Sotheby's is opening an exhibition of designer wear and interior decor by celebrated Indian designer duo Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla. The couturiers celebrate their 25th anniversary this year and the exhibition "Indian Fantastique" will coincide with their two volumes of books about their clothes and the history of their label Jani-Khosla.
The designers' reputation extends far beyond India, known for their fashion creations for men, women and for interior designs. Many international celebrities as Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Sophie Marceau and Sarah Brown wear their creations. Their 25-year-old partnership include designing for leading actors and actresses, working on costumes for epic Bollywood films and building a luxury, artistry with an Indian tradition, brand.
"Abu and I thought long and hard about how we wanted to celebrate our milestone, and also about how we would use this celebration to set the vision for our creativity and ourselves in the next 25 years. It soon became clear that a book, or rather two as it turned out to be, was the ideal vehicle," Khosla said. The first volume of India Fantastique show the duo's design while the second volume shows on their interior design work. Their interior design work incoporate art, artifacts, antiques, and vintage textiles.
In both books, features include the duo's rediscovery and revivification of once moribund traditionnal crafts including chikan (whitework) and zardozi (gold thread embroidery) and the ways in wich they make use of local artisans and reinvent their heritage by redeploying Indian antiques. Abu was born in Mumbai and stated in the film industry as a costume designer. Sandeep was born in Kapurthaba (Punjab) and started in the family leather business.
They met by chance in 1986 and decides instantly to work together and their first collection "Mata Hari" arrived four months later. They didn't have any formal qualifications or money to invest, but they did have in abundance talent and a belief in their own creativity. "We are unabashedly Indian in our aesthetics. And passionately in love with the rich cultural, historic and design legacy of our land. Design is our way of paying homage to that beauty. By taking it into the 21st century," Jani said.