crêpe jumpsuit, Stella McCartney. Leather pumps, Alberto Moretti. Leather bags; all SVJ by Sanya V Jain. Photographs: Nishanth Radhakrishnan; Styling: Gauri Verma; Make-up and Hair: Umang Vanshika; Assisted by Devika Wahal (Aditi Dhar, Kanika Sachdeva). Photograph: Manasi Sawant; Styling: Neha Salvi; Make-up and Hair: Vidhi Salecha (Sanya V Jain)