TO SAY that designer Nikhil Thampi is doing swimmingly well may not be out of turn. The Mumbai boy, who launched his label in 2011, not only counts Bollywood celebrities such as Sonakshi Sinha, Shilpa Shetty, Aditi Rao Hydari and Esha Gupta among his regular patrons, he has already launched a pret collection for the online space and has a jewellery collaboration with Jet Gems to his credit. This summer, Thampi takes his trademark style to bikinis and maillots, launching a line of swimwear exclusively for e-retail website The Label Life. Priced between Rs 3,000 and Rs 6,000, the line of bikinis, one-pieces, cover-ups and a tote bags will be followed by a big project — a distinctive brand logo and an in-house line of accessories such as bags and footwear. Here, Thampi talks about dressing Indian body types and future plans. Excerpts:
How was the swimwear line an obvious collaboration for you?
As a designer, I’ve always believed in being versatile. The Label Life wanted to do something fun and different and swimwear seemed like an obvious choice, keeping the season in mind. This collection is a prelude to what I plan to explore in the future – a resortwear line with daily-wear designer accessories, especially shoes and bags.
How have you retained your trademark touch in the designs?
You’ll see our signature cut-outs. We’ve also incorporated our popular belt look by using braided lycra, instead of the usual leather, which criss-crosses the pieces. Bright solid colours such as aqua, canary yellow and burnt orange retain the quintessential Nikhil Thampi stamp.
What are the challenges that go with designing swimwear?
Construction is definitely of utmost importance. Luckily, we’ve done bodysuits before so, technically, we weren’t too stressed. But, we had to be careful about merging the label’s identity with that of the website’s requirements. We had to make sure the collection wasn’t too fashion-centric or gimmicky. The challenge was to make it commercial and accessible, yet keep the brand ethos intact. Also, we had to work on a variety of silhouettes that appeal to a wider clientele. We have a sixties high-waist bikini style, a deep neck-line variation for adventurous buyers and a one-shoulder version as well.
Doesn’t online sale of swimsuits pose sizing issues?
Sizing can potentially be an issue, but we’ve done standard small, medium and large sizes that fit a variety of body types. And the website also offers customisation, wherein clients can get changes made as per their requirements.
According to you, what swimwear shapes work best for Indian body types?
A classic two-piece bikini with high-waist shorts and a not-too-skimpy bralette are ideal for the Indian body type. It gives a very sixties retro vibe, which is why I have included that style in this collection. That apart, bright colours complement our skin tones. An appropriate amount of ruching and wrap detailing around the waist will essentially hide any uncomplimentary bits.