New Grammar For Bridal Couture

 Angela Paljor

Can you remember wedding parties that you attend year after year? Apart from the hazy dinners overflowing with wine and a traditional Indian twist of tandoori chicken and sophisticated salmon, you do recall how the bride and groom looked and what they wore. The Indian Wedding Show 2017, spread over the weekend, gave an insight into the continuity of tradition through modern reinterpretaions. So what are the big trends this wedding season?

The heavy lehengas are trimming themselves to become a marriage of functionality, versatility and beauty. Ace designer Rohit Bal, who is known for his sophisticated cuts and breathable fabrics, says, “The wedding fashion industry is seeing a drift from the fully embellished lehengas to more versatile classic pieces that can be used for special occasions over one’s lifetime. Gone are the days when the bride wore a heavy voluminous outfit on her D-day and kept it forever in the back of the cupboard. Today’s brides are beautiful and confident. They know what they exactly want. And they want re-use value.”

The Indian bride has come of age and become more adventurous, agrees designer Payal Jain. “She is willing to try silhouettes, colours and concepts out of the conventional Indian bridal repertoire. She loves to experiment with westernised styles, pastel hues, pleating and draping techniques, modern surface ornamentations and detailing,” she says.

Designer Anju Modi is weaving in tradition in a new way, retaining elements and accents of heritage – from fabled delicate weaves, to exquisite Mughal flower motifs woven in gold and silver and the quintessential Banaras fabrics. “I like my bride to wear heritage motifs of India. My collection promotes Kashi through woven colourful fabrics that define the city with complementing accessories. Inspired by the city of ethereal holiness and sanctity, bound by the tributaries of Varuna and Asi that lend it its name, Kashi recounts the essence of a land that transcends time.”

Elaborating on how brides are being experimental, Bal shares, “Today’s modern Indian bride is fun and experimental. She is confident and doesn’t shy away from trying out colours like charcoal, ox-blood, cobalt and gold. Also pop colours like tangerine, fuschia, rani pink and muted colours in the shades of nude and sandstone look immensely ethereal on the occasions of sangeet and mehendi. It’s more about the celebration of individuality and personal style.”

Modi too feels that the colour red has become a cliché meant to be broken. “Brides have started going for yellows, antique and vintage green,” she shares. She celebrates the ethereal essence of Banaras with luminescent colours in her collection. And she has generously used the bird motif. For example, the peacock stands for prosperity and happiness.

Traditional bridal colours were always warm shades of red, pink and orange. Jain feels that “today, the palette can be anywhere from pale pastels to cool blues and greens, black, white and monochromes. Colour is no longer a bar for brides or their families.”

Keeping a balance between the mid-range couture collections, without substituting the enhanced elegance of his couture collections, Bal’s Balance Festive Winter’17 weaves together elements of understated fashion. The subtle nuances of the collection highlight the intricacies of the embroidery and the use of an array of organic fabrics like muslin, Chanderi, velvets and linen. These are juxtaposed with handwork which are deep-rooted in the culture of the country, including zardozi, ari and block prints. The voluminous jalabiyas in muted tones with intricate gold detailing are the highlight.

“Overall, the outfits possess clean and sharp silhouettes with ornate floral motifs and meticulous hand-work which add charm to any event one wears it to.”

Talking about how his collection mends the gap between occasional wear and couture wear, Bal says: “The collection comprises toned-down couture wear that astutely imparts a bold contemporary vibe to the bespoke collection. It contains a range of outfits suitable for all bridal occasions like statement peplum tops and skirts, floral anarkalis, intricately carved lehengas in rich fabrics like mulmul, silks and velvets. This collection attempts to preserve the unfailing beauty of the right fabric along with the captivating hand embroidery in an affordable range.”

Jain finds designing for bridal couture challenging because she believes her bride is a “global citizen and must have something which brings out the best in her and appeals irrespective to lineage, culture and geography.” Customisation is the key even more as Jain says the line must be created specially for her skin tone, height, hair colour, body structure, jewellery preference and personal fashion sensibility. “Wedding is a huge event for Indians and the bride, being the centre of attraction, needs to be dressed with something that involves extensive designing and intricate detailing with effortless ease,” reveals Modi. And that’s a challenge couturiers are living up to.

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Domain: Afterhours
Category: Fashion
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