Last year, we launched H Project, a shop filled with extraordinary products with extraordinary stories. A mission of H Project is to highlight and support different cultures, crafts and artisans from around the world. Now, every year, under the curation of Alexandra Weston, our visionary behind it, we’ll be collaborating with renowned designers to “uncrate” the special stories, richness and traditions of a specific culture and its crafts.
The first stop on this world tour was India. We couldn’t imagine a better guide to bring this dynamic concept to life than designer and tastemaker Waris Ahluwalia, founder of House of Waris. Born in India and now based in New York, Ahluwalia embodies the romance, magic and sophistication of India. This past November he helped lead the Holts team on a journey through Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur and Mandawa, sourcing enchanting products and introducing our team to artisans and their age-old techniques. From block-printed textiles to hand-woven rugs, the spectacular pieces we found on this journey, along with an exclusive collection of jewellery and accessories from House of Waris, was showcased in an “Uncrate India” shop within H Project.
Read Alexandra’s travel diary from her adventures in India, and scroll down to learn more about our partner Waris, plus watch our behind the scenes video!
Our partner in this spring’s “Uncrate India” shop is Waris Ahluwalia, one of the world’s leading tastemakers. A self-described story teller, Ahluwalia is equal parts jewellery designer, actor (spot him in his pal Wes Anderson’s films), artist, fashion muse, and style icon (on best-dressed lists from Vanity Fair to GQ). Inspired by and handcrafted in his native India, his luxury jewellery collection, House of Waris, has earned him a nomination for the prestigious CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund and fans around the world.
Why were you drawn to this collaboration with Holts?
“This collaboration allows me to share with the world the incredible talent from within my country of birth, India. However, it’s not just the traditional craftsmanship that I am excited to share; it’s also the new younger contemporary voice that is the future of design and craft. We must celebrate the young and the old, and this project does just that.”
What was a highlight for you?
“India has always been the creative and cultural crossroads of the east, where the Silk Road slips over the tallest mountains and where the earth turns from green to red. To share this beauty with others is a blessing. It's not only objects and designs we discover when we seek out craftsmanship, it is also humanity. That is the essence of what my work revolves around – the human touch.”
Tell us about the exclusive House of Waris pieces you created for “Uncrate India”.
“Some of the incredible materials we worked with include flat cut diamonds, gold, silver, brass, silk, marble, and even leather. Everything we've made is exclusive to Holt Renfrew and all of it is handmade in India.”
Watch our exclusive behind the scenes videos!
We went on a mission of discovery. Seeking out great talents, incredible objects, fresh interpretations of ancient ideas and products that transcend borders,” said Waris Ahluwalia. “H Project allows us to continue to support traditional techniques and share our passion for craftsmanship with the world.
There will be a giveback from Holt Renfrew’s “Uncrate India” shop, which will support UNICEF’s lifesaving work for children in India. See more in the video below.
Holt Renfrew’s H Project spaces at Bloor Street, Yorkdale, Calgary and Vancouver will transform into Uncrate India shops from April 1 until May 31, 2014. The shop will support UNICEF’s lifesaving work for children in India with a $15,000 donation to support local initiatives.