Shehla Khan’s summer-festive collection
Shehla Khan’s summer-festive range of saris and lehngas features her signature lace and tulle, sequins and chiffon. Reds, pinks, lilacs, pearl whites, silvers, crystals, lavenders and plums make up the collection. In a chat with The Telegraph, the Mumbai-based designer decodes the line and looks back at her decade-long journey in design and her bond with Sonam Kapoor.
The collection has an element of fantasy…
It’s a summer-festive capsule for people having destination weddings, people attending weddings, brides who are not looking to go the usual bridal route. Of course we do the usual bridal route but because this is summer, and it’s hot… so, keeping it a little understated. We have done some bold colours also like a magenta or a red. The silhouettes are dreamy more than anything else. We have used pearls and crystals and tried using bolder embellishments. This is also universal. It could be for brides, bridesmaids, a family attending the wedding… summer occasion wear.
Overall you have kept the look simple. Is this how most girls are preferring to look on their wedding day? Recently we saw Alia Bhatt getting married in pristine simplicity….
Frankly, it really depends on the person. I personally and genuinely feel less is more and simplicity is the highest form of elegance. I think Alia looked the best she has ever looked in her life. She just looked so beautiful because she was so simple and barely wore any make-up.
Now for bridals, I feel people are preferring intimate events but there are people who are preferring the big celebration as well.
It’s been a decade for your brand…
I launched my store in 2012. It’s been amazing and a huge learning experience, with the pandemic more so, because I think it challenged all of us in different ways and we just came out stronger, more resilient, with better ideas. It really helped us creatively challenge ourselves. My favourite part of the journey is the creative challenge. Every year we meet different brides and introductions to the fashion industry, globally, I mean…. Sustainability… how we incorporate these ideas and people’s preferences into our designs. Of course dressing beautiful women.
What have you learnt from your brides?
It is important to understand that person exactly what she is envisioning. Making that person look their optimal best is what I enjoy most.
And they have changed, right?
I think opinions haven’t changed, but in the last five years, because of the whole outreach of social media, people are more conscious of their image. It’s definitely impacted people in a way, but I don’t think the demands of brides have really changed as such. It’s just that may be people have become a little more particular in terms of what they want in the sense that no one would want to wear what someone else is wearing, unless they are going for something that a celebrity wore.
What have been your cherished professional milestones?
Of course it was a dream for me to dress Kareena Kapoor Khan because I am a huge fan, a couple of years ago. My first ever red carpet outfit I made for Sonam (Kapoor) for the Cannes film festival was a breakthrough for me. Recently I did this bridal outfit for a young girl who wasn’t sure of what she wanted, and it turned out so beautiful. I was in tears… we both met each other half way and the outcome was so amazing. These instances are so gratifying and are really milestones for me that help me propel forward to do better and expand my horizons.
What inspires your aesthetics?
I have always been inspired by the old-world charm. When I first started, I was inspired by the whole Victorian era. My first collection was inspired by Marie Antoinette. They had heavy embroidery even back then but so detailed and intricate. From that time, the beauty of lace really inspired me. I also personally love lace, like half my wardrobe is lace. I love how feminine and delicate it is, the fabric and texture. It is universal. Even a woman of 70 can wear a lace sari…. It is ethereal and eternal and at the same time it has a certain charm to it. You can wear it in the evening or during the day. Very versatile. Every collection of mine has had this inspiration and the lace fabric.
Sonam Kapoor remains an important part of your career…
She is a dear friend and a huge support when I started my brand. She was the one who did my first campaign and through her and her sister (Rhea Kapoor), I got to dress her for Cannes, which was my first international red carpet outfit, very early in my career.
I have loved creating outfits for her. Her sister and I have worked really well together. All three of us share a love for fashion and we like to experiment with new styles.