Few designers can claim that international pop star Beyonce Knowles gave them their first big break. But Hanut Singh, whose jewellery the Grammy award winner flaunted at a photo shoot in Cannes early in his career, might owe his meteoric rise among Hollywood celebrities to her. “She got a pair of earrings and a necklace from me, and the next day, she flew off to Cannes,” recalls the designer. “She could have worn anything for that photo shoot, but because she knew I was a young designer, she chose my work.”
Singh admits that he’s met Knowles a few times after that through common friends and she keeps borrowing jewellery aside from commissioning specific pieces. “The demand happened quite organically,” he insists. “Celebrities abroad have every major fashion and jewellery house literally throwing expensive clothes and jewellery at them, which they then get to keep. Some are even paid to wear a brand’s clothes. Which is why it’s a real affirmation of my work that they not only ask for my stuff, but also pay for pieces for their private collections,” mentions the designer.
His most coveted celebrity coup was Madonna, who was sent almost 15 pieces of jewellery to choose from before she asked for a pair of skull earrings to match her eyes. “Designing for her was the biggest deal for me,” adds Singh, who was also featured in Time Magazine.
Singh is in the city to showcase his latest collection at Bungalow 8. Taking a step away from the traditional Indian style, beset with heavy precious stones and thick braids of gold, his work is delicate, almost fragile-looking, carrying a distinct leitmotif of a tiger’s claw: “It’s inspired from a resin tiger’s claw that I bought from the Natural History Museum in New York. It’s so much a part of India’s history that I use it in many of my collections, embellishing it with stones.”
So which of the Bollywood folk are on his client wish list? Singh responds, “Shweta Nanda wears my jewellery. I think Twinkle Khanna has exceptional style, I’d love for her to buy some jewellery.”