It’s a few hours to go before designer Nikhil Thampi showcases yet another stroke of brilliance through his designs at Lakmé Fashion Week S/R 2016. From risqué cut-out apparel to flattering silhouettes, Thampi’s courageous yet wearable designs have proven to be a game changer in the fashion world. Exactly why we decided to catch the ace designer himself to give us a low-down on his new collection ahead of his show. Excerpts from the chat…
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Barely few hours to go before your show commences. Are you feeling the pressure?

Oh, I just want to sleep because I’m so sleep deprived! But I hope it all pays off. We’ve put in our best; I’m really kicked about this one.

What’s your inspiration behind the current collection?

Well, it’s a marriage between me and the Lakmé Salon. It’s basically a show around the Illuminate theme. Lakmé has launched a very pretty range of makeup that revolves around illuminate and shine. Amongst all the designers there are, they have chosen me to do this. So it’s a big compliment but it’s an even bigger responsibility. This is the first time at Fashion Week that a five-year old brand has bagged a solo show. So that’s a big thing for me. To tell you the truth, it was a very nerve-racking process to get the looks together but it’s been easier because the backstage experts at Lakmé Salon have been rather supportive. I gave them their freedom to do what they want to but creatively, we did come to a consensus.

So what’s in store for the audience in terms of beauty?

The hair and makeup is inspired by the stars, skies, sun, moon, etc. As a fashion label, I’m doing something very earth-oriented. So the colour palettes are very earthy. Sunrise and sunset are the colour palettes I’m going with. We’re doing something like a concept around staircase to heaven. So you will see a lot of formal wear like premium pret. So there will be many well-tailored suits, interesting cut-outs and the works. We are going to be connecting these cut outs with metal chips! That’s why when they told me the broad theme is Illuminate and shine, it brought a smile to my face.

What does Illuminate mean to you?

Well, you’ll see it in a few hours! When we got the theme Illuminate, we didn’t want to do it in terms of apparel or makeup. We thought why not do a presentation that’s Illuminate driven? The show is going to be very experimental. It’s a gamble but you know what? I’m all about taking risks! A McQueen would never be McQueen without having taken risks, right?

Talking about shimmer and shine, how do you strike the correct balance without making the shimmer look overdone?

I think it totally depends on the quantity you use. But you know the lookbook that Lakmé Salon has shot has a very toned down version of shimmer. It basically tells you how you can wear shimmer on a daily basis in the summers. But today’s show is definitely avant-garde. It will be over the top and impactful!

What’s the one thing you look forward to post a show?

I think I always want to know what the critics have to say. Everyone will come and appreciate my work but the true honest feedback comes from the critics. I look up to editors of magazines and newspapers. I take criticism very well. You should understand that these tips are coming from people who have been in the industry for many years. So what they try to tell you is going to help you so you’d rather respect that instead of being egoistic and averse to the idea.

The one model you count as your lucky charm…

Come on, you can’t ask me that! I love all of them. But I think I love Kanishtha Dhankar is truly amazing. She’s always walked for us but this time she isn’t. Even Lakshmi Rana is someone I adore. She is the most beautiful woman on the runway!

The one Hollywood celebrity you’d like to dress…

There are two—Charlize Theron and Beyonce. Charlize Theron exemplifies confidence and grace. She’s so powerful yet so understated. That’s something I love about her. As for Beyonce, she’s very, very hot. No two ways about that!

What’s the best part about showcasing at LFW?

The sleep you get the night after you’ve showcased! But on a serious note, it’s the creative satisfaction you get from a platform like this. I once saw my dad weeping a tear after watching my show and he’s actually so strong-hearted otherwise. So I’d say that almost is like my biggest achievement as a designer.

The one fashion rule for the summers…

Be comfortable but don’t fear to experiment.