Two years ago, British designer Richard Quinn’s London Fashion Week show went viral when Her Majesty the Queen appeared on his front row, ensconced among the fashion press and celebrity attendees. The Queen was in attendance to present Quinn with the first ever Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. Following in his footsteps this year is Rosh Mahtani of Alighieri, making her the first ever jewelry designer to receive the prestigious accolade – 2019’s winner was ready-to-wear designer Bethany Williams.
It was announced today that the award will be presented to Mahtani by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne on behalf of the Queen on Tuesday February 18, following an intimate catwalk show at London Fashion Week. Since its inception in 2018, a designer is recognized each year by the British Fashion Council, in collaboration with the Royal Household, for both their design talent and for making a difference to society through sustainable practices or community engagement. The self-taught designer is also being celebrated for her unique attention to detail and emphasis on craftsmanship.
“Mahtani has managed to translate her passion for jewelry and storytelling into a highly successful business while using responsibly sourced materials,” says Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council, of the designer who’s gold-plated, antique-like pieces are made in her Hatton Garden Studio using recycled bronze, and cast by the oldest family-run business in London. “Her ethical approach and commitment to local manufacturing, combined with her ability to make beautiful, timeless, made-by-hand jewelry, makes her an inspiration for many young British designers.”
Mahtani, who was born in London and raised in Zambia, studied French and Italian at Oxford University. It was here that she first came across Italian poet Dante Alighieri and was moved to create jewelry inspired by his Divine Comedy literature. The result is her enormously popular and deeply cerebral costume jewelry – rough-edged medallion necklaces and rings and lush baroque pearl earrings – much loved by the fashion world. Recently, she made her first foray into embellished footwear, too.
Stay tuned for a behind-the-scenes view of her collection, Love in The Waste Land (which cites T.S Eliot’s 1922 poem as a reference), next week.