The one thing you should avoid wearing at cocktail night this wedding season
Nikhil Mehra of Shantanu & Nikhil gives us the lowdown
Not only would Nikhil Mehra prefer you didn’t wear a sari to your friend’s cocktail party, he would also like you to rethink zardosi. This is the one event in the run-up to the wedding where you get to take a break from the yardage and the blingage, so Mehra suggests you grab the chance with both hands and pick an outfit is sensual, decadent and easy to dance in. As one of the brains behind the label Shantanu & Nikhil, a Bollywood red-carpet favourite and creator of dramatic gowns, this man knows how to script an entrance. We get him to give us some notes.
ELLE: What are the basics every girl should keep in mind while dressing for cocktail night?
Nikhil Mehra: The most important thing would be to get the gown in place. The bride can wear lots of volume, because it’s her night. But if you’re going for your friend’s cocktail party, you want to make sure the volume is restricted. Keep away from chunky embroidery and go more tone-on-tone.
ELLE: What is the most important thing that people overlook at this event?
NM: It’s important to pick a style that suits your personality, forget what anyone says. Don’t think you won’t stand out if your gown doesn’t have a lot of volume/embroidery/ bling.
ELLE: What are the key accessory pieces for the season?
NM: If you have a good gown, focus on a head accessory that is subtle and carries a hint of your personality. I usually recommend the bride not carry a clutch because it gets in the way of greeting people and such.
ELLE: While it is usual to ditch Indianwear on cocktail night, are there any traditional looks that work?
NM: We’ve been doing lots of these A-line lehengas with blouses and without dupattas. A great blouse with a structured lehenga can be great for cocktail night.
ELLE: No saris?
NM: No, not at all!
ELLE: What is the one trend you think we won’t see much of this season?
NM: I don’t see bright colours— no pinks and no turquoises! I also think gold embroidery is now passé. There will be more focus on subtlety and a fierce sensuality. Unnecessary opulence is on its way out.
ELLE: And what will we be seeing more of?
NM: Speaking from experience, women are really enjoying wearing a decadent palette. They’re finding a new India through these colours.
ELLE: What do you mean by ‘new India’?
NM: It’s about taking vintage Indian tones and contemporising them. For instance, a deep emerald gown is a new take because usually you find them in pinks and softer colours. We’ve done gowns in navy, plum and emerald green—women love this combo of jewel colours with European style.
ELLE: What about fusion? Do you see Indo-western fusion making a comeback?
NM: I think the ‘India Story’ is going to be subtle, in a sense that embroideries are going to be more understated. Whatever you’ve imagined or seen in zari or zardosi is going to be interpreted in French knots and tone-on-tone accents. That’s the space I think we’re heading towards.