Supreeta Singh
Say Kolkata and they blurt out Rosogolla! On a more serious note, they are bowled over by the city’s commitment to heritage and traditional art. Fashion designers Shantanu and Nikhil Mehra may be brothers but they are as different as chalk and cheese. If Shantanu is articulate with a subtle sense of humour, Nikhil is playful and fun.
 Recently in the city to participate in the Blender’s Pride Fashion Tour 2010, the duo had only appreciation for Kolkata as a fashion conscious city. “Unlike other places in India, here you can really splurge because fashion is cheaper here. We have loads of clients from Kolkata who come to us in Mumbai. The state’s craftsmen and rich bank of embroidery and fabrics is unmatched. But the city is also ready to try out new things. We have done many weddings here where the bride was ready to try out gowns and drapes instead of sarees and lehengas,” said Shantanu.
 The collection that they showcased at the tour was called Play Right, which drew its inspiration from heroines of director Woody Allen’s films. The colour palette consisted of black, white and red capturing an element of mystique. Duchesse satins and silk jerseys looked alluring when combined with brilliant jewel-like crystallised Swarovski work. “Our collection is for a woman who wants to experiment with her life. Although she is individualistic, she would not mind bringing exciting changes into her life. She will want to wear our clothes not just now but carry them with aplomb many years later,” said Nikhil.
 The brothers are known for their exotic fusion wear. According to them, this is a trend that is here to stay and may become a classic. Nikhil said, “Even six years back, India was more traditional. But now the country is opening up to global influences and thus the concept of fusion was bound to strike a chord. This reflects the amalgamation of various cultures which is inevitable.”
 Sports is a passion for both brothers. In the field of cricket, they have designed for Mumbai Indians jersey for the Indian Premier League. Interestingly, Shantanu was a tennis player and had represented Delhi at the national level. No wonder sports personalities like Sania Mirza, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Glen McGrath, Stephen Fleming and Serena Williams have endorsed their brand. Their penchant has also made them the first ever designers from India and third ones from all over the world to tie-up with sportswear giant Adidas after Stella McCartney and Yohji Yamamoto. Ask them about it, and their faces light up. “Oh yes! It was challenging as well as stimulating to bring together the practicality of sportswear and the finesse of fashion. Our first range was inspired by New York taxis and the garments were in black and white. Our latest collection is inspired by Goth. The theme is adventurous meant for the age group of 16 to 21 years. It’s ready-to-wear affordable luxury. The mainstay is the silhouette which is comfortable and chic,” informed Shantanu.
  What’s next for Shantanu and Nikhil? “We are in expansion mode. We plan to open our sixth store in Hyderabad after opening one in Delhi. There is a desire to be more committed to our signature lines and make Shantanu Nikhil a better brand,” signed off Nikhil.