Over the years, Shantnu & Nikhil have intelligently infused their gender-fluid design theory into traditional Indian clothing. From adding drapes and cowls to men’s bandhgalas to dressing women sharply in sherwani – the designer duo has changed the status quo when it comes to ethnic dressing. Bringing similar energy to everything else they do, the brothers have recently opened the doors to their largest plush store in Mehrauli, Delhi – serving style in their signature aesthetic. To commemorate the new beginnings, they’ve orchestrated an eventful evening with an opera performance by Pallavi Sethi, followed by after-hours with Behram Singaporia, Best Kept Secret. In an exclusive conversation with ELLE, both Shantnu & Nikhil talk about their new space and all that it embodies.
ELLE: What is the concept behind your store design?
Shantnu & Nikhil: The store is like an idealistic home of a Shantnu & Nikhil Man. The space is designed in such a way that you feel you’re inside a closet and explore the virtues of SN man with the ideologies of the Shantnu & Nikhil ensembles themselves. It is like the living embodiment of the SN garment and man himself.
ELLE: What has been your approach to curating a memorable store experience?
S&N: The idea behind Shantnu & Nikhil’s new store follows the narrative of an artist coming home, living right in the middle of history; a tale of him inviting his friends to his home to witness his work and lastly, to reflect a place where the artist’s best work sits quietly to be spoken about and adorned by everyone who loves the brand. It creates spaces that bridge time, connect you to your past and your possibilities, to explore and experience within a space of calm and flow – to be all of you!
ELLE: What is your favourite aspect of the new store?
S&N: The store hosts all the signature Shantnu & Nikhil nuances which you’d also find in our designs. From all leather riveted ceilings to laser cut inspired walls, the store feels like a recap of all the Shantnu & Nikhil virtues coming to life. Each corner has something new to offer and show our patrons more about who we are. So to say, it’s all the details in the store that have us transfixed and has made us connect to the store a lot more.
ELLE: Tell us about the Anti-trend concept behind this event?
S&N: We hope to bring forth a vision of Shantnu & Nikhil ceremony which is best suited as contemporary yet impactful. It is a diversion from a conventional wedding while keeping the traditional roots alive. The main theme revolves around the Ceremonial Nights curated by Shantnu & Nikhil which is an anti-trend take on wedding festivities. We want to stir away from the conventional methods and show how innovative a modern-day wedding can be.
ELLE: In terms of designs and ensembles, how different will the inventory be at this store and what new can the consumers expect?
S&N: A plethora of Shantnu & Nikhil’s timeless signature styles and recent collections are available at the new store. The menswear rack ranges from the famed Draped Kurtas and Neo-Sherwanis to Decadent Bandhgalas while the Neo-Lehengas and Cocktail gowns are bound to set today’s millennial women apart from the crowd.
ELLE: Speaking of Anti-trend, what tips would you like to give brides and groom prepping for their upcoming weddings?
S&N: The wedding trousseau is such an emotional possession that brings up so many memories when you repurpose it. It should be filled with pieces that you can go back to and relive your memories in. Remember the importance of classics and pay close attention to the details. The classics you purchase today will become family heirlooms in the future. However, grooms now, are bold in their choice as they are stepping away from the obvious darker tones associated with the male wardrobe to pastel tones which were conventionally considered feminine. Layered & transformative ensembles that go from a regal look to a more relaxed one is popular groomswear. For instance, styling the Sherwani with a dupatta and a Kamar-bandh over an embellished drape kurta for the wedding processions and later switching to just the kurta for an eased out afterparty is something that grooms are looking at right now.