A Modern Muse

Sulakshana Monga

A smiling bride — drenched in the mist of henna, haldi and gajra, and coloured in the shades of love with her wedding outfit — is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. Each outfit of the trousseau is handpicked to render meaning to the nuptial ceremonies and exemplify grace and charm of the newly wed. The contemporary bride, ready to match the pace of the evolving world, keeps an eye on the blooming sartorial trends to put her best fashion foot forward during her wedding.

This year’s India Couture Week (ICW) organised by the Fashion and Design Council of India (FDCI) from July 22 to 28, was an ode to the  modern sensibilities infused in the traditional kaarigari of making a piece of Indian clothing. Entering the 12th year of couture festivities, ICW saw some of the most graceful blends of past and present in building the architecture of haute couture. The six-day event of ace designers presenting their masterpieces gave ample inspiration to the modern bride. Here are Wedding Affair’s choicest of trends from the latest edition of ICW to inspire every bride.

Slinky Blouses And Cholis

Revealing, bold and dainty best describe the blouses and cholis designed by the masterminds of Indian couture during ICW. No bride wants to wear the traditional blouse, when the look of the contemporary blouse has evolved to an extent where the blouse or the choli is often the star of the outfit. The blouse designs in ICW depended heavily on the fabric used, in that, a lot of designers resorted to satin and silk to lend a soft touch to the overall look. Designers like Shyamal & Bhumika, Gaurav Gupta and Reynu Taandon were among those who resorted to silk and satin to weave magic into their choli designs. Off-shoulder, strapless, deep V-neck, and plunging/revealing blouses are the ‘it’ blouses of the season. So was visible in the necklines constructed by the designers at ICW 2019. Milkmaid neckline blouses were introduced in the collection by Falguni and Shane Peacock as an ode to the current trend of the milkmaid tops in the popular culture. Suneet Varma’s collection saw some mini cholis with ruffled accents and slinky fits. Hence, the brides of today, can go ahead, and look forward to wearing some figure-hugging and accentuating blouses to amplify the overall look for any event of their wedding festivity.

Saree Inspired Gowns

Living up to the thought behind this year’s ICW, all the designers presented a beautiful fusion of Indian and western with the couture they designed. Most of the designs imbibed a western touch to the Indian designs either by introducing the saree pleats in the couture gowns or by giving a pallu effect with the flowing capes and extensions to the back of the formal evening wear. Rahul Mishra’s designs that saw the light of the runway were heavily embroidered with colourful flower motifs on dresses and gowns that multiplied the ethnic appeal of the overall look. Gaurav Gupta showcased the future of Indian ethnic wear with his designs that highlighted the saree pallu with one-sided capes and gathers at the bottom to replicate the saree pleats. Sulakshana Monga’s bridal lehengas were intricately woven with modern elements in the form of feminine flower designs and archaic architectural muses for the modern bride. These modern dresses and gowns are the perfect outfits for a bride who wants to look ultra-modern and chic for her engagement, reception or post-nuptial looks. These saree inspired gowns will surely make the bride stand out like a diva.

Ruffles, Feathers, Fur And Asymmetry

Where is the fun in your regular lehenga and saree with classic hemlines and regular choli designs? To hold true to the essence of the modern bride, asymmetrical hemline act as the choicest selection by the designers to make the designs ride on the tide of current fashion trends. Layered lehengas and jackets act as the little touches of new elements to the traditional ethnic wear in India.

Ruffles in the hemlines, ruffles on the sleeves or ruffles in the neckline — ruffles are the elements that were common in almost all the designers who presented at ICW 2019. When combined with feather or fur accentuates, these ruffles give an edgy look to the festive outfits of the wedding season.  Designs by Falguni and Shane Peacock laid a special emphasis on the fur detailing on the sleeves and asymmetrical hemlines that augment the occasional wearability of the garments. Suneet Varma also played with ruffles on the edges of his garments to top the ramp looks with western touches.

Mirror And Shimmer

The peculiarity of Indian weddings is that they are glittery, sparkly, and an extravagant affair. We take pride in embracing the vibe of the ceremonial hubbub in our outfits too. Brides like to be the centre of attraction in all the gaudy embellishments used in making the wedding ceremonies as lavish as possible. Hence, the shimmers, glitters, and mirror works in a bridal outfit. Mirror work is popular among the locals and artisans of Rajasthan and Gujarat; an art form that developed in the 17th century as a popular way to increase the aesthetic appeal of the garment. It still remains peculiar to these states.

At the ICW this year, Tarun Tahiliani continued to take these embellishments a notch higher by intricately weaving Swarovski diamonds in the haute couture. That’s how grandiosity is associated with local artisanal works by the masterminds of the Indian fashion industry. Reynu Taandon and Suneet Varma’s designs were heavily influenced by the mirror work and other embellishments. Ideal for any wedding ceremony, a mirror work saree adds an edge to the overall appeal of the bride as she steps out like a glittering fairy, reflecting the light with the mirrors in her outfit and shining bright like a diamond.

Festive Corals And Serene White

The industry saw a recent surge in the choices of the modern bride turning to white colour as the colour of choice for their nuptials. While the Hindu culture remains strongly inclined towards red as the colour for bridal outfits, the modern woman wants to break free from the norm to look unique and ethereal for her wedding. Thus, white coloured bridal and occasional wear is catching pace in the trends of the market. A lot of Falguni and Shane Peacock’s designs at ICW this year were in ivory, off-white, or even pearl-grey with sparkle details. Gaurav Gupta also displayed a number of his designs in white and grey tones. Hence, if not the wedding, brides may even opt for white coloured outfits for their reception, mehendi, or engagement ceremony.

Other popular colours that caught everyone’s attention during ICW were the coral shades of red, orange, and fuschia. Tarun Tahiliani’s collection resonated with the festive vibes in the ombre coral shades with which he designed the outfits. Other designers who portrayed beautiful coral designs were Shyamal and Bhumika and Suneet Varma.