Wednesday saw the exclusive launch party of the book India Fantastique, which marks the 25th Anniversary of famed designer duo Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, at the prestigious London auction house Sotheby’s.
Stilt walkers greeted guests, which included the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Dame Judi Dench, film director Gurinder Chadha, steel baron Lakshmi Mittal, as they walked the red carpet laid out on Bond Street.
India Fantastique, the two- volume book, written by art critic Gayatri Sinha and with photography by Ram Shergill, showcases pages of fashions and interiors by Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla.
The President and Founder of Breakthrough, a human rights organization that was the charity partner of the event, told guests, “It is my honor and privilege to open this London event which is the 25th Anniversary of this incredible, amazing, partnership called Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla.”
Amitabh Bachchan too felt “very honored” to be at the event. The legendry Bollywood actor shared his first meeting with the designer duo. “One fine morning, many, many years ago, my wife Jaya said, ‘I think you need to come down and meet two very talented boys,’ and that is the first time I met Abu and Sandeep. From that day on they became family.”
The actor, who was wearing a black and gold embroidered coat made by the designer duo, shared how Abu and Sandeep became Jaya Bachchan’s “rakhi brothers” after the meeting and how the designers are “always referred to as the boys and still are.”
Speaking on the designer’s creations Amitabh Bachchan said it would be “very difficult to describe in a few short words Abu and Sandeep ‘s contribution to the world of design. Amitabh Bachchan went on to describe Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla’s designs as regal adding, “I am certainly feeling very regal tonight.”
Dame Judi Dench shared her experience of meeting the designer duo whilst working on the James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough. “There was a scene I did with Sophie Marceau, and I don’t think I looked her in her eye at all, I was so busy looking at the coat she was wearing.”
Thanking costume designer Lindy Hemming for introducing her to the designers, Dame Judi Dench explained how her fear of “going to certain events” has gone as “Abu and Sandeep have always come” to her “rescue.” She ending by saying, “I think they are the most phenomenal two people and I think we are very, very lucky to know them.”
The event saw the auction of three items; a special edition of the book India Fantastique which was signed by Amitabh Bachchan, Dame Judi Dench and the designer duo. A photograph shot by Ram Shergill of Amitabh Bachchan and the coat designed by Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla that Amitabh Bachchan was wearing on the night. The coat, which Amitabh Bachchan jokingly described as carrying “an exclusive perfume” that he wears auctioned for £10,500 whilst the photographer went for £5,000.
All the proceeds from the auction went to the charity Breakthrough, which fights against atrocities against women.
(Photo credit: Nina Patel)