When it comes to Indian fashion, the names Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla need no introduction. Formidable industry leaders and purveyors of all things tasteful, the iconic designer have created a revered signature during their 34 years in the industry. Be it couture or pret, their creations are favoured by celebrities and aesthetes alike. With their line ‘Gulabo‘ they shift the focus to fuss-free high-impact separates.It’s a label founded on the principle of separates. It’s all about proving that basics aren’t boring, but instead, can help one to stand apart. Fun fact: the name of the brand is a tribute to Waheeda Rehman’s character in Guru Dutt’s movie, Pyaasa. “An iconic movie, with an iconic woman in the lead. Her integrity, her beauty, and her sheer strength of character stand out. There is also the unforgettable imagery of the glorious monochromes she wore throughout the film. We were absolutely mesmerised, and it has been seared into our memories as artists and men,” the designers tell us.
Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla talk to Aashni + Co in an exclusive conversation on the ethos of Gulabo (available to shop on A+CO here) and how one can build a winning festive wardrobe.
What is the fundamental idea behind Gulabo?
These separates are like building blocks. It is a label for every woman, every occasion and every mood. We have experimented with staples from shirts and tunics to kurtas, dresses, saris and jackets, pants, shararas and dhotis; and imbued each with a distinctive Abu Sandeep stamp. It’s all about the details — from statement sculptural sleeves, ruffles and sashes to floral, geometric and appliqué motifs. The garments explore new silhouettes and exude our signature techniques and elements including gota and mirror work. And then it’s about adding your personal style to the separates.
What makes every Gulabo separate a wardrobe classic, season after season?
Universality and versatility. A Gulabo can be worn with your existing wardrobe including your jeans. It can also be combined with other Gulabo separates. And it can be dressed up or down depending on what you combine it with and how you accessorise it.
It’s extremely current but not restricted to one season. It’s here for the long run. It is highly original, absolutely contemporary but also forever. It doesn’t date. It’s a joyous expression in natural fabrics that feel even better than they look. It also puts the power of styling in a woman’s hands. You choose how and what to wear it with. It’s a celebration of the unique sensibilities and spirit you possess.
A lot of your focus is on your signature whites with gota work. What makes the colour such a timeless pick?
We love ivory. It’s a signature hue for us. It is ethereal and eternally beautiful. Gota in silver and gold is the ultimate bling element. We have used gota in several forms and motifs from lines and geometric motifs to floral 3D ones. Gulabo is also a celebration of colour. We are never this or that. Colour is also a passion and this label has the entire spectrum of rich, bright and jewel tones. It’s about a solid and bold expression of colour.
The sartorial mood now is ‘less is more’; to invest in smart wardrobe staples. Do you agree?
We have all learnt from what has been an incredibly challenging year. It has made us re-examine our priorities and our lifestyles. Less doesn’t mean less quality or less style. If anything, we return to the drawing board as artists and designers to create even more impossibly beautiful things which pay homage to finesse, craftsmanship and lasting beauty.
This means couture will get even more haute. And one may buy less but with a passion for buying the best. It’s not merely about the beauty of a garment. It’s what that beauty represents. A commitment to artisans and techniques that are our pride, our legacy. To breaking the bar of creativity like never before. It’s how we have always dreamt and created. We continue to dream even bigger for ourselves and for our expression.
Any advice for those building a long-lasting Indian wardrobe today?
Buy the best you can afford. Cheap is often the most expensive thing in the long-run. Quality is the best investment because it lasts forever. Focus on classics and mix them with avant-garde pieces. A sari never goes out of style. Neither does a lehenga or an anarkali.
Set trends and don’t fill your wardrobe with the gimmicky or overtly trendy. We don’t believe in clothes that have a ‘throw-out’ date. We believe that you can and must repeat your wardrobe. So it’s about building one that stands the test of style. Which is always forever.
Shop Gulabo on Aashni + Co here.