Monday, April 20, 2009

Waris Ahluwalia

This is Waris Ahluwalia. Born in India, and raised in Brooklyn. Don't know him? That's alright, because he is the most famous un-famous celebrity. By 'un-famous celebrity', I mean someone who is known by the inner circles of alternatives, a brotherhood of artistes who worship the out-of-the-ordinary, a collection of thinkers known for their out-of-the-box ways and work. Besides, the first thought in the minds of people who don't know any better is "What is this Sardar doing here?". In other words, he's no mainstream rockstar.

Waris Ahluwalia is a jewelry designer. His House of Waris line is high-end, available at the esteemed Bergdorf Goodman, and at Colette in Paris, known to showcase groundbreaking fashion art and artists.

His work is simple yet atypical, opulent yet understated. In an interview with fashion journalist Diane Pernet, he explains that, to him, luxury is an intangible, immeasurable aspect and amount of "soul" put into each piece of his jewelry. The client is not only buying the value of the precious rocks, but also the indeterminable romance of the will and talent of an expert craftsman breathing life into the raw material. Interesting thought, and expert marketing to the soulless super-rich, I must admit.

You see, for 6 months of the year, he spends his time between Rome and Jaipur, designing, and then directing and overseeing a team of expert craftsmen working on his line. And then the next 6 months, marketing his collection, networking, partying, hanging out with supermodels and actresses... yes, all the occupational hazards of a jewelry designer with a luxury line.

And then, when he has the time, he stars in his buddy, Wes Anderson's little film ditties, quirky independent masterpieces such as The Darjeeling Limited and The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Rumour has it that his deadpan good looks and subtle character studies so impressed Spike Lee, that Lee tracked him down and asked him to be in his thriller The Inside Man.

So essentially, Waris Ahluwalia is best known for his bespoke jewelry, his bit-parts in classic cult movies, his looking like a fish out of water at red carpet do's, and his undeniable underground rockstar status. Now that's what I call "genius".

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