CULTURES COLLIDE: London-based jewelry label Alighieri offered its own take on the runway show this week, staging an intimate presentation packed with captivating, emotional narratives.
It was true to founder Rosh Mahtani’s flair for storytelling and romance: Every jewel she designs corresponds to one of the 100 poems in Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy.”
Staged in a small chapel in central London, guests were given secondhand, annotated copies of Dante’s “Inferno” and were seated underneath the building’s striking mosaic and marble ceilings.
“It’s always been about creating a universe for me and since we turned five this year, I just wanted to give people 15 minutes where they can just sit and feel part of a ceremony, because we’re so lost at the moment. I wanted to create this ritual that was completely universal and speak to all cultures and religions and all different ages,” said Mahtani.
Her casting ranged from an 18-year-old Irish-Dutch model to a 49-year old Londoner with African American roots to the 91-year-old Daphne Selfe, known as the oldest professional model in the world. Mahtani said her aim was to explore the idea of finding home outside a specific place or country, at the “rituals we create for ourselves.”
Models in white robes slowly walked across the room hand-in-hand wearing stacks of signet rings and the brand’s signature medallion necklaces layered with thicker chain and pearl styles or longer red ribbons, their bare feet sporting thick anklets and their hair braided with gold chains.
“It was all about the idea of passing jewelry from generation to generation and telling your narrative through it as a way of showing love and respect or telling your grandmother’s story,” added the designer.
Earlier this year, the brand built on its explosive growth — it grew by 500 percent in 2018 alone — by making its first foray into footwear with an exclusive capsule of espadrilles created with Net-a-porter, introduced men’s wear and is planning to launch homeware by the end of the season.
“People are now wanting to becoming Aligheri-fied in all different ways,” said Mahtani.