Padma Lakshmi: A New Jewelry Line, New Alaïa Heels, And A New Zulu Headdress (Really!)

Spencer Cain

Anyone who watches “Top Chef”—Bravo’s hit reality show now in its tenth season—knows that while the focus is on creating delicious food, there’s also an element of style involved thanks to its host, Padma Lakshmi. Always dressed impeccably (and appropriately, given the show’s varied locations), it’s almost as interesting seeing what the former model wears to each challenge as it seeing what the chefs whip up.

Now, Lakshmi upping her fashion credibility with a line of costume jewelry, PL by Padma Lakshmi, that will be available exclusively through HSN starting March 22. While she’s previously designed a range of fine jewelry, available at Bergdorf Goodman, this is her first foray into creating for a lower price point—and if yesterday’s preview was any indication, it’s bound to be a success.

While we checked out her line, we also chatted with Lakshmi about a variety of topics, from her favorite pieces in her closet to the snakeskin shoes she thinks are the Knicks’ good luck charm (seriously). Read on for more!

StyleCaster: Can you tell me about the collection—do you have any favorite pieces?

Padma Lakshmi: They’re all my favorite pieces. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be in the collection. I just wanted to do a costume line because I had a lot of people who loved the fine collection but who weren’t able to actually afford many of the pieces, and I understand that. There are delicate aspects as well as chunkier pieces—some pieces are an homage to Chanel in the 1980s.

I wanted to be able to do things on a larger scale. So I was excited to do a costume line that was more affordable. Everything is in between $19 and $90, even our big statement necklaces. It showcases how I always wear my jewelry, so this was just an extension of things that I’ve already been making for myself on a bespoke basis, and then my friends would ask me to make it for them and that’s how my career in jewelry organically began.

Obviously you love fashion, but do you have any pieces in your wardrobe that you’ll never get rid of?

I have about five thousand things that I’ll never get rid of! I actually have a black sheath from the seminal 1994 collection from Tom Ford at Gucci that I’ve worn from when I’ve been at my skinniest to host the Gem Awards, and I’ve worn it when I was seven and a half months pregnant to the Glamour Women of the Year Awards. That’s something that I’ll never get tired of.

I have a few Lanvin dresses that I can just throw on and dress up or down if I’m going to a friend’s wedding or something else. I tend to wear nice, basic, really classic clothes and then change the look of that piece over the course of 15 years with the accessories that I wear. I also have an archive of antique jewelry that I keep turning to for inspiration. I have dresses in my closet that are 20 years old that I still love to wear—and regularly.

What are your most recent—and favorite—splurges?

I was in Paris over Thanksgiving visiting Azzedine Alaïa, and I bought these beautiful shoes that I happened to wear to the Knicks game. Now I can never go to a Knicks game without wearing my Alaïa snakeskin shoes. They’re so obnoxiously inappropriate for a Knicks game but every time I’ve worn them, they’ve won. So those were a great purchase. I also recently bought a Zulu headdress at the Paris Flea Market. I’m waiting for the juiciest occasion to debut that. I’m six feet tall with heels, and it’s two feet tall so I have to make sure that there’s clearance for it at whichever event I’m at!