Thursday, Dec 01, 2022

Designer Shehla Khan: Sonam Kapoor was my first-ever muse

In an interview with, Shehla Khan talks about her new collection 'Nostalgia', how the pandemic has affected the fashion industry and sustainable fashion being the way forward

shehla khan, shehla khan interview, shehla khan designer, shehla khan sonam kapoor, Bollywood fashion, shehla khan new collectionShehla Khan’s new demi-couture collection ‘Nostalgia’ has been designed for new age brides. (Photo: PR handout)

Tara Sutaria, Athiya Shetty, Janhvi Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Bhumi Pednekar, Katrina Kaif — the list of celebrities seen in outfits designed by Shehla Khan is nearly never-ending. And while the ace designer feels lucky to have so many celebrities wearing her creations, it is Sonam Kapoor Ahuja whom she calls her “first-ever muse” and someone who has always supported her brand.

In an interview with, the designer talks about her new collection ‘Nostalgia’, how the pandemic has affected the fashion industry and sustainable fashion being the way forward.


What is your latest collection ‘Nostalgia’ all about?

Our new collection Nostalgia is a journey back into the runway glamour of the 1990s. It is reminiscent of the sleek silhouettes yet dramatic statement style of 90s fashion. I have created this collection while taking inspiration from iconic supermodels and legendary couturiers of this decade. The collection consists of bold prints with statement embroideries, a touch of lace which is the essence of the brand, dramatic silhouettes and sleek embellishments. The word ‘Nostalgia’ means a wistful affection for a period in the past and that is exactly how I feel about fashion in the 1990s, hence this collection is somewhat an ode to it.

You describe your collection as ‘demi-couture’; how popular is this in India?

This collection is described as demi-couture, because it is partly made to measure, but accessible in a shorter period. The details that go into these styles are reminiscent of couture but at a lesser price range. In India, there is a slight gap between pret and couture. Today, when people are looking for sustainability and more price-conscious options, this builds a bridge between the two.

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Your collection is high on the 90s runway fashion and has been inspired by Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence. Why this film and the era particularly?


Even though I have taken inspiration from the style in the 1990s, the essence of my brand has this romanticism which the film portrays beautifully through its costumes. Besides, some fashion icons of the 90s also starred in the film. Mainly, I have used its costumes to inspire the delicate details of my collection.

Could you take us through your new collection?

There is a vast use of prints, embellishments and detailed lace accentuations as well as some classic silhouettes. I have also emphasised the sari in a more contemporary way thus making the collection more wearable and accessible in a range of styles.

The pandemic has made it necessary to wear masks and many designers have started their production too, sometimes matching it to their collections. Have you also done that?


Yes, I have created coordinated embellished masks that match with various pieces from my collection.

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How has the pandemic affected you personally and professionally?

It’s been a learning experience. Initially, it was a struggle to find a new ‘normal’ but now I am focusing on innovative ways to work, showcase and retail which is tough yet exciting.

Bollywood celebrities are often spotted in your creations. But who, according to you, carries your outfits the best and why?

I love making people look beautiful, and to me dressing every bride, client or celebrity is of equal value. Having said that, I have been lucky enough to have some beautiful muses, which includes Sonam Kapoor, who was my first-ever muse and has always supported the brand. Moving on to all the beautiful actresses I admire and have thankfully had the privilege to dress!


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If there is one celebrity you wish to dress up, who would that be?


I have had the privilege to dress most of the women I’ve been a fan of from the current generation. However, I would have loved to dress Madhubala, Audrey Hepburn, and Princess Diana from previous times. Internationally, Michelle Pfeifer, Demi Moore, Grace Kelly and currently Cate Blanchette, Natalie Portman, and the Hadid sisters in saris!

The pandemic has affected the fashion industry in a major way. What do you think has been the most crucial impact; and how can the industry recover and move ahead?


It’s all about finding a new normal and then constantly finding innovative ways to go about it. If we stick to our old ways there isn’t going to be much change. It’s all about adapting and projecting the best output from the same.

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The pandemic has also created a lot of conversation around sustainable living/fashion. Your take on it?

It’s absolutely necessary. Sustainable and eco-friendly are now a norm and we all must respect that and create our own ways to incorporate both in our ways of work.

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First published on: 28-08-2020 at 05:30:38 pm
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