Weddings hold special significance for Marwaris, not to mention the to-be-bride, whose desire to look her very best makes her explore every available option in the market, especially when it comes to bridal wear. Designers and couturiers on their part do all it takes to come up with ensembles that not only cater to specific styles and needs, but also are trendy and fashionable. We spoke to four top-notch designers—Benu Bhatnagar, Swati Vijaivargie, Pallavi Jaipur and Swati Ubroi—to find out what they have to offer to brides this season.
TRADITIONAL YET MODERN
Over the past quarter century, Benu Bhatnagar has dressed up several celebrities, brides and their families. Having started off with the idea of incorporating India’s rich heritage of textiles and embellishments in a minimalistic, contemporary way that at the same time was trendy, modern and appealing to all age groups, Bhatnagar revels in old embroideries, embellishments, designs and patterns. “Seeing old poshaks and garments always excites me,” smiles Bhatnagar. Her clientele, accordingly, comprises individuals who enjoy traditional designs in ensembles that can be passed down as heirloom garments. Living in Jaipur has been a blessing too, as it is a goldmine for talented karigars, raw materials and inspiration, given its treasure trove of old havelis, palaces and rich cultural heritage.
Bhatnagar’s garments range from bridal lehngas in gotta patti, zardozi, ari and kasabkari to angarkhas, suits, palazzos, everyday wear and more. Her unassuming store, located at her residence, provides clients with both a bespoke experience and exclusivity. Brides enjoy personalised service, as she designs according to what they desire, to turn their dreams into reality. Though she emphasises on traditional embroidery, luxurious and rich material, she also focuses on something that is comfortable and can be passed down to future generations. “A trend that I like a lot right now is a heavily embellished bundi (waistcoat) with zardozi or gotta patti over the blouse and the lehnga. It works well for the sangeet or cocktails,” she adds.
A TOUCH OF INNOVATION
Also from Jaipur, Swati Vijaivargie’s creations are a play of colours, textures and embroideries. After graduating from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Vijaivargie worked with leading designers like Raghavendra Rathore and Kavita Bhartia and then ventured into her family business of home textiles and rugs, having received the Best Women Entrepreneur award from FORHEX (Federation of Rajasthan Handicraft Exporters).
Her love for garments, however, inspired her to start a women’s clothing line in 2012, showcasing her debut collection at the Lakme Fashion Week. Vijaivargie next decided to specialise in thread-resist shibori patterns and creating surface textures using different tie-dye, creative printing and hand embroidery techniques on rich, pure fabrics. The collections, targeted at today’s women, are traditional yet modern, clean, classic and minimalistic and use traditional textiles and techniques with a fresh approach and international appeal. Currently, Vijaivargie’s label retails from leading multi-designer stores such as Ensemble, Aza, Ogaan, Elan, Collage, Elahe and Bombaim, among others.
Pallavi Murdia, who goes by her brand name Pallavi Jaipur, has always been inclined towards fashion. She studied fashion at NIFT, after which she gained experience working under trained designers and then decided to return to Jaipur and start a small boutique from her garage. Soon, she got an opportunity to put up her collection at a store in Mumbai and subsequently launched her label at the Lakme Fashion Week in 2009. Soon after, she participated at the Wills/Amazon India Fashion Week also. Pallavi Jaipur has designed for several celebrities and has won awards such as the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ Women Achiever award, the Pride of Rajasthan award, ‘Young Achievers’ Award by the Whistling Woods International and Women Achievers award by Zee TV for outstanding contribution in fashion.
Pallavi Jaipur believes that even though the pandemic has hit the season badly this year, weddings have somehow found a way out. “No matter what, weddings will always be a celebration—if not elaborate, they’ll be exquisite,” she says. According to her, to create special memories during this unique phase that the world is going through, weddings are likely to be intimate and classier. “Subtle hand embroideries inspired by nature, flora and fauna—delicate or bold—will be in vogue. Also, vibrant colours with a sudden twist of pastel inserts, or vice versa are going to be the bride’s favourites,” she says.
For the trousseau, however, she feels more wearable and lighter wear will get picked up—as people are choosing more wisely, preferring outfits that they can always wear. Also, for bridal silhouettes, interesting blouses are going to be key, and different types of sleeves will be the highlight for fusions. Pallavi Jaipur’s festive range comprises a huge selection of concept and traditional wear, such as saris, salwar kameezes and a broad mix-and-match of Indian and modern wear.
GLOBAL OUTLOOK, ETHNIC IN SPIRIT
For Swati Ubroi, it all began as a hobby in 2007-08. She began with a single craftsman, a tailor and ₹10,000. The brand grew rapidly after it began to be accepted and appreciated by people looking for a sophisticated version of traditional handcrafted clothing that focused on natural fabrics with innovative designs and techniques.
The brand is targeted at modern, well-travelled individuals seeking Indian craft for bridal and festive clothing. As a result of her holistic approach and sensitivity to the environment, Ubroi’s label enjoys an interesting mix of clientele from across the globe. It also enjoys the reputation of being the topmost name when it comes to design aesthetics, quality and clientele.
Ubroi says that monotone colours will continue to be the trend in bridal wear in the upcoming season. “Having said that, pastels remain a favourite for many millennial brides…pinks, peaches, nudes, soft shades of green, blue and yellow will be the preferred colours,” she says. For the mehndi ceremony, she feels quirky and statement separates, teamed with lehngas and shararas in bright Indian colours will be fun, and brides will want to customise bridal wear more than ever before, in line with what they want. Other trends include glamorous sheer blouses, as well as experimental and westernised bodices teamed with the Indian lehnga. Brides will also prefer to blend woven dupattas with embroidered ensembles.
In keeping with trends, Ubroi’s brand offers interesting peplum tops, tribal inspired blouses and flowy trail jackets. Her pastels and super pastels, laden with rich Indian embroideries and craftwork, as well as her wide range of nude coloured lehngas with Rajasthani handwork are already hot favourites among brides. Further, brides love her woven, fine tie-dye and thread work dupattas, matched with heavily embellished lehngas.
Weddings in India are seen as once in- a-lifetime affairs which call for nothing but the best for every bride-to-be. While a bride’s ultimate pick rests with individual taste and choice, it’s expert advice of reputed designers that can make all the difference between looking good and looking breathtaking on the day of her wedding.