Culling the essence and emotions of Indian culture and marrying it with a modern western sensibility, Shantanu & Nikhil have a deeper, less obvious take on this new exotic fusion. Their ensembles present eternal femininity draped in lush classicism. With their unique subtext of delicate details, simple harmonies and rich textural formats, the brand has come to epitomize refinement and luxury in fashion. While keeping the handwriting essentially subtle with Indian monochromatic tones, the language is most definitely contemporary and silhouette centric.
A color palette that envelops India in its purest form, from the virginal whites to the vintage chromes have in fact become a true signature of Shantanu & Nikhil, priding themselves on the philosophy that a smart interplay of vintage colors on beautiful Indian skin tones is what makes India such a hugely inspirational land of cross-cultures and future global trends.
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. Thereafter, Nikhil worked directly under Mrs. Gray for St. John Knits, while Shantanu was with the corporate finance wing of General Motors. Their love affair with USA ended in 1999, after which both came back to India to chase their dream of launching a fashion brand that could be housed in the very essence of a business of fashion set-up.
"We believe that we are the best combination of art and commerce in the creative world of fashion. This mindset is what prompted us to cross-synergize our respective backgrounds into something worthwhile that could withstand the pressures of the ever-challenging and the ever-evolving fashion industry." Hence the birth of Shantanu & Nikhil in 2000.
These daring designers were among the first to venture into redesigning an entire look for the Indian superstar, Amitabh Bachchan, a look which took Gaming on Indian Television by storm.
Shantanu & Nikhil have dressed the best of the best ranging from leading sports personalities of the world like Serena Williams, Sania Mirza, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Glen McGrath, Stephen Fleming to Bollywood stars like Hrithik Roshan, Dia Mirza, A.R.Rehman, Abhay Deol, Kareena Kapoor, Sameera Reddy, Sonam Kapoor Priyanka Chopra, Shilpa Shetty, Deepika Padukone and Sonakshi Sinha.
Their sophisticated design aesthetic goes beyond the ramp to the field of cricket, where they have recently designed the highly popular Mumbai Indians Jersey for the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The brand's recent historic tie-up with sportswear giant Adidas makes them the only Indian designers in the world after Stella McCartney and Yohji Yamamoto to have collaborated on such a strategic alliance.
In 2014, Shantanu & Nikhil is celebrating 14 years of decadence in fashion.
I had the incredible opportunity of sitting down and chatting with them about their extraordinary rise to super stardom status when they graced ANOKHI's 11th anniversary event last February. Check out what they had to say. Great insights for all of you budding fashion designers out there.