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From Ensembles to Events: Fashion Designers In India Expand Services for VIP Clients

Indian fashion designers are emerging as some of the most influential names in the global luxury events arena. Today, couture kings such as Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla, Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahiliani are the go-to names for not just bridal ensembles, but also for designing exclusive celebrations, be it a palace wedding in Rajasthan or luxury nuptials in Europe. They are now on par with big premium wedding design and planning names such as E-Factor and Seven Steps that have made their mark in Asia and around the world.

We asked some leading Indian fashion designers on how they are evolving and diversifying their services to style standout wedding themes, luxury events and decor with a difference.

Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla worked their creativity and magic on the decor at the recent high-profile wedding celebrations of Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas. They share, “It thrills us to work as wedding designers and create original, custom events which should be unforgettable experiences for our clients. We undertake very select events precisely because we prefer to work with people who trust us to do it our way and who want the extraordinary.”

Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla

Manish Malhotra, who conceptualized the decor for Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal’s pre-wedding festivities in Udaipur recently, shares, “In the last 10 years, my endeavor has been to think of a canvas beyond couture to express myself. Envisioning an entire occasion feels like a natural progression of my journey. It involves visual aesthetics, powerful emotions, and design details to ensure the event stays unforgettable. Wedding design is the coming together of tradition, culture and unapologetic glamour.”

Manish Malhotra and Tarun Tahiliani

Tarun Tahiliani, who designed Shriya Bhupal and Anindith Reddy’s stunning Marie Antoinette-inspired pre-wedding festivities in France in July last year, shares why he has become more selective these days, “In this last decade, Indian weddings have gone from being one or two spectacular events to being multi-city experiential events that go on for several days. The part that excited me about weddings, in the beginning, was the pure fantasy of it. As weddings are getting more elaborate, I had to stop doing it because it was taking me away too much from my design studio. So, I had decided, except when I get the odd opportunity of something really fantastic where I can apply my creative skills, I would then just leave it to party planners to work in their industry, while I focus on mine. Clients come to you for your distinctive sense of style, and you can only be true to yourself by sticking with it.”

Varun Bahl, who offers uniquely styled bespoke luxury wedding experiences, says, “Till Aurum (my wedding design company) took birth my creativity was restricted to garments only. Weddings and events expand that canvas for me. We aim to showcase the client’s wishes in the most aesthetic and cutting-edge manner possible. Each season I ensure I add an extra dimension of something different, whether with soft furnishings, floral installations or some structural value addition that becomes a statement piece.”

Varun Bahl

Shivan Bhatiya, Head Designer, and Narresh Kukreja, Creative Director, of Shivan & Narresh, point to the inspiration and trend behind setting up Shivan & Narresh Celebrations, “In the last decade, the biggest transformation in the wedding industry has been the coming of age of the millennials. For millennials today, luxury means giving precedence to experiences over tangible products. So when they have a big budget, they want options which allow them to exercise this expression. We take a 360-degree approach towards a celebration, from designing the decor, wedding cards, cocktail bar menus to the apparel of the families. Clients who usually bring us on board, are already a big believer in our brand’s aesthetic.”

Shivan and Naresh

Sheetal Mafatlal, a globe-trotting socialite who has attended some of the most extravagant weddings in India and abroad, adds, “I love the way Indian weddings are celebrated, because every wedding comes with its song-dance sessions, mehndi, sangeet, pheras and so on. However, personally, I prefer intimate weddings where all the guests know each other. Designers like Manish Malhotra, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Varun Bahl, and Rohit Bal, among others, have carved a niche for themselves as visionaries when it comes to fashion. This builds a huge trust factor which translates into them organizing the entire event. They have a signature touch for everything that they do which also extends to the decor. One can always tell when they have been a part of the event as they bring something extra and unique to the table.”

Sheetal Mafatlal

Sushil Shamlal Wadhwa is the Founder and Managing Director of Platinum World Grooup and has a pulse on how things are evolving in the global luxury events space. He says, “The Indian wedding industry today is not about big, fat weddings. Rather, every wedding is now being designed like a luxury event associated with chic celebrations and the most stylish venues, and they are increasingly being designed by Indian couturiers or ace wedding designers like Preston Bailey, Seven Steps, Sumant Jayakrishnan, Heena Patel of Amaahyaaj and Punit Jasuja.”

As trends keep evolving in the weddings space, we are watching the business closely and so are Indian fashion designers. They are now scaling up their offerings and thinking in an even more entrepreneurial way as the bridal ensembles market gets heated with the competition. Will this pave the way for even more big, fabulous, truly designer weddings this year? We can’t wait to find out.

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