As a child, Pallavi Foley always found her grandmother’s jewellery box fascinating. She enjoyed observing people and their dressing styles. Pallavi started her career with Tanishq, and worked with them for a decade as lead designer. “As a 22-year-old I would see the country wear my jewellery, and it gave me immense pleasure to be able to see how people wore the jewellery that I designed and how they were combining my designs with their outfits. I loved spending time at the factory learning from design engineers and combining the art of handmade jewellery and machine-made ones,” she says.
A lot of these stories that take form as jewellery by this award-winning designer are inspired by her travels. An avid traveller, Pallavi travels to learn, explore and absorb, but to also find inspiration for her designs.
“Travelling to study, travelling for work, travelling with my family on holidays -- all this has satiated my soul in some way or the other and has helped me become who I am today,” says Pallavi, when I catch up with her before she sets sail on yet another trip.
Pallavi plans her own trips; sometimes she has a well-planned itinerary and at other times, she prefers to organically discover a place over time. “Even when I travel for work, I always take time out to wander around in a city. Walking through a new city is the best way to discover it,” she says.
Pallavi often travels for work with colleagues. The jewellery fair in Basel, Switzerland, and Hong Kong trade shows and the couture jewellery shows in Vegas are a must. Apart from this, there are family holidays, twice a year and the many weekend getaways peppered throughout the year.
As a designer, Pallavi is always busy observing people, art, and architecture.
“I totally enjoy watching people from different nationalities at international airports. It’s fascinating. There are so many stories one can see. The patterns, the materials, the jewellery and the languages are so different and I find all this very inspiring,” she quips.
“Travelling opens the mind and it is a way of discovering your soul, and finding new inspiration. I find travel to be a source of transformation; it is a priceless gift to give oneself. Travel helps me discover myself better, and in ways that I never thought existed.”
Travel is also a deep source of inspiration for Pallavi who always carries a doodle book with her and takes a lot of pictures. “Most of my travel experiences have directly or indirectly led to a new jewellery collection. It is rejuvenating and creatively energising for me,” she reveals.
Pallavi likes to explore new places and countries but loves to revisit some of her favourites too. Goa and Rajasthan are two of her much-loved haunts in India. Florence, Venice and Milan are her favourite cities since she studied there. Her love for the hills comes from her years at Sherwood College, Nainital.
“Hills make me feel at home and the hilly terrain brings a sense of warmth within,” she reveals.
However, one of her favourite destinations is Kyoto and Tokyo in Japan. From the inspiring art and culture to the helpful nature of people, she loves every aspect of this country. Pallavi also loves the eclectic fashion scene in these cities.
On her bucket list is South America and Iceland. “The Nordic land is calling me,” she says.
Pallavi quotes the great artist Pablo Picasso- “Everything you can imagine is real.” So Pallavi is fearless when she designs.
“My imagination is my biggest design resource. I let my mind wander. I find my inspiration everywhere, in my travels, in my vivid visualisation of what I read, in movies, in paintings, in my daughter’s constant storytelling and singing.”
Though every experience in my life somehow finds its way into the jewels that I design, travel however always has a peculiar drug-like impact on me.”
While there are so many special travel memories, Pallavi lets us into two of them. One was when she was in Auroville, Pondicherry, and the other was recently when she was in Zurich, Switzerland.
“I was in Auroville. I was walking and I had lost my way. I met a lady on a bike. I waved out to her and she stopped. I told her that I was looking for a restaurant called Hope-Café. She said you are lucky that you are lost. It is through getting lost that one can find oneself.”
“Recently in Zurich, we were returning to our hotel and it began to snow that evening. So we rushed into a closed restaurant and discovered that they excelled in making samosas. The chef was Italian and the samosas were delicious.”
“Travel helps to transcend the mundane everyday life we get caught in, a great way to break free and see life as an explorer and re-orient ourselves to change. So my advice is to look at travel as a gift to oneself, and be open to new adventures.”
“Be well planned, but keep room for change and exploring things on your own,” advises Pallavi. While Pallavi plans what she wants to see, she doesn’t do things the touristy way.
And that’s not all. According to her, it’s important to read about the city before you travel to get the most out of travelling. And once you reach your destination you must eat the local food, try out the traditional and the new places to eat, walk around the city, connect with friends, or hire a car and drive around yourself.
“Explore it enough so that you know the aroma of the city in your head,” she says.
As she signs off all packed for yet another work trip she says, “I hope to have stories in many countries, travel and meet a lot more people. Most importantly, I hope to keep evolving all the time.”