Friday 18 April 2014

Indian Bridal Wear: Is Traditional Out?

The other day I found myself in a state of disbelief as I had spent a whole 45 minutes browsing Google for the latest Indian bridal wear. Knowing me, this is entirely unbelievable as I've never taken an interest in Indian clothing or bridal wear, for that matter. I've always been the one to despise wearing anything Indian. Firstly, most of the local RTW shops never have anything that fits me, especially around the bust. It's like everything is made for a size 8 with no curves. However,  I actually surprised myself and I did enjoy dressing up quite traditionally in a shalwar kameez for an event celebrating the Indian Republic Day:

It's pretty fun to dress up traditionally once in a while. The process of picking something that fits can be a bit iffy if you're shopping in a reasonably small store but after you've found something, the rest is just fun. From picking matching bangles and shoes, you feel a lot more dolled up than wearing a bodycon clubbing.

Whilst I was browsing as though I was on a quest to find my nonexistent daughter her perfect sari, I became appreciative of the sheer beauty in some of the latest designs.

Indian bridal wear takes a lot of work, especially embroidery. From my knowledge, saris and lenghas are the most prominent forms of bridal wear. I've always imagined a traditional Indian wedding to have the bride in a deep red sari with rich gold embroidery. Long gone are the days of that!

Shelley Chhabra

I came across a very talented designer, Shelley Chhabra. She designs heavily embroidered pieces in a variety of colours such as baby pink, deep red and fuchsia.

Shelley Chhabra.
Red lengha with detailed gold embroidery.

Shelley Chhabra.
Pastel pink lengha with gold embroidery.

Shelley Chhabra.
Maroon lengha with gold embroidery.

What I like about Shelley Chhabra is that there is a clear sense of tradition in the designs, yet they appeal to the modern, westernised Indian woman who wants to feel sexy at her wedding, but also wants to maintain her roots.

Manish Malhotra

Now for seriously upscale looks, the most renowned designer would have to be Manish Malhotra. He designs extremely elaborate designs for India's elite. I was seriously in awe at his couture collection. The amount of work going into each design is incredible.

Manish Malhotra Couture.
: Red raw silk lengha intricately hand-embroidered zardozi motifs all around. Densely embroidered contrasting black velvet border on the hemline. Accentuations with peals, Swarovski’s and kundan stones. 

Blouse: Short raw silk U-neck choli with embroidery on the borders and deep overlap back. 

I actually took the exact description for the silk lengha above as I wanted to truly show the incredible work in the design. To use Swarovski crystals on a lengha takes Indian couture to a new length.

Manish Malhotra Couture.
Pink georgette sari with hand-embroidered zardozi motifs, booties and hand-sewn Nakshi embroidery on the borders. 

Blouse: Contrasting blue velvet blouse piece with heavy embroidery and tassels. 
Petticoat: Matching unstitched butter crepe petticoat.

The above may me a bit too bright for a bride but I could definitely see pieces like this becoming the norm for those who want glamour and glitz. I personally adore this design because I love the combination of black and neon pink. It's something incredibly original and unique, in terms of Indian wear.

So overall, I actually don't think traditional is out at all. Yes, things are changing and weddings in India are being taken to a whole new level but the designers out there are getting things right by keeping some traditional roots in the designs but integrating new colours, fabrics and even crystals. Although Indian clothing is something I really do have little knowledge of, I'd love to see where the future of Indian fashion will go!

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