Lady Gaga and Nicole Scherzinger in Alpana and Neeraj dresses
For the likes of Lady Gaga or Nicole Scherzinger knowing exactly how to make a dramatic statement or pap-frenzied entrance, means having a stylist who is willing to travel the globe, seeking out individual, anything-but-the-norm ensembles from under-the-radar names. So it’s no wonder these two, along with The Noisettes lead singer Shingai Shoniwa - have unearthed the talents of Alpana and Neeraj, a design duo who specialise in conceptual dress making. The Indian label’s signature armoury and couture-like detailing have made them an established name in their home country – with many of the most high profile Bollywood stars included their roll call of wearers - but they’re now making a mark on the global fashion front by showing during Miami Fashion Week and making the cut for Nicole’s X Factor wardrobe. We caught up with the duo to find out about their world domination…
Grazia Daily: How did you get this major celebrity following?
Alpana and Neeraj: We are fortunate to have a lot of our fashion idols wear our creations! We’ve always been non-conformist, and risk-takers and we think a lot of the young stars like Lady Gaga share that ideology. So it’s an instant bond between the garment and the wearer.
Grazia Daily:Which A-list look have you liked the most and why?
Alpana and Neeraj: Lady Gaga's all white outfit in Hong Kong. She wore a white pencil dress from our FW12 collection. It was elegant yet unusual and the styling was done to a T.
Alpana and Neeraj take to the runway; Shingai Shoniwa showcases their design
Grazia Daily: Which one was most surprising?
Alpana and Neeraj: Shingai Shinowa at Twilight Breaking Dawn premiere - she chose to wear the gown we designed entirely out of surgical masks. We love that dress, but we never thought someone would be brave enough to wear it on the red carpet!
Grazia Daily: How did you originally get into fashion?
Alpana and Neeraj: We both wanted to pursue a career in a creative field, and so we enrolled for the best fashion institute of India - NIFT.
Grazia Daily: What do you think of the Indian fashion scene? Is it expanding at the moment?
Alpana and Neeraj: Definitely. I think young creative minds in India are at work like never before, and as well as the international market, India has a huge domestic market as well. I think Manish Arora is the best example.
Grazia Daily: How does your heritage have an influence on your design?
Alpana and Neeraj: Our heritage is in our blood. We’ve never made conscious efforts to incorporate Indian handicrafts or fabrics into our work, but I believe our garments have a soul that’s Indian. Designed by Indian designers, stitched by Indian craftsmen and embroidered by Indian artisans.... We’re very proud that our team of tailors come from some of the most remote villages in the country and are not only experts in traditional garment construction, but also now extremely proficient at western techniques like corsetry, gown construction and drapery.
Grazia Daily: Who would be your ultimate woman to dress?
Alpana and Neeraj: It was Lady Gaga! We were so happy to see her wearing one of our creations.
Grazia Daily: What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Alpana and Neeraj: Showcasing at Milan Fashion Week alongside icons like Gucci, Cavalli and Armani barely a few seasons into our career...That was the best experience we’ve ever had.
Grazia Daily: What can you not live without in your studio?
Alpana and Neeraj: Our laptops!!!
Grazia Daily: What will you buy each other for Christmas?
Alpana and Neeraj: A vacation!