Maison Shantnu & Nikhil, known for their “anti-trend” fashion vocabulary, have opened a new flagship store in Mumbai's Kala Ghoda.
Designed by architect Viraj Kataria, the new address is inside a restored 133-year-old structure, housing the label's signature gowns and immaculately structured occasionwear. The 2,264sq.ft store retains parts of the original building structure, including aspiral staircase, Burma teak roof and the original fire bricks and basalt stone from 1890.
The Mumbai store comes close on the heels of a new Shantnu & Nikhil couture store in Delhi's Defence Colony as well as 10 outlets of the label's bridge to luxury brand, S&N by Shantnu & Nikhil, across the national capital, Hyderabad and Bengaluru (post an investment by Aditya Birla Fashion Retail Ltd).
In an interview with Lounge, the designers behind the brand, Shantanu Mehra and Nikhil Mehra, talk about the new store, their future plans and more. Edited excerpts:
How much time was spent renovating the old building? What things did you keep in mind while designing the store?
We wanted to keep the historic elements of the building alive. Our approach while building the store was to peel off the layers that were hidden and bring the building back to its original palette. The store comprises of two separate spaces that have been interconnected. We wanted bricks, and luckily we found lime mortar in one of the spaces that allowed us to restore the original bricks and basalt stone to its original state. Having said that, the unobstructed view of the equestrian statue (Spirit Of Kala Ghoda) has to be one of the most iconic aspects of the store.
Why did you opt for Kala Khoda?
The lanes, architecture, history… all these elements tell a tale of Indian nostalgia. Shantnu & Nikhil, as a brand, has always had India-proud sentiment in its ethos and design virtues. The lanes of Kala Ghoda narrate a story, which we subconsciously have been creating through our designs. Such locations are a homage to distinctiveness in design, encapsulating the splendour and decadence of vintage India, blending it with the easygoing yet individualistic modern India.
What will the store offer?
Considering the store is nestled in such an iconic location, we have ensured our collection reflect the same. The store houses Capella, our bridal couture collection, and some of the archival pieces from Maison Shantnu & Nikhil. There is a wide range of menswear, from bandhgala to classic draped kurta and lehngas and signature ball gowns.
Last year was all about expanding the bridge to luxury stores…. What are your plans for couture?
Both the brands, Shantnu & Nikhil and S&N by Shantnu Nikhil, are experiencing new shifts and changes this season. With S&N coming to tier 2 cities like Ahmedabad and Raipur, Shantnu & Nikhil has been disrupting ceremonial couture with new design aesthetics.
Our bridge-to-luxury brand was launched during the pandemic in 2020. We have opened eight retail stores in the span of two years.
When it comes to couture, we’re also in the process of launching our revamped store in Hyderabad, which shall house both the lables.
How important is the tier 2 market for you?
Luxury brands have underestimated the value of tier 2 markets. The clients in tier 2 cities usually travel to metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai to shop from their luxury brands. Now with the power of e-commerce, luxury has become far more approachable for them. From the insights we have, people in tier 2 cities are massive shoppers, sometimes perhaps more than the metro residents. The clients in these cities always had the taste and appetite for luxury but they lacked the medium.