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As celebrated Indian designers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla get ready to showcase their collection in Dubai on October 23 at Taj Dubai in Business Bay, Gulf News tabloid! caught up with the fashion icons who are on the speed-dials of Bollywood heavy weights and are famously partial to chikankari embroidery.

The designers, who created outfits for Sonam Kapoor’s mehendi ceremony and designed Priyanka Chopra’s canary yellow engagement outfit, spoke about their creative collaborations and their fashion philosophy.

“Priyanka was in full bloom in the ensemble,” said the designers.

They also gave us pointers on what to wear this Diwali. Excerpts from our e-mail interview with the couturiers…

What should we wear this Diwali and what should we avoid this festive season?

We don’t believe in rules... whether it’s about following them or setting them. Diwali is a time for family, friends, festivity and feasting. Wear what makes you joyous and jubilant. It could be a slinky sari with a statement mirror blouse, a resham [silk] thread embroidery voluminous anarkali or a gharara with classical gota work. Choose an ensemble which thrills you and pays homage to Diwali.

Tell us about your process behind creating Priyanka Chopra’s engagement outfit? Is yellow the new black?

Yellow along with saffron is a sacred colour. When you wear it on auspicious occasions, it complements the prayer ceremony or that puja to celebrate the betrothal of two hearts in love. The sherwani was embroidered in ivory chikankari — the regal embroidery from the time of the Nawabs of Lucknow. Chikankari is also our hallmark. Someone called it our ‘Birkin’. Its delicacy and refinement is the epitome of couture and romance. Priyanka was in full bloom in the ensemble.

Your collaboration with each other has lasted over three decades. What are your partner’s biggest strengths and weaknesses. Why?

We are poles apart as people and personalities. It isn’t about flaws or strengths. It’s about seeing and doing things differently. And it’s a case of alchemy. 1 plus 1 makes more than 2. Abu is the quintessential artist. I’m the classical A-type who cannot stop. Together we drive each other to crazy creative heights. There is never a dull moment. When we disagree creatively, it opens the door to reimagining and refining an idea. That’s always a good thing.

You have worked with some of the best Bollywood talents out there. Who has been the most challenging star that you have worked with? And who has been the most fun?

Every client is a challenge and an opportunity to raise our bar of creativity. Each person we dress is a star in our eyes. Our own design sensibilities lead the way as they create the perfect ensemble for a particular person, keeping in mind their unique physical beauty, personality and spirit. It’s a dance of sorts. Our personal favourites are always those who have fun experimenting, who are open to breaking rules, and above all who wear the outfit with nonchalance, owning it and the room. In 32 years we have of course also had a few nightmares. But we never kiss and tell.

Can you run us through the collection that you are planning to exhibit in Dubai?

This event is a showcase of our four labels including Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla, Asal by Abu Sandeep, Khosla Jani and Gulabo by Abu Sandeep. Our aim is to share our world and creative vision with Dubai and our collection spans couture, Western wear and luxe resort wear. This is a unique exposition because it really tells our story as artists. Every label is distinct, yet there is a seamless synchronicity between all four labels. Our love for detail and our interest in meticulous embroideries and impossibly fine embellishments will be highlighted. Above all, this exhibit is a bouquet designed to be an ode to this season of festivals including Diwali, Christmas and New Year. It’s a tasting menu of Abu Sandeep Style.

Don’t miss it!

When: October 23, Tuesday.
Where: Taj Dubai Hotel in Business Bay.