SIGNET OF THE TIMES

270 Signet of the Times

(I’m back, friends!)

Ever since publishing my last post, I felt reinvigorated – enough to consider what the next post was going to be about. And it came to me quite simply (they have only been on my mind for the longest time)… Signet rings!

The history of signet rings (how they came to be, basically) is what is most interesting to me. Back in the olden days, illustrious folk used to seal important documents and maybe, secret letters (each) with a glob of sealing wax that was impressed upon with their coat of arms. I don’t quite know if typically, it used to be first, a stamp (with the wooden handle) and then later was turned into something convenient, i.e. having the seal set within the bezel of your ring (it would have been easier to have your stamping ring on you at all times). (Speaking of which, I have been longing to make my own sealing wax kit!)

To have your own trademark in the form of a seal is very exciting to me, and from what I have deduced, people usually opted to create motifs that are only theirs, much like a logo that forms the signet. Maybe a fleur-de-lis or rose combined with perhaps their monogram or something else representational like an animal, object or ornament etc. These motifs tell you about the individual, what they stood for or were associated with; which is perhaps why it may have been restricted to certain sects of people (kind of sad because I am a common woman and had I been born then, I would certainly have loved to have the means to forge a crest as part of my legacy).

Getting to the jewellery bit (sorry it took forever) – I do have quite the thing for antique and heirloom pieces, could you tell? Signet rings are exquisite to have and hold; of course, in today’s day and age, it might not be the simplest to get your own such ring made (it would be fairly expensive, for one)… Even so, here are a few I spotted on the interwebz that left a lasting impression on me (see what I did there, heh):

Cosma Signet Ring, KATKIM – $990

Femme Ring, Wolf Circus – $140

Giulia Ring, CINCO – €45

Grande Dame Signet Ring, Maison Mayle – $250

Morena Saint Ring, Five and Two –  Rs. 3,039.71

Signet Ronde Gold, MIMI ET TOI – €80.00

Slim Signet Ring, Ariel Gordon – $450

Wyatt Signet, Merewif – $66

Closer to home, I’ve spotted one on Sreesha’s website, SHOP LUNE and something kinda sorta like a signet ring on KICHU (I mean, the signet ring has Egyptian roots and this could very well pass off as one!). I also have a ring from Forever 21 (not pictured here). I bought it a few years ago, and I love the almost arabesque inscription; it is even better that the signet opens up (like a locket) to reveal an embossed symbol of a Roman cross. I’ve been wearing it a lot, recently; I’ve come to think of it as my very own Papal ring (ha)!

P.S. This post has been exceptionally long but if you’re still here and reading, I should tell you that year’s Met Gala theme, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination contributed further to my thinking about heirloom-like, almost Victorian fashions. I would have loved to see close-ups of anyone wearing signet rings at the event but sadly, when I was researching for this piece, I didn’t find any. Should you have any information, I beseech you to share it in the comments below! (In order of their appearance, the picture credits are as follows: Wolf Circus, FINE LIFE CO, Marko MacPherson, LUV AJ, The Deeps, Merewif, HONESTLY WTF, Merewif.)

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Artwork by Roanna Fernandes

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THE LIGHT IS COMING

269 The Light Is Coming

Or is it not… Did the light take a cosmic detour? 

Hey, hey, so, I’ve been away. – Oh, and this is a picture I took (of my reflection in a floor-length mirror at Café Cassia in Bangalore) on my 31st birthday, etc. I know it is unusual to share pictures of myself on my blog but I thought, Hey, why not? (It was a lovely day, and I liked my outfit.) I don’t usually photograph well and hate posting pictures of myself on a public forum unless I have taken the picture (and think it looks fine) or yeah… I know, so finicky and weird. Well, that’s me in a nutshell for you! (Nothing alluring/inviting, there.)

So back to the topic at hand, I thought I’d drop some gems (much like in the photograph)! Or maybe just tell you what has been going on, which is, basically, nothing. I am still looking for a job, so there is that. May has been complete mayhem to say the least, I have never before felt the depth of emotions so destructive and distressing, as I did, last month. How’d I escape its confining clutches? (I tried.) There was a two-hour DMT (Dance/Movement Therapy) workshop and a spooky story-telling sesh that I attended (on different days); I met some friends (Ashwita and Krutika) and worked on a mini-series called #mermay (just for kicks, or uh, fins), etc.

What I’m hoping is that June is better. That I can finally get somewhere, be doing something (I promise to pay it forward). I’ve been in the same place for so long, and everyone, everything is just passing me by. Adding to the overall despondency of this post; I had a few bad depressive episodes this month and do you know what’s even sadder? I don’t have enough to see a counsellor on a regular basis or anything (don’t worry; there is something else that could perhaps work out). Anyway, I know they say that it gets worse before it gets better… So, I definitely won’t stop trying. (Please don’t be laughing at me, I’d cry harder if you were to. All the best, ¡mis amigos! May June bring out your compassion and courage, confidence and creativity… I wish you the warmest of viiiiibes.)

(Should you be interested, the marigold-themed silk blouse is from H&M – it was a gift from my mother and my jeans are the 711 Skinny from Levi’s; I wore Minila’s gold Kolhapuri chappals on my feet, a beautiful coral reef necklace from SHOP LUNE on my neck, hoop earrings from H&M in my ears, and a new watch on my wrist (my friend Magali helped me snag this babe from Casio at an excellent price!). 

P.S. Look, don’t get me wrong… I know I rarely get into a super sad mood here on the blog, and that too, on the first day of the month! But know this, I’m always forthcoming on here, and I couldn’t pretend things were better. I mean, yeah, there’s so much to be thankful for. Even so, I do feel emotionally/mentally drained. I’d like to have done something. I’d like to be seen as worthy; only I am not and I feel like I am the human equivalent of the song Fix You by Coldplay. I mean, it’s utterly desperate but kinda hopeful too. That is what I am, right now. Hoping against hope, as Ogden Nash once wrote. (Okay, that brought a smile to my face; it was a crazy poem, wasn’t it?)

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Artwork and picture by Roanna Fernandes

MOONRISE KINGDOM

245 Moonrise Kingdom

Sreesha Shetty is one of the few beings whose work I constantly love to talk about (not a secret); I like that the essence of her jewellery label, Shop Lune has stood the test of time (from when she launched her very first collection to now). With all the quartz stones she employs to make the pieces, and/or charms shaped like crescent moons and gold feathers, etc. balanced with a basic, minimal undertone – Sreesha’s jewellery makes me think of the mystical powers of the Moon. Shop Lune as a name then, makes for a deeper connection, you know?

Okay, so the last time I wrote about Shop Lune – Sreesha was working around the clock to set up a website that would make the process of selling, easier. The website has been in existence for more than a few months now, and I recently acquired a lovely, layered necklace (see picture) from one of her current collections. For this feature, I decided it would be nice to not only talk about Miu (the necklace) but also to Sreesha about Shop Lune in general, her upcoming collection and such, and such –

Was there a particular significance behind the name, Miu?

“Miu sounds like meow, almost cat-like and this necklace reminds me of a starry night with the Moon in the background, and a black cat sitting on a pavement staring into space. More like Théophile Steinlen’s 1896 poster of Le Chat Noir. A black cat and the yellow gold background. I know there’s no cat reference in the necklace but cat lovers could wear Shop Lune’s Miu, you can even wear it if you don’t like or have cats!”

(Also, if there were any other thoughts behind making the layered necklaces, etc. They are very pretty!)

“Thanks for the pretty compliment. I really love layering necklaces and this one is best when worn with basics, like a white tee, etc. Also, I like that I can just wear them and know that no one else is going to be wearing them. Plus it has all the elements of what Shop Lune essentially is about. Dreamy, simple, and it has my favourite tones – antique gold and gunmetal; it was fun making these necklaces. I was in Goa when I made them, I don’t think I could have made these in Mumbai.”

Miu, Oona, and some of the other pieces that you shot recently, have a very beachie vibe, compared to your first collection. The photographs make me think of the Goa associated with La Plage or the pristine, whiter beaches there. (Much like the first collection had me thinking of Oxford Market or Portobello Road in London, etc.) Can folks expect a following collection that’s inspired by another city or place that you like?

“That’s a nice way of looking at it. The city I live in definitely influences my collection subconsciously. There’s no conscious effort when I design something. I’ve been in Mumbai long enough now, for almost two years and I think something more industrial, influenced by the city will be seen in my collection for fall which should be out by October.”

I think it is so cool that you worked on creating more pieces of an exactly similar design, though you used to not do that before – I liked that thought too, but this idea is better because I would be sad if there was only one Miu necklace and it got sold out before being able to buy it.

“I make the prototype and sometimes more than one piece of the same style, and the rest is made by my trusty team of karigars. This collection was made in Goa, and I probably just sketched the chain bralette but the rest of the pieces were more impromptu, all made by hand… All my handmade pieces can be made in bulk, now. :-) I just had to figure that bit out, because I would have customers asking me to make them the same pieces.”

How much are you loving selling independently from the Shop Lune website, as opposed to selling to folks through Etsy, Facebook, and/or e-mails?

“I think that having your own website saves you a lot of time. I would have probably just sold on Etsy if I was still living in London. They didn’t have a currency converter for the rupee, and my Indian customers would find it difficult to shop so I was pretty much forced to start a website. I’m glad I did. I’m also happy that I started selling on Etsy as it taught me the basics of writing compelling descriptions, and the importance photography plays in selling products, and about customer feedback, etc. It was like a crash course… Of sorts.”

Will there be any Shop Lune pop-up shops that your customers can look forward to, before the end of the year?

“Yes! NH7 Weekender in Pune, and if you or your blog readers want me to be at a particular pop-up shop, please let me know… I love receiving feedback, suggestions, and to hear from everyone!”

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Artwork by Roanna Fernandes, and picture by Jane D’Souza

Summer Nights

234 Summer Nights

Do you know much I love making lists like this one? Well, probably… Owing to the fact that I ramble about so much I like, here. (I classified these as summer essentials, as compared to my last list which was about winter lovelies. Also, however, if you combine both of these lists; they contain all of my favourite things to wear, yep!)

Okay now, in some order?

1. Body harnesses can shopped for from Sreesha’s shop, Lune or made by yourself (you will need a pair of pliers, some metal chains and circular links, and/or cute charms). The thing about a delicate body harness is that it can be worn under your clothes, and looks very sexy with everything beachie; if it makes you feel good then just wear it, it’s not even about how it looks. I like that it’s so very alluring; and think it might be good to get a light-bodied one made in actual gold so it doesn’t lose quality over time (or in terms of its finish). INVESTMENT!

2. Ooh, I need to be earning more money to invest in a pair of cool, summer kicks (but check out Bata because I think they have some decent and/or plain ones that you can refurbish, yourself). Besides the canvas slip-ons, I have been eyeing those Stan Smith sneakers from Adidas from the time I saw them first on Kiran Rao in a pair for ELLE (India) magazine, last year.

3. Funnily/luckily enough, I found a lovely brown leather + wooden sole pair at Promod way back in 2012 for Rs. 1000 and they still look smoking (it’s a different story that I haven’t worn them ever) but I also recently bought a pair earlier this year from Forever 21 whose soles are super lightweight and are a dream to walk in, and they actually suit me. Or what I like wearing! Chunky sandals are the only high heels that I make an exception for, because some inches are a bother for my cankles (one of my guy friends at an ex-workplace pointed out that I have *GASP* cankles). Thanks for the tip-off, bruv! And I’ve broken my foot twice now in the 28 years of my existence so yeah.

4. Crochet fabrics (there are some cool things to be bought from Mango + Vero Moda, btw) have been on my mind since 2012, and I haven’t begun to love them any lesser just as yet. 

5. Ah, crossbody handbags! :-)

6. Light (slightly overall acid wash) denim blouses are IN! I think Marks & Spencer had one, last season with a cute pocket over the breast area. (I’m not talking about the button-down shirts, btw!)

7. These are expensive for sure, but you’ll find cheaper versions at your local haunts – for me, La Judi is the answer… Of course, there are also flatform sandals which look really, really good, too.

8. Gypsy jewellery, self-explanatory… Think of cultural motifs, coloured tassels, pompom detailing (we’ll get back to that), body armour (yes, those Rajasthani pieces count), hammered metals, blah-blah, etc.

9. I don’t know about you but I do love grandma-inspired looks! Grandmothers (well, some) really are with it; and okay, so, pleated skirts… Of course, I do prefer the pleather variety over chiffon (ever since I bought a smouldering one from Marks & Spencer) but yeah… Pleated skirts in a midi-length are the way to go (especially with sneakers), in my opinion.

10. Ah, yes… I’ve always liked pompom detailing, especially on the edges of a cotton weave or bohemian kimono – it’s such an easy way to add a cultural accent or pop of tone to your get-up; and speaking of which, I’ve been making pompom necklaces for The Jupiter Skye Shop so if you’re interested, you know where to go after reading this post, heh.

P.S. Also, why is this post titled Summer Nights huh, you ask? What’s the connection? I was looking for a good way to pun but there was none, however, while I do enjoy going out in the late afternoon – I think I like those days when you’re out at that time (in a nice place) and then the day gradually progresses to night, and you’re wearing something good, and well the temperature hasn’t changed much so yeah it’s still summer but it’s night and you feel pretty… Gosh. That was way too long-winded a sentence even for me! Forgive me?

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Artwork by Roanna Fernandes