Talk of “Indian weddings” and instantly one’s mind is filled with visions of gaudy colors, glittering fabrics, detailed embroidery and stone work, cascading lehengas all filled to the brim with tradition! Here comes the twist in the tale as Indian brides are now increasingly moving towards the western style “gowns,” as their new wedding dress.
By Shahida Khan
The introduction of wedding gowns in the hardcore-traditional Indian wedding ceremonies is news for sure. Attribute it to western influence or even the impact of globalization which has resulted in an increased awareness about the latest trends in fashion; when it comes to looking good on the wedding day, not even the religion can be a boundary anymore. The Indian bride wants to look good and if she feels that she will look much more beautiful in a gown, then you can be sure that she will stick to it.
Flared, or just form-fitting, the gown is finding its way into India’s wardrobes like never before. That Indian fashion is driven by the bridal market is no big revelation. But the trend that is catching on is the integration of the evening gown in wedding trousseaus of up-scale Indian brides. And we aren’t talking church weddings here. The Hindu brides are flaunting elegant gowns, although the trend is restricted to cocktails and engagement ceremonies.
Again, it is not only Versaces and Guccis that are doing business. Indian designers are doing great work here, stating interestingly that gowns flatter Indian body types. Many northern Indian brides have gone the Western way completely, wearing long flowing gowns for cocktail functions. No one wants to wear a sari, lehnga or a sharara anymore.
Designer Suneet Varma’s evening wear section revolves around long and layered chiffon gowns that are just right if you have got an hour-glass. Ritu Beri’s body-fitting flared gowns, which actress Katrina Kaif wore on the Lakme Fashion Week ramp, became the talk of the town. The gown first popped up in popular sensibility when Madhu Sapre was declared runner-up at the Miss Universe pageant back in 1992. She returned home to cajole the hosts of Miss India to include the gown in the formal evening wear round. Two years later Sushmita Sen wore one at both the pageant at home as well as the final one abroad. The gown had finally found its place of pride in India.
According to designers, Indian women can carry off gowns effectively as they are usually hip heavy with a small bust. With heavy embroidery on the bodice, the gown accentuates the bust, and fluid fabrics streamline, thus covering the hips. The more adventurous can opt for solid metallic blues, purples and reds. Strapless and one-shoulder gowns are in vogue. Keep the silhouette slim or else you might be mistaken for a runaway bride.
Opines a fashion designer at Vama Garments of Mumbai: “In India it is usually women in the age group of 18-29, who might prefer wearing gowns over saris. But with age, and the change in body shape and structure, not many women would feel comfortable in a gown. Moreover, the sari has a charm of its own which is another reason why no other western outfit can replace it suitably.”
Ritu Kumar, who had dressed up Deepa Mehta in a sari (at the Oscars), says: “It is important to have personality and character for a star. It is not what you are wearing, but how convinced you are in what you wearing. How much of what you are wearing is “you.” Also, if you are wearing a gown, it has to be personalized; there is no point in picking up something from Harrods.” The entry of wedding gowns in Indian wedding ceremonies is surely a new concept. It can be termed as a western influence or even the impact of globalization, which has resulted in an increased awareness about the latest trends in fashion. The Indian bride wants to look good, and if she feels that she will look much more beautiful in a gown, then you can be sure that she will stick to it. Apart from helping them look suave, the gowns also allow them to be different than the others (since lehengas still rule the roost in India, as far as weddings are concerned).
The bright sheen, smooth feel and flowing look that it offers is what woos most of the brides. Then, there is the option of net and chiffon, both of which are flowing fabrics and surely make a bride look like a princess.
The hallmark of a gown is its fit. And it could be priced anywhere between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 50,000. Designer Azeem Khan of Mumbai recently created a golden gown that is priced at Rs. 42,000. It is a true Azeem Khan signature — heavy, weighing almost a little over two kilos but exquisite, embellished with stones and at the hem are tassels in gold. A group of 50 craftsmen have worked on its design over a period of eight weeks. n