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Prathima Poovanna

Traditional with a Twist is fashion designer Prathima's bridal style

By Sanjana Mirchandani


It came as no surprise when fashion designer Prathima Poovanna nodded her yes to Ravikiran, a diamond entrepreneur, when he finally popped the question after knowing her for six years. As if taken from a page of a movie script, Prathima recalls her very filmy encounter with Ravikiran when one day out with friends she spotted him on a super bike and on a dare asked him for a ride. So agreeing on the basis that they exchange phone numbers, Ravikiran had no idea at that point in time that he was about to sweep away his future bride for a joyride of a lifetime. 

A total of six functions, two prior to the main wedding and three following it, Prathima and Ravikirans two week long wedding was truly an extravagant affair.

The Sangeet & Mehndi

Held at the Chancery Hotel, Bangalore, the grand celebrations began with the Sangeet and Mehndi Ceremony with Prathima acknowledging that “Though Sangeet isnt a part of both our cultures, we wanted to begin our celebrations with a fun element and do something different as people have a stereotypical version of South Indian weddings being boring and very traditional”. Hence in a call for breaking this label, Prathima decided on a theme of …Glitter and Glamour ‚ a fusion of traditional customs against a more modern backdrop.

Being a fashion designer herself, it was next to easy for Prathima to design her look for all her functions where it came to not only her outfits but also her hair and make-up. “I had chalked out the number of events that I had and the looks that I wanted well in advance and discussed the same with my makeup artist too.”

An enthusiast for colours, claiming that they fascinate and confuse her at the same time, Prathima played around with a mix and match combination of a bright yellow low-waist lehenga with very minimal border embellishments and a purple blouse with pearl droppings around the waist. This she teamed up with a green dupatta with heavy borders that were pinned and pleated in a comfortable way such that it wouldnt interrupt her dance sequence for her sangeet performance.

The Varapooja

The Varapooja was a function held on the eve of their wedding at Nanjangud, Mysore. For this function, Prathima designed her appearance keeping in mind that even though she wanted to look exceptionally traditional, she didnt want to wear the customary South Indian attire. So Prathima opted for a peach-pink silk skirt and matched it with a gold embroidered blouse. An orange brocade organza dupatta was then pinned in a sari-style pleat over her waist and shoulders to impel richness and grandeur to the outfit. This look was accessorized with a traditional coin necklace, bangles, and a jhumka-styled earrings with pearl hangings attached to her coiffed and flowered hair.

The Wedding

“We wanted a typical South Indian wedding at the backdrop of a holy place” says Prathima. Hence in the realm of that, their wedding took place in a temple premises at Nanjangud (Mysore) on 25th January. “As the wedding was in a Telugu style, and me being a non-Telugu, I had to do a little background check with my Telugu friends and Ravis family regarding the outfit and accessories and also check if my including, deleting or altering some part of it would not hurt their culture. While designing, I also had to keep in mind the aesthetics of the outfits too.”

“The look for the Muhurat was very traditional as I did not want to meddle with the typical traditional Kanjeevaram Sari as there is nothing more beautiful for a bride to be dressed in on her D-day. This was teamed with minimal jewellery and makeup. I donned a temple work gold necklace with jhumkis, the traditional head gear, kamar bandh, ghoonghat and bangles of course.”

The Reception

Having a two part reception; one that took place in Bangalore on 29th January and the other, with Prathima being a Coorgi, was a brunch party held in Coorg itself on the 5th of February, Prathima gladly took both opportunities to design two unique bridal looks for herself –

  • Bangalore: “As this was a night and grand affair, I chose a colour combination that would stand out. It was a hot pink, heavily flared lehenga with heavy embroidery and a light orange netted dupatta with a bottle green sleeveless plain blouse. There was a lot of workmanship in this lehenga and I did not want to buy it from any designer as I wanted to design my own trousseau. The makeup and hair was not too loud as the outfit was bright. This was matched with an uncut diamond set.”
  • Coorg: Bringing the unconventional touches in her bridal attires, Prathima avers that she wanted to break the “sari” image of the South Indian bride, and its for this reason that she tried to incorporate other styles and also mix other trends with unique draping techniques. Thus, with this function being a noon garden-side reception, Prathima decided to go with a greenish-blue sari to match the theme of the Brunch Party which was Red and Teal Blue with Dragonfly Motifs along with some crisp Coorgi touches. …My outfit was teamed with traditional Coorgi jewellery and the hair tied to a make a heavy bun and very minimal make up as it was a day affair.


The Cocktail Party

Prathima and Ravikiran concluded their elaborate celebrations on a charming note with an elegant Cocktail Party that followed the Coorg reception. “It was a very small gathering where I had worn a long purple one shoulder gown with gold embellishments only at the yoke. The look decided was a very classy one with a flower in the hairdo to enhance the look. The gown was designed by me and was very minimally accessorized for an elegant look.”

By merely using her fine taste in colours, Prathima mixed and matched the various intricacies involved in the creation of exceptional-looking bridal outfits for all her functions. Additionally, having a clear cut vision of how she wished to be stylized not only gave her inspiration for her overall look but also a good room for experimentation.

Photographs courtesy Priyanka Daga

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