ashionwise, summer has always been fun and flirty; fall is sleek and sophisticated. Now, with the help of the new collection Nikka New York, they both have foreign flair. Think about it—how many times this summer has a bandini skirt or an embellished kurti caught your eye? Chances are, that fashion forward female’s Indian-inspired attire was created by Nikka. The debut collection of designer Kanika Saluja, Nikka creates a pitch-perfect blend of contemporary style and traditional detail.

From Textiles to T-Shirts

While Nikka may be only a few seasons old, Saluja’s design aesthetic stems from her family’s background in textiles and fashion.Even her brother has his own fashion label, where Saluja cut her design teeth. While working there, she dabbled in designing “novelty T-shirts”—an experiment which foreshadowed the all-encompassing collection of today. Now, Nikka offers not only clothing, but also coats, caftans, shoes and other accessories.

Find It

Nikka clothing is carried by boutiques around the world. Check out the complete list online.

All the Rage

And even though the Nikka collection launched in 2004, it has been pretty precocious: Already, you can find Nikka hanging on the racks of Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom; gracing the pages of industry standards Vogue, Elle, InStyle and Lucky; and adorning the typical tabloid set—Paris Hilton, Tara Reid, Eva Mendes and Mischa Barton.

Fashion Fusion

Many designers have attempted to exploit the current craze for South Asian style, so what separates Nikka from the pretenders? Perhaps it’s Saluja’s attachment to her roots. She was born in India and considers her heritage the “essence and inspiration behind her collection.” Or perhaps it’s her insistence on authenticity: All of the “beading and handiwork is done in India.” Maybe iher distinctive story-telling approach to fashion attracts consumers searching for the unique. Saluja “chooses each season to tell the story of a specific Indian culture,” and does extensive research to validate her tales. In the end, the secret of Nikka’s appeal is that it stays true to its Indian influences while simultaneously capturing the cosmopolitan chic of New York.

Flash Forward

The upcoming fall collection appears to have moved in a more contemporary direction, but the subtle Indian influence still remains. For example, the collection showcases both slim-fitting and wide-legged pants, reminiscent of body conscious chudidars and the more relaxed shalwar kameez. With its intricate, traditional handiwork and elegant, modern sensibility, Nikka takes the usual “east meets west” paradigm to a whole new level. Summer’s fashion was so much the better for Nikka’s contribution—now we just can’t wait for fall. n

Deepa Kamath likes to watch Project Runway and pretend that she, too, can design clothes.
Published on September 1, 2006.
Photography: Courtesy of Nikka NY.

More Information

Nikka New York

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