One wanted to study at an art school and was rejected. Another pursued commerce only to realise, fairly early, numbers were too prosaic. Years later, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla are not just one of the most celebrated designer duos in the country, but one whose designs have assumed the status of heirloom.
Intricate mirror work and chikankari have spilled in their designs, making the artists and their artistry indistinguishable. Moments prior to showcasing their collection at the ongoing Blender’s Pride Fashion Tour, the designers spoke with indianexpress.com, and shed light on their evolving designs, their present collection and why Sara Ali Khan had to be their showstopper.
The theme this year is ‘My Blend, My Pride’ How do you interpret it?
SK: This time, we have close to 80 models and it is a mixed cast of new models and our favourites like Sheetal Mallar, who has come back to walk for us after many years. There are also some transgender girls walking for us, there is an Instagram sensation from Tripura and even a naval officer walking for us. There are many, various people and the clothes are also a blend. There is bandhni, which we used to do earlier, ajrakh, a bunch of Indian craft, like chikankari mixed and juxtaposed with modern silhouettes.
How is this collection different from your previous collections?
SK: Each collection of ours is different from the last one and that is why we have remained where we have remained for the last 33 years. Our present collection is a bit of the past, a bit of the present and a lot of future.
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How do you keep your designs relevant?
SK: We actually make a lot of classic clothes which are worn generationally. We get younger with the younger lot, bolder, sexier. Abu and I had a big tiff two years ago. He said he wants to go young and I had said we will remain classic. Then he retorted: ‘get lost, we are getting young’. Sonam (Kapoor) actually started the trend when she wore the sari at Cannes. It became a complete sensation, the concept sari with an almost naked blouse.
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The Bride and her Best Men! @SonamKapoor, @abujani1 and @sandeepkhosla take a bow. For more details. Link in the bio. @asalabusandeep @marriottintl @toastevents_in #AbuJaniSandeepKhosla @khushnooma #abujani #sandeepkhosla #shop#shopping #fashion #designers #india#mumbai #delhi #summer #designs#designerwear #indian #western #lehenga#ghagra #anarkali #colours #beautiful#stunning #creations #asal #marriotthotel#marriott #marriage #wedding#shaadibymarriott #AJSKxShaadibyMarriott
Your showstopper for the evening is Sara Ali Khan? How much of your style do you see reflected in her?
AJ: She is our baby. When she was 15, she walked for us at our book launch. And now she is a big star. She always says, ‘Guys, whenever you have a big show, I want to part of it anyhow’. Her brother also wanted to walk for us but he is underage at the moment, unfortunately.
Do you think clothes inherently have a gender or the one wearing it assigns it?
SK: I think people who wear them own them. Clothes are not made specifically for any gender. You have it in you and then you own it.
Do you think to have celebrities walk as showstoppers runs the risk of taking attention away from the collection or does it add to it?
SK: It adds to everything. If they believe in your label and in what they are wearing, it works very well. Only those connected to us in some way walk for us. This adds to the experience.
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