PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten Academy alum Shalini Khemlani-Alwani is back home after a decade away and she didn’t come for just a family visit.
Khemlani-Alwani will launch her international line of jewellery and one-of-a-kind handmade crystal encrusted handbags. Her line Lady Divine is her newest challenge and is the result of two years of research, planning and designing.
“I chose the name Lady Divine, because I want everyone who wears my jewellery to feel divine,” she said.
The designer’s first stroke of inspiration came from browsing the markets of China where she lived for several years with her family. It took a chance request though to really get her creativity flowing. She received a request to source crystals and to oversee orders from a buyer outside of China.
More contact with a variety of costume jewellery elements led her to sketching out her own designs. Jewellery is in her blood, coming from a family of jewellers. She is the daughter of Dayal and Varkha Alwani of Shiva’s Jewellers on Front Street.
Her passion for designing her copper based costume jewellery stems from the knowledge that women love to wear jewellery but are reluctant to travel to many real pieces made from precious metals and gems.
Her jewellery runs from US $30 to US $200 and no more than three pieces are of the same design. The collection for the trunk show spans some 30 designs of necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings. Phone cases, business card holders and keyrings are also part of the selection.
A lot of attention is paid to assembling crystal encrusted Judith Leiber-inspired
bags. These bags have evolved into statement pieces with women ordering bags with initials or names embedded in the design.
“No bag is the same. One lady asked for casino design with her husband’s name on it. There are so many ways to express yourself,” said Khemlani-Alwani.
Unlike the uber expensive Leiber bags that run thousands of dollars and often cannot fit more than a lipstick, Khemlani-Alwani’s bags are designed to easily hold today’s ubiquitous smartphones and other necessities, but still look dainty, elegant and unencumbered. The price point is also very different to Leiber’s as they are between US $500 and US $600.
Khemlani-Alwani does create made-to-order customized pieces. These usually take about four weeks for delivery from Hong Kong where the designer is based.
The trunk show is set for Sheer restaurant on Front Street tomorrow, Friday, from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. The designer’s favourite pieces will be complemented by talented dancer Paula Doño and Sheer’s signature finger foods and drinks. The trunk show is open to all jewellery lovers.
Bag, bracelet, ring and necklace from the Lady Divine Collection.