Ace designers Shantanu and Nikhil, who have a long history of giving Indian fashion some finest trends like androgynous fashion and are known for their love affair with drapes, say that couture landscape has become extremely expressive in India in the recent past."The couture landscape in India has become extremely expressive in the recent past and that has led to a rather decoding of the fashion perspectives," Shatanu told IANS in an e-mail interview.Added Nikhil: "Couture is no longer limited to following trends but rather creating them. For Shantanu and Nikhil couture is more about story telling as everyone now wants to buy that piece of a compelling narrative."Shantanu & Nikhil have marked their excellence in the best of both worlds - "art and commerce"The creative half of the team, Nikhil Mehra pursued his Masters in Fashion from Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandise (FIDM), Los Angeles, while Shantanu completed his MBA in Finance from Ohio State University.They together launched their brand Shantanu & Nikhil in 2000.On and off screen, the designers have dressed the best among the best including Amitabh Bachchan, Serena Williams, Stephen Fleming, Sania Mirza, Hritik Roshan, Dia Mirza, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor, A.R.Rehman, Priyanka Chopra, Shilpa Shetty, Deepika Padukone, Sonakshi Sinha, Ileana D'Cruz, Aditya Roy Kapoor to name a few.
Talk about how important is to have Bollywood face for a designer, Nikhil said: "For Shantanu & Nikhil (S&N) it has never been just about Bollywod, as a brand. We firmly believe and support fame in all spheres, being sports, theatre or Bollywood. We have had various sportsmen and women in the past who have served as the perfect S&N Muse. Thus, it is about who resonates our brand ideologies most appropriately whilst also inspiring our audiences."The designers are showcasing their Autumn-Winter 2018 couture collection titled "Independence" in Capital on Saturday night where Bollywood celebrities Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra are going to be the showstoppers.Shantanu says that the couture space has seen a magnanimous evolution in India."The emergence of millennials and their distinct choices have inadvertently established the difference between couture and bridal ensembles. This is probably because they are more open to accepting experiments in the fashion industry more than ever now and require ensembles for different occasions and not just for bridal purposes.
"The celebratory aspects of Indian festivities has also accepted a rather contemporary approach which makes couturiers experiment through their varied perspectives," he said.Nikhil says that it is not difficult to make luxury couture garments for Indians at all now, especially with how experimental the millennials are."Such an evolution has only extended the level of fashion in the country and has aided in varied perspectives being resonated through drapes, silhouettes and hues," he said.Their Independence collection derives its inspiration from the three most luxurious forms of freedom; Freedom To Choose, Freedom To Live and Freedom to Call oneself Proud Citizens."Through this collection Shantanu & Nikhil has commenced its initiation into the world of Progressive India with nuances from the rich heritage of India and eclectic resonances of what India is today," said Shantanu.Added Nikhil: "As a brand Shantanu and Nikhil is based on Indian values however this season Independence derives its inspiration from vintage India but also glorifies contemporary values by amalgamating modernity and its exotic values with sensibilities of the rich heritage of India. Splashes of orange, blue and green add to the previously used earthy colours of the S&N collection."