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Sartorial Shimmer: The Tale of Bejewelled Couture

By Priyanka Swami

We are talking about the scintillating amalgamation of crystal, craft and carat. From the antique traditional jodas to the modern trousseau, jewels have always lightened up the fashion spectrum. Gold and silver threads weaved intricately with Swarovski crystals, sequins, beads, tassels and stones exude the beauty of bridal wear. Let’s take a look at how these bestow a shimmering look to the bridal ensembles and also at how the royal is being interpreted with newer zests and creative designs.

Using jewels on bridal wear garments is not an innovation of the recent times. However, with time there has been innovation in this master art of yesteryears. Let’s take a look.


The recently held BMW Indian Bridal Fashion Week 2014 saw designers like Tarun Tahiliani, Suneet Verma, Falguni and Shane Peacock and JJ Valaya blazing the sartorial lines with their unconventional and edgy panoplies. Peacock bride’s antique tone-on-tone embroidery capes and quirky motifs, Suneet Verma’s mirror-work embellishment with colourful aari embroidery and Ashima-Leena’s multi-coloured stone work in jewel tones proved to be a testimony to the bridal wear principle of sheen and style.


The Angel Mist


Crystals and stones unequivocally fancy the royal couture. Designer Jessica Khanijo feels that the use of crystals and stones in bridal attires is not a new phenomenon as it dates back to times of the Rajputs and the Mughals where marriages were a royal affair laden with grandeur.She says, “The phenomenon is just evolving with time and the use of crystals and stones continue to add a dash of exquisiteness and give the garment a royal touch.”


Designer Arpita Mehta says that ethnic Indian trousseau can be best elaborated by jewel work since our country is best known for its rich heritage. “Jewels in traditional Indian colours work in favour of bridal wear that defines our culture” she adds.




You think of bridal wear and jewel embellishments follow your imagination stroll, simply because weddings in India can’t be penny plain.


And as designer Khanijo also feels that “jewel additions to the bridal couture are like an ultimate finishing touch”, we also believe that gilding is a treasure trove.


Designer Sonya Vajifdar believes that crystals and Swarovski add a lot of bling to a bridal garment in a sophisticated way and the touch of classic royalty is exuded when these elements are strategically placed.


Khanjio adds, “Today, we have a variety of embellishments to choose from. When used decorously, these embellishments can add shimmer and individuality to the complete outfit.


Elaborate beading and embroideries like zardozis and zircons add lines of glitter to the bridal ensembles and are used to add richness and texture to the plain fabric.”


It is about those small iridescent sequins and gems that lend the garment their decorative twinkle.


“Usually, we use embellishments such as Japanese kardana and zari work. Clear Swarovski crystals, lots of threadwork and beads such as ‘poth’ are also talk-of-the-tinsel” says designer Sonya Vajifdar.


Fabric and Flavour


Jewel-hues in silks, satins and velvet fabrics never fail to do the trick for that cocktail gala or wedding sway!


Holding the stance, Arpita Mehta says, “Zardozi on velvet looks the best. You could never go wrong with that combination. Also, jewel work could be complemented using net or organza as well.”



On a similar note, Khanijo suggests, “There is a variety of options available like velvets, chanderi silk, georgette, raw silk, brocade, and Banarasi silk and even lighter fabrics like organza, satin and chiffon.”


Besides, Vajifdar advocates the use of raw silks and different types of velvets, cotton satins and other pure and thick fabrics as they can hold the embellishments more fittingly.


Similarly, designer Anoli Shah mentions the use of different types of silk for embroideries like munga silk and gaji silk (native to Gujarat) as they give a royal and finished look to the embroidery and also retain it for a longer period of time.


The Zardozi Affair


“Zardozi work is one of the most ancient and commonly used embroideries” says Anoli. Adding further, she articulates that zardozi makes the garment look very elegant and royal and is a bridal wear staple as the antique gold and silver threads exude magnificence.


Arpita Mehta affirms that zardozi work is a very old form of embroidery that not only brings out heaviness in a garment but also lends a very elegant and rich flavour to it.




Saying that the zardozi work, today, is used with modern twists, Anoli Shah suggests the use of geometric asymmetric patterns to get a change from the classic paisley motifs.


Khanijo further says that elaborate embroidered patterns are currently in vogue. So, a gold-sequin border with stone work can impart elegance and enhance the beauty of the bride’s dress.


The Bejewelled Bulletin


Set on the neck area, back or sleeves of garments, the bejewelled patches serve two purposes—infusing the element of bling and minimising the need for wearing other accessories. But are these mere add-ons or do they also lend versatility to a garment?


On this, Jessica Khanijo says that “these patches give a sense of freedom to experiment and add panache to the entire look, acting as an escape from the traditional jewellery bout.”



She adds “These are just not mere add-ons but an interesting way to keep it the garment simple yet exuberant.” 


Elaborating on this trend, Anoli Shah mentions that a lot of bejewelled detachable collars can be worn in several ways on a saree blouse or kalidar or even a lehenga.


However, Arpita Mehta feels that minimal use of stone or crystals can give a royal look, but if repeated or used too much, it isn’t as appealing.


She voices out, “Using jewel work, but in a functional and classy way, could work wonders. Accessorising an already heavy garment is too much to take in, hence, by using jewels on the yoke, or on sleeves, or to enhance the back one can avoid the use of chunky necklaces or earrings."


Also, full sleeved jewel work can save usage of bangles or kadas! But this type of embroidery should be used wisely otherwise the garment could look gaudy and too blingy.


She continues, “Nowadays, simplicity is more attractive than lots of bling, so if used correctly, it can turn out beautifully."


For example, bejewelled embellishments when used around a closed neck blouse, they can work as an embroidered neck piece.


Use and wear the bling quotient with care and caution but do not shy away from its shine and smart shimmer altogether as it can lend that perfectly crisp rendition of jewellery on your garments and make you stand out with a style as unique as you.



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