At Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2016, designers Shantanu and Nikhil showcased their menswear line ‘Mutiny 1919’ inspired by the Jallianwala Bagh incident.
Menswear in the Indian fashion industry is getting bigger and bolder with every season. Right from different kinds of outfits to various looks, Indian men these days are more willing to experiment and look their best.
At the recently-held Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2016 (LFW-W/F 2016), ace designers Shantanu and Nikhil showcased their menswear line ‘Mutiny 1919.’ The dramatic collection, inspired by the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, had models walking the runway sporting turbans, beards, jackets, kurtas and shawls, offering a highly masculine and fierce feel to the show. Closing the show was actor Riteish Deshmukh; turbaned and bearded, Riteish looked dashing in a black textured jacket, flared kurta and churidars. A collection as intense and stylish as this was bound to get a great response – the show received a tremendous response and praise for the theme, outfits and the look.
In an exclusive interview, Shantanu and Nikhil share with DARPAN their work on the collection and their thoughts on India’s fashion industry.
How do you define fashion?
Fashion is a sensibility that has to be delicately played with to create a balance between the eyes and the mind. It is a feeling, a sensation that comes from within. Style and fashion to us is the body and it speaks to the expression that your mind has created to complete the body.
Your brand is widely recognised for its interesting and creative collections. How has your vision of the brand grown over the years?
Even though our journey over the last 15 years has been extremely enriching in terms of innovation, travel for inspiration, and bringing modernity, the past four years or so have just gone by introspecting the brand, thereby trying to seek more clarity and the right market focus. In this journey of self-discovery, we have become our work’s biggest critics in a quest to achieve balance, power and beauty in complete authority in our collections.
At LFW-W/F 2016 edition, Shantanu & Nikhil presented the menswear line ‘Mutiny 1919.’ What inspired you to take up this theme?
It is inspired by the tales of Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Between the most valiant brand of Indian men and British Army of 1919, we always wanted to unravel and portray heroic men grasped in turmoil over the national freedom movement on one hand and the fierce, confident life they led as warriors for independence. Through this collection, we blended fashion with patriotism.
What was the main idea behind this collection?
We wanted to show the diversity and history that makes India. The whole idea was to bring back the essence of these courageous men fighting in glory and representing honour and pride through a turban trail offering a high octane, masculine, regimental design inspired from nostalgia.
How do you express the ‘Mutiny 1919’ collection in your own words?
The provocative title ‘The Mutiny 1919’ created a fashion mutiny on the ramp, every outfit and drape is close to our hearts. The collection has a minimalistic approach yet it is very avant-garde and has a fine balance of different expressions and emotions that transpires into a nostalgic, masculine, modern yet decadent avatar.
What research work was involved in creating the outfits?
As a brand we have primarily found inspiration in travels and architecture around the world. Some of our most nostalgic collections have been travel-inspired and our recent travel to Amritsar gave us enough reasons to work on this collection. The city narrated tales of Jallianwala Bagh massacre. The outfits were inspired by rich handlooms, woollens and leather in subtle hues of ivory, black, navy, military green, and grey with a hint of maroon. Through a minimalistic approach and discreet contrasting embellishments on angular flap pockets, collars, signature Shantanu & Nikhil metallic buttons, and leather detailing on the helm, the line expressed each silhouette in glory.
The look of the show was to express the valiant league of men from history in their true contemporary form. Turbaned and bearded men, dressed in double-breasted Jodhpuri jackets, wide floppy pants, angular draped kurtas with churidars, and sherwanis accessorized with metallic brooch, strutted in a stylish demeanour on the runway in their masculine glory.
Actor Riteish Deshmukh was the showstopper of the show. Why did you think of having Riteish in the show?
Riteish Deshmukh, turbaned and bearded in a black textured jacket, flared kurta and churidars, walked the runway with a suave yet fierce personality. Riteish is quite effortlessly stylish; his body language is experimental yet he has an old world charm within him – a perfect blend of traditional marrying contemporary. He is therefore an ideal urban Indian man always on the move.
What feedback have you received for the collection?
A dose of emotions and ultra-glam fashion awaited the audience at LFW-W/F 2016. For few, it was an innovative fashion direction for the coming season, for some it was definitely a stylish rebellion on the ramp and a fashion extravaganza.
How do you perceive the growth of men’s fashion industry in India?
Menswear fashion industry has evolved over the years. Now finally, there are huge opportunities because men are stepping out of their comfort zone and looking for things which can enhance their personal style, especially in the occasion wear and ceremonial segment. With growing interest and eagerness to tread newer zones, men’s fashion industry is on the right path. However, there are several factors like having more dedicated stores and relatable colour codes which can help the industry scale new heights.
What are the biggest fashion trends for Indian men at the moment?
The mindset of the Indian men has now changed and there is a remarkable difference. Now men are far better groomed and more willing to experiment. They want to look elegant and stylish. We are known for our drape philosophy and ability to put subtle India on contemporary fashion. Drape kurta is the new staple, it is unique and men like to wear it for their ceremonies and occasions. What we have done with the kurta is make it as comfortable as a shirt or T-shirt. So we engineer it in such a way that they can just slip it on. If you are wearing drapes, don’t do embroidery on top. In terms of shapes, any one can sport it. Size doesn’t matter.
As a designer, what advice would you give anyone inclined towards fashion?
This season, less is more for us. Keep it simple and stay away from bling. A palette of neutral colours can be mixed and matched with almost any colour.