By Nisha Kundnani of Bridélan
All your bags are packed, and you’re ready to go, leaving on a jet plane. Hmmm…humming the tune with excitement and butterflies in your stomach? For girls, shopping for our wedding, well, let’s admit, is as exciting as the wedding itself. Probably more! For many of my clients and friends who live abroad, shopping in India means wanting to take back a piece of their homeland, to wear India and to celebrate it on one of the most important days of their life! Here’s my list of recommendations for NRI brides on shopping in India.
The Wedding Lehenga
It’s not just a three-piece Indian garment. It’s a romantic dream and a childhood fantasy. Your wedding lehenga is the garment that will define your bridal moment. You’ve saved more than a 100 photos from Pinterest and know the Lakmé, Wills and Couture Fashion Week collections at the back of your head- but in reality, finding the perfect lehenga that suits your idea will be like looking for a needle in a haystack. You’ll find yourself romancing age-old antique zardosi in fine silk, resham thread work over layers of romantic tulle will catch your fancy, gota and mirror work colorful borders will instantly attract and let’s not forget how those vivid Indian colours can be ‘Oh-so-found-only-in-India’.
Groom in a Studio Aboutir outfit and bride in a Sabyasachi Lehenga. Photo courtesy- Sharik Verma for Bridélan
Hop by to the newest Bridal museum in the land of Bollywood– Mumbai at the new Sabyasachi flagship store. If you’re lucky you’ll get to meet your ‘hero’– Sabyasachi Mukherjee himself as he is hosting bridal trunk shows starting this August in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and few other cities. His heritage lehengas in reds and fuchsias are outstanding and will evoke that strong sense of emotion that a bride will experience– ‘OMG! I want to get married just for these clothes.’
Creations by Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahiliani and Sabyasachi
You cannot come to Mumbai and not visit the Badshah of Hindi movies the gentle manly genius– Manish Malhotra. He’s got a pulse on the glamour and colour that is unique to Indian wedding wear, and especially popular for the sangeet or the mehndi. The other must-visit for your reception or any other glamorous formal event is master couturier– Tarun Tahiliani. There is no designer in this country whose outfits are so uniquely draped and pre-stitched to flatter a woman’s body.
The Festive Anarkali
Remember Rekha dancing to ‘In Aankhon ki masti’ in a voluminous ivory silk kurta in the classic Umrao Jaan? Splendid, wasn’t it? She wore an ivory anarkali. It is a garment that has gone down as the most desirable piece of clothing of India. Now back in action, in a big way. The Anarkali, revived and reinvented, is like the new LBD, in the Indian context. Now imagine yourself in something similar, alta-smered fingers, donning jewellery by the Nizams, you will actually look and feel like Anarkali, a popular courtesan from the Mughal courts.
Rekha in a voluminous ivory silk kurta in Bollywood classic ‘Umrao Jaan’
If being so old-school isn’t your cup of tea, take cues from modern designs. Look for: Tarun Tahiliani’s collection. Chic and shortened to show cool dhoti pants and some are as short as a peplum top but has a cascading trail at the back. Or go back to history of Indian cinema’s favourite designers Meera & Muzzafar Ali of Kotwara designs. Muzaffar directed Umrao Jaan and also styled it. His muse and stylist Pernia Qureshi recently walked for the Kotwara show in a vintage kurta set at the recently held India Couture Week.
Explore price and design range in every category at India’s oldest but chicest multi-designer store– Ensemble Design Studio in Mumbai and Delhi.
Pernia Qureshi walked the ramp for Meera & Muzzafar Ali of Kotwara designs at India Couture Week 2014
Traditional is the new ‘in-trend’. Although a must-have at weddings anywhere in the world, wearing your love for traditional on your sleeves is the new cool. When you have many elements of your bridal and trousseau taken care, the next big step is jewellery. You know how timeless and out-of-the-world Indian royalty look in pictures, posing in beautiful textiles and jaw dropping jewellery. Almost all of Indian royalty wore fine jewels handcrafted in Jadau/ Polki diamonds in meenakari work. Jadau jewellery is a fine export from Bikaner and is now available not just in Rajasthan but also all over India. Jadau jewellery layered looks glamorous and makes you look like royalty when paired with Indian ensembles. It’s not just the traditional necklaces and earrings that work, brides now want to go all out and wear a mathapatti, hathphool, kamarbandh, nath, bajubandh and many more. Jaipur and Delhi are the best places to shop for Jadau jewellery. Don’t miss heritage pieces from trusted brands like Tanishq, a jewellery brand by the Tatas who have over 138 stores across 80 cities in India. They are the wedding jewellery specialists and always stock exquisite Jadau designs, also offering you value for money. Another premium brand by the Tatas is Zoya. They have stores in Mumbai and Delhi and specialise in finely handcrafted designer jewellery.
Zoya jewellery. Photo courtesy- Dev Purbiya
Zoya Jadau jewellery. Photo Courtesy- Vinit Bhatt for Bridélan
Tanishq jewellery worn by a bride-to-be at WeddingSutra on Location. Photo courtesy- Shreya Sen
Tanishq jewellery. Photo courtesy- Aditi Varma
Indian Fusion Sari
Every young bride aspires to wear a sari, but with a modern twist. It is in the DNA of every Indian woman to embrace the sari. In India these days, the sari is seen as power dressing. While some of us take time to adapt to the phenomenon of draping, others are pro from the word go (even if they’ve learnt it over You Tube). You love the sari but wonder how to drape it back in your home country? Don’t worry. Indian designers are exploring various ways for the sari to adapt to the modern woman’s lifestyle. Pre-stitched, pre-draped, some even come looking like sleek, modern gowns. In Delhi, shop at Amit Agarwal for avant-garde styles, or from designer Gaurav Gupta at the DLF Emporio Mall. Even Manish Malhotra at his recent fashion week showed the lehenga saris.
Fusion sarees by Manish Malhotra, Gaurav Gupta and Amit Aggarwal
Every girl can claim to be influenced by a whole lot of top fashion designers but the truth is that during the time of her wedding, she looks up to her mother and grandmother as true style icons. Turning pages of a family album, going down memory lane and one realises that the grace and sophistication that came so easily to them was a result of being ‘truly traditional’. They didn’t run after trends and fashion but celebrated being demure and traditional and thus looked elegant even years after it was time for their grandchildren to tie the knot. The basics, the fashion lessons always come from home. The one thing our mothers/grandmothers have always had in their wardrobe is an organically built collection of hand-woven traditional saris. Do not go back without buying ones to last you a lifetime, a collection of Banarasi, Chanderi, Uppadas, Kotas, Organzas & Kanjeevaram saris. You will realise the importance of it 20 years later after tying the knot.
Raw Mango, a label by Sanjay Garg has a wide range of modern-traditional saris in Chanderi and Banarasi silks perfect for all occasions and are available at Good Earth and Ensemble. Gaurang Shah is another designer to watch out for wedding wear weaves;he has stores in Hyderabad, Bangalore and now Mumbai. A treasure trove of the most beautifully curated weaves and handlooms, rare exquisite saris can be found at the Taj Khazana– a design and crafts boutique by the Taj Group of Hotels.
A family at a wedding all wearing Raw Mango. Photo courtesy- Raw Mango
Bridélan is a premium styling and personal shopping service for Brides & Grooms. To get in touch with them, visit www.bridelan.com