Shantanu and Nikhil's latest collection celebrates millennials through fashion


Shantanu and Nikhil’s latest collection celebrates millennials through fashion

Catch five indomitable powerhouse women in their element in the duo's whimsical capsule collection

By Ambika Anand  July 10th, 2019

What sets designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil Mehra in a league of their own is their penchant to celebrate nostalgia. Especially in today’s time and space. It’s the clever juxtaposition of glitz and street cred, sensuous draping and structured architectural lines that makes this a brand that is not afraid to take risks, and have some fun while they are at it. Little wonder then that the brothers have become a go-to label for men and women who love a little spunk and drama in their sartorial choice. In a freewheeling chat with Ambika Anand, they talk about their inspirations, celebrating egalitarianism and the importance of constantly disrupting art. 

Ambika Anand: Tell us a bit about your latest collection?

Shantanu Mehra: Our latest capsule collection is our take on how we see millennials today and how we connect with them through fashion. 

Nikhil Mehra: The ensembles feature contemporary hues that have been reworked into exaggerated neo drapes and dramatic silhouettes.

 

AA: Your designs are made for strong, and fierce women. How do you define the ideal Shantanu & Nikhil woman? 

NM: She is fearless and experimental; and she has varied perspectives on things. She does not adhere to constructed norms of fashion. She wishes to create her own beliefs and stands strongly by them.

SM: Adding to that, these women are ambitious and strong willed, who shoulder responsibilities but are also fun with new-age spunk.

 

AA: Fashion is often a reaction to the current times; can you tell us how your clothes represent the zeitgeist?

SM: All our collections stem from emotions and nostalgia towards our country. Collections like Cabinet Mission, Regiment were political chic collections.

NM: These collections portrayed how we emerged from political instability and moved towards stability, and how the country unified and become more nationalistic. And now, our country seems to be moving in a direction of strength and solidarity, which reflects in the colour palette of our new collection.

 

AA: This season fashion has no gender—what would you recommend men and women to wear to be in sync with this fashion phenomenon?

SM: Shantanu & Nikhil as a brand has outspokenly exhibited its stand on egalitarianism. We strongly believe that both men and women have masculine and feminine energies and each of them use the respective energy when required. Similarly, being the creators of our signature drape kurta in India, we have added a rather fluid energy to the simply structured Indian kurta for men. 

 

AA: What’s the most feminine and the most fierce aspect to you?

SM: I guess the most feminine aspect to me is that I never shy away from being a mother to both my sons whenever needed and the fierce aspect would be that I am brutally fearless when life punches me with some challenging moments.

NM: I love to take an interest in the lives of people close to me and be a part of it. I do not accept failure easily, there is always scope for improvement and I face challenges head on.

 

AA: What has been a game changing moment for you?

NM: In 2013, when cricketers Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Mohammad Kaif and Irfan Pathan walked for one of our shows, and shortly after that we had the opportunity to dress Mr Amitabh Bachchan. This period marked the beginning of our journey into men’s fashion. SM: A few years later, Shilpa Shetty wore our first gown ever made, at the IIFA Green Carpet after she won Big Brother in London. That helped us start our philosophy on gowns.

 

AA: What’s the best advice someone has given you?

SM: Constantly disrupt your art with the objective to only get better each time. 

NM: Opportunities knock on your door every day; learn to open the door. 

 

Nearly two decades since the launch of their eponymous label, designers Shantanu and Nikhil Mehra remain tireless innovators. Determined to experiment with silhouette, drapes and embellishments, their idea of free expression led us to join forces with five remarkable women who play by their own rules. These include promising young breakout talents Shriya Pilgaonkar and Patralekhaa, critics favourite Rasika Dugal, whose strong performances have won her accolades, and stunt artists Sanober Pardiwala and Geeta Tandon, who are finding their voice in a male-dominated workspace. All of these inspiring women are tenacious, fearless and are here to make you sit up and listen.

Sanober Pardiwala, Stunt artist 

What do you think your job has taught you about being fierce? 

“It has taught me to believe in myself; to have faith and confidence in my abilities rather than being put down by other people’s doubts and opinions about me.” 

On Pardiwala: All clothing, Shantanu & Nikhil. Rubber and mesh shoes, INR 13,999, adidas Originals. Diamond earrings, price on request, Jaipur Jewels. Net stockings, Stylist‘s own.

On Pardiwala: All clothing, Shantanu & Nikhil. Rubber and mesh shoes, INR 13,999, adidas Originals. Diamond earrings, price on request, Jaipur Jewels. Net stockings, Stylist‘s own.

Shriya Pilgaonkar, Actor

What advice would you give your younger self? 

“You are exactly where you need to be. We often let social media define our momentum and pace. But it’s so important to respect your journey and trust the process.”


On Pilgaonkar: All clothing, Shantanu & Nikhil. Leather shoes, price on request, Dior. White gold necklace, price on request, Orra Jewellery

On Pilgaonkar: All clothing, Shantanu & Nikhil. Leather shoes, price on request, Dior. White gold necklace, price on request, Orra Jewellery

Patralekhaa, Actor

What has been a defining moment in your life? 

“My first movie—CityLights (2014). I came with no (film) background; I’m not even from Mumbai, I’m from Shillong. But I think you have to be strong and patient; there will be ups and downs but you have to make your own decisions and trust yourself.”


On Patralekhaa: All clothing, Shantanu & Nikhil. Leather heels, INR 2,895, New Look at koovs.com. 18K gold and diamond earrings, price on request, Mahesh Notandass Fine Jewellery 

On Patralekhaa: All clothing, Shantanu & Nikhil. Leather heels, INR 2,895, New Look at koovs.com. 18K gold and diamond earrings, price on request, Mahesh Notandass Fine Jewellery 

Rasika Dugal, Actor

What does fierceness mean to you? 

“To me, it means to be sensitive, to be upfront yet kind. While I always prefer to have the final word on everything I do, but I still have a gentle strategy to deal with the world.” 


On Dugal: All clothing, Shantanu & Nikhil. Silver stone earrings, INR 1,550, Tribe by Amrapali

On Dugal: All clothing, Shantanu & Nikhil. Silver stone earrings, INR 1,550, Tribe by Amrapali

Geeta Tandon, Stunt artist

You are in an unconventional line of work, what kind of pressure do you have to face? 

“I am a single mother raising two kids, giving up was never an option. And in this field, there is fierce competition. There are many who will try to push you off the ladder, you have to be strong headed and keep going.” 


On Tandon: All clothing, Shantanu & Nikhil. Rubber and mesh shoes, INR 12,995, Nike. 18K gold earrings, rings; all prices on request, Mahesh Notandass Fine Jewellery. Metal nose pin, Tandon‘s own 

On Tandon: All clothing, Shantanu & Nikhil. Rubber and mesh shoes, INR 12,995, Nike. 18K gold earrings, rings; all prices on request, Mahesh Notandass Fine Jewellery. Metal nose pin, Tandon‘s own 

 

Photographs: Sushant Chhabria; Styling: Rahul Vijay; Hair and makeup: Maniasha/Faze Management; Assisted by: Saaniya Sharma, Pujarini Ghosh (Styling), Suhani Lotlikar (Intern)