When we think of Spring fashion, we think of floral summer dresses paired with a casual pair of open-toed flats. The thought of evening wear for spring evenings rarely ever crosses one’s mind. Incorporating the femininity and softness of pastels and the glamour and drama of sequins, Astik Sherchan has created “Ishara” a beautiful collection of evening wear perfect for Spring nights. Ishara, the first collection created for his boutique, is inspired by spring colors itself with subdued and pastel colors and very light fabric pieces that are perfect for the upcoming spring evenings.
I sat down with the designer himself in his boutique, Pulchowk 3 to learn more about the upcoming spring fashion and evening wear in Nepal.

With every season, there is one special color or theme that ties all the collections together. What would you say is the color or theme of this spring?
When it comes to spring, lighter colors are preferred. So, it’s better to avoid darker colors. For 2017, the color of the year is green. Green can be any green, but for springs, I would suggest a light green, a pastel green. Pastels have been in trend for the past few years and are a favorite of mine. Thus, for spring, you should go for pastels or anything that’s feminine.

When it comes to evening wear, what would you consider the staple piece or the “little black dress” of evening wear in Nepal?
I think for evening wear, you should have a lehenga, because that’s something that is perfect for any wedding or any party you can go to in Nepal. It is an investment piece, especially if it has hand-embroidery in it. You can always accessorize it with nice shawls and jewelry that matches it as well. I’d suggest a lehenga as a piece for evening wear as that’s something very elaborate.

In the spring time, prints have become a staple fashion trend. What are your thoughts on using prints for an evening wear in spring?
I’m not a very big fan of prints in evening wear, because I feel that hand work is always better compared to machine made prints. But then again, some people have beautiful prints and there is a lot of work behind designing those prints. So, if the prints are very fine and very artistic, then it will really stand out but I would suggest that if there is a possibility of choosing hand embroidered pieces, you should go for them instead.

“Shoes: they either make or break your outfit, especially when it comes to evening wear.” So, how can one pair them right?
Well, if it’s a glamorous look, it has to be heels. Obviously, equally glamorous but if you have a very quirky personality you can wear flats and still be the life of the party. But to be safe, you need to wear heels with preferably sequins or in gold. I think shoes can be the only thing you can go crazy with; it can look as bedazzled as you want and be as high as you want. I don’t think you have to control yourself when it comes to shoes. I would say the more the better when it comes to shoes.

Is it ever acceptable to wear evening wear clothes as everyday clothes and vice-versa?
It depends on your personality. If you can pull it off and look good in something as simple as a plain cotton dress, then you can wear it to a wedding as well. If you can wear it well and carry it off with confidence, I mean, why not? There are no rules separating evening wear and day-to-day wear, but usually, evening wear tends to be darker than day wear. If the day wear has a lot going on, then you can wear it in the evenings and if the evening wear doesn’t have a lot of embroidery, you can wear it in the day. But at the end of the day, it really boils down to the person wearing it and if they’re okay with it.

Evening wear is all about being classy with a hint of sexy in it, but how do you find the right balance between them?
It depends, again, on your personality. In evening wear, it’s always good to not show too much skin ’cause it’s more elegant. In my opinion, a lot of skin isn’t that elegant but that doesn’t mean you have to cover yourself up in fabric from head to toe. It’s more about the balance in how much skin you’re showing.

On the conversation of balancing outfits, how do we stand out in bold colors and sequins without resulting in a mismatched disaster?
Well, if you have light colors, then wear it with heavy jewelry as light colors don’t stand out much on their own. Light colors would be like pastels. Whereas if you have bright or dark colors, that’s another way to stand out. If you have something like a lenga with heavy embroidery and sequins then I would suggest you to go for simple jewelry but if you’re wearing something like a simple kurta, then maybe go for bolder jewelry to stand out more. It’s all about finding a balance.

Would you consider evening wear having any “fashion rules”?
No, I don’t think there are any rules in evening wear. I think evening wear is the only thing where you can go crazy and go as glamorous as you want. I guess, for evening wear, sequins are always a good option as you want to stand out in the evenings.

Lastly, what’s the best advice that you can give to people who are economically conscious when shopping for clothes on the topic of evening wear?
In Nepal, even though it isn’t cheap as hand work is still time consuming for a well-crafted piece, it is possible to get them without putting a dent in your pocket. I would suggest you find someone and have a good relation with that person so they can help you find your style. Find a designer who fits you best and stick to it; don’t make a habit of going to different designers and have a relation with him, so you both can work out a budget and can easily work on a style.

Get to know more about Astik Sherchan
Having designed for the likes of Shristi Shrestha, Astik Sherchan is a well-established designer in ethnic wear and evening wear. Along with Pulchowk 3, his own boutique, he also runs the fashion label, Astik Designs. His most recent fashion show, the KHADI Nepal Fashion Show 2016 was held at the Park Village and featured an all-white collection of ethnic evening wear with a touch of contemporary styles.
“Sometimes I carry my personality as a designer to my house, sometimes I leave it at my workplace and I become just a normal person. But the thing that I’ve discovered is that in order for you to be very creative, you need to be alone. Sometimes I feel my friends and family think I’m a bit anti-social. I don’t feel bad, because as a creative person, I need to stay away from all the noise and distraction,” he explains.
“Outside of work, I’m really into artsy stuff. I like visiting art galleries and museums, handicraft stores and things like that. And that works as inspiration for me as well. I also like photographing random things that I come across day to day. Sometimes I like to take the car and visit places on the outskirts of Kathmandu valley. I mostly prefer to do things on my own,” he adds.