Sandeep Khosla, Melanie Clore of Sotheby's & Mrs Newatia outside India Fantastique.


LONDON - India Fantastique at Sothebys last night gave new meaning to the phrase ‘raising the roof’. A magical night celebrating 25 years in fashion of creative geniuses Abu Jani and Sadeep Khosla, drew out the roll-call of India’s who’s who in London. Not in recent memory could one recall such an elegant, distinguished crowd, most of whom were wearing the elaborate garments of India’s Dolce & Gabbana, teamed with the kind of dazzling jewellery that put the Hollywood red carpet to shame. Film star glamour was personified by two living legends – Dame Judi Dench and Amitabh Bachchan – both of whom have been dressed by the dynamic duo over the years and spoke warmly of this relationship. Extraordinary creations were paraded down the Weymss Gallery ‘catwalk’ featuring more gold thread than in all of the Orient, and the 700-strong audience admired the incomparable handiwork on each garment. Thank heavens for such designers who keep the traditions alive and continue to present the notion of timeless fashion to the world, painstaking workmanship, and haute couture that defies the imagination!


Mallika Dutt from Breakthrough, the charity supported by the event, addressing the audience with Amitabh Bachchan and Robin Woodhead of Sotheby’s in the foreground.

Fashion editors and society magazines had a field day taking note of the statement made by this exhibition: that elegance can be ageless, attention to detail is paramount, and white can be as stunning as the deepest crimson. Abu Jani and Sandeep had promised an evening of ‘high drama’, and that’s what they delivered.

Of course, no event of such scale can happen without a charity partnership, and auction proceeds were donated to Breakthrough. At one point the buzz and visual engagement with the photographs of opulent interiors designed by these artists was such that the original agenda of a simple book launch featuring work over a quarter century was almost forgotten! Copies were snapped up instantly however and I shall be struggling to bag a few for my friends who couldn’t be there.

I hope the V & A will one day honour the achievements of these two designers who have been as ground-breaking and instrumental in their world as any exhibited in the museum. For now, I am hanging on dearly to the beautiful AJSK outfit I had the privilege to wear on the night!


India Fantastique is published by Thames and Hudson (£95)