A Marwari bride wants an impeccable wedding, which includes perfect attires, jewelleries and accessories. She does not dress for the occasion but treats herself as the occasion, and in doing so, she rightfully demands options that would make her stand out and allow her to surpass bridal fashion trends.
Shopping for her bridal trousseau is not an easy task because on the one hand it is essential to purchase what is in vogue, while on the other, she needs to find something that suits her unique look and persona. So what is the modern Marwari bride exactly looking for when she goes shopping for her trousseau?
Reading the bride’s mind
She is looking forward to being the style icon, feels Rachit Agarwal of Simaaya and Sasya. Rachit says it is the ability to keep pace with latest trends that makes their stores the most coveted ones for trousseau shopping in Kolkata. “No stylish bride in the city can complete her trousseau shopping unless she drops in at our stores in Elgin Road and Wood Street,” he says.
Devina Kejriwal Juneja of Suede by Devina Juneja, however, feels that too much brand worship suffocates the modern bride. “While she cannot reject brands completely, she is keen on doing things in a different way,” Juneja says. Madhu and Rajnandini Khaitan of Malika Jouel feel “the bride of today is ready to experiment with various styles”.
The eagerness to experiment
Today’s bride is open to experimenting with new designers; she is not content with going to old stores that her relatives have been visiting. Rather, she is intent on finding new stores that stock exquisite and exclusive items.
That is precisely one of the reasons why multi-designer stores such as Sasya have grown in popularity. Sasya’s assortment of bridal ensembles bring under one roof the works of many designers—from the very best to budding talents. While a Sabyasachi look might be the most sought after, trying out creations by new designers can turn out to be a unique experience, simply because one of the secrets of inimitable style is to select attires seldom heard of.
Mayank and Rachit started Simaaya when they were in college, in 2003-04. The brothers wanted to do something different. Instead of joining their traditional and well-established family business, Suruchi Sarees, they decided to bring fashion to Kolkata at a time when the city was still lagging behind in the fashion scene.
“Back then, people of Kolkata had never seen fashion ensembles like those sold in Simaaya, and we took the city
by storm. Sasya followed when we
realised the changing trends in bridal couture—how people needed not one designer ensemble but many to cater to multiple wedding functions. Sasya is a complete bridal designer store; you get everything from dresses to accessories here,” Mayank says.
From jewels to bags
When it comes to bridal trousseau, experimentation has become an expansive term, which, if applied to style trends covers not only attires but also accessories such as bags and shoes and even jewelleries.
In the case of jewellery, the trend of investing in highly expensive sets has made way for utility pieces, convertible and multipurpose designs, which according to the new Marwari bride offer value for money.
Justifying this logical shift in preferences, Madhu, the proprietor of Malika Jouel, says, “Jewellery is not for safekeeping. It does not belong inside a locker; it should always be used to adorn an individual. So, while the bride would still don the heirloom piece on the D-day, for other occasions she would want something that is smart, contemporary and suits her taste.”
Her daughter-in-law and partner, Rajnandini, agrees. “Today, brides are decision makers. We are targeting that young crowd, which wants to shop not only a classic wedding piece but also an exclusive one for the cocktail party. They want a change from the traditional style and are ready to try something new as long as it is elegant and classy,” she says
“Besides, weddings today are no longer simple events. There are multiple occasions, and the smart, working and globe-trotting bride needs jewellery that speaks of her unique style signature,” Rajnandini says.
Juneja, the brain behind Suede by Devina Juneja, says, “When you can get three stunning bags worth one Michael Kors, would you not want to buy them? Agreed you still want that one Gucci or Michael Kors, but a woman can never have enough bags and so brands such as mine are doing well. My designer pieces are classy and appeal to the taste of the modern woman.”
The need for versatility
It cannot be denied that these entrepreneurs are changing the way a bridal trousseau is assembled. From ‘stick to the brands’, they are transgressing to concepts of ‘unfollow popular trends’ because trends are fleeting, and ‘create your own style mantra’, which is not necessarily a brand-dominated one. “I have never been a stickler for high-end brands and have always dressed up in a way that suited me best. When I launched my brand, I wanted to create something that was elegant yet experimental and not just dictated by trends,” says Juneja.
What appeals to modern Marwari brides is versatility, be it clothing, jewellery or accessories. “You don’t want to own a trousseau that looks pretty only in the wedding album,” says Mayank, who owns the Simaaya store. “Buying just one expensive heavy lehnga does not make sense; you need more options for the wedding functions,” he says.
Rajnandini from Malika Jouel feels the same trend applies to jewelleries. “Do you still wear your great-great grandmother’s sita haar or all that antique gold? I would say no. Modern brides want to invest in pieces that are more wearable. A wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime affair. What happens to all the antique ornaments after that?”
Juneja says, “When it comes to bags, you can’t be content with only one exquisite buy. You need more and so going for newer brands that are classy yet cost effective is a good option.”
The bride today is different from earlier generations—she is not content with only trendy pieces from top designer labels or wearing only heirloom jewellery. She is educated, travelled and has a mind of her own. Her bridal trousseau needs to reflect her sense of fashion, which means sticking to tradition yet embodying contemporary styles and being open to latest trends.
DEVINA KEJRIWAL JUNEJA
SUEDE BY DEVINA JUNEJA
Suede is a high-end brand curating handcrafted leather bags with intricate designs. Intended for the modern confident woman, Suede is about style that combines the offbeat, the trendy, the classic and the innovative.
MADHU & RAJNANDINI KHAITAN
With a desire to create contemporary pieces but with a classic interpretation, Malika Jouel presents exquisite jewellery manufactured in Europe and India. The brand banks on romantic European aesthetics for motivation.
RACHIT & MAYANK AGARWAL,
SIMAAYA AND SASYA,
Simaaya is a fashion boutique, a pioneering retail ushering the trend of ‘designer wear made affordable’ in India. Sasya stocks apparels from top designers such as Tarun Tahiliani,
J J Valaya, Shantanu and Nikhil, and Archana Kochhar.