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Lehengas for your wedding!

By Sanhati Banerjee

If your wedding is your dream movie where you have bagged the heroine’s role, your lehenga is that art and aromour that can fetch the golden lady, ah the trophy of admiration, darling !

The north-Indian bride-to-be and her love affair with the lehenga can never take a backseat. And why single out only the north Indian bride-to-be? To be fair enough, to-be-brides across the nation have been gripped by this lehenga fever for over a decade now which has made them choose this versatile garment on their sangeet night, D-day and reception party with élan while working up a smorgasbord of regional styles.

One might ask, why this fascination? Well, Bollywood movies have played their part in popularising the lehenga as the drop-dead gorgeous bridal outfit. In recent times, fashion designers have also upped the X factor of lehengas by introducing its more modern and playful avatars – the pre-draped lehenga-saree and the lehenga-gown which despite having the cocktail-ish charm are fitting for a formal occasion. The result being lehengas having been endowed with the ease of contemporary mobility and a formal elegance.

Looking at lehengas from the lens of the modern bride-to-be means paying attention to a lot of details; from the body-shaping lehengas and figure-hugging silhouettes, the heavy-weight royal pieces and the light-weight swishy ones to the trail of glitter and the chain of shimmer, all things count. The colour, the colour contrast, the short and tall of lehengas, et al! Nowadays brides are also donning fitting jackets over lehengas to look distinct and add a touch of designer glam to the already-there lehenga.

So, if you are looking at lehenga for your sangeet night, D-day or reception or for all of these ceremonies you need to understand the nuances of bridal lehengas and make the best choices. Here’s all that will help you create a smart smattering of choices.

The Sexy Choli
Lehengas today are no more the sartorial choice of the demure bride-to-be and the blouse or the choli is no longer the quintessential cover-up for the female body. It’s done the 360° sexy turn what with the halters and corsets giving the birde-to-be an opportunity to flaunt her polished and toned back and bringing in every inch of sensuousness dipped in sophistication. Necklines are going dangerously deep and oh girl, the groom surely has a hot bride to handle!

What’s your Pick?
Choices could vary between the traditional lehenga-choli with one or two dupattas or the lehenga skirt teamed up with Anarkali jacket or jacket top, points our Pam Mehta. While the former can never go wrong, the latter can definitely turn heads on and let you be the showstopper.

The ‘it’ factor of lehengas has a lot to do with its silhouette. There are the fish cuts, the flair style, A-lines, mermaid style and the modern panelled lehengas. The major two styles that can be separated on a fashion board are the cropped, body-fitting style and the other – the flared, voluminous type with swirl. Talking about the trends and fads in bridal lehengas this season, Anindita Sardar, design head, says “In place of fish cut and body-fitting styles in lehenga, we see flares are getting more highlighted in 2013. To sum up, the bridal lehenga is showing a voluminous trend compared to the body-fitting trend of the last couple of years. Jacket-style and kurta-styled cholis combined with lehengas have become a fad. Interestingly, cholis with a high neckline and full sleeves have become a new trend. Cholis with embroidery along neckline in high necks have also grown in popularity. Sleeves in churi pattern or in full sleeve pattern with scattered embroidery and placement motif embroidery is also a big hit.”

Fabrics like net and sheer have gained momentum and feature regularly in a modern bride’s wishlist especially for lehenga-sarees and lehenga-gowns or for lehengas worn with body-length Anarkali jackets. You can also choose from chiffon, georgette, satin – in short, the delicate feminine fabrics.

“Lehengas with radiant coloured bustier and heavy duppatas are ‘in’. The other fashion trends that are garnering attention are skirt-fish cut lehengas, panelled lehengas, kali ghagras with partially midriff-revealing blouses and stylized jackets. This wedding season ditch traditional tones as there’s a whole new palette to choose from. Go for a brighter to pale range of hues that carries paithani purple, moderate ochre yellow, rich olive green, tangerine tango, emerald green, bright marigold and dull antiques!” opines designer Jyoti Sharma.

Lehenga Love & the Monsoon Bride
If you are the monsoon bride and still playing hide-n-seek with your wedding lehenga, then here’s some more detailing. Well, flares or the voluminous trend might be ‘in’ but that does not mean you should wear one if are on the heavier side and while an embroidered bust line might look appealing it will not work if you are busty and curvaceous. So, one size does not fit all. There are the beautiful mermaid lehengas which will be ideal for those who are looking for comfortable and classy options, points out Vandy Mehra, group director, Study by Janak. She further talks about the other types of lehengas – the flowy lehengas which do not have too much of volume but the fabrics used are breezy enough to give a flowing feel and then, of course, there are the voluminous ones with lots of layers, not very high on detailing but there is one talking piece in the entire ensemble which can be the dupatta or the blouse in such lehengas. And then, here’s her blockbuster pick: tone-on-tone work with one stark contrast piece in the ensemble- for example, a beige gold lehenga with tone-on-tone thread work with a deep maroon choli that gives it the oomph factor. Seductive, to the core!

Apart from maroon, red and gold, the monsoon bride-to-be can also easily pick from the romantic palette of mauve, orange with blue combination, green with gold and maroon, shades of fuchsia pink, sea green, sapphire with gold and silver combination, off-white with red and gold border, points out Anindita Sardar.

For this rainy and humid season, “velvets, thick silks, heavy brocades are a no-no as they don’t allow the body to cool. Pick georgettes, chiffon, net, crepe brocade or lace in light and pastel shades,” says Mini Bindra, owner of Pakistan Fashion Design Council (The Boulevard). Go for free flowing ensembles, preferably with one layer. If you’re wearing a fitted ensemble; then choose a fabric that is softer, to avoid allergies, cautions Mini Bindra. She adds “Avoid over-the-top diamante work or creations with heavy zardozi and big stones. Pick creations with small Swarovski stones, katdana, aari (fine zari) and kundan work.”

These inspirations from the couture designers can inspire you to work up a romantic bridal couture amidst the backdrop of the rain, the peacock and the little mood swings of the weather.

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