Designer duo Shantanu & Nikhil have mastered a balancing act
by Kavita Mohandas Rao
The brothers certainly know a thing or two about duality. They balance opposites like a well-tuned circus act: the classic and the contemporary, Indian and international, haute couture and sporty. For instance, they’re the only Indian designers to have collaborated with adidas, and in the same breath, bring out a coveted label for modern bridal wear. It’s all explained, no doubt, with the varied skill sets they bring to the partnership with Nikhil’s creativity and Shantanu’s marketing know-how. Their philosophy of ‘progressive unification’ has produced signature pieces like sari gowns, Indo-chic jackets and draped kurtas. The label was launched in 2000, and ELLE listed their A/W 2005-06 collection, The Camel Safari, among the top five shows at Lakmé Fashion Week.
The watershed moment was the cover of the ELLE March 2009 issue, featuring our then newly named ambassador for breast cancer awareness, Sonam Kapoor, airborne in a voluminous white Shantanu & Nikhil gown. It became, Shantanu says, “The starting point of our love for all things gowns. Since then, our brand DNA has primarily focused on contemporary couture for the new age bride, and ELLE has been one of the driving contributors to that change.”
Next up are gowns on every red carpet and flagship stores in fashion capitals the world over. Watch this space.