Bridal couture has come a long way from the traditional lehenga-choli encrusted with zardozi or Swarovski crystals. The modern bride has well-cut gowns, sherwanis and kimono jackets to choose from—things she can move freely and, possibly, shake a leg in. And designers are experimenting with drapes, fabrics and detailing. Nowhere was this more apparent than at the 12th edition of the India Couture Week (ICW), held in the capital in July.
Designer couple Pankaj and Nidhi Ahuja of the label Pankaj & Nidhi had faux leather appliqué and custom-made crystals in yellow, rose gold and silver white on pants, tunics and jackets in their debut couture collection, ‘Mosaiq’, inspired by the art of mosaic-making. There were also empire waistline dresses and a skirt paired with a one-sleeve blouse with frills and feathers.
“If you go back a few years,” says Pankaj, “a beautiful Kanjeevaram sari commissioned for someone in a particular colour, or getting Kashmiri or Phulkari shawls, would be considered couture.” Today, the emphasis is as much on alternative occasion wear. And not just for weddings, but also for, say, a book launch, a movie premiere or even birthdays and graduations. “I think there’s a trend towards lightness,” says Pankaj, “I’m not sure if women want to be drowned under kilos of fabric and be weighed down mentally and physically.”
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