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Designing Diversity: Bvlgari's Mangalsutra

Updated: Jan 24, 2023

There has always been a divide between the East and the West. In this contemporary world, that demands diversity and inclusivity, fashion has found a way to bridge that gap.

Bvlgari, in 2021, successfully launched a timeless testament to Indian culture. Its take on the Mangalsutra (the auspicious thread worn by a Hindu bride on the day of the wedding ceremony) features a very minimalist take on the actual pendant. The Bvlgari Mangalsutra (available online in the UK and in India) made its first appearance on the cover of Vogue India, resting on the neck of Priyanka Chopra Jonas, with a Dior red, ruffled dress to compliment the resplendent 18 carat gold. The necklace is said to be featured in stores in 2023, as part of a whole new collection.

Its design showcases five circles, evocative of the brand’s signature circular motif. Loaded with tradition and symbolism, Bvlgari has allowed women to celebrate their cultural heritage through their own contemporary sense of style. Priyanka Chopra, the long-standing brand ambassador for Bvlgari, insisted that the pendent be coloured black and gold to celebrate its timeless testament to the symbol of love. A perfectly curated marriage of modernity and culture, the Mangalsutra is encrusted with black onyx (said to ward off any evil spirits) while the classic Roman coin’s circular motif encapsulates power and prestige.

Despite not having any specific mention of jewellery in Hindu Scriptures, the ‘sacred thread’ can be pinpointed to around fifth century A.D., where the white woven cord eventually metamorphosed to the necklace we see now through European influence. Traditionally associated as a symbol of undying affection between the bride and her groom, modern women rightfully take it a step further. Bvlgari’s Mangalsutra breaks new grounds through the concept of unapologetically wearing the pendant irrespective of whether you are betrothed or not. Bvlgari’s necklace is the embodiment of the ‘unconventional yet cultural echo’. Those who choose to purchase the Mangalsutra understand the true meaning of its emotional connection, its deep-rooted nuances in Hinduism, all while being unabashedly, shamelessly fashion-forward.

Styling the Mangalsutra speaks volumes about how you decide to showcase your image. The Mangalsutra stands firm as a symbol of sacred commitment and eternal love. Be it with black silk wide-legged trousers and a canary satin blouse, or a Sabyasachi embroidered lehenga, the Bvlgari Mangalsutra makes for an elegant pairing, either elevating the look or complementing it. Subtle and stylish, the Bvlgari Mangalsutra promises to deliver the message of delicate romance, whilst staying true to the brand’s historically timeless creations.

Jimmy Choo’s Limited Diwali Collection

Other takes on the modern Mangalsutra includes the setting sun on a crescent moon, embodying delicate silhouettes by Kajal Naina, or the Royal Legal Mangalsutra by Sabyasachi — both India-based companies. Jimmy Choo, inspired by the festival of Diwali (Hindu celebration of lights), designed a limited collection only available in India, consisting of shoes, handbags, and scarves adorned with a glitter finish. Diwali celebrates optimism, positivity, and faith which Jimmy Choo chooses to emulate through their pieces. The glitter and gold colour palette used celebrates the ‘magical, dancing light of diyas floating on water’. Bvlgari isn’t the first to explore the Eastern cultures for their untapped potential. However, Bvlgari is one of the first multinational luxury companies to make their Eastern-inspired piece available to the Western world.

Kajal Naina’s take on the Mangalsutra

While celebrating culture through art is growing in importance, there is a fine line between culture appreciation and appropriation. Bvlgari’s Mangalsutra is clearly aimed at the Indian demographic, respecting the origins of the Mangalsutra. Fashion takes self-expression to a whole other level here, reflecting changing identities and echoing history. Bvlgari showcases how vital fashion can be as a catalyst for representation and diversity within the industry itself. Despite the challenges surrounding intersection and cultural appropriation in fashion, Bvlgari does an incredible job of devising a clever mix of culture and modern-day artistry.

With more and more Eastern influence in fashion nowadays, who’s to say whether we see Dior or Cartier’s take on the Maang Tikka next?

Written by Alisha B

(@_.alisha.b_ on IG)

Edited by Lucy Eaton

(@llucyeaton on IG)


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