Every person has a maniacal obsession. People usually collect objects as passion: postcards, stamps, caps, stickers and everything’s possible to imagine. The young designer Helena Bajaj Larsen is a different collector. She’s used to rack jewels and photographs up from her travels. That’s the point from where she started to design the collection of her brand-new same name fashion brand.
Born and grew up in Paris from an Indian painter mother and a Norwegian academic father, from a very young age, Helena Bajaj Larsen’s always been into art and exhibitions. Her choice to improve her passion for art brought her to study fashion design at Parsons School of Design in New York City, due to the fact that “design is the only medium combining art and function”. The love for jewelry goes with the 22 years-old designer since she was a little girl, because it’s an important part of her Indian heritage.
When still fourteen, Helena went to visit the Amrapali factory in Jaipur and she remained completely awe about the discovery of all the craftsmanship work involved behind a single piece. So when she found out Parsons School launched a jewelry elective course, taught by George Plionis, she do was thrilled and signed up immediately for it. New York made her fortune: during her studies there she learnt how to dabble with all the fabrication techniques, such as heating, etching and hammering, and to work different materials, like metal and wax, that one melted and pressed to create molds. In Spring 2016 the designer attended Central St Martins for a course of studies abroad, during which she enrolled herself in a resin and plastic jewelry class, but these medium wasn’t exactly her cup of tea.
Helena Bajaj Larsen graduated in May 2017 with a Fashion Design BFA. Her thesis, titled Khadi, is a collection that explores artisanal work around India. The name of the collection project comes from an Indian homespun cotton cloth, known as the “fabric of social change” because it reminds to the Indian Independence movement led by Mahatma Gandhi. Lover of fabric till she was a baby, the designer used this variety of Khadi, which is a mix of raw silk, cotton, organza, etc, and painted handmade using acid and pygments dyes. To complete the clothing line, Helena designed a metal jewelry collection focused on the surface alterations, as a continuum of the fabric studies. Five different techniques are used for the realisation of the 30 pieces: hammering, fusing, granulation, saw-etching, mill-rolling. Each technique shows a different texture and is applied to earrings, cuffs, necklaces and rings with the aim to illustrate how one surface treatment can be applied to different dimension, as well as how it might look on different parts of the body.
Liberating material, metal is her favourite medium to express herself with her creations, because as it fuses, alters and changes itself, it always allows to come back to the start and virtually do anything over and over again. Working metal is a sort of meditative process for Helena Bajaj Larsen, because when the torch gazes the surface, bubbles pop up, colors appear, creases carve out, creating a new world stuck in a sense of temporality into timeless jewelry.