A synergy of Talent - Shriya Bhupal and Ananya Malhotra Reddy

Shriya Bhupal, granddaughter of Hyderabad business tycoon G.V. Krishna Reddy and daughter of Shalini Bhupal, is a designer whose label, Shriya Som, emphasises understated elegance with a graceful yet playful look. Having showcased her work in fashion shows and exhibitions across the country, the young and vivacious designer will be collaborating with friend and jewellery designer Ananya Malhotra Reddy from Chennai to present a whimsical collection of jewellery and couture garments in Hyderabad.

Through Ananya’s eponymous collection, the designer aims to rediscover and celebrate the relationship between jewellery and those who wear it. Every Ananya design has a story to tell…it carries the unique vision of the designer, and in doing so represents a fusion of Indian traditions, diverse international influences and a modern outlook. Before the show (on August 26th), You & I caught up with the duo to find out what’s in store for the guests.

How did the confluence of two designers from different fields happen?
Shriya: Ananya and I met while we were pursuing our education. We have a similar aesthetic sense and have always wanted to work together. This event presents a quirky collection of jewellery and couture, and it marks our first collaboration.

Ananya: Besides being friends, our ideas and sensibilities are very similar. Very often we think of the same aesthetic when it comes to decor or design ideas. Also, you can very easily pair my jewellery with Shriya’s outfits; therefore we decided to collaborate.

What does your collection consist of and what was the idea behind it?
S: The couture collection features evening dresses and gowns and full volume skirts with crop tops. It’s rendered with an intricate beading technique in droopy wilted dark colours progressing from onion pink to nude to off whites and white.

There is an edgy vibe to the evening wear with its fringing details adorned with ostrich feathers, tone-on-tone colour qualities and textural contrasts. The fit and finish are exemplary of the heritage of couture and are refined and honed to perfection through hours of labour.
A: My current collections are 'Lotus Samsara' and 'Celestial Lotus'. They consist of pieces of jewellery that have been crafted using couture cut gemstones. We are constantly trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to our precious stones. The two collections feature emeralds, rubies, tourmalines, diamonds, tanzanite, and pearls – all set in 18K gold using Italian alloys. The pieces on offer include earrings, ear jackets, bracelets, necklaces, chokers, and rings.

The profoundly personal meaning behind jewellery and its power to connect emotionally and reflect the internal spirit is a constant source of fascination and inspiration for me. The Lotus Samsara collection – a celebration of the Lotus flower – explores the journey of discovery experienced during life and connects the wearer to their own personal stories, both past and present. The Lotus flower is very influential in Buddhist and Hindu philosophies. Its form represents the evolution of the soul – ever-changing and ever-moving. It is also considered the symbol of rebirth, known as Samsara.
The Celestial Lotus collection, on the other hand, distils the visual and spiritual form of the Lotus flower as a symbol of harmony and consciousness. With a palette of red rubies, pink tourmalines, pearls, and black diamonds, it is translated into contemporary geometric forms. The pattern of gemstones in each piece represents the relationship between the chakras and their perceived power when combined. The contrast of bold, geometric designs, and the delicate construction and detailing results in a hypnotic, feminine form.

Where does your inspiration come from?
S: The brand Shriya Som is inspired by the journey of the life of a flower and its droopy wilted forms. It has been envisioned as the metaphorical contrast of the origin and blossoming of life. It is depicted through paradoxical elements like sheer and opaque fabrication, along with stark and flowy silhouettes.

A: The brand has been recently rebranded from Naya to Ananya. Ananya aims to celebrate the profoundly personal meaning behind jewellery; its power to connect emotionally with the wearer and its role as an external reflection for their internal spirit. Spirituality and philosophy play a vital role in the inspiration of the collections. Trying to break the barrier of jewellery as just being considered a piece of material, but rather a celebration of something much deeper.  

What should guests expect from your upcoming show?
A: ‘Botanical Illusions’ is the theme of our collaboration. The idea was to create a surreal, fantastical experience for the guests. Floral Spirituality has always played an important role in our individual collections. So, it was only natural for us to go with this theme for the event, too.

How is this collection different from what you’ve done in the past?
A: This collection has bigger, bolder pieces. Apart from this, the use of emeralds is new to Ananya jewellery.

Who is your target clientele?
S: The Shriya Som woman is a new age woman, confident in her skin and a lover of refinement. She is true to her aesthetic and wears her signature basics with attention to fit and finish.
A: My target clientele is a woman who has a strong sense of style and confidence. It is all about the way you wear the jewellery that makes the piece complete. Someone who values design and meaning is who would wear my jewellery.

What’s your personal style like?
S: During the day I stick to my basics: distressed boyfriend jeans and a white T-shirt. At night I love wearing Azzedine Alaïa dresses or Valentino gowns.
A: I love to be effortlessly stylish, so my personal style is classic yet edgy. I absolutely love black!

Who are your favourite national and international designers?
S: Tarun Tahiliani and John Galliano for Dior.
A: Anamika Khanna, Saint Laurent, and Jonathan Simkhai.

Any individual or label you’d like to collaborate with?
S: I’d love to collaborate with designer Iris Van Herpen.    

A TV show you’re currently binge watching?
A & S: Game of Thrones!            --- as told to Niharika