Art on Textiles: A vintage tale

ByAnshu Khanna

Royal design and memorabilia motifs are inimitably wound together. One influencing the other in the most endearing way. Especially when it comes to designs that emerge from palace ateliers and studios run by designers with noble lineage. And nothing inspires the Indian nobility more than our rich flora and fauna.
The slender demeanour of a Saluki, a species of dogs loved by Nawabs painted on a fine fabric. The poetic vision of a Godavan, the state bird of Rajasthan in flight, caught in a scarf. The majestic Bengal tiger immersed in his habitat, printed on a crisp cotton shirt.…all this and more is what inspires this young couple of noble lineage who also have a strong connect to the hills of Uttarakhand. Digvijay Singh and Nidhi Sah, both hailing from the Baroda School of Art and NID, Ahmadabad work around the rich iconography of Princely India.
Born and schooled in Nainital, this husband-wife duo hail from leading hotelier families of Nainital. Whilst Nidhi’s family run Alka Hotel which is one of the landmarks of Nainital Mall, Digvijay belongs to the Awagarh noble family that owns one of the hill station’s most beautiful property: Palace Belvedere. A home for the family, this majestic colonial building existed as the summer guesthouse for the former rulers of Awagarh. It was constructed in the year 1897 by Raja Balwant Singh of Awagarh. Offering an up-close and personal insight into the royal lifestyle of the erstwhile rulers, it now exists as a popular heritage hotel of India filled with century old relics, frescoes and mementos of the royal family.
Whilst Digvijay and Nidhi reside in Ahmadabad and also design for their label BBG Royals in that city, they return each summer to their home, capturing the beauty of the lake city through a brand new collection as well as a signature shoot. This summer they once again returned to create a digital series for men inspired by animals and birds of India. Printed on cotton and stitched into a range of summer shirts. Shot on the four descendants of the Awagarh family, Digvijay, his brother Dhruv and two young nephews who were visiting belvedere.