If you walk into a boutique called Vasundhara, tucked in a high rise at Kolkata’s tony Alipore Road, you just might see a petite lady poring over her workstation sketching intricate motifs, and occasionally looking up to answer queries of the staff. That would be Vasundhara Mantri, the design brain behind the popular artificial jewellery line for the past 15 years. If you watch her function, you’ll probably notice her inspiration is from the bounteous nature around us. Drawings of bugs, bees, butterflies, peacocks, parrots and flowers, in all their glory, are the mainstay of her design ideology. Mantri has always believed in incorporating traditional elements in her design and juxtaposing them with a contemporary and quirky execution for that edge.
As we sit down to chat on a particularly rainy June afternoon, my eyes keep gravitating towards the copper bees gracing her earlobes, a fun adornment that is exquisite in its craftsmanship. “This was from my last collection, a line borrowed from the prettiness of bugs, bees and butterflies. I experimented with the textures for an enhanced look,” Mantri explains showing off a statement neckpiece that resembles a twig with the cute insects stationed on each branch. Varnished in gold, the ornament, says the designer, was a top pick by young girls for wedding parties and cocktail dos. With a keen sense of aesthetics from a very young age, if you walk into her Mumbai store you’ll set to see how artistically she has done up this jewellery haven in royal blue, ekru and gold. It’s a beautiful little space.
Armed with a degree from GIA, New York, Mantri loves to toy with precious stones but her execution is quirky and inventive. These stones find place in geometric fishes, birds and other interesting patterns. While on a visit to a temple recently, the designer was struck by the flowers used in garlands — -tuberose, jasmine, marigold and hibiscus. Piqued by the idea, she working on a collection inspires by the floral shapes and patterns. This collection was highly applauded at the last Lakme Fashion Week. “The pieces were artistic with heavy floral accents, perfect for weddings. But what I always keep in mind is the versatility and comfort. Whoever wearing my creations should not feel bogged down. They should enjoy themselves in Vasundhara,” Mantri finishes with confidence.