Designers with a curator’s eye for splicing tradition and modernity are the ones breathing newness in age-old kaleeras. An essential part of the Punjabi wedding traditions, this accessory tied to a bride’s chuda or bangles, has gradually become a bridal favourite across cultures.
Considered a form of blessing for the bride-to-be, kaleeras were traditionally made in gold or silver with patti design, small jhumkis and ghungroos. However, over time, this beautiful accessory has undergone a makeover, with many designers adding a contemporary touch to it using pearls, beads or flowers. And that’s how they are making kaleeras complement the modern-day bridal wear too. “With a playful, fun, contemporary lehenga, it was hard to find the right kaleeras so we came out with pop-coloured hand embroidered options that matched our signature style,” says designer Shubhika from Papa Don’t Preach.
Echoing similar views, jewellery designer Rahul Luthra, who has made kaleeras with pearls, tassels and even with mantras inscribed on them, says, “The bride of today wants emotions in everything, they want their personality to mirror in what they wear and hence, we started innovating and came out with myriad options.”
Sometimes, it is also the location of a destination wedding that works as an inspiration to customise this accessory. Kaabia Grewal, co-founder of Outhouse Jewellery, did it for her own beachside wedding ceremony. “We wanted to adapt a sensibility from Nature. Hence shell kaleeras came into being, In fact all my jewellery was shell inspired (not real shells),” she shares, adding that the masterpiece made using Florida cockle shells, trivia shells and Swarovski crystals, among others, took over 600 hours to create by the craftsmen at work.
Also, with brides opting for sustainable options, in accordance with their minimalistic, zero-waste philosophy, floral kaleeras are becoming a big hit. “Some brides choose kaleeras simply made of white and baby pink roses, while some love dry flowers. Kaleeras either made completely with mogras or along with other flowers such as rose, looks extremely gorgeous,” says Ashish Boobna, director, Ferns and Petals, adding, “We’ve also made aromatic kaleeras and kaleeras equipped with red, pink, yellow or white blossoms that make for one of the most scintillating and gorgeous accessories of a bride’s look.”