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Salute toThe Regiment
The armed forces and gender equality were the focus of SHANTANU and NIKHIL’s collection. By Mansi Bhansali
The lights dimmed and one could hear a drumroll in the background. The models, both men and women, in battle fatigues were handed scrolls which they passed on to the audience. The beginning of the fashion show which showcased Shantanu and Nikhil’s collection, The Regiment, was exceptional. And more was to follow. When Navjot Singh Sidhu sashayed down the ramp as the showstopper, the entire Ballroom at The Imperial erupted in collective round of oohs and aahs. The collection, which showcased the valour, virtues, passion and conviction of vintage India, was held in association with Swarovski and The Imperial, New Delhi.
There was a reason that the designer duo decided on the name The Regiment. Nikhil said, “We wanted to salute our Army men. We were very much in tune with the heritage and history that we come from and this leads us to our theme The Regiment. It encompasses discipline, pride and togetherness, which represent our Indian armed forces.” And there was another message embedded in the collection. He added, “We also wanted to promote gender equality by producing similar silhouette for both man and woman.”
The collection had everything — convertible Nehru collars, vertical pockets, epaulets, trench coat inspired by bandh galas and longsherwanis teamed with drapes, handcrafted vintage coin buttons and rustic medallion like bejeweled broaches with crystals designed by Chris Bangle.
Vivek Ramabhadran, vice president, Asia South Region, Swarovski Professional, said the relationship with Shantanu and Nikhil is an old one. “They have been using our Swarovski crystals for the past five-six years. We wanted to show that crystals can be more than just typical embellishments for bridal couture. They can be full-fledged accessories.”
Turns out that the designers visited Austria three months ago, when they were conceptualising this collection. They reinvented the crystal from a historical perspective, trusting it to add character to a garment in a language which is quite contemporary and international. They have even brought back the efficacy of broaches.
The designers used certain crystals which create a patina effect and contrasts well with the military green.
The couturiers displayed the amalgamation of dark and military colours to portray the best of Nehruvian time. Shantanu said, “We have always been the anti-thesis of colours in India. For our philosophy, the vintage is the best range. This is not the first time we have shown the dark palette. In the last part of this collection, there was a strong doze of crystals being used in a very different avatar. It was more matte and not glittery to depict the pride and at the same time we have almost replicated the medallion field.”
There was a reason why the duo narrowed down on Sidhu as a showstopper. Shantanu said, “He is astute and has clarity, be it as a politician or a cricketer. He has brought a sense of purpose to the The Regiment.”
Also seen in the audience were, Anurag Thakur ex-BCCI chief and Murli Kartik, the former cricketer turned commentator. The duo’s interpretation of a unique gallery like couture space defined a profound grasp of bespoke influences with a pursuit to reignite the bravery and the heroism of the Nehruvian time. The collection left the audience applauding and praising the visualisation of the theme.
Shantanu and Nikhil, a coveted name in the design industry elaborated their concept, Nikhil said, “Our fall/Winter 2017 line is a reiteration of our vision of belonging to something that is bigger than ourselves and its underlying modern India spirits that symbolises progressivism and distinctiveness. Dramatic and heroic re- appropriation of male presence through female form is the cornerstone of the collection, where feminism/masculine, hard/soft, defend/protect is the new dialog.”
The collection evokes an emotional connect of unity and order through a regiment of men and women that have imbibed the belief of the Armed forces to defend against a stereotypical mind set symptomatic of gender inequality as it exists in society.
Photos: Pankaj Kumar
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