Shantanu & Nikhil may look like uppity business tycoons, but when they set out to do what they do best—couture—there are few who can match their impeccable contemporary taste. Having launched their label, ‘Shantanu & Nikhil’, in 1999, this brother duo has become a brand name to be reckoned with. The brand’s focus is on creating clothing that is trendy and chic, yet conservative, which speaks of an old-world Indianness and class that is lacking in the designs of many modern-day designers today. Let’s have a look at the designs these fashion greats gave us in 2013-2014.
The year that was: 2013
Day 4 of The India Bridal Fashion Week 2013 was all glitz and glamour as the fashion world saw beautiful brides and dashing grooms walk the ramp wearing Shantanu & Nikhil’s ‘To Die For’ collection for the Winter Fall 2013. The scintillating Sania Mirza even walked the ramp for this distinguished duo. As their style is principally contemporary, this showcase was no different. The theme of the collection was dedicated to the modern bride, who was adorned in A-line and fishtail silhouettes, and her leading man in bold-print, classy sherwanis, which left the audience with a renaissance-like hangover. Crisp outlines were defined to enhance the female form, and the pristine whites and subtle gold leaf and booti patterns—a refreshing change from the traditional reds and prints usually associated with Indian weddings—showcased a softer side to the Indian bride.
‘Gold in its different shades will be the new black’, is the duet’s opinion. ‘We’re talking color restraint, while still reinforcing the message of vintage decadence.’
Looking ahead: 2014
Staying true to their vintage, yet contemporary style, Shantanu & Nikhil showcased their ‘The Shadows Within’ collection at the Lakme Fashion Week 2014. This collection was almost like an aftermath to the gold leaf theme and sharp silhouettes of the IBFW display, but there was an addition of soft pink and peach tones, sober beiges and clean reds as well. Inspired by their mythical, mystical, muse, Vanessa, the collection was a beautiful mix in colours, textures and forms. Light, sheer fabrics such as organza and raw silk were perfectly balanced with rayon blends and poly jerseys. The embellishments were very delicate laces, which were highlighted with embroidery. The little something for the grooms was also reminiscent of the IBFW as looped hem kurtas were teamed with a variety of bundies in textures, weaves and colours. Sherwanis appeared in quick succession with embroidered cuffs/collars, balanced with super weaves. In other words, the duo sure has kept itself busy since the start of this year.
As an added bonus, the brothers also showcased a vintage collection for the Vogue Wedding Show 2014 with largely Victorian influences—think voluminous gowns, new age lehenga skirts and sari gowns. Vogue’s response to this collection was, ‘Our bride is a storyteller who is extremely well travelled, understated, intelligent and confident. Their ensembles present femininity draped in lush classicism. Shilpa Shetty, Ahana Deol and Avantika Malik are some of their happy, chic brides.’ Well, we wish this artistic duo all the luck for the rest of 2014!
Shantanu & Nikhil have a list of credits to their name. Shantanu boasts an MBA from the University of Toledo, Ohio, whereas Nikhil is a product of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, California. Nikhil has been awarded with some of the most prestigious awards and scholarships. He was invited to design a collection for a prestigious store “Georgio Beverly Hills” in Los Angeles, and he was even featured in L. A. Times to be the only Indian designer to have displayed his designs in a show in Universal Studios, Hollywood.
Shantanu & Nikhil have always been effective in producing products that have a national as well as international appeal. Their list of clients includes eminent names such as Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Leander Peas, Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Dia Mirza, Neha Dhupia, A.R.Rehman, Kunal Kapoor, Shilpa Shetty, Sushmita Sen and Bipasha Basu. They have two signature stores in prime locations in New Delhi and have a presence in the other metros in India, besides having a strong presence in couture stores in Dubai, Kuwait, Tokyo, Switzerland, Birmingham, London, Jeddah, New York and Vancouver.
They have many more accolades under their belt, but what drives home is the fact that Shantanu & Nikhil are both experts in their respective fields, and this marriage (pun intended) of business acumen and the knack for creating classy, urban clothing is what makes their brand the perfect model for up-and-coming entrepreneurs.