“Good things come out of difficult situations,” says conceptual jewellery artist Eina Ahluwalia.
Weddings in India are most often about the pomp, the ceremony, the food and dancing. The wedding vows that the bride and the groom make to each other have become a tiny subtext, most often a tedium to be done with as quickly as possible to return to the festivities. The promise to love, respect and protect. The three words that create a foundation for a lifelong commitment.
Women often lose themselves after marriage, in the pursuit of becoming ‘one’. This loss is a relinquishing of their personal power that leaves them open to abuse from the same person they lose themselves to. I have seen that no matter how strong, self aware and confident the girl is, a situation like this can leave her emotionally paralysed and confused. No one gets married thinking it is not forever, and it takes time and a rude shock to break that belief.
I have witnessed domestic violence in many marriages, and I think in each case, women needed some reminders of themselves. I wanted to tell these women that when they make their vows, they also need to vow to themselves—to respect and protect themselves, even if the other person doesn’t. I wanted them to always remember that the power is within them. I realised that the best way to pass this message on to women was to whisper it in their ears through the jewellery that they wore.
Hence came Wedding Vows, a collection I presented in March 2011’s Lakme Fashion Week. My show opened with a bride in a red
lehenga, a racer back blouse and a thin veil covering her face walking up to the head ramp and pulling a
kirpan, for protection, out of the intricately carved necklace.
Trishuls, ceremonial knives, warrior helmets and spear heads were worked into a grand wedding style jewellery to be worn by an empowered and self aware bride. The underlying message was also to the bride’s families. That their daughter’s trousseau should be about strength, support and knowledge, not just gold.
I have made a lot of collections before and after Wedding Vows, but none have had the emotional connect, transformational effect, and the impact that these pieces have. Good things can come out of difficult situations.