Nitya Arora (1990? – ) Nitya is a gifted, non-conformist Indian designer who credits her grandmother as one of the strongest influences in her career and of her creations. Founder of the edgy accessories label, Valliyan, she has said that when she was a child, her grandmother gave her a pair of gold hoops, her first pieces of jewelry. Valliyan means gold hoops in the Indian dialect of Punjabi and is the brand name that reflects Nitya’s Punjabi heritage. The name also serves as homage to her grandmother.
Nitya’s interest in design began in earnest when she was in college. Her professional work in the field of design started at age 18 as she explored different fields and aspects of art. She studied at New York’s Parsons School of Design and graduated in 2011 with degrees in apparel and jewelry design.
In 2012, she was named winner of the Grazia Young Designers Award for best accessories designer. Her first design collection sold at Bombay Electric, one of her favorite stores. Soon after, magazines began to feature her and her jewelry. Her creations have appeared at Lakme Fashion Week (2009). She designed jewelry for Bollywood (India’s thriving film industry) and offered her creations at trunk shows in Dubai, Egypt, and New York.
Nitya’s approach to her jewelry is unconventional as her intention is to create one-of-a-kind art. Plated in gold, she experiments with a wide variety of materials that also make her more traditional pieces wearable in an everyday wardrobe.
In a November 2014 interview, she identified the Villiyan woman as, “…artistic, ambitious, dreamy, adventurous, free spirited and a connoisseur.”
The designs emanating from Valliyan By Nitya have been called ‘a breath of fresh air amid the sea of traditional jewelry.’ Nitya calls herself a maximalist and has made layering an art form in the unusual statement jewelry her brand creates.
With inspirations derived from art, architecture, vintage textiles, interior spaces, nature and, of course, her grandmother, Nitya works with semi-precious stones, glass, crystals, metals, acrylic, and rarer materials all combined with gold plating.
Her firm is also known for accessories such as handbags created with genuine leather. Valliyan accessories also include headgear that reflect a sculptural textured quality. All pieces are one of a kind.
Valliyan’s style is often cited as esoteric couture with a retro-futuristic discipline. Valliyan jewels have a timeless quality that pulls from bygone eras while remaining relevant to modern style. An amalgamation of form, texture, color, art and design, it has its roots deep in the heritage and traditions of India. Valliyan accessories are entirely handcrafted in India and sport vintage influences that combine bright Indian hues and detail with a New York edge.
In August 2015, Nitya introduced her Victoria collection as a, “dark fantasy” for the year’s Lakme Fashion Week. The jewelry is created in brass and gun-metal and, while appearing big and affluent, its dark undertones are inspired by Gothic Architecture.
Thread tassels, feathers, antique gold plating and black rhodium create eye-catching highlights. Swarovski crystals, semi-precious and colored stones and glass recreate stained glass effects on the jewelry; and pearls add glamour to the pieces.
In addition, the collection features an assortment of headgear, harnesses, bracelets, belts, broaches, big shoulder dusters and many face framing ornaments. Baubles like floor-length tasseled belts, silver crowns, and jeweled head bands create an eccentric yet chic look.
In April 2016, after years of catering only to women, Nitya Arora began designing accessories for men. She’s been testing the market by creating a capsule collection of brooches that can be worn on jackets, turbans, and kurtas as well as on T and other shirts.
All the male brooches are handmade from brass then plated with eighteen carat gold. They are further embellished with Swarovski crystals and semi-precious stones.
Valliyan retails at stores in Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta, and, from November to April at a brand store in Morjim, GOA,Sell Nitya Arora All Artists