Padma Lakshmi's Seedy New Jewelry Line
Padma Lakshmi has the career of seven women. She's a model, author, a TV host (most notably Top Chef) and now, the new mom has a jewelry line.
PADMA launched in May 2009 and consists of 40+ earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings inspired by Lakshmi's eclectic past. She was born in India, raised in both India and the US, and has lived in France, Spain and Italy. "I love the rich heritage and beauty of traditional Indian jewelry, but I wanted something more modern and delicate. I also wanted to create something that women would love to wear everyday; pieces that work with jeans and cocktail dresses, jewelry that highlights the myriad sides of a woman's personality without upstaging her."
The collection features an India-inspired hand piece, a "back to front" necklace which "adorns a woman's back as much as her décolleté, cascading down the neck on both sides" and a micro-collection called "the Nav," which is based around traditional Hindu beliefs, incorporating stones which represent the nine planets and harnessing their energy.
Even her foodie experience has influenced her designs. "In hunting for the most precious spices, I found the shapes of seeds and pods exquisite, a purity of proportion and form that had an inherent sensuality to them." We find the designs subtle and thoughtful with a distinct womanliness. The collection's seed and pod themes are exceptionally well-suited to make gifts for pregnant women -- how apt that Padma just gave birth to a baby girl, Krishna.
We interviewed Padma via email about her new jewelry collection, her career and her life.
Luxist: How has your multi-faceted career led you to jewelry?
Padma Lakshmi: Even before my fifteen years in fashion, as a child I was always attracted to my mother's jewel box. Over the years I've been lucky enough to gather some beautiful pieces through my travels along the way. But at a certain point, I wasn't finding exactly what I was looking for in the accessories marketplace and it turned out that others weren't either. I started reproducing the bespoke custom pieces that I had created for myself; that's pretty much the organic process of how the company came about.
Gallery: PADMA by Padma Lakshmi
L: What is your design philosophy? What inspires you?
PL: Anything can inspire me from botany, to architecture, to a Renaissance painting, to the way pebbles are strewn on a beach. Jewelry should adorn and enhance a woman. It should add to her mystery, never take away from it. A woman's jewelry should say something about her, but not speak for her or upstage her. The pieces truly worth having and collecting over the years usually attain a talismanic value for their owner and when I create my line I think "is this something that a woman will want to keep for years and years, something to cherish and pass down?"
L: Of all the things you do, what do you love the most?
PL: Right now my professional focus is totally on our company. It's very exciting, and more than a little frightening, to start a new endeavor at this time. It's also been a wonderful period of creative growth for me. Making jewelry is not unlike making spices or teas or writing cookbooks. The best work comes from giving of yourself; your tastes, your point of view, your personal history and passions. I try to channel all the wonderful things I've been exposed to in a new way, in my way, into the pieces. Hopefully others will be pleased with the results.
L: What did your parents teach you that you will teach your daughter?
PL: Do what you love, always follow your heart and passions, and work hard at what you love.
PADMA pieces can be purchased at Bergdorf Goodman for $300 to $6,000.