Artistic Musings: The Shivan Narresh Canvas
Shivan and Narresh. Image Courtesy: Shovan Gandhi
If the body is a canvas, then Shivan is the illustrator, and Narresh is the painter who believes in filling the contours. He dedicated his student years to art of women’s wear, while Shivan took to leather corsetry and accessories. Swimwear, they believe, is the point at which their design philosophy intervenes.
This season the duo used the abstract expressionist Barnett Newman as the starting point for their collection. “His work is characterised by single colour lines that run vertically across spatial fields,” Narresh explained. Exploring linen as a medium for the first time, the duo translated Newman’s ‘zip’ in the form of pencil dresses and 50’s inspired skirts. The trademark bikinis and trikinis uses a vivid colour palette of cherry and aquamarine candy-stripes.
Over time, Shivan Bhatiya and Narresh Kukreja, have shown their prowess by including resort wear to their swimwear line. While, the lycra and the bikini sari have become a trademark, the label has explored jumpsuits, dresses, pareos and gowns. Multimedia necklaces have also obtained the Shivan Narresh stamp. A few seasons ago, members of the Naïve Family was represented in the form of the collar neckpiece. But it is the use of 100 per cent Italian fabric in the form of handcrafted stitch-free designs that makes India’s foremost beachwear label truly luxury.
Shivan Narresh SS '13
So where does the swimwear market stand in the country? “To say that Indians don’t appreciate a good holiday by the beach would be a lie. So there’s a definitely a need for the pieces we sell. But the market is still in the process of evolution. The only way to do establish your position here is to design bridal,” he added in jest. Other than their flagship stores in Mumbai and Delhi, their designs are retailed at Ogaan (Mumbai, Delhi), Evoluzione (Chennai, Bangalore), Taj Khazana (Goa) and Taj Falaknama (Hyderabad).
But Narresh believes it is the smaller cities like Nagpur and Raipur (where they retail at Aura) that are the most responsive. Keeping that in mind, the designers hold trunk shows in cities where their designs are not available. ‘We offer made to measure swimsuit services. It is often hosted by somebody from the chosen location. The focused group meeting helps women understand their body-type, identify their problem areas and explore designs they are comfortable with. The custom-made pieces are then sent to them within a week.”
But it is the omnipresence of artistic influences that distinguishes a Shivan & Narresh canvas. From Peter Shaffer’s Equus to Kandinsky’s paintings at Bauhas, various genres have contributed to their visuals. Perhaps that is the element that makes their designs truly timeless.