From Katrina Kaif to Deepika Padukone to Kareena Kapoor Khan, Pankaj and Nidhi have dressed various actresses in Bollywood. Today, as we come to the second last day of Lakme Fashion Week, it will be Ananya Panday, as their muse. And doesn’t she fit so well with the Pankaj & Nidhi aesthetic?
Their designer duo is a celebrated one and we can expect a collection that will make us want to give our wardrobes a vibrant makeover. Titled, ‘Solaris’, Pankaj & Nidhi gave Cosmo the tea on what their assortment is all about, what trends to expect and why Panday makes the perfect showstopper. Here are the excerpts...
Tell us about the theme of your collection, and what should we expect?
Pankaj: We were working on a colour palette and direction, which was for selling in October, November, and December, you know this festive time. But when this collaboration came along with Lakme Vitamin C Skincare, it was like a perfect match because they wanted a vibrant collection. So the starting point was the colour palette—from orange to vermillion to purple to emerald green—just choose which looks good on Indian skin. So once the colour palette was sorted, we wanted to, of course, you know, work deeper in terms of inspiration. So there's Japanese inspiration with kimono patterns. There are Indian inspirations—Indian ornament, we call it. So we have Indian motifs combined with Japanese motifs to make a really interesting blend of artwork. A lot of our signature appliqués are back but in a slightly interesting way because of the sheer vividness of the colours. So it's beautiful tone-on-tone, texture isolation, but in this mélange of heavy, and vibrant shades.
What kind of silhouettes do we see in your collection?
Nidhi: We've played around with a lot of interesting silhouettes—we've done a lot of blazer dresses, fluid pantsuits, a lot of interestingly cut jackets, and jackets with trails. We've had a lot of fun with a lot of flattering dresses as well.
Pankaj: There are a lot of dresses in the market, but I feel jackets are not used enough. So our statement for the season is a feminine jacket. It's got a bit of padding. It gives you a little bit of a power shoulder and a little bit of structure. But the jacket itself turns into a dress because of a slightly longer length and it's closed in the front. So it's kind of like a nice transition piece. And like I said, jackets are probably not used enough. And women look great in jackets, and we want more women to wear more jackets.
I’ve been seeing a lot of jackets, you know, in Lakme Fashion Week. Is it going to be the must-have this season?
Pankaj: It's such a versatile item, you see, you can layer it on something, and it gives you as the wearer, the ability to style yourself. You know, when you're wearing a dress, you're wearing a dress from top to bottom—there's nothing much you can do except choose your handbag or your footwear. Whereas with a jacket, you can decide what you want to wear with. If you want to wear it with a nice bralette or you want to wear it with, you know, like a lace stop inside. So it just opens up possibilities of a really nice silhouette.
So, when you're designing clothes, where do you look for inspiration? Is it the past present or the future?
Pankaj: For us, it’s looking into visual cues—beautiful museums of paintings, art, artists and art forms. We like to travel as much as we can and we're very theme-based designers. So we like to kind of work with a certain region, or a certain art form every season, to kind of try and tell a new story every time. So places inspire us a lot, as well as people—what they eat, what their homes look like, what their walls look like, etc.
Nidhi: I think all designers have a very, at least that's how I feel, an instinctive and a very intuitive process. This is what we are like, this is our identity, and we've got to go with our intuition.
So when you're experimenting with something new, that is not your signature, how do you go about it?
Nidhi: I think it is something like how a chef will make dishes, he will always cook in his signature style. So similarly, in design even if we go out of our comfort zone, we will be working in our signature style, because that's who we are. So yes, we try to experiment and we tried to have more fun with a few things in our collection. But I think that it is still in our signature style because if you're true to yourself, then it will reflect your sanity.
How does it feel to have Ananya Panday as your muse?
Pankaj: You know, she’s young, hardworking, and, you know, this is a quality we have in this new generation of actors, where they are very professional. They may be star kids or not star kids. But they're just giving it their best. They're out there. They're gyming, they're exercising, and they're looking their best. Ananya symbolises this woman who, for us, is not just youthful, but she's working on her talent and giving it her best.
If you could make the characters of any popular series wear your designs, which one would it be?
Nidhi: The first series that popped into my head was Sex And The City because I love the fact that there are so many different characters in it, and how they all have their individual style. And I love that that all women are different and we love to dress up different women of different sizes and we take pride in that that everybody relates to our clothes.
Pankaj: My favourite series if you ever see the series called Ted Lasso and there's this lady in that, Rebecca, who is the owner of this football club. She’s someone I would love to dress because she's just amazing.
What trends should we expect in holiday wear?
Nidhi: I think it's all about colour for us. We are feeling more bold and vibrant hues such as fuchsia, purple, orange and vivid green.
Pankaj: I'd just love to see people leave their phones behind in their bags or in their suitcases in the room and enjoy themselves. *laughs*