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ICW 2020: Shantanu And Nikhil’s Collection Broadens The Prevailing Narrative Around Bridal Couture


There's couture that reflects the symbiotic relation with the ongoing trends and then there's couture, which challenges the prevailing trends. It is a recurring thought, which particularly strikes us when we view Shantanu & Nikhil's couture. The designer duo, with acute and sharp designing sensibility, makes us question bridal couture. Be it their Anti-trend collection, which is about impeccably structured silhouettes or their military-inspired wedding and festive wear splashed in the grave tones of grey and dark reds, Shantanu & Nikhil remain uninfluenced by the wedding-wear narratives around. There's a muted maximalist touch to their outfits but their outfits aren't entirely minimal either. Between the two contrasting sensibilities (minimalism and maximalist), comes the ensembles of Shantanu & Nikhil. The designer duo often contradicts the conventional symmetry of the Indian bridal fashion with their linear fuss-free silhouettes. Like their previous collections, this linearity and a brush of structured architectural style were also seen in their latest collection, The Resurgence.

This collection, which was designed with the spirit to resurface and recommence amid global pandemic, was presented at the ongoing FDCI India Couture Week 2020. Given the pandemic, the collection was presented in a digital format as per the guidelines of the FDCI. The resort hotel, The Roseate New Delhi was the location and the background frames in the short digital spread were kept as serious and no-nonsense as textured black and white. Apart from the black and white frames building the narrative, the single-toned frames in the shades of yellow, grey, and red were selected to enhance the visual appeal. We also saw occasional whispering trees in the backdrop, which balanced the harsh reality and hope. Models including Lakshmi Rana, Sonalika Sahay, Sonali Sharma, Sony Kaur, Imrank, and Bardeep Dhiman showed us the powerful collection, The Resurgence. The collection note stated, "Collection celebrates a renewed strength & power to adapt and #RiseAgain." With Lakshmi Rana in the first frame walking in her intricately-done black outfit against a backdrop of the pointed textural wall, we could immediately notice the renewed strength and she definitely exuded the power in the times punctuated by the rising pandemic and growing uncertainties. The frames that followed showed us the crisp and tight narrative sans any loose ends - kudos to cinematographer and editor, Neeraj Hinduja and Karma Production, who enhanced the designer duo's vision.

Apart from the outfits, the jewellery was also interesting and accentuated the outfits. The jewellery paired by the models was as rule-breaking as the outfits. These weren't your usual delicate jewellery but the sharp accessories, which seemed relevant keeping in mind the situation in present times. The elaborate hand accessories in particular caught our attention. The hairstyling and makeup were sharp and immaculate. In a nutshell, all the aforementioned elements were distinctive. Did it seem like a tale of a phoenix rising from the ashes? Well, it absolutely did. Shantanu & Nikhil's collection would definitely make sense to those, who can find beauty in the times of chaos. Also, adding to that, their digital movie, which can be seen on the FDCI's and Shantanu & Nikhil social media feeds, showed women empowerment. We have some favourite picks from their collection.

The Ivory And Black Traditional Silhouettes

One of the frames showed models dressed in traditional ivory and black silhouettes. We loved the symphony of two contrasting hues and while not conventional in appeal, these outfits looked so unique. We loved the belted lehenga and the gold-toned belt was a signature piece in itself with nature-inspired accents. The blouse with sheer fabric and nuanced cut with textural design absolutely inspired us to up our blouse fashion game. The haunting gold-toned leaves on the black of the ivory skirt were a testimony to meticulous craftsmanship and the dupatta with gold zardozi on the border enhanced the effect. Similarly, we thought the multi-hued motifs on the bodice of the ivory and black gown was a gorgeous addition. The model wearing Shantanu & Nikhil's all-black signature asymmetrical kurta paired with a subtle-textured jacket and cigarette pants also made us think of the designer duo's distinctive sensibility.

The Blue And Black Textured Gown

This gown was a masterpiece and we instantly loved it for its structured folds and linear patterns balanced by the intricately-done textural bodice. The bodice of the sleeveless number featured jewel-toned accents and there was a lot of subtlety and the attire was a bit on the restrained side. It wasn't blingy but definitely luminescent with metallic tones. Adding to that, the oxidised hand accessory teamed with this ensemble was an instance of evolved styling.

The Pastel Grey Gown

This was a gentle addition to the sharp collection but it was definitely fuss-free. We liked this dress for its flowy drape on the bodice. Apart from the shawl-style drape, we also loved the layered and flowy skirt, which was flared and had softly-ruffled edges. The glittering tones on the neckline area accentuated the attire. The colour seemed pale grey and this single-toned attire, we thought definitely would be a welcome addition to a minimalist's closet.

The Deep Red Flowy Gown

This gown was also a signature Shantanu & Nikhil piece and we loved the intermingling of subtlety and maximalist effect in this gown. Dipped in a deep shade of red, it was a flowy number but the intricate metallic and gold zardozi work on the neckline is the detail we loved. The gown was belted and it seemed ideal for cocktail parties.

The Red Floral Skirt

While not much in the favour of the belted dupatta look in this attire, the skirt was so gorgeous and had the power to make one look a class apart. Splashed in the bright shade of red, the intricate light patterns absolutely showed us what designing nuances actually mean. We absolutely thought this skirt is worth-investing in.

So, which attire of Shantanu & Nikhil's from their latest collection did you like the most? Let us know that.