Delhi’s most sought-after bridal & couture label, now in Mumbai

His clients include India’s super-rich, usually brides from Mumbai,  Delhi, Raipur, Indore and Nagpur looking for a very exclusive,  bling-rich lehenga. If you’re not keeping a close watch on bridal  fashion designers, chances are, you wouldn’t have heard of designer  Ankur Batra and his label Ecru; the Delhi-based designer has never  participated in a Fashion Week and rarely shares pictures of his work  with the media. Which is why, fashionistas quip that Ecru is one of  Delhi’s best kept secrets- Ankur Batra, the low-profile, charming and  endearing designer who custom-makes the most ‘wow’ ensembles! Batra and his business partner Amita Shukla run two  labels ‘Ecru’ for couture & bridal wear, and ‘Amber’ the luxury prêt  label.  Now ‘Amber’ has opened their first signature label in  Mumbai—at Om Chambers, Kemps Corner, the once most sought-after  address for couturiers.

Batra emphasises that most of his bridal clientele from all over India  will continue to meet him personally in Delhi, while the Mumbai store  will showcase the luxury prêt label only. He explains: “Our approach,  both on Amber and Ecru—are a very personalized approach to design,  flawless creations that are one of a kind, beautifully crafted and  neatly finished”. Brides who can afford to buy an Ankur Batra creation  travel from wherever they are, to Delhi to meet the designer at his  opulent studio in Chattarpur, Delhi, which also houses a private spa  that is open for clients only. Post the consultations and fittings  brides can get a make-up consultation by Ecru’s in-house make-up  expert Anu Kaushik, so everything is just-perfect for the big day!

Click here to see photographs of Real Brides who picked ensembles by
Ankur Batra: Geetika Sharma Mehrotra, Swatee Jayaswal and Palak Arora

Ten Favorite Bridal Designers of the Decade

This was truly a decade that changed the face of Indian fashion. From Chandni Chowk to High couture – the bridal fashion has come a long way. And leading the charge were some designers who made traditional trendy. Here are our Ten favorite Bridal Designers of the Decade.

Ritu Kumar
The undisputed queen of bridal couture, Ritu Kumar reinvented the bridal market in the noughties with innumerous brides clamouring to to own a Ritu Kumar original creation. She has a unique style of her own which includes beautiful fabrics, stunning colors and intricate zardozi, bandhani and chikan work – very traditional silhouettes but very classy and contemporary feel. It helped that many celebrity brides and Miss India contestants flaunted her lehengas in public eye.

Tarun Tahiliani
Tahiliani believes a bride’s dream is, “Opulent, grand and majestic – and yet contemporary”. He’s dressed every major celebrity bride – from Elizabeth Hurley to Shilpa Shetty. Style, craftsmanship, quality and refinement are the defining symbols of Tarun’s garments. No wonder his lehengas and sarees are heirlooms and wearing a Tarun Tahiliani outfit is a defining moment for most brides.

Manish Malhotra
His name is synonymous with Bollywood fashion and his starry clients include the Kapoor sisters, Kajol, Aishwarya, Preity and Urmila. Think of those gorgeous brides in Karan Johar movies and you know who dressed them – Manish Malhotra, tinseltown’s favourite designer. Very popular with the NRI set, his bridal outfits are all about breathtaking colors, rich fabrics, detailed textures and delicate embellishments.

The poster boy of Indian fashion industry understands Indian clothing, culture and mindset like no other designer. And his designs are far too eclectic to be understood by everyone but that’s where lies his appeal. A Sabyasachi is an absolute must-have for the well-heeled, from the socialites to Bollywood’s biggest stars and his bridal collections are usually sold out within says of launching. But what we love most is his sense of color – his palette consists mostly of earthy shades of olives, rusts, golds and rich browns. His clothes have a certain nostalgia about them – as if they belonged to beautiful women of an era gone by.

No one does opulence better than Valaya – without losing style and edge. His love for all things imperial translate into most gorgeous lehengas in silk brocade embellished with beadwork, embroidery, and crystals. Fit for a princess. Even more impressive is the fact that he has influenced men to drop their Armani suits and dress Indian to compliment their brides.

Neeta Lulla
If you remember the exquisite and extravagant costumes of Jodhaa Akbar, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, and Devdas, you know what to expect from Neeta Lulla – the queen of bollywood costumes. From Bollywood biggies to business families – Neeta Lulla’s clientele swear by her signature flowing, diaphanous lehengas and saris. She has had her share of misses but then who doesn’t.

Rohit Bal
A favorite of the social set, his clothes please and tease at the same time. He is celebrated for reinventing and resurrecting age old techniques like gold leaf printing. His bridal ensembles have a sexy edge and yet an incredible attention to detail and construction. His lehengas will make any bride feel graceful, stylish, elegant and sensuous.

The designers are hailed for reviving chikankari and making it oh so desirable. Voluptuous fabrics, the most intricate embroidery and embellishment and the finest finishes—that’s their trademark. Known to be the favourites of the Bachchan family and having had their designs being worn on the Oscar red carpet by none other than Dame Judi Dench, Jani and Khosla are also a favourite amongst the sophisticated in the wedding market. Their chikan and zardozi lehenga and sarees are work of art – you just have to have them.

Pallavi Jaikishen
The grand dame of Bridals, Pallavi Jaikishan launched her label in 1972. Since then, she has enjoyed tremendous success and her ensembles have become heirlooms of sorts – passed on down the generations. Her clothes are unapologetically ethnic with rich embroideries, bold colors and motifs. Although, she likes to keep a low profile, her clients include women from top industrialist families, movie stars as well as wives of international heads of states.

Ankur Batra
“Ankur Batra is the hottest pick for super-rich Delhi brides. My bridal clients are picking atleast one if not many outfits from him”, says Vipul Bhagat, a makeup artist to brides from business magnate families. If you haven’t heard about him, it’s because he is very secretive about his designs. He doesn’t show at fashion events, doesn’t retail from stores and only meets clients by appointment if he’s sure you can afford him. And the clients’ love that clothes that they order are really exclusive and no one else owns anything like that.

Secret creations for Super-rich brides!

Ankur Batra and Radhika Naik’s bridal creations.

“Ankur Batra is the hottest pick for super-rich Delhi brides. My bridal clients are picking atleast one if not many outfits from him”, says Vipul Bhagat, a makeup artist to brides from business magnate families. Unless you’re one of those who keeps track of what’s in vogue in bridal couture, quite likely you wouldn’t have heard of Ecru by Ankur Batra. Ditto Radhika Naik Couture. “Who’s she”, even wedding or fashion industry professionals would ask. She is the Colaba based designer who designs exotic bridal wear for the richest Sindhis from Hongkong, Phillipines and Indonesia.

Ankur Batra and Radhika Naik have a lot in common. Both design bling-rich bridal wear for the super-rich only. Both Ankur and Radhika worked as assistants with prominent designers before setting up their own studio. In an industry where newcomers have to struggle for years, Ankur and Radhika were lucky to earn the ‘big name’ tag soon. Both keep their creations a ‘secret’ and are very particular about who they interact with. They agree to an appointment only when they’re sure you’re not meeting just to ‘check out’ their creations. They both have never displayed their creations at Fashion Shows and they’re very selective about where they promote their label. They’re sure that the super-rich will see their clients wearing their labels at exclusive social occasions—so if you’re in the ‘circle’ you’d have got a glimpse of their label and you don’t need to see actual creations at their store. And if you’re not from the ‘circle’ they wouldn’t like to get to know you!  ‘We are Arrogant’ and ‘We Exclude’– two of the many colours of couture!