Kavya Mehta’s idea of a perfect trousseau was far from the one her family had imagined. On her big day, Mehta stunned her friends and in-laws by pairing a customary Panetar with a beautiful neon odhni. “I belong to a traditional Gujarati family and to match something as different as neon with the Panetar was a bold step. Till my wedding day, my family was skeptical about my choice. It was only after they saw me all dressed up that they were relieved,” laughs the 26-year-old software engineer. Mehta, however, was not really bucking the trend. In fact, more and more young Indian women with deep pockets are increasingly moving away from the heavy bridal lehengas to something that accentuates individual personalities.
Traditional with a modern touch
In the past, the wedding lehenga came from the husband’s family and it was almost mandatory for the bride to wear it. But as times changed, the debate about the bridal attire has shifted from joint discussion between both families to being the sole prerogative of the bride-to-be. Explains veteran designer Raghavendra Rathore, “There will always be a bit of friction between the elders in the family and the youngsters who don’t necessarily follow tradition. Today’s woman is independent and believes in customisation. She will look at images from fashion magazines or the internet and get new ideas. Women are well-aware about tradition but want an amount of funk too when it comes to their special day.”
Style it right
Of course, styling plays a major role in putting the whole look in place. One can either mix and match an attire with separates or create a uniform look out of one pattern. Designer Gaurang Shah, who is known for his handcrafted sarees, explains, “One can style it in terms of drapes and accessories. A dupatta or a saree can be draped in innumerable ways to make it look stylish or traditional. Women who want to stay true to their roots, should look for a saree with unusual textures and drapes.” In terms of teaming separates, acclaimed designers Falguni and Shane Peacock give a word of advice, “For someone who wants to experiment with a trousseau, one option is buying separates and teaming them together. For instance, a short jacket can be paired with an anarkali or a lehenga with a longer jacket extending till the waist. Even the ones, which are shorter at the front and longer at the back, looks edgy.”
It’s a two-way process
“We think it’s a joint effort between the bride-to-be and the designer. Most women have a vague idea about what they want to wear. Then the designer comes on board and gives shape to those ideas. But from time to time, we also have clients who leave it to us to decide what we feel would look beautiful on them,” says Falguni. However, Rathore thinks that instead of trusting your own instincts, one should always involve a stylist or an expert to save a wedding attire from going horribly wrong. “One gets a lot of advice during the wedding. It is imperative that a bride goes to an expert who takes her idea forward. If they work in harmony, the end result will be great.” So when does one start all this planning? Monica Shah of Jade Boutique says, “Ideally, planning for your trousseau should start threemonths in advance. Today, the modern-day bride has the world at her fingertips and she should definitely research about what she wants. Once she gets a pretty fair idea, a consultation with the designer would take it a step further.”
Size does matter
With so many cuts, silhouettes, colours and patterns to choose from the market, the modern bride is spoilt for choice. The fitting of the blouse, the way a drape hugs the body and the choice of fabric becomes very important. Says Shah, “Fluid A-line anarkalis suit most body types. Those with a pear-shaped body can opt for high-waisted anarkalis while those with apple-shaped bodies can opt for princess cuts, corsets, and voluminous anarkalis that define the body well. Of course if you do have an hour-glass figure, you can pull off anything.” The bottomline? Trust your instincts, but consult a designer or stylist well in advance. The rest will follow.