Over the years that they’ve worked together to carve a niche for themselves in the fashion industry, designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil Mehra have shared many moments of joy and challenges. Today, the duo have evolved a forward-thinking design philosophy of ‘progressive fusion’, which is prevalent throughout their collections. Celebrity loyalists include Ranveer Singh, Hrithik Roshan, Shahid Kapoor and Shilpa Shetty.
How do you think an all-black tux collection like the ‘Tux-Pseudo’ resonates with the men who don it?
When asked, the majority of people will choose a black tuxedo as their first choice. The colour flatters mostly everybody and is a highly chosen colour when it comes to tuxedo. Black tuxedo as a wardrobe essential is timeless yet versatile. It’s perfect for a wedding but also for a cocktail. For men, the monochromatic uniformity in wearing a dinner jacket and a crisp shirt is synonymous with sophistication. ‘Tux- Pseudo’ resonates with the millennials because classic has been modernised with metallic nuances, Swarovski crystals and tonal embroidery. These refinements can also be seen enhancing shoulders of the classic jacket, lapels, plackets and cuffs. It brings edginess, right amount of bling and makes the classic silhouette more chic.
Does the height or coiffure play a role in enhancing the charm of a tuxedo?
It’s always the confidence, not the tuxedo, that makes a statement. Our collections are a celebration of oneself and an ode to the unabashed fearlessness. Height is not the element that will enhance the outfit, it is about the right cut and fit that brings balance to the ensemble. When shirt, jacket and trousers are paired in a synchronised manner they bring the outfit to life, and adds to your personality.
Do certain designs or materials add to the chivalry of a tux?
Absolutely! Imagine wearing a tux and being worried about the creasing of the fabric or the silhouette not fitting properly. Such concerns take away the confidence a person experiences while wearing a tuxedo. Innovation and design through drapes, collar details, sartorial edginess- Powerplay of these things brings chivalry to any outfit. It’s about the right mix, be it a Bandhgala, tuxedo or a sherwani.
What is the thought process behind a trailblazing collection like ‘Resurgence’?
The Resurgence by Shantanu and Nikhil is an ode to hope, it is the spirit to resurface and recommence our duties to the universe. With an almost spiritual connotation to the capabilities of cyclic existence, the collection celebrates a renewed strength & power to adapt and rise again. Much like the intricately carved pillars of age old values, the collection reinterprets our classics and brings back the opulence of our journey, almost like a re-incarnated phoenix. We have found power in metallic influences, goth applique and classic zardozi to redefine structure & linearity that is signature to Shantanu & Nikhil. As a brand we have always had an architectural undercurrent to our collection & this time was no different, hence we decided to shoot this collection as a fashion film & not a typical runway show.
Which aspect of the physical show do you miss the most this year?
Up until recently, we were doing traditional shows which garnered a large audience and introduced us to a plethora of opportunities and brand visibility. There is a true sense of chaos minutes before the show at the backstage and we honestly miss that. The adrenaline rush a successful show with loud rounds of applause gives you is unmatchable. Nonetheless, We’re glad we got to host a digital event where the focus is just on our creations, even though the classic show has its own allure. Going digital democratises fashion because it is more engaging, has a greater audience reach, and is not limited by the size of a runway.
How did the audience perceive the gender-agnostic SNSafari collection?
We’re gearing towards a new generation that is unafraid to claim their space and we truly admire their grit. The lines between the stereotypes of gender are blurring and so is the fashion scenario with regards to that. The collection is our ode to that resilience and one step forward towards a safer and more inclusive space. #SNSafari is a celebration of oneself, of the journey and of the destination. Inspired by the notion of gaining ground amidst the humdrum of life, and exhibiting a sense of tranquility through chaos, #SNSafari depicts a structured yet controlled madness, bringing order to disorder. That said, we feel the audience was also welcoming towards brand narrative like this. Democratizing Fashion to now revolutionizing celebration-wear, with #SNSafari S&N furthers its edgy, global narrative!
With intimate gateways and close-knit destination weddings, how has ceremonial wear evolved?
The big fat Indian wedding and occasions has subdued to intimate ceremonies. We’ve observed a lot more sentimental value in our patrons with respect to their choices. Consequently, Trends will become more intimate and personal, one that celebrates you. With regards to the new normal, we evolved and branched introduced SN by Shantanu & Nikhil- Our bridge-to-luxury celebration wear brand. Earthy tones, unconventional silhouettes and signature S&N attributes like off-beat details and bold drapes take the centerstage in a calming mélange of safari-chic styles. We are reinterpreting our classics & bringing back the opulence of our journey with new sustainable practices put into place. We are taking pride in our artisans & their handcraftsmanship. This season we revisit lot of metallic embroidery, goth applique & the classic zardozi all creating neo luxe bridal looks.
How do you manage to bring out your signature aesthetics into gender fluid outfits?
Being the signature drape-makers for menswear in the industry, our silhouettes like the Drape Kurta and Drape Bandhgala have become iconic staples in the menswear market today. We have transitioned from the age-old perceptions of luxury to a more accessible and inclusive outlook of ‘neo-luxury’ for who we like to call our ‘neo-luxe groom.’
An amalgamation of classic and modern components on ceremonial couture combined with both structure and fluidity, the philosophy of our signature draping style flows through our collections. Tone-on-tone embroidery, faux-leather detail in muted hues are a recurring feature in Shantanu & Nikhil menswear. Why not mention a more gender neutral piece of clothing, i.e a kurta? It is a classic silhouette which flatters everyone and everybody type. You know how it’s said that a man in suit and woman in saree feel their most confident selves. We truly believe our draped kurta or the signature bandhagala amplifies the emotion one feels like wearing their traditional attire, while adding a hint of modern sexiness to it.
From couture to casual, do the modern Indian brides of today think of the sustainability of their wedding couture?
Lately, fashion hasn’t been just about sporting the new trend, it about an ethical approach towards a better environment while looking chic. We’ve noticed a shift in how people feel about fashion these days; they’re a lot more emotive in their decisions and responsible in their consumption. Brides are looking for timeless pieces which can be worn few years down the line and can be Re-loved, Re-owned, and Re-Used.
About The Vogue Wedding Show-
Vogue Wedding Show 2021, a special virtual edition of the luxury wedding exhibition. https://weddingshow.vogue.in. The show celebrates its eight year in 2021 and offers one and all an exclusive opportunity to find the perfect bridal lehenga, jewellery and zero down on a decor specialist who can translate their vision into reality. Touted as India’s most exclusive luxury wedding exhibition, it gathers some of the most premium and recognised category leaders as well as services like hotels, trousseau gifting brands, wedding planners and other specialists from the Indian wedding circuit under one roof.