Seems like old times

Capturing the essence of the stealth wealth aesthetic, Viange Vintage showcases a selection of premium jewellery, watches and accessories from bygone eras
Seems like old times

Mehak Agarwal, the vivacious 35-year-old founder of Mumbai-based Viange Vintage, a costume jewellery brand, reminisces the timeless tale of love that blossomed in 1955, leading to the inception of the brand. Her grandfather, who lived in Germany was courting her grandmother who lived in India.

In an extravagant gesture of fervent love, he purchased a pair of Chanel earrings, convinced they were crafted from genuine gold due to their exorbitant price. “My grandmother, on the other hand, appreciated the gesture but didn’t quite understand the intrinsic worth of the earrings and put them away after wearing them a few times,” she recalls.

Many years later, when Agarwal, in her 20s, found them, she was mesmerised by their beauty. “I asked my grandmother if I could have them, and she let me. I knew I had struck gold with this one-of-a-kind vintage piece whose worth surpassed mere monitory considerations; it carried the weight of history, and therefore, were both priceless and timeless. It drew attention whenever I wore them,” Agarwal says, adding, “I realised everyone wanted to own such pieces, but accessibility was a challenge. That’s when the idea of launching a brand that specialised in such discerning pieces took root.”

<em>Mehak Agarwal, the vivacious 35-year-old founder of Mumbai-based Viange Vintage.</em>
Mehak Agarwal, the vivacious 35-year-old founder of Mumbai-based Viange Vintage.

The brand recently launched a new line of jewellery and watches under its subsidiary labels. Originally offering authentic vintage costume jewellery, Viange Vintage gradually diversified its products to sunglasses and watches, fuelled by the increasing admiration for the old-world aesthetic. Responding to a rising demand for more affordable pieces, the founder further launched three sub-brands, of which, Little Miss Vintage, launched in January 2024, is a line of affordable vintage watches. “From unique Seiko & Citizen watches to Yves Saint Laurent and Kenzo, it’s all about bringing the best of the older timepieces albeit at budget-friendly prices,” says Agarwal, whose personal favourites include the Burberry featuring original brown leather straps stamped with the brand’s logo on the inside. The mid-1980s’ watch is powered by the Quartz movement. She equally loves the Nina Ricci watch with an original black leather strap, made in the early 1990s, featuring two beautiful bows on either side of the dial.

Studio Viange, on the other hand, launched in July 2023, crafts vintage-inspired jewellery plated in 18-K gold plating and is best known for pieces with charming French and Italian etchings. As she walks towards the drawer that houses a gorgeous velvet coffret with the fresh arrivals, Agarwal’s eyes light up as she displays some of her pieces. The Qu’ Hier Que Demain double heart earrings with their delicate contours make for an enduring style statement. The Bubble Heart earrings, Perla earrings, the Amore Love ring, the croissant mixed metal rings, Omnia Vincit Amor earrings and the Ankh earrings are some of the other beautiful renditions.

Moving into the realm of finery is Viange Fine Jewels, a label dedicated to vintage-inspired fine jewellery in 14 and 18-K gold. It comprises dainty, everyday pieces in an array of Indian gemstones, manufactured every fortnight in finite quantities. The Cupid’s love arrow pendant strung into a paper clip chain is a delicate piece of refined elegance. Lying next to it is the comely Amethyst stone pendant in 14-karat gold, paired with a Figaro chain in 18-K gold. One of the most meticulously crafted pieces is the Cameo Rose hoops with a hand-carved cameo in a sardonyx shell.

Agarwal enjoys every bit of the twists and turns in the rollercoaster journey of her work. When she sets out in search of unique pieces, she never knows what she’ll find.

“It’s like a little treasure hunt; you either hit the jackpot or encounter a near-miss,” she says, adding, “Our hunt takes us all over the world and we get to learn about different cultures, customs and styles. Then, there are also the meaningful interactions one has with those who own vintage pieces, like the one we had with a Yves Saint Laurent model in New York. She had a trove of such pieces gifted to her by the brand, which she was kind enough to give us. Among this was a special Chanel tweed jacket, which she bought with her first salary. It had gorgeous buttons, the kind we had never seen before. We turned them into rings; they were sold the minute we put them up,” says the founder, who over time, has developed an eye for vintage collectibles both for her brand as well as her wardrobe.

The Cartier Panther ring gifted to her mother by her father is undoubtedly one of her favourite pieces. “I quietly anticipate the day it’ll find its way into my collection,” she laughs.

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