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A couture invasion from the capital

“There is no denying the fact that Delhi is the fashion capital of India,” declares ace designer JJ Valaya, cutting out interminable discussions on which city should wear the crown of being the country’s ultimate fashion go-to place. Yet, the Delhi-based designer, who showcased his latest collection at the just-concluded Aamby Valley India Bridal Fashion Week, opines that the demand for couture wear in the Maximum City is on an all-time high.


A model sporting a JJ Valaya  creation

“North Indian weddings are opulent and larger-than-life, and the demand for couture has always been high there. But the market in Mumbai is developing very rapidly with the demand for grand wedding clothing now being equal to Delhi,” reveals Valaya, charting out the growing trend and prophesising that the next hotspot for couturiers will be Hyderabad.


A model walks the ramp for Delhi-based designer Mandira Wirk at the India Bridal Fashion Week

More Delhi in Mumbai
While the Delhi edition of the India Bridal Fashion Week portrayed a dominance of Delhi-based designers on the ramp, the Mumbai edition was no different. Of the 15 designers, one was a jewellery brand, and of the rest, four were Mumbai-based while a whopping 10 were Delhi-based.


A model displays designer Neeta Lulla’s design from her, The Bridal Goddess collection

Vijay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, India Bridal Fashion Week, explains the balance, “Our objective is to showcase the best talent in the fashion industry in India. It is not specific to any city. Most bridal couture designers today are based out of Delhi, but have a huge presence across the country. Hence, we chose them to showcase their collections at the event.”


A model in a green-and-gold, Ashima and Leena design, at India Bridal Fashion Week in Mumbai

The stark majority also pointed to the growing couture market opportunities in the city that have been perhaps sensed by Delhi-based designers and are attracting them to Mumbai, more than ever before.


Designer Neeta Lulla

Inroads in the city
“We are looking at increasing our presence in Mumbai. The demand from Mumbai is pretty high now, so we are looking at opening a boutique here in the near future as well,” says Leena Singh of the designer-duo label Ashima and Leena. Delhi-based designer Mandira Wirk, who is known for her gowns and concept sarees, puts things into perspective, “There are weddings everywhere and as a business segment, weddings are extremely strong. It is the one time when everyone goes all out, especially in India as we have so many functions. So, tapping this market, wherever you can, is the thing to do.”

Nothing to worry
But, Mumbai designers are not perturbed by this invasion. Famous Mumbai-based designer Neeta Lulla decodes the city’s couture market and shares that Mumbai has a huge market that offers versatile styling, varied colour combinations and a multitude of looks that can be achieved through embroidery or textures. “In every niche of creative design, there is a place for one’s type of design and styling. The only pressure I see is to be able to create a new collection better and different from the previous one. That’s it,” states Lulla, who has kept up her niche following, trend after trend. While cosmopolitan Mumbai is reminiscent of glitz and glamour, it’ll be a wait-and-watch situation to ascertain whether this overwhelming confluence of design sensibilities pouring in from Delhi, will eventually catapult the city to the fashion capital status or not. 

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