As many jet setters will testify, a lace edged Maneesha Ruia wrap or shawl is a travel essential. Cobweb light, incredibly warm and stylish, her wraps, scarves and ponchos are made with a mix of fine cashmere and merino, touches of fur, suede and lace. They are not available easily in India but you can spot them at elegant boutiques in global haunts like Aspen, Vail, Marbella, Cannes and St Barts. The effortless and contemporary elegance has spilled over into a line of resort wear and lounge wear as well.
Now, as she ventures into carrying her signature lace into a line of handbags she talks to geetaslist about her designs. And yes, she is will be at select pop ups in Mumbai and Delhi this year to ‘wrap your wanderlust’, as her spanking new tag line suggests .
What makes Maneesha Ruia- the brand, both artisanal and luxury ?
Our collections are hand made by workers that are skilled in this trade, hence the term artisanal. As for luxury, we use the finest materials and craftsmen to give our designs the perfect finishing with absolute attention to detail giving a state of great comfort and elegance.
Our artisans are based in Kashmir, Punjab, Lucknow, U.P, Delhi and Mumbai. We primarily use Merino Wool and Cashmere. The merino wool comes from Australia and the Cashmere fibre come from the Tibetan highlands, in the Himalayas and Mongolia. Our lace is sourced from France, Korea and specialized factories in India and the handwork is simply Indian!
As Indians, we have been gifted with so much culture and variety that there could be nothing better than making optimum use of India’s creativity to create our designs.
Who is the woman you have in mind when you create your pieces?
The Maneesha Ruia woman is someone who can carry herself well and create her own style. Being comfortable in her own skin gives her the confidence to experiment with different styles and looks. She exudes confidence and class like none other.
Why did you decide to venture into handbags ?
I was first acquainted with the art of designing handbags when I designed them for clients in the US. It gave me good exposure into the industry, especially the leather industry. Hence, I knew exactly what would set a Maneesha Ruia bag apart from the rest. The focus of our handbags is hand embroidery and embellishments on leather. Also, the unique selling proposition of a Maneesha Ruia design is lace; that is what we are known for today. So, just like our scarves, our bags will flaunt lace embellishments. It is the perfect accessory to accompany the lace scarves that we are known for.We felt it was time to make the transition from designing scarves and shawls, to other lifestyle products. We want to cater to our customers in more ways than one. Which is why, we introduced resort wear, wraps and lounge wear into our collection and will be introducing handbags .
Tell us about some of the big global clients you supply to ?
Our global clients include the likes of Harvey Nichols, Hong Kong, Aishti in Lebanon, Harari in Beverly Hills, California, Maxfield in California, Abiste in Japan and Four Seasons in Mexico, to name a few. We also have a presence in luxury markets in St. Barts, St Tropez, St. Martin, Cannes, Marbella, Aspen and Vail in Colorado. In India, we are present at exhibitions and pop-up stores.
What is your vision for the brand – will you venture into fashion or will it be fashion accessories only ?
We are en route to building a complete lifestyle brand. The idea is to branch out from being just an accessory brand to a lifestyle brand that caters to multiple needs. It’s all about flaunting the perfect look with an aesthetic that gives you everything you need.
The one piece from your collection/s every woman should own
It’s difficult to choose! But, I do recommend that every woman should own a design from the classic collection of stoles or shawls. They can be carried in your handbag and worn to the theatre, or they could be simply accompany you for dinner over a nice pair of jeans. In addition, the lounge wear collection is versatile and the pieces are fashionable yet effortlessly stylish – great to have one as a travel companion!
photographer credits: @kasatkinastya