Minimal yet effortlessly sexy is this resort sari. “This is one of our bestsellers. It’s with Phoenix Skein and Praslin print, again named after an island in Seychelles. The rooster and flowers are akin to that island,” said Narresh. Chikky suggested a leather jacket “for a chilly winter night” to go with it. Pabitra Das
They are the “bikini boys” of India and their Instagram account will give you major travel goals. Shivan Bhatiya, head designer, and Narresh Kukreja, creative director, Shivan & Narresh were in Calcutta for an autumn-winter’ 18 pop-up at The Oberoi Grand last week. t2 caught up with the duo on how to travel in style.
People are travelling more than before. Are they travelling differently?
Shivan Bhatiya: I think earlier people used to go by the traditional holiday breaks, which are autumn and spring breaks, but now people travel in the weekends as well and they find any opportunity to travel. It has become an essential part of life. It’s like literally living through the holidays.
Narresh Kukreja: There is a big shift in how millennials look at travel. If they have to spend Rs 2 lakh, they’d rather go to Istanbul or Mykonos than buy a pair of shoes or the ‘it’ bag, because it adds a lot to their lives. If they can’t go international, they’ll go to Goa or Kerala. The idea of adding experiences to their lives has a lot more value to millennials than the previous generations. Travel is actually competing with luxury products.
Because of this whole shift, travel and holiday-centric brands like ours are so successful because we add experiences to their lives. We don’t deal with traditional Indian clothing and for the millennials today, fashion is not one wedding day of their life, it’s a lot more.
They must be shopping for every holiday?
Narresh: Absolutely! If it’s a five-day holiday, then five swimsuits! Social media plays a very important role in holidaying today because you will click pictures every day. They also want to show their holidays on social media. Social media and fashion are changing each other.
Shivan: I would say it is an indulgence at the same time. It’s not just about social media, sometimes it’s just for yourself. You don’t want to be repeating the same clothes even if it is not for social media. You just want to look different and feel different and enjoy the experience differently.
Narresh: Previously, people always dressed for other people. Wedding was a reason, celebration was a reason. You always dressed for your family, parents, neighbours, friends… you needed to look a certain way. Now you do it for yourself. That’s also a big shift. You don’t wear a swimsuit because your friend likes you in it, you wear it only when you find yourself looking good in it.
Is it only women who shop for holidays?
Shivan: Initially we thought it’s womenswear-centric, but I feel now men have become serious too. That shift is relatively recent....
Narresh: ....Four-five years. And twinning has become huge. Husband and wife want to look similar or father-son, mother-daughter want to look similar. That pushes men also to experiment more.
Men are wearing colours. When you wear colours in the city, you tend to wear spicy shades because they are more muted, but when on a holiday, you want to take the brighter route.
It could be a polo or swim shorts but it will have the same print as the woman’s swimsuit or sarong, so that they look good together on a holiday, or maybe on their special occasion, like at a poolside Mehndi or Sangeet.
A vivid printed romper + matching headband and tote = fuss-free and sporty chic! “This La Digue-print piece is ideal as much on a single woman’s holiday as on a honeymoon. The print is inspired by an island in Seychelles called La Digue. That is why you see the waves, rocks, birds,” said Narresh. Pabitra Das
What time of the year do people travel the most?
Shivan: Summers are huge. Then there is the new year break. Then occasions play a big role, like pre-wedding, post-wedding. Frenemoons are big… it’s like your friends coming along with you on your honeymoon. It can be a 10-day thing… five days with your friends and the rest with your husband! It is like a wedding hangover. A lot of our friends want to create a package and they want to give sarongs and swimsuits as frenemoon gifts.
Narresh: Babymoons (a vacation taken by a couple before a baby is born) are also trending! The next big thing is the 40th birthday. Men and women are at their peak at that age. They are young enough and by the time they are 40, they have disposable income in their hands. The kids are neither too big nor too small, so they are relatively free of responsibilities. So, they really splurge!
Shivan: For their 40th birthday celebrations, we have had clients who come with their close friends and they curate the whole look with us so that they have a theme going on.
Are there any destinations that inspire your work?
Narresh: The current collection, the Koi Series, is hugely inspired by a bunch of places we visited this year. It started with Spain from where we got the ruffles of the flamenco dancers. The colours came from the spice market of Istanbul. The prints were inspired by the Gond art of Madhya Pradesh.
In recent times, Japan was a huge influence too. It took me two collections to get over Japan. After that there was Seychelles; green and full of life.
You are exploring patachitra next…
Narresh: Yes, we want to take up Bengal folk art. Art is a huge inspiration for us. Art always becomes a starting point for us.
Pictures: Pabitra Das; Model: Sneha Ghosh; Hair and make-up: Prasenjit Biswas; Location courtesy: ITC Sonar
Go beach to bar in this “indulgent honeymoon look”— a crop top teamed with a pareo. “This is Eden print, again inspired by an island in Seychelles. There is a particular flower that you get there called (Alpinia) Purpurata, which is red. You can style the pareo in five different ways, depending on what time of the day you are wearing it,” said Narresh. Pabitra Das