Two designers who’ve compelled us to look at fashion and style beyond the ostentatious wedding ensembles is the eponymous duo behind luxury swim and resortwear label Shivan & Narresh. Shivan Bhatiya and Narresh Kukreja in the last 12 years have brought to the fore true resort and leisure fashion that celebrities, influencers and fashionistas swear by.
So it is only fair to be curious about where the designer duo holiday themselves. Very recently, Shivan and Narresh were at the Oberoi Mauritius, and if their sunny photographs on Instagram are anything to go by, they had a gala time. So we checked with them about what holiday means to them and what the highlights of their Mauritius sojourn were.
1. What does luxury mean to you?
Luxury to us is about experiences over a product. Finding unique local experiences that one can seldom come across in a pristine location is what defines the true meaning of luxury for us. It transcends the bounds of a template five-star stay and holiday lifestyle, bordering the exclusive idiosyncrasies of a location that one can chance upon with the assistance from locals, while candidly enjoying the warmth and culture of that said place.
2. What are your top pointers while picking a resort?
Luxury travel is no longer what it used to be. At one time, travellers were content with simply unwinding in a five-star resort rather than venturing out, but now, people are more interested in an overall immersive experience and creating once-in-a-lifetime memories. Thus, it is important to choose the right travel advisor that can help put together the perfect holiday, customized to your pocket and taste.
Some of the top pointers we keep in mind while picking up a resort are good weather, location, quality of amenities, and local activities to do which can immerse you in the place and its people. And lastly but most importantly, the hospitality that makes this whole experience smooth and memorable.
This was our first curated experience with Luxury Escapes India. It was impressive to see the way they chose partners such as Air Mauritius and The Oberoi to make our travel and stay seamless and comfortable and further custom-designed our itineraries as per our taste from art and sculpture classes with a local artist in his studio to a local rum tasting at the Oberoi’s itself.
3. What makes this resort perfect for a Shivan and Narresh outing? And what are the highlights of this resort?
The Oberoi Mauritius was actually breathtaking! For a property, which is more than two decades old, it was so well maintained, it almost felt new. The outdoor areas with their botanical and lush environs against the idyllic skies, almost felt surreal. Along with that, the array of sculptures was mindfully crafted, preserved and well placed within the property. The pool villa was excellent and the kind of services they had within the property, in terms of experiences, were exceptional: the glass bottom boat, the snorkeling, the Tai- chi. The exceptionally therapeutic spa was soothing and relaxing with its unique blend of therapies. Along with that, the food was the perfect accompaniment for a blissful unwinding - the seafood & grills were quite the winners! A special mention to the sustainable bottles were made from sugarcane plastic - that's so unique and unheard of.
4. Leisure lovers or explorers - what kind of travellers are you?
Shivan: We both have a very different outlook when it comes to an ideal holiday. For me, I would love to just sloth around on a beach or be in a cabana or a hammock in the mountains. But I know Narresh is the complete opposite. He likes to plan everything and is a lot more organized - what would be a good restaurant, where's a good wine tasting, what are the activities planned from morning to evening.
Narresh: I think the point is that we as individual personalities are very different -while Shivan is more leisure-driven, I am more of an explorer. Thus, we just end up doing a bit of both on our holiday. In this case, at Oberoi Mauritius, we were able to achieve a perfect balance - we had ample time to really unwind and spend leisurely hours on the pristine white-sand beaches and did a lot of exploration through biking around the island. We also had the pleasure of visiting an artist’s studio and spending quality time with the artist doing some sculptures. Thus, we were lucky to enjoy a perfect mix of both and that's what makes a great holiday for us!
5. ‘Travel is the biggest inspiration for designers’- is this true in your case? If yes, how do you plan on incorporating the beauty of Mauritius in your designs?
Definitely, yes! Travel has been a huge influence on us as designers and it always ends up seeping into our collections in the form of our core inspiration. We feel like every beach holiday only teaches us how to actually unwind more and more so the idea of that culture only inspires us to think about how we can make a collection even more relaxed, a lot easier and definitely more indulgent and beachy in that zone. It thus teaches us how to navigate what our collection is going to be like.