Designer Spotlight - Taal Noir
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Shivani Pathak is the Creative Director behind the vibrantly beautiful brand - Taal Noir. Through her brand, she aims to celebrate India and show its colours and liveliness to the world. With the name 'Taal' literally meaning rhythm, translated from Sanskrit, it is a visual representation of the cultural beat of India.
Through her first collection 'Mughal Sonata', Shivani uses the the inspiration of India's multi-cultural indentity to pay homage to the Mughal dynasty with its Hindu, Persian and European design influences.
Come with us as we delve into the mind of Shivani and find out how Taal Noir came about and what inspires her!
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Curated Crowd: Having grown up in such cosmopolitan countries around the world, how has that inspired and influenced you as a person or as a designer?
Shivani Pathak: Growing up around the world has made me appreciate the beauty of multiculturalism - be it through fusion food, art, design or simply spending time with people from different cultures. It has opened my eyes to other ways of thinking and being - and naturally my aesthetic sense is very much a reflection of this cross-cultural upbringing.
CC: When did you know you wanted to delve into the challenging industry of jewellery design?
SP: I've always had an interest in the luxury space, particularly luxury beauty and luxury jewellery. When I decided I wanted to start my own business, I wanted it to be a business that allowed me to draw upon my Indian heritage - but in a global context.
To me, jewellery was a natural fit, because so much of India's jewellery heritage has elements of other cultures incorporated - the result of India's legacy as a major trading power over the centuries.
CC: What do you think is the main difference between Indian fine jewellery and everyday fine jewellery?
SP: I would say impact is the main differentiating factor - Indian fine jewellery is big on impact - be it colour, scale, or intricate design. Everyday fine jewellery on the other hand (at least the type of fine jewellery that is trending today in the West) is very much about minimalism.
CC: Why is it so important to you to bring a little bit of India to the world?
SP: To be honest, it bothers me that many people still view India's role in the fashion system as just a hub of low-cost manufacturing. In fact, the truth is quite different - the level of craftsmanship in the country is extraordinary. Many major design houses, including some of the most established luxury houses from France, Italy and the US, make use of the talents of Indian craftsman. Sadly these design houses often don't give India and its craftsmen due recognition.
With Taal Noir I wanted to do my bit to help champion the incredible level of luxury craftsmanship and rich design history that India has to offer. I hope, in my own small way, to contribute to changing the view that India is a place for low cost production and show the world the high-quality of work our craftsman are capable of.
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CC: Can you give us a little insight on your design process?
SP: I usually start with a region of India or period of Indian history that it interesting to me - for my inaugural collection, it was the Mughal period. I then delve into the design work of that period - jewellery, art, architecture - to get inspiration. Inevitably I end up discovering an interesting link with another part of the world.
For example, the ancient art of Meenakari (enamelling), so commonly used in Mughal jewellery, actually came from Persia. From there the story for the collection develops, and I move into creating the mood board, pulling together all the elements which I want to draw upon in my collection - motifs, colours, symbols, and materials. The designs are born out of that mood board.
CC: What’s your biggest achievement with the brand so far?
SP: Most recently, having Taal Noir make it to Rachel Garrahan's list of '6 Independent Jewellery Brands To Know About This Summer' was a huge accomplishment - recognition by Vogue UK is something that I had always dreamed of for the brand!
CC: What are your future plans for Taal Noir?
SP: At the moment the plan for Taal Noir is more jewellery - but over time I can see the brand progressing beyond that. The concept of celebrating India in the world and the world in India, and more broadly speaking, luxury craftsmanship and cross-culturalism is in no way limited to just jewellery!
CC: Are there any new collections coming soon?
SP: Yes! In early September, we have our next collection launching - the collection is called Mombasa Beat, and is inspired by the migration of Indians to East Africa. In the collection we look at the cultural similarities found in East African and Indian tribal jewellery.
To read her Vogue article, click here.