The Look

POSTED ON August 14, 2019 BY MASALAWEDS

India's favourite fashion designers share their latest wedding wear creations in an exclusive fashion spread for Masala. Find inspiration in some of the season's hottest wedding couture. 

BY BHOOMI WADHWA 

 

RABANI & RAKHA 

 

Rabani & Rakha, known for its exquisite and intricate designs, is the brainchild of a talented team of three, which includes husband and wife duo Rahul and Shibani Rastogi, as well as Gautam Rakha. With over two decades of experience, the designers take pride in their workmanship and innovative designs that set them apart from their peers, while catering to both brides and their families. After all, their collection always boasts a wide range of lehengas, kurta sets, anarkalis, gowns and dresses, providing a large variety of options. All in all, the team’s detailed and comprehensive understanding of embroidery and creative design accentuate the artistic mélange which is Rabani & Rakha. 

Let’s take a look at what the designers have to say... 

How would you describe the brand’s latest collection? 

“With an emphasis on modern cuts and subtle embroideries, our latest designs offer comfort and style. Brides now prefer lighter outfits so they can enjoy their wedding functions. With this in mind, we offer a large variety of pre-stitched lehenga saris and sharara sets, which don’t compromise on the exquisite look of the overall outfit. Moreover, brides are opting to wear lighter tones like peach, pink, aqua and ivory, so our collection has those options as well.” 

 

What was the inspiration behind them? 

“This new collection aspires to be regal yet understated. Pearls are a big influence, along with tonal sequins work, which fuses traditional embroideries with contemporary cuts and styles.” 

Any advice for brides-to-be? 

“It’s very important for a bride-to-be to have done her homework, and know the designers she wants to visit or whose work is closest to her aesthetic sense. This makes shopping much easier overall.” 



MALINI RAMANI 

 

A believer in magic and miracles, Malini Ramani started an eponymous brand that exudes a modern feel. Having been in the industry for 18 years, her collections are flirty and feminine, as they combine glamour with casual chic. Her unique ensembles range from jumpsuits and kaftans to wrap dresses and easy-to-wear resort pieces, all of which highlight the Indian craftsmanship of bandhani, block print, mirror work and embroidery. As an ardent traveller, Malini’s couture also incorporates themes from around the world, including tribal Aztec influences. 

Let’s take a look at what she has to say... 

How would you describe your latest collection?

 “My latest collection, 'Freedom,' blends signature feminine styles with comfort and functionality. The collection of separates can work together or individually for looks that are effortlessly sophisticated, comfortable, and chic, and can be worn either for a day or night event. Moreover, the clothes are designed using soft cotton jersey, both lightweight and wrinkle-free, so they are easy to travel with and don’t require ironing — perfect for a destination wedding. The collection also features a lot of gold and jewel tones like emerald green and turquoise.” 

What are the three words you would use to describe your collection? 

“Sexy, tribal and fun” 

What inspired the creativity behind all of your designs? 

“Every day is a new inspiration for me, and no matter what sparks my creativity, comfort will always be a priority. I am inspired by fluid pieces that fit well. I also ensure that my outfits are light and easy to wear, so they can cater to both brides and their families. They have the right amount of sparkle and a lot of drapes.” 

Any advice for brides-to-be? 

“I would say that brides nowadays prefer simpler and lighter pieces that really stand out. The heaviness and fuss is going out of trend, as there are now more streamlined and elegant cuts, so brides should definitely keep that in mind while shopping. Additionally, they should settle on a tentative budget beforehand and travel to India months before their wedding to shop around. DLF Emporio in Delhi is a must-visit, because it has a wide range of designers.” 



ANITA DONGRE 

 

A metaphor for supreme craftsmanship, Anita Dongre’s designs showcase Indian aesthetics in a contemporary fashion. Having been inspired by Rajasthan’s rich traditions, her handcrafted creations are coveted by brides-to-be all over the world. They are made for the fashion-forward bride who appreciates an exquisite handmade piece. 

Let’s take a look at what she has to say... 

How would you describe the brand’s latest collection? 

“This year, we launched two collections. The first is a ready-to- wear line, titled 'A Summer Reverie,' which encapsulates light, flowy silhouettes in delicate hues of yellow, apricot, seafoam green, surf blue, onion pink and blush, detailed with playful summer prints. In contrast, the menswear line consists of kurtas and bundi jackets created with happy, colourful prints. 

The second collection, “Pichhwai,” comprises of 15 exquisitely hand-painted pieces of bridal couture. It is an expression of the traditional Pichhwai art, where each ensemble mirrors the countless number of hours every artist has worked to create the elaborate lehengas. For a more contemporary look, there are gowns in royal blue and striking blacks, as well as embroidered midi dresses and separates that cater to the whole wedding brigade.” 

What inspired you to revive heritage Indian crafts in your collection? 

“It is one of the major driving forces behind most of my work. The inspiration behind the 'Pichhwai' collection came during one of my visits to Rajasthan, where I had the chance to meet a master craftsman called Lekhraj Ji, who was painting the walls of Jaipur's City Palace. Inspired by the intricacy of his work and his flawless brush strokes, I immediately knew that I wanted to give this art another form of life.” 

How do you incorporate new bridal trends in your work? 

“The new age bride wants her ensemble to be a narrative of her personality and sensibilities, while providing comfort and style. Although the ceremonial red is still a favourite for many, pastel hues are also gaining popularity. My limited edition 'Pichhwai' collection plays with these colours, and includes a varied range of silhouettes to encompass all the needs of the millennial bride.” 



VARUN BAHL 

 

One of the most prominent designers in India, Varun Bahl’s sense of style truly sets him apart from others. He is best known for seamlessly combining contemporary pieces with classic couture using a variety of fabrics, textures and cuts. His fashion is defined as dreamy, avant-garde and non-conformist. 

Any advice for brides-to-be?

 “There are too many people shopping with the bride. She should be able to make up her own mind. Individualism is the biggest trend now, and this applies to all customers. People should dress according to their personalities. They should avoid making too many customised changes and believe in the designer. Have full faith in them, otherwise the outfit will turn out to be a complete disaster.” 

Let’s take a look at what the designer has to say... 

How would you describe the brand’s latest collection? 

“In the fast-changing landscape of Indian fashion, our latest collection, known as 'Varun Bahl Prêt,' features ready-to- wear separates and coordinates for the modern Indian woman who no longer dresses according to her age but her personality. With unique prints and delicate touches of hand-embellishment, these pieces are aimed at becoming wardrobe staples for those who desire to invest in quality rather than quantity. They are fun and young, with cuts and flower-inspired embroideries, including vintage pastels.” 

What inspired the designs?

 “A form of print called the five-petal story, meaning that there is a five-petal flower forming every pattern, whether it is checked or striped.” 

How does the collection differ from other Indian designers? 

“Our unique artwork sets us apart. We may use Indian colours and traditional silhouettes, but the artwork is inspired by Western styles.” 



SABYASACHI MUKHERJEE 

 

One of the most distinguished designers in India, Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s exquisite couture has become every bride’s dream. His work is inspired by India’s diverse culture, particularly his hometown, Kolkata. Blending a variety of styles using unique fabrics, textures, patchwork and embellishments, his collection includes elaborate anarkalis, saris and a mix of traditional and contemporary gowns. He has given new meaning to bridal wear by adding glamour to classic Indian silhouettes. 

Let’s take a look at what he has to say... 

How would you describe the brand’s latest collection? 

“This year, we revealed our new Spring Summer 2019 collection called ‘Fiza,’ which features a variety of fuss-free caftans, lehengas, togas and organdy saris. The collection brings in an entirely different style, which is effortless and graceful with delicate florals, low-cut blouses and statement chokers. Our new groomswear also gets a makeover with florals, anarkalis and pastels. The colour palette moves from earthy neutrals to sorbet hues and features dark shades of rouge.” 

In your opinion, what should brides-to-be wear? 

“Personally, I keep coming back to khadi. For me, it is the equivalent of wellness and nothing can be more luxurious than that. Many of my most discerning customers globally have also chosen to wear khadi lehengas for their wedding and they are the ones I am most proud of. I believe a khadi lehenga, combined with Indian jewellery and flowers, creates a very potent and timeless image.” 



SHIVAN & NARRESH 

 

Shivan & Narresh, known as one of the first and only beachwear brands in India, create stylish, customisable and unique ensembles. Their swimwear, catered towards all Indian women's body types, is a popular choice among many brides for their pool and mehendi parties. Their creations are renowned for their bright hues, striped maillots and subtle drapes, with their signature being bikini saris. The designers enjoy adding elements like capes and fringed dresses to provide an eclectic look. Drawing inspiration from art and travel, Shivan & Narresh is a brand every bride or wedding guest should consider for their outdoor beach party. 

Let’s take a look at what the designers have to say... 

How would you describe the brand’s latest collection?

 “Our latest is the 'Koi' series, which takes inspiration from the tribal art form of Madhya Pradesh called Gond Art. This is actually the first time we have taken inspiration from an Indian art movement. There are six main prints featuring some spicy colours like deep reds, blues and ochre.” 

How does your collection cater to brides, grooms-to-be, and their families?

 “There are three things that make up the DNA of our brand — simplicity, travel and holidays. With the new influx of destination weddings, people are now bothered about enjoying the experience, thus they focus on practicality and functionality. The millennial bride wants to be comfortable and jump into the pool after her mehendi, and our pieces allow that.” 

What bridal trends did you incorporate in your latest collection? 

“There are several things. First is comfort. Second is the sense of experience, which is also equally important, as what you plan to do on that day needs to resonate with what you are going to wear. And lastly, we also incorporated a new type of embroidery work on our Indian pieces, which is waterproof and perfect for destination weddings. This work is also traditional and lightweight. I believe it is a designer’s responsibility to evolve their style to suit the current environment of Indian weddings.” 

Any advice for brides-to-be going to India for their trousseau shopping? 

“I would say keep it functional, practical and experience- centric. You never remember your clothes, but you do remember how you felt in them.”

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