When it comes to Asian bridal fashion, there's no place more full of inspiration and innovation than India.
The dust has only just settled on the catwalks of India Couture Week, a five-day fashion extravaganza held at the stunning Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi from 20 – 24 July 2016, so we're here with the best bridal looks from India's hottest designers to help inspire your wedding day look.
There was drama, there was opulence and there were outfits to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with. So make a cuppa and take a seat, our edit is the next best thing to being in the front row...
(Main image above from Anita Dongre)
Opening India Couture Week was one of the country's most celebrated designers, Manish Malhotra. His couture line, “The Persian Story”, was full of bejewelled blouses, lehengas and sarees. Known as the designer of choice to Bollywood's elite, it came as no surprise to see Deepika Padukone (far left) walking for the design legend.
Day two’s main event was Anita Dongre’s "Epic Love" collection, which marked her debut at India Couture Week – and what an entrance it was! Chintz-inspired printed lehengas teamed with Bohemian blouses flowed down the runway, with the designer’s signature gotapatti work quick on its heels. Classic Indian styles blended with contemporary long, column tabards which help elongate the body and give the illusion of height.
"The Last Dance Of The Courtesans" was the title for veteran designer Tarun Tahiliani's showcase of showstopping wedding pieces. Inspired by the traditional costumes of anarkali kurta and pyjama trousers, the show began with delicate chiffon creations finished with resham embroidery and Swarovski crystals before deepening into heavier couture pieces, made for UK brides with an Autumn or Winter wedding in mind.
Vintage Rajasthani was the muse behind Reynu Taandon's "Kamangari" collection and it was evident in spades. You can see it in the silhouettes to the foil printing and block prints on rich Chanderi fabric. Extravagant anakalis and metallic embellishments elevate the traditional look for the contemporary bride. Elegant and timeless, we love this for the Big Day look.
RIMPLE & HARPREET NARULA
True to its name, "Hiraeth" by Rimple & Harpreet Narula, bewitched the audience at the India Couture Week. Uniquely designed in luxurious drapes of vintage textile in sublime hues ranging from ivory, gold, marsala, midnight blue unite to make sartorial magic on the runway. Adding grandeur to the outfits, regal cloaks, dramatic jackets and sheer robes enhanced the classic silhouettes. Hiraeth, a collection that spelled couture royalty, found its crowning glory in the Minar lehenga worn by the gorgeous Yami Gautam.
Firmly future-facing, Rahul Mishra's debut "Tree of Life" collection at India Couture Week made waves that we can feel all the way here in the UK. Welcome to a world of modern sarees, teamed with elbow-length sleeved blouses, crop tops and bomber jackets, noding to both eastern and western style. We love the look for pre-wedding events like an engagement party or sangeet.
Floral continued to be a key theme over at Varun Bahl's "Vintage Garden" show. The range reimagines standard silhouettes for contemporary Indian woman using floral prints and a versatile colour palette. A bouquet of colour, texture and pattern blossomed across the catwalk with baroque influences to keep the look on-trend.
Drama! Theatre! Performance! Gaurav Gupta perfectly blended fashion, art and theatre to deliver one of the most excessive couture shows of the season. Named "Scrape Song", it was all ruffles, daring cuts and metallic textiles with the overall look one of the most glamorous cocktail party you would ever go to.
The collection 'Begum-e-jannat' revived the majesty and glamour of the Mughal empire with flowing silk velvet, sheer gauzy tissues and tulle dotted with mirror work the mainstay of his ensembles. The collection captured the era of Mughals with intricate lehengas, sherwanis, sarees and jewel encrusted kaftans.
Closing India Couture Week 2016 was Rohit Bal, another Indian design powerhouse whose shows are consistently talked about for years after the event. Turning his attention to Russian aristocracy, Bal's "Kehkashan" collection brought to life the decadence and opulence of the Czars, manifested through florals blending into baroque trellises, signature pleating, long jackets worn over skirts and almost Gothic-esque persistent palette of blacks, whites and reds.