Chennai-based Minnie Menon launches her flagship boutique and latest bespoke jewellery collection
The beads are iridescent and a brilliant blue, strung in three lines — the stunning necklace makes for a scintillating conversation starter. “These were sourced from Vietnam. These beads have been injected with resin to get that beautiful mottled effect!” says Minnie Menon enthusiastically, when we visited her at her new MM Studio. The jewellery designer’s excitement is palpable and soon we get carried away and sigh over large pink Mookaites held with exquisite links, classic rows of softly glowing pearls and delicate drops of emeralds in gradation hue, even as she tells us another story about beads from Afghanistan. The vivacious socialite and former advertisement professional had launched her brand MM Jewelry in October 2013 and since then, her creations have found wild popularity among the expat community of the city and other prominent personalities like Nina Reddy, Kavita Modi, Rachna Kumar, A K Tareen, Aditi Mammen Gupta, Suraksha Acharya and Dr Vijayalakshmi Acharya. “After six successful years of creating a bespoke brand, thanks to the exposure to the jewellery world, a premium display space at Metha Jewellery and MM’s signature creations, I realised a change of strategy was necessary,” says Minnie, who agrees that the experience of the past 10 months accelerated her decision to have her own independent studio. “The events of 2020 have severely affected an industry like high fashion among other key sectors. It was a cruel body blow . I re-prioritised my life during these last 10 months. That’s when the idea of an independent studio was born. Sometimes you need a disaster like the pandemic to make the right move.”
The MM Studio is a cosy and intimate space with interesting furniture and elegant wood panelling lending it an old world charm. With gorgeous natural light pouring in from the bay windows that scenically frame the flowering heliconia outside — we are soon distracted with the delicate gleam of gemstones winking at us from beautiful displays all around the space. Customers are expected to come with a prior appointment for an exclusive and personalised interaction with the designer herself.
One feels that Minnie’s new collection Live, Love, Sparkle celebrates not just her new space but also her indomitable spirit and her effervescent personality. Comprising 42 pieces and set in sterling silver, the collection features necklaces, ear rings, cocktail rings and men’s cuff links. “Though I had started working on this collection in December last year — it went into cold storage because of the events of 2020. As I said, I changed my priorities. I went back to designing in the last couple of months.” The current President of Terroir the Madras Wine Club promises that wearing one of her creations will add a lustre and joie de vivre to one’s moods and persona. “Being upbeat is the need of the hour! As we are on the verge of 2021 and new beginnings.”
We ask about sourcing material and the designer tells us that fortunately she had bought a collection of new-age semiprecious stones from the International Bangkok Gem and Jewellery Fair in Sepetember 2019. Lookout for Scolecite, pink Mookaite, fossilised Coral, Pietersite, purple Muscovite and Serpentine — that Minnie tells us have colours and hues that are as intriguing as the names of the stones. As we gush about the exquisite finish of a spectacular blue sapphire necklace, the designer’s personal favourite, Minnie lets on that her production is done by a unit in Jaipur that only works for three designers based in the UK and who supply to leading London boutiques.
Talking about plans for the coming year, Minnie says, “The pandemic has instilled in us the quality of empathy for people and their predicaments. I was pleasantly surprised when after I called (designer) Vivek Karunakaran to congratulate him on his new showroom, he made me an offer to collaborate by showcasing MM Jewelry in his new plush Hyatt Regency space.” We can expect to see a limited edition of MM Jewelry at Vivek’s showroom from mid-January 2021. The jewellery aficionado further adds, “These sort of collaborations between like-minded designers in complementary fields of fashion is the proverbial silver lining in these dark times. Bravo to this!”
Priced from Rs 6,500. By appointment only. @MinnieMenon.