Tête-à-tête with fashion designers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla

by | June 22, 2018, 11:47 IST

Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla

Decades ago, a young artiste switched his medium of catharsis when he didn’t get into an art school. Another young man realised that numbers and business weren’t his calling. The duo decided to give fashion a chance as assistants to Bollywood costume designer Xerxes Bhathena. Fast forward to a few years later, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla became big names in the fashion industry.
After a chance encounter in 1986, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla went on to present ‘Mata Hari’, their first collection as a creative team and one of India’s premier couture house was born. Today, they retail out of their stores in Mumbai and Delhi. The ace couturiers have carved a niche for themselves in the industry as luxurious torchbearers of timeless elegance and ornate grandeur. For 32 fruitful years, they have diligently followed their vision instead of succumbing to the pressures of the market. And their unapologetic attitude has served them well.
The designers have been credited for the reinvention of serval traditional Indian crafts, chiefly the Mughal arts of Chikankari and Zardozi. They have a devoted clientele that includes the likes of the Bachchan family, Dimple Kapadia, Amrita Singh and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, among others. The duo has also won the National Award for Costume Design for Devdas, and has dressed Beyoncé and Judi Dench. Recently, the designers made a triumphant Bollywood comeback. Excerpts from a chat with the couture designers in which they give out trousseau tips, talk about their journey, and their designs for Veere Di Wedding.

Amitabh Bacchan

How did you start your fashion designing journey?
Abu Jani: I wanted to study art at the JJ School of Arts, but my application was rejected. This forced me to find other outlets for my creativity. I began sketching and designing fashion pieces. It’s all art to me.
Sandeep Khosla: I pursued commerce as a student, but my heart and soul weren’t in business and numbers. I started off with leather accessory design, and then moved to Delhi and began designing ensembles. Both of us feel that art or design is a calling, a compulsion. Artistes cannot be created or manufactured.

What is the one thing that you learnt from Xerxes Bhathena that still helps you as a designer?
AJ: His flair for drama and glamour is something that we’ve inherited as designers.

What do you consider your biggest achievement?
SK: Thirty two years of being singularly devoted to our own vision without compromise or cutting corners. We’ve always created for ourselves, never for the market. We feel blessed because our work has found both, critical and commercial success. What thrills us most is that we are as passionate, inspired and curious today, as we were in the day when we began. We love to stretch our boundaries—hone, refine and reinvent. We believe that the ultimate gift in life is finding one’s calling and falling in love with it.


Tell us something about your costumes for Veere Di wedding.
AJ: We had an absolute ball working with Rhea Kapoor, designing the costumes for four exceptional actors and characters. Each character, like each woman, is unique and distinctive. The costumes express their personalities.
SK: We also used this film to unveil vintage Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla Couture to a brand-new audience that isn’t familiar with our work from the ’80s and ’90s. In a sense, the costumes aren’t costumes, they are real couture pieces that have been worn for reel.

What does Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla stand for, as a label?
AJ: Our brand stands for classical elegance. Timelessness and reinvention is our sacred mission. To us, it’s about impeccable craftsmanship and unsurpassed quality. We believe in being current, but we also believe that fashion isn’t worth it’s salt if it doesn’t remain relevant in the future. We are committed to creating fantasy and bringing impossible glamour and beauty to our expression.

Can you share a few trousseau tips every bride should swear by?
SK: Buy the best you can afford. Cheap is always expensive in the long run. Also, too many opinions spoil the ensemble. Trust in what you want. Trust the professionals you entrust with your ensembles. Buy clothes and accessories that complement your personality and lifestyle. The golden rule is that it must please you. It must feel right.

sonam kapoor

What are you working on next?
AJ: We always work furiously and on several things. It’s the creative urge that should always find expression. The coming year will see us committed to establishing Khosla Jani across the globe and growing in India.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel


Be the first one to comment.
View More Comments