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Three Couture Collections

By Sanhati Banerjee

Plan Your Wedding reports on three couture Collections that spoke through three different Symbolic languages and took on scintillatingly New forms unleashing the original and atypical Bridal fashion this season.

This season saw a coming together of a few modern sartorial interpretations of classical tales and couture’s dalliance with fantasy, epic love and drama and an eternal spring of hope – a hope that survives the ups and downs of life and reflects on an inner strength or aura of personality. The picture that emerges from these directions is that of a new symbolic language which is comprehending urbanity in a new fashion altogether. In this casual, daywear and fusion-istic language of ethnic fashion, we have seen a few stunning pieces of talking images – images that graced the runways and hogged the limelight and that attempted to bridge the gap between the ramp, the rack and the closet. Let’s take a look.

Realistic Flight of Fantasy
We saw VarunBahl taking us to a new height of free fashion with his haute couture collection “Flight” by breaking free from conventional bridal couture norms and silhouettes. What he did was re-interpreting couture for the Indian bride, the bridesmaid and her family by departing from dressy conventions and infusing both daywear as well as “practical couture” options. When quizzed about the concept of fusing the ornate with the practical, he said “I have tried to bring the best craftsmanship that India has to offer and married it with modern silhouettes. So the saree has become the saree-gown, and the anarkali has become a dress with pants. At the same time, the ensembles have a touch of the elaborate, and are made-to-measure only, taking them into the realm of practical couture.” What caught the eye of the beholder was also the creative concept of infusing aerial/avian elements as a recurring motif in the collection – the concept of fantastical “flights”, the lightness associated with a bird’s flight as well as the visual imagery associated with plumage, nests and a bird’s habitats. He explains “The deeper idea was to equate, by the use of a recurring motif, the idea of breaking free of convention. We have the most stunning embroideries and intricate crafts available to us here in India...but why are we afraid to use them in a modern context? Why are we caged by convention? We need to contemporanise them, otherwise, we risk losing them. The birds are executed in the fabrics in many techniques both modern (velvet applique) and traditional (zardosi).” The very lightness of the creations is a break away from the notion surrounding Indian couture that it’s “heavy”. So the other thought behind using avian motifs was to direct the viewer’s attention towards the lightness of the clothes themselves. This collection answers to the needs of the entire family that is involved in a wedding. Pre-wedding function ensembles are  as prominent as lehengas for the big day. As for styling tips, Varun says “I always give the brides who come to me the most important advice: be comfortable. There is no outfit in the world that can make an uncomfortable bride look beautiful if she is uncomfortable in it!”.

Epic Registers
Remember Draupadi? Of course you do. She, the grand Indianepic heroine; she of insurmountable courage and strength of character yet betraying her passions; she of love, feistiness and discipline. Rendered on television for several times and referred to in many works of fiction, she has continued to intrigue generations of men and women. “She was not a goddess but a real woman possessing both strength of character and vulnerability as any contemporary woman”says Anju Modi and it is in this very real multiplicity that the couture designer found her inspiration to weave her latest collection “Draupadi”. Depicting Draupadi’s journey through three stages – “Marriage to Pandavas”, “Game of Dice” and “Devotion” she brought out the royal wife, the wronged woman who wants her self-esteem back and the pure devotional lady offering her pure love to Lord Krishna. When the designer attempted to capture this multifaceted personality in her couture line, we were struck by the contemporary mood of “fieriness and poise” – the two  simultaneous strains in the reserves of feminine power. To give a “wearable” touch, these qualities – both emotional and spiritual in grand epic registers were sort of moderated in the right proportions so as to make the collection look accessible and not remote. Anju Modi says “I steered away from anarkalis as a formal ceremonial attire option and instead presented both the bride-tobe and her  family/friends the option of formal layered lehangas topped with draped dupattas for such events thereby breaking the monotony of bridal wear”. The options vary from day wear to bridal formal wear to evening wear and there’s something for all those who have to attend weddings and look different each time.

Romance Always
Romeo-Juiet, ahh, the Shakespearean eternal lovers defying societal norms, dying in their physical essence but living on as legendary lovers for centuries and centuries in their spiritual essence…designer Debarun Mukherjee, taking on from this thread of thought presented his winter- estive collection “Ba-dastoor”, where classical tales keep taking a life of their own even after their ends. To represent this theme in this collection, the designer has used a vintage colour story, the ceremonial hues per se lending the so called ethnic glamour and yet infused the everyday versatile Indian fabric – cotton in a collection that has an ornate look and is fit for bridal wear! Apart from this offbeat choice, he has freely mixed geometric prints with ornamentation, which was a very obvious stereotype-breaking move. The issue of “wearability” has never been far away from this designer’s mind who believes in shooting with real life people thereby making couture look as actually it will look on real life wearers. The subtle craftsmanship, the layered skirts and dressy appeal makes it suitable for all kinds of bridal functions – not just for the wedding and not just for the bride. The designer chuckles and says “After all, there is only one bride in a wedding. But there are numerous weddings that you need to attend!” So what we can arrive at after taking a look at these novel creations is that bridal fashion has started taking a leap into the future by widening its horizons to include not only lightweight but also bridal casual, bridesmaids and bride’s family wear as well as more realistic day wear options for a number of pre and post wedding occasions. Newness in terms of breaking a set pattern, set silhouette and set colours are also being broken and we are witnessing a new, fresh fluidity in designs played out on magical canvasses. Give it a chance, spread your wings and see it for yourself!

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