Exclusive: In conversation with Riddhima Kapoor Sahni before her international debut at London Fashion Week ‘22

The extremely talented designer speaks of her love for everything fashion and bringing the ‘showstopper culture’ to the UK.

Harper's Bazaar India

It’s hard to not be charmed by Riddhima Kapoor Sahni’s effervescent infectious energy on a late night interaction. Even though the end of the day is near, and you know well that she is knee-deep prepping for her international debut at the London Fashion Week 2022, the excitement leading up to her collaboration with British designer, Helen Anthony, all set for September 19 is palpable. In the interview with Bazaar India, she speaks of channelling all her energy into work through tough years of loss, keeping the familial balance intact while being a business woman, her jewellery showcase and lucky charm, her love for diamonds, what jewellery trends will be the highlight this year, and more.

Harper’s Bazaar: You make your debut at the London Fashion Week for Helen Anthony, themed around ‘East meets West’. Excited, nervous…what are you most looking forward to in your London debut after walking the ramp for designers back home?

Riddhima Kapoor Sahni: It’s my debut walk internationally which I am really excited about. I am not nervous but I am anxious because I don’t know what to expect because I haven’t done something like this before. Also, I am showcasing my collection for the very first time on a global platform which is a golden opportunity which came knocking at my door. It’s a perfect amalgamation of my brand, jewellery by Riddhima Kapoor Sahni and Punjab Jewellers Mumbai X Helen Anthony. Honestly, I haven’t had the time to be nervous because it’s been a hectic last three weeks so far, where we haven’t sat down for a minute and had the opportunity to feel anxious.

HB: How has the prep been different for the London Fashion Week as opposed to fashion weeks here?

RKS: This is our first international showcase on a global scale which is very different from what we have done before. Collaborating with Anthony has been great because he is someone who knows what he wants and I know what I want. It’s good to be on the same page as him—we understood each other over numerous zoom calls. On the whole, he is so brilliant, because one design after the other is so different. Now to just see the whole look together, which I will be seeing as I fly on my birthday, a few days before the show, is something I am truly excited about.

HB: Anthony’s modern silhouettes will meet age-old techniques with jewels like kundan, polki, jadaui, minakari and more at the London Fashion Week ’22. How did you conceptualise the pieces?

RKS: Anthony’s designs are very modern, and today. We are showcasing our classic heirloom pieces, but we are taking contemporary diamond pieces set in precious and semi-precious stones. Polki, jadau and others is something we had to showcase so we are doing waistbelts, kadas, and everything else.

HB: What separates ‘Samara’ the exclusively designed collection named after your daughter from the ones you have done before?

RKS: This is my first international show and you know, as a mother, my daughter, Samara, is everything to me. Plus, she has always been a good luck charm for me—so I had to name my international showcase after her!

HB: Do tell us about the inspiration behind the collection and how did the collaboration with Helen Anthony come about?

RKS: I got a mail from Helen Anthony’s team for collaboration with the brand for the London Fashion Week. When I saw it, it was a no-brainer. This happened right after the bridal couture week got over in Delhi, and since then, we have been at it.

HB: Your numero uno gemstone of choice and why?

RBS: I am a diamond person, for whom diamonds are truly my best friends! It doesn’t matter what the size is, to be honest. But also, I love coloured stones and there’s something about pearls as well paired with diamonds which gives you a really soft look.

Riddhima Kapoor Sahni X Punjab Jewellers for Helen Anthony

HB: As someone who has been successfully running their own business, what is non-negotiable for you on a day-to-day basis, plus, how important is a support structure to balance home and work?

RBS: It really comes down to time management. I am on my emails and device all day, but I take time out for my family. When Samara comes home, even though she is pre-teen, she wants my attention. I ensure all my commitments are done for the day and I can give my time to her. When she is sitting down to do her homework, I’ll go back to work and mails. It’s all about being a good multi-tasker, in addition, I have a great team which is completely in sync with me.

HB: Is creative block a thing for you? If it is, how do you break free from it?

RBS: Oh, yes, totally! But then you know, at the end of the day you see something that inspires you and you get to work. It could be something from your child’s drawing, also, every day is about new learning and new experiences. Plus, there is my team which is great—they always jump in and help.

HB: Did your design sensibilities or process shift during lockdown and pandemic? How did you keep yourself motivated, when like the world, you too were going through the paroxysm of grief and loss?

RBS: I went through hell. For my family, it was the worst time. I kept myself busy and dived into work. Business-wise, we did very well during Rakhi season with everyone sitting and shopping online, and while things were not that great as they were pre-pandemic, we were able to bounce back slowly and steadily. You have to keep yourself busy so that you can cope with the loss, but it’s hard because it’s loss that is irreparable, however, at the end of the day, life goes on. My mother also had to find a way to cope, so Ranbir and I totally encouraged her to come back into movies, which I think was a great thing for her. You know, we will never be able to get over it.

HB: Words of wisdom from your father you always turn to in moments of self-doubt?

RBS: My dad always encouraged me. When I started the brand, he even tweeted about it and said “You’re always an achiever, and I am so proud of you”. Both my parents have been like that. I turn to my mother for everything. When Anthony’s team approached me, she was the first person I called. Dad, of course, was always very supportive, and today, he’s watching over us and blessing us.

HB: What’s a day like in the life of Riddhima Kapoor Sahni?

RBS: Getting up at 6 in the morning, waking up my daughter for school, and then waking everyone else up. I do yoga which keeps me sane followed by work. I get up early and sleep early. When I want to finally relax I'll turn to my dog who is a great stress-buster for me or read what's trending online.

HB: As part of the Kapoor family one hoped to see you making your debut in films but you surprised everyone with your choice as a jewellery designer. What made you gravitate towards it over the world of cinema?

RBS: I left for London when I was 17 or 18, and I did get a lot of offers, but I was never inclined towards acting. I wanted to do something different. I love fashion and that’s something I live for. It truly is my stress-buster. I’ll read everything online and I’ll just feel better. Walking for Anthony, I was so excited about it and knew instantly that I wanted to do it. I always wanted to do fashion, marketing...something creative...which I finally chose.

HB: Do tell us about initial reactions to the news of you debuting at the London Fashion Week and also in effect debuting the ‘showstopper culture’ that London hasn’t been privy to so far?

RBS: All my friends were excited about it. I was in Mumbai when I confirmed this. When I met Anthony, I had asked him that in India since we have a showstopper, would I be opening the show for him, to which he was like sure...while we don’t have a showstopper culture, we can do that!

Riddhima Kapoor Sahni X Punjab Jewellers for Helen Anthony

HB: Is there a piece of jewellery you have already envisioned or is in the making with a new member on the way? An heirloom piece you are excited to give your soon-to-be niece or nephew?

RBS: We want a healthy baby, who is a mixture of Alia and Ranbir, that’s all we want. Of course, heirloom pieces will go to the baby, but we have time for that, and I am sure mom must have something in mind, which I'll get to discussing later.

HB: With the world opening up and the festive season taking shape, what is a jewellery trend you think we will be seeing a lot more of this year?

RBS: I feel something wearable that’s easy to put on. These days, youngsters want to wear something simple, on-the-go jewellery like tennis bracelets and chunky rings.