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The New Normal Of Nuptials

The New Normal Of Nuptials

Three couturiers share their predictions about bridal wear in the post pandemic era

ARTICLE BY : Nupur Sarvaiya

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Rewind back to the start of 2020, it would be inconceivable to imagine editing wedding celebrations down to social distancing mandates. Today, it’s a given to a grim degree. The ‘happy occasion’, as we knew it, has had to form a union with the uncertainties of a pandemic. No question, the coronavirus outbreak has turned the bridal industry on its head. But what will emerge? Will our time in quarantine propel a paradigm shift in wedding wardrobes? Will minimalism continue to win the favour of brides-to-be? To get a better sense of what brides will dress like post pandemic, I asked three celebrated couturiers, Manish Malhotra, Amit Aggarwal and Suneet Varma, to share their blueprint on the road ahead. A collective consensus was this: some of your best-laid plans may have gone awry, but the bridal ensemble will be anything but prosaic.

The big realisation  
For most, the year has been a chance to introspect and reassess their spending habits. Suneet Varma waxes eloquent about brides centring their choices around the principle of investment, and buying more cautiously and consciously during (and post) pandemic. He goes on to point the needle towards the hedonism attached to bridal couture. “There was an excessism attitude. But this pause has resulted in some sort of balance. What brides would have originally considered adding nine ensembles to their repertoire, now they will buy just four—one for each event they host,” the New Delhi-based veteran designer says about the quarantine of consumption caused by the coronavirus outbreak which is likely to linger. Moving forward, he foresees brides carefully curating their trousseaus with pieces that will last for posterity.

Manish Malhotra

No settling  
It’s perhaps our maximalist manifesto, but for us, nuptials often fit the ‘big fat Indian wedding’ descriptor. Although we may not be sure if larger-than-life festivities will revive in full gusto, Manish Malhotra does not see brides compromising on their special-occasion outfits. The Mumbai-based celebrated costume designer and couturier sums it up: “Brides won’t digress from getting their dream outfit even if the ceremony is low-key. But there will be a parallel between women who would really want to tone things down by going the handloom or timeless route, and those who would want to go all out because wedding photographs will always be treasured,” he goes on to explain how brides will embrace their personalities and preferences. “It’s going to be an exciting mix. Brides will be far clearer in their choices, and will want to dress up for their wedding day. Women are so diverse, and that is the beauty of it.”

Value and versatility
Outfits deep-rooted in provenance, permanence, and emotion will get an uptick. Amit Aggarwal agrees. The renowned couturier from New Delhi predicts that the concept of trends and seasons will go out of the window. “Uniqueness and timelessness will take precedence,” he explains. It is going to be all about lightness and versatility, which will also tip the favour in terms of re-wearability, and in turn, sustainability of the garment. “So, I feel the lehenga will always be the first choice for a bride. The silhouette has also been synonymous to being married. Moreover, it has got a contemporary spin today, where the shape and styling has changed. Instead of being strung below the navel, the skirt is now worn at the waist. This gives a few inches of length and also accentuates the slimmest part of the body. Plus, you can style it with other pieces in your closet,” says Varma, who presented a slew of high-octane, exquisite pieces in his ‘Timeless by SV’ 2020 couture collection, spanning the range of fresh, pastel and metallic palette. He didn’t shy away from complementing the lehengas with sleek cut blouses, halternecks and corset-style tops to have a little fun. Over and above the separates, Malhotra feels the sari will never be amiss with brides and the bridal party.

Suneet Varma

On the mood board
The designers all echo the sentiment that there will be more awareness about the innovation and ingenuity that go into making couture, in turn infusing bridal wear with heirloom-worthy appeal. Malhotra strongly believes this time has invigorated a newfound appreciation for languishing crafts. His 2020 ‘Ruhaaniyat’ couture line reinstates. “The collection aims to revive the slow and purist workmanship of our indigenous clusters and artisans. It seeks to recall our age-old craft and techniques while keeping the first line of inspiration from the most enduring facets of true Indian living. I’ve been unapologetic for my love of glamour, so my signature embellishments and motifs are there. But I have also refurbished vintage textiles, which are all incorporated in different ways. Besides that, there is deft embroidery, heavy ornamentation and signature draping,” he discloses.
For Aggarwal, it has always been about reinventing the narrative, while still staying true to his DNA. His latest couture range, inspired by earth, ocean and air, sees traditional techniques seamlessly fused with modern materials—think recycled polymer, restructuring, as well as modern craftsmanship. “It is also really important to buy and encourage native Indian fabrics and crafts, so that you can in some ways also irrigate the economy. Most importantly, empower our craft communities,” cites Varma, who makes a case for conventional crafts like mirror work, resham embroidery, zardosi and nakashi.

Amit Aggarwal

Digitally yours
The pandemic has not just influenced what brides shop for, but also, how they shop. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen designers and brands redefine their retail practises. In the years ahead, the virtual world will only reinforce its role as occasion wear’s modus operandi. “Technology has been about liberation and we have to evolve and adapt. As a brand we always believe in pushing boundaries and innovating channels of communication and interaction with our customers. I am very excited to embrace this change and put our vision across in a new medium. It’s a challenge for us to weave the brand story of intricate craftsmanship and hand embroidery and put together an immersive experience for the viewers. But embracing social media and e-commerce is the way forward,” says Aggarwal, addressing the launch of his e-commerce website that was a pure function of demand he concedes. “A digital store facilitates the patrons to shop from the comfort of their homes, irrespective of the geographical barriers.” His advice to brides apprehensive about shopping their wedding wear online? “Look for authenticity of the product and value for investment, over impulse buy. This is where buying from brands that have always stood for intricate craftsmanship and customer service will never disappoint,” he concludes.

As seen in Khush Wedding 25. Buy this issue here

Tags : Fashion  Designer Fashion  Pandemic Fashion  Manish Malhotra  Amit Aggarwal  Suneet Varma 
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