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FORTE Beads Collaborations: Saloni

Published on 2 minutes read
FORTE Beads
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Words by Talulah Brown
"I love creating colour palettes from memories and this brought to life memories of Ladakh, for me. Ladakh also featured in my previous collections."

Saloni Lodha, who founded her brand Saloni in 2008, splits her time between London, Mumbai, and Hong Kong, where she now lives with her husband and two sons. Heritage is ever-present in her designs, using traditional textiles — stamped satins and boldly coloured prints — to create her innovative silhouettes. Growing up in India, her notion of clothes was that they should last forever. “You’d commission a zardozi sari once a year and hand it down through the generations,” she told the Financial Times in 2019. She often returns to the markets of Mumbai, sourcing vintage materials and recalling inspiration from her childhood. Saloni’s collections are meant to last, harboring sustainable thinking and versatility. Here she speaks to La Catena about the making of her FORTE Beads bracelet in collaboration with Carolina Bucci.

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Describe your experience of designing a FORTE Beads bracelet. How did you come to your design? Did you immediately know what beads you were drawn to, or did you have to think about it?

I was drawn to the unique story behind each bead. The process of picking my favourite stones to create my own personalized bracelet took me back to my childhood.

Are these colors you typically use in your design practice? If so, is there ever a time when you deviate from this palette?

I love creating colour palettes from memories and this brought to life memories of Ladakh, for me. Ladakh also featured in my previous collections.

What memories, ideas, or feelings do these colors bring up for you?

The beads I have chosen give me a sense of peace, calm and joy.

How do you anticipate others will feel when wearing your bracelet; what kinds of emotions and stories do you hope to evoke?

One can never anticipate how others will feel when wearing something, but I would certainly hope that it will remind the wearer of some of their own special moments.

Where do colors show up in other parts of your life? In your home, garden, clothes, in books, movies, etc.? What are 'your' colors?

I live in colours!

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Saloni FORTE Beads Bracelet

Inspired by memories of Ladakh, Saloni's FORTE Beads bracelet includes blue aventurine, rose quartz, unakite, rhodonite and tiger's eye.

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What are some sources of inspiration you look towards in your own design practice?

I am inspired by everything around me: cities, people, books, textiles, languages, culture and above all, nature.

What, or with whom, is your dream collaboration — with anyone from any time period, a place, an organization, etc.?

There are so many though I guess it would be great to collaborate with someone from the future. I am hopeful we would have found some great ways to clothe ourselves in a really sustainable way by then.

What are the best and worst parts of working in fashion?

Fashion provides a platform for me to reach out to different creatives and collaborate with them. This energy of working alongside creatives, whether in-house, or externally, is the best part of fashion. The worst part is we are consuming faster than ever before, in a way that is not mindful.

How has the industry changed since you’ve been working? How do you think it will change in the post-pandemic future?

We as brands have to look towards a more sustainable business model and to be okay to issue better designs at a slower pace.

What is the most critical part of your daily routine?

I am a working mother of two boys, juggling offices in different time zones. Time is never enough — but I have created my own daily routine and rituals. Walks, mindful downtime and long swims.

When you’re feeling like you’ve hit a wall in your practice, is there a person or place you seek out to help get back on track? What things do you do to be motivated?

During the pandemic I had more time to create a project that’s very close to my heart Connecting For India (CFI), a social impact initiative with the vision to harness the power of connection and camaraderie in support of communities in India. I see the post-pandemic as a moment to create more projects to celebrate our collective humanness and creative spirit as a confluence between artists, artisans, the rural and the urban.

Tell us about a favorite piece of jewelry that you own. Where did you get it — was it a gift, a hand-me-down, a travel find? What makes it so special?

My mother in law gifted to me a vintage Cartier watch of hers which I treasure and will pass it on to my children.

What’s one object in your home or prized possession you can’t live without and why?

I love collecting rocks or little memories from places I visit. These are in no way valuable but these objects are deeply associated with special stories for me so they are incredibly precious to me.

Describe your ideal vacation. What are you wearing, where are you going and who would you take with you?

Travel is both an inspiration and a way of life for me. My husband and I have lived in 5 different countries and have family in different places so traveling is an integral part of our life. Traveling is therefore so many things to me: the excitement of a new adventure and experience, nostalgia revisiting a much loved place or the joy of reconnecting with family and your roots. I like easy dresses that I can style up or down so that I can go from the beach to an aperitivo with no fuss.

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Saloni FORTE Beads Bracelet Saloni FORTE Beads Bracelet

Saloni FORTE Beads Bracelet

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