It’s all about being a polymath right now. Look at James Franco! And model turned presenter turned designer: Alexa Chung. The latest to impress is Waris Ahluwalia, the Punjab-born, Brooklyn-raised Sikh jewellery designer and actor and also now entrepreneur behind a pop up teashop on New York’s High Line.
You’ll recognise Waris from the parts he played in Wes Anderson’s films: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) and The Darjeeling Limited (2007), and also perhaps from his striking, elegant presence on New York’s cool, hip after hours scene. These qualities give Waris a wonderful allure - something that Starwood’s Premium line is tapping into by carving out a role for him to contribute an invisible something to their exclusive collection of special hotels.
His jewellery is very finely crafted with a sublime modernist touch and sells at Dover Street Market. Current are a palm frond ring covered in tiny diamonds and tear drop earrings scattered with sapphires. For September, Waris is also bringing out scarves in silk and cashmere, hand woven and dyed by craftsmen in Jodphur.
But perhaps the most peculiar extension of his polymath career is the teahouse, which he set up in a container near the High Line. It was not any old teashop but a gathering spot which brewed divine House of Waris tea (a sell out) and offers books, Criterion DVDs, prints, Daylesford cookies and much more. He plans to create a pop up teashop at Dover Street this September. 'It just felt right - tea is about savouring and stretching time. It is under appreciated in New York, but in Britain tea is embedded in the culture.' Long live polymaths - I would quite happily be wrapped in cashmere, sipping tea and watch the light bounce off diamonds.