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In Conversation with Shantanu & Nikhil


20604494_1470842729639708_979586957811545476_nDesigner duo Shantanu and Nikhil have come to be identified for their signature use of drapes in Indian wear ever since they launched their label in 2000. Ever since, the brand has focused on staying true to Indian tradition but also infusing it with contemporary zest balanced by a vintage state-of-mind to appeal to modern Indians. Whether their couture or menswear, each ensemble is impactful and individualistic.

Come January 21, 2018, the duo will mark their debut at the Aashni + Co Wedding Show.  “We are bringing a carefully curated selection of heavy bridal lehengas and anarkali gowns in breezy summer colours, sheer fabrics and contemporary silhouettes for the modern Indian bride and her bridesmaids. S&N’s signature voluminous gowns with stylish layering, romantic drapes and minimalistic textures with reinterpreted versions of the sari and sari gowns will also be a part of our first ever showcase at Aashni + Co.”

Shantanu & Nikhil decode the sartorial disposition of the Indian bride ahead of their London stint with A+CO.

How would you describe the modern Indian bride? 

The contemporary bride is very Indian in her values but at the same time bears a sharp semblance to the modern and independent woman of today — someone who is uninhibited in her thoughts, and stands tall in her strengths, beliefs and power.

How have you seen her evolve over the years?

We see more brides-to-be who are now favouring daring options that reflect their personality and lifestyle. Brides today are looking to celebrate their individuality and have evolved to choose silhouettes and styles that justify their desire for self-expression.

How can a bride add edge and modernity to her bridal ensembles? 

Contemporary styles, structures and fits; innovative colour palettes with minimal surface details; and asymmetrical drapes and cuts work best for the mehndi and sangeet. Silhouette oriented belted-sarees and anarkali gowns with little embroidery make for excellent cocktail wear by creating a statement that breaks away from stereotypical trends.


What is the key sartorial inclination of brides today?

Brides come to us because of our simple and elegant approach to design. They fall in love with the silhouettes, unconventional colour palettes and avant-garde gowns with a blend of western influences and Indian philosophy. The contemporary bride is enjoying the values of Indian nostalgia and heritage in her ensembles. They appreciate concepts of minimalistic flair. We find them drawn to our own take on bridal choli that strategically infuses the signature Shantanu & Nikhil drape to it thereby eliminating the need for a traditional dupatta.

What is a common mistake that brides tend to make when curating their wedding looks?
We see some brides going overtly ornate. For the modern Indian bride, we swear by the ‘less is more’ philosophy. Start by knowing what suits your body-type and skin tone, and then experiment by mixing various elements to create a perfect trousseau solution. Focus on the right accessories by balancing it well and pair it correctly with your trousseau as this can create the magic—do keep it subtle though.


What are must-haves in a bridal trousseau according to you?

The trousseau is very important for brides and must include a variety of styles with a minimalistic approach that creates an impact for all your post-wedding and cocktail evenings that follow thereafter. A mix of silhouettes such as a sari, anarkalis and lightweight lehenga skirts are must-haves in your bridal trousseau.

The craze to emulate celebrity looks is dominant among brides. What would your advice to them be? 

We believe that the desire for self-expression is the mark of a unique bride. To create an impact on her wedding day, we advocate a more minimal approach. It’s good to be updated about what’s doing the rounds as celebrity trends, however, striking a balance between your individualistic style and celebrity-inspired looks is the key.

Kareena Kapoor Khan in Shantanu & Nikhil

Kareena Kapoor Khan in Shantanu & Nikhil

What are the key tips and tricks a bride should keep in mind when shopping for her trousseau? 

Skipping the traditional stereotypical bridal wear can really help the bride’s personality shine through on her big day. Knowing what suits you, experimenting by mixing silhouettes and colours, and striking the perfect balance between structure and softness is what we recommend as key tricks for the modern bride.

Shilpa Shetty Kundra in Shantanu & Nikhil

Shilpa Shetty Kundra in Shantanu & Nikhil

Buy tickets to the Aashni + Co Wedding Show here.