Designers Shantanu And Nikhil Mehra’s Idea Of Luxury Is Unique And Sentimentalby | April 09, 2019
The thing about Shantanu and Nikhil is that they have a distinct voice. You see a celebrity or a model draped in a perfectly constructed saree-gown or a tailored pantsuit featuring a high-neck collar and almost equestrian-like details, and you know it’s S&N. When the seemingly obvious top half of a pantsuit suddenly morphs into a draped skort, one never knows, and that’s the beauty behind the 19-year-old eponymous label—no one marries the Indian and contemporary quite like they do.
So, we got together with the brothers who are narrating the #IndianStory to talk fashion, unforgettable travel experiences, the trends that need to die out, and the restaurants they’d recommend to a friend
Luxeva: What are your thoughts on the fashion industry in India today? What are the changes you've seen?
Shantanu Mehra and Nikhil Mehra: “We think fashion has found its ground in India today. There is a unification across all regions in India when it comes to fashion and also a more focused approach specifically to textiles in the country. There so many opportunities being explored, which is resulting in more nationalistic design creations. We also feel the industry has opened a very interesting and impactful collaborative space where two brands can come together and tell a fun yet engaging story, and that also features new local talent.”
Luxeva: Your brand has been around for a very long time, how would you say your design aesthetic has evolved?
Shantanu Mehra and Nikhil Mehra: “The focus on contemporary India was always our brand’s outline. Our initial collections showcased our inspiration derived from different regions of India, however, over the years we have used our inspirations and showcased them as a story to be told. Today our focus is more on certain aspects of contemporary India. Our collections are steered towards sartorial chic with patriotic influences, highlighting key moments of independent India and featuring the evolution of India, which we have translated into our collections under the property #IndiaStory.”
Luxeva: Who is the Shantanu and Nikhil muse?
Shantanu Mehra and Nikhil Mehra: “Shantanu & Nikhil follow an anti-trend philosophy. The S&N muse is fierce, independent, and strong. She or he isn’t bound by social norms nor restricted to colour palettes stereotypically pre-conditioned to seasons but, in fact, sees equality in colours in all seasons. While appreciating classic pastels and bright hues, our muse is drawn to more decadent tones, architectural and linear patterns as well as voluminous silhouettes and dramatic drapes.”
Luxeva: What's the most expensive piece you've ever created? What did it entail?
Shantanu Mehra and Nikhil Mehra: “We are yet to create a piece that we can highlight as the most expensive outfit made. We are still striving to create a masterpiece that we can call our most valuable ensemble, one that will make our artistic journey all the more exciting.”
Luxeva: A couture trend that is timeless?
Shantanu Mehra and Nikhil Mehra: “S&N follows an anti-trend philosophy. But, having said that, we feel drape cocktail saree-gowns are timeless.”
Luxeva: If you weren’t designers, what would you be doing?
Shantanu Mehra: “Managing the business in sports.”
Nikhil Mehra: “I’d probably be a surgeon or an architect.”
Luxeva: What's the one trend that you've had enough of?
Shantanu Mehra: “Baggy fitting clothes.”
Nikhil Mehra: “Tights.”
Luxeva: How do you unwind after a hectic day?
Shantanu Mehra and Nikhil Mehra: “Tennis.”
Luxeva: If you had to recommend three restaurants to a friend, which ones would they be? And why?
Nikhil Mehra: “Indian Accent in Delhi, because of the contemporary Indian food they have to offer. Yauatcha in Mumbai, they offer an amazing dining experience one shouldn’t miss out on. And Gaggan in Bangkok, their food has nationalistic fervours back with Indian ideology.”
Luxeva: What's your go-to drink at social dos?
Shantanu Mehra: “Single Malts.”
Nikhil Mehra: “Vodka soda.”
Luxeva: What's your greatest indulgence?
Shantanu Mehra: “Holidays.”
Nikhil Mehra: “Outdoor activities like riding, playing golf, and tennis.”
Luxeva: Your favourite city in the world and why?
Shantanu Mehra: “The French Riviera because of the serenity it offers with its snow-capped mountains, beautiful beaches, and lush forests.”
Nikhil Mehra: “I don’t have a favourite city in particular, but I love cities with a historical background, one which is reflected in their architecture like Rome, Venice, and even places in Rajasthan like Jaisalmer and Jodhpur.”
Luxeva: Your favourite vacation spot with your family and why?
Shantanu Mehra: “Nice, France. It has a cool vibe with a sense of European nostalgia to it.”
Nikhil Mehra: I love places with beaches. I think for me its Goa. It has a great mix of amazing restaurants and beaches.”
Luxeva: What's the most expensive or valuable buy you've brought back from one of your travels?
Shantanu Mehra and Nikhil Mehra: “As cliché as it may sound, you can’t put a price on experiences.”
Luxeva: The one city in the world that you know at the back of your hand? Tell us three must-visit places in that city?
Shantanu Mehra: “The city of Nice by the French Riviera. You have to visit St. Tropez, Cannes, and Monte Carlo.”
Nikhil Mehra: “New Delhi, of course. And the three must-visit places would be Triveni Cafe, The National Crafts Museum, and you must go on a bike ride through Lutyens Delhi.”
Luxeva: Tell us an unforgettable travel story?
Shantanu Mehra: “Honestly, every travel story of mine has had some unforgettable element to it, so it’s a bit difficult to share just one. However, I hope to experience many such travels with unforgettable stories.”
Nikhil Mehra: “I was a part of textile exploration show with the Travel & Living channel where I travelled through Gujarat, Pochampali, and many amazing places. That was truly an unforgettable experience for me.”
Luxeva: What's your guilty pleasure?
Shantanu Mehra and Nikhil Mehra: “Indian desserts.”
Luxeva: What's the most expensive item in your closet?
Shantanu Mehra: “My new Yonex Tennis Racket.”
Nikhil Mehra: “Longines WWII watch.”
Luxeva: What does an average day look like for you?
Shantanu Mehra and Nikhil Mehra: “We are always on the move and interacting with people. We sit with our team, brainstorm on ideas, usually have a few meetings, but we always end our day with sports.”
Luxeva: The items in your wardrobe that you always splurge on?
Shantanu Mehra and Nikhil Mehra: “Athleisure.”
Luxeva: What are your travel plans this year?
Shantanu Mehra and Nikhil Mehra: “We are both immersed in Indian nostalgia so travelling to different parts of India and experiencing the diverse art and culture our country has to offer is most likely the plan.”
Luxeva: What's in the pipeline for Shantanu and Nikhil?
Shantanu Mehra and Nikhil Mehra: “We are working on growing and further strengthening the S&N community through our design evolution around couture.”
Luxeva: What does luxury mean to you?
Shantanu Mehra and Nikhil Mehra: “For us, luxury comes from a sense of nostalgia. I guess you could say vintage is luxury—something that can’t be reproduced that highlights its exclusivity and rarity.”
Shantanu And Nikhil
Address: 303, Dlf Emporio Mall, 4, Nelson Mandela Marg, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi 110070
Contact: 011 41096650
Opening Hours: 11 am to 9 pm
Address: Ground Floor, Maqba Heights, Pali Road, Bandra (W), Mumbai 400050
Contact: 022 26058057
Opening Hours: 11 am to 7 pm
In Collaboration With: Platoon Advisory
Featured Image: Shantanu And Nikhil's Instagram