Anita Dongre started her journey in high fashion in 1998, and her unique, sincere designs have made her a strong presence within the Indian fashion circuit, especially when it comes to wedding and bridal couture. Her signature style represents the modern Indian woman who is stylish, yet true to her roots. This shows in the contemporary-cum-traditional craftsmanship of her designs. Her lehengas and anarkalis are to die for, so let’s take a look at this craftsman’s creations from 2013-2014.
The year that was: 2013
Anita’s designs are strongly inspired by her native roots, and this was quite apparent in her exquisite collection for the Lakme Fashion Week 2013 Winter/Festive, titled ‘The Jaipur Bride’. It showcased the modern Indian bride in a chic, yet traditional avatar. The theme of the collection was the use of authentic, intricate Jaipuri ‘gotta patti’ embroidery, which adorned the regal anarkalis, exquisite lehengas, and even the chic cocktail gowns. There were ensembles in white and gold, pastel greens, neon pinks and oranges, vibrant blues, and they were all blended into this one collection symbolic of Anita’s interpretation of the modern Indian wedding, which is colourful, yet classy and tasteful. Palazzo pants, stylized lungi pants and loosely draped maxi dresses provided a fun element and are sure to be eye-catchers in the coming wedding seasons.
Another highlight of the show was the music by artist Sona Mahapatra. Her beautiful renditions of thumri, sufi and other folk music fused with a rock, contemporary edge complimented the theme of the show perfectly. This one truly was a crowd pleaser.
Looking ahead: 2014
Anita’s brand is expanding on a global level everyday, and she has surely kept busy this 2014 as well. Her Spring/Summer collection keeps true to what is normally relatable to the summer, such as pastels; whites; loose, flowy lines; and so forth.Celebrating the season, her ‘Sonnets of Spring’ collection is characterised by gorgeous digital and geometric prints in soft, pastel hues. You will also find kaftans, anarkalis, tunics, shift dresses, fitted trousers and elegant eveningwear in this collection, in summer-friendly fabrics such as mal, georgette, chiffon, linen and cotton. Along with this, she has also come up with a line of menswear, which includes classic linen shirts, shirts with digital prints, bandis, deconstructed and half-lined linen blazers, casual linen jodhpuris dipped in hues of aqua, coral, light pink, white and blue. So you can look forward to some clean cuts, patterns and colours for a truly spectacular summer/spring wedding.
Anita’s fashion brands, AND and Global Desi, are two of the most popular ones currently trending the nation. The brands aim at striking a balance between designer wear that is priced exorbitantly and mass market produce that is cheap and commonplace, and creating good-quality, high-fashion clothes that are affordable, yet stylish and unique. This concept has been so well received that expansion plans for her brands are already underway. She successfully launched Global Desi in Mauritius just last year. Well, we hope she launches many more stores this 2014 and wows the rest of the world with her designs as well!
Along with being an ace designer, Anita is also a conscious and responsible public figure. She has contributed to different areas of Indian society with her influence and reach. She is a vegan and an active member of PETA, where she has been in the forefront in the fight for animal rights.
Women empowerment is a cause she truly believes in and has done a great deal for. She is known for employing artisans in Rajasthan to create handcrafted materials for her creations, which is helping to revive and preserve several dying art forms in India. This is also helping to generate employment for a sector that has been fading out since the Industrial revolution. Mijwan is a village in UP that specializes in Chikankari; in association with actor Shabana Azmi, Anita supports the women of this village by commissioning Chikankari work from them, which she uses in her designs. She also contributes to a social organization run by Mana Shetty that provides livelihood to economically backward women with the help of the waste material provided by fashion designers.
While all these achievements are already medals on her chest, Anita was also presented with an award for ‘Excellence in Fashion Design’ by The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Ladies Organization, Bombay Chapter in 2013. We could go on about the honors and recognitions that she has received, but what is remarkable is that in whichever contribution she has made to Indian society, be it through her designs, charity or philanthropy, it’s her heart and sincerity that really shine through. We applaud this maestro and look forward to her innovations in future as well.
Shantanu & Nikhil may look like uppity business tycoons, but when they set out to do what they do best—couture—there are few who can match their impeccable contemporary taste. Having launched their label, ‘Shantanu & Nikhil’, in 1999, this brother duo has become a brand name to be reckoned with. The brand’s focus is on creating clothing that is trendy and chic, yet conservative, which speaks of an old-world Indianness and class that is lacking in the designs of many modern-day designers today. Let’s have a look at the designs these fashion greats gave us in 2013-2014.
The year that was: 2013
Day 4 of The India Bridal Fashion Week 2013 was all glitz and glamour as the fashion world saw beautiful brides and dashing grooms walk the ramp wearing Shantanu & Nikhil’s ‘To Die For’ collection for the Winter Fall 2013. The scintillating Sania Mirza even walked the ramp for this distinguished duo. As their style is principally contemporary, this showcase was no different. The theme of the collection was dedicated to the modern bride, who was adorned in A-line and fishtail silhouettes, and her leading man in bold-print, classy sherwanis, which left the audience with a renaissance-like hangover. Crisp outlines were defined to enhance the female form, and the pristine whites and subtle gold leaf and booti patterns—a refreshing change from the traditional reds and prints usually associated with Indian weddings—showcased a softer side to the Indian bride.
‘Gold in its different shades will be the new black’, is the duet’s opinion. ‘We’re talking color restraint, while still reinforcing the message of vintage decadence.’
Looking ahead: 2014
Staying true to their vintage, yet contemporary style, Shantanu & Nikhil showcased their ‘The Shadows Within’ collection at the Lakme Fashion Week 2014. This collection was almost like an aftermath to the gold leaf theme and sharp silhouettes of the IBFW display, but there was an addition of soft pink and peach tones, sober beiges and clean reds as well. Inspired by their mythical, mystical, muse, Vanessa, the collection was a beautiful mix in colours, textures and forms. Light, sheer fabrics such as organza and raw silk were perfectly balanced with rayon blends and poly jerseys. The embellishments were very delicate laces, which were highlighted with embroidery. The little something for the grooms was also reminiscent of the IBFW as looped hem kurtas were teamed with a variety of bundies in textures, weaves and colours. Sherwanis appeared in quick succession with embroidered cuffs/collars, balanced with super weaves. In other words, the duo sure has kept itself busy since the start of this year.
As an added bonus, the brothers also showcased a vintage collection for the Vogue Wedding Show 2014 with largely Victorian influences—think voluminous gowns, new age lehenga skirts and sari gowns. Vogue’s response to this collection was, ‘Our bride is a storyteller who is extremely well travelled, understated, intelligent and confident. Their ensembles present femininity draped in lush classicism. Shilpa Shetty, Ahana Deol and Avantika Malik are some of their happy, chic brides.’ Well, we wish this artistic duo all the luck for the rest of 2014!
Shantanu & Nikhil have a list of credits to their name. Shantanu boasts an MBA from the University of Toledo, Ohio, whereas Nikhil is a product of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, California. Nikhil has been awarded with some of the most prestigious awards and scholarships. He was invited to design a collection for a prestigious store “Georgio Beverly Hills” in Los Angeles, and he was even featured in L. A. Times to be the only Indian designer to have displayed his designs in a show in Universal Studios, Hollywood.
Shantanu & Nikhil have always been effective in producing products that have a national as well as international appeal. Their list of clients includes eminent names such as Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Leander Peas, Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Dia Mirza, Neha Dhupia, A.R.Rehman, Kunal Kapoor, Shilpa Shetty, Sushmita Sen and Bipasha Basu. They have two signature stores in prime locations in New Delhi and have a presence in the other metros in India, besides having a strong presence in couture stores in Dubai, Kuwait, Tokyo, Switzerland, Birmingham, London, Jeddah, New York and Vancouver.
They have many more accolades under their belt, but what drives home is the fact that Shantanu & Nikhil are both experts in their respective fields, and this marriage (pun intended) of business acumen and the knack for creating classy, urban clothing is what makes their brand the perfect model for up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
We have lots of designers in India who like to combine the traditional with the modern. But, what sets Tarun Tahiliani apart from them is the touch of finesse and refinement he brings to his designs. His bridal collections are quintessentially rich and true to Indian culture, teamed with unmatched Italian pattern cuts and constructions. In short, they’re something every bride and groom’s dream outfit would look like. So, let’s have a look at this master’s bridal collections from 2013-2014.
The year that was: 2013
The India Bridal Fashion Week 2013 saw Tarun Tahiliani’s latest collection of Indian textiles and techniques in a chic, contemporary camouflage. Aptly named ‘Marriage, Mystic and Magic’, his impeccably crafted collection was a fitting end to the 6-day bridal festival.
The extraordinary display began with a welcome dance by the Attakkalari group, in the true Indian baaraat style. As this collection was an inspired fusion of contemporary and traditional, the dance performance truly complemented the grand set.
The intention was to create an interesting mix of traditional crafts and sparkling crystals and carats for the bride and groom as well as their families. Anarkalis in hues of pistachio and green, intricately worked on pyjamas, sherwanis in silk with jackets, and a contrasting combination of beiges and reds combined with intricate embroidery comprised his sensuous bridal collection. The dusky bombshell Lisa Haydon stole the show in an embroidered lehenga in soft pastel hues with crystal embellishments.
This show was an absolute pleasure to view, like true art in motion. All in all, it was a successful event and year for the king of high fashion.
Looking ahead: 2014
Tarun Tahiliani opened the Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) Autumn-Winter 2014, and stunned his audience yet again with a celebration of Indian heritage and colours. His ensemble comprised gorgeous silhouettes in raw silk, zari, chanderi, and chikankari at it’s intricate best. The highlight of the show was Shilpa Shetty, who dazzled the attendees in a kanjeevaram lehenga and draped corset, as a special favour, of course, to her long-time friend.
For this collection, there was a special emphasis on the prints such as multi-scarf patterns. Unconventional sarees, dhoti skirts, jackets with slits, short crop jackets and long, asymmetric kurtas gave coventional couture an international edge.
When asked about the inspiration for this collection, he said, “The idea of this collection traces its root in the early tradition of the country when the clothes would mould to fit the body and not vice versa”.
This was truly identifiable in his collection, as the outfits truly looked like they were made for the gorgeous models that donned them. It truly seems like the theme and inspiration for most designers this year is going to be the old India, so keep your eyes peeled on this master’s bridal work that is to come.
Tarun’s list of achievements is endless, but we’d surely like to highlight some of the milestones of his career.
He opened his first fashion boutique, ‘Ensemble’, in India in 1987.
He has worked with ‘Save the Children’ India to urge the government to increase the health budget to 3 per cent ahead of the budget announcement.
He organized his first solo show called ‘Rubaiyat’ at a gala fundraiser event held in Dorchester Hotel, London in 1994.
He became the first designer from the country to get an invitation to exhibit his collection on the grand international platform—The Milan Fashion Week.
In 2013, Tahiliani wowed the world when he launched his ‘Kumbhback’ collection on the second day of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week Autumn/Spring in 2013, inspired by the Maha Kumbh Mela.
He has designed for the likes of many national and international celebrities, such as Aishwarya Rai, Shilpa Shetty, Kabir Bedi, Rani Mukherjee, Ayesha Takia, Yami Gautam, Indrani Dasgupta, Meher Jesia Rampal, Fern Mallis, Naomi Campbell, Elizabeth Hurley, Oprah Winfrey, and Isabella Blow, to name a few.
These accomplishments are just a drop in the vast ocean of work that Tarun Tahiliani has offered India and the world. His designs aren’t just outfits; they’re a way of life that many from the upper crust of Indian society have adopted. His designs take inspiration from the icon that is the modern Indian woman. If this is the image that defines you, opt for a Tarun Tahiliani for both bride and groom. Go ahead, celebrate!
As women we all have experienced that stress of standing in front of a full length mirror wondering if we look our best in the given outfit. At times we have issues with the color, with the style, with the way it highlights parts we are actually trying to hide and so on. Depending on how much time we have, we generally give in to the mirror and accept the look and move on BUT when it is the wedding outfit in question, we dare not do that. Why would we want to settle for looking anything but the best on our big day? Dress dilemmas can be frustrating, time consuming and exhausting but let us face it, it is something that every bride must face and to minimize this not so pleasant experience, here are some things to always remember.
Bridal outfits are available in every price range that you can think of but it is important for every bride to know what range she is going with. There is nothing more upsetting than the feeling of not getting your money’s worth, especially when it comes to an outfit this important. A budget also indirectly shortlists the available options you have versus visiting store after store.
Like most brides, you may be open to the idea of seeing several bridal outfits but deep within you have pictured yourself in something. That little something is your biggest aid in determining your style for the big day. A classic bridal outfit to a vintage bridal outfit, a trendy bridal outfit to a glamorous bridal outfit, you can have it all in place by listening to your inner voice.
Labels or not
We all love the idea of owning garments of certain designers but perhaps you should keep these desires to a time other than your wedding. Certain labels might come with a price tag or style that is not suited to you therefore it is very important for you, as a bride, to determine firstly whether the outfit is within your budget and secondly if the style flatters your body shape and personality. Many times brides go wrong with their outfits in the sheer desire to own a designer bridal lehenga.
Besides trends being quite an important factor in determining your bridal outfit, so is the season. Certain fabrics are best suited to certain weather conditions or temperatures. Nothing could hurt the eye more than a bride looking uncomfortable in her wedding attire.
Lastly, colors can make or break an outfit. Therefore every bride must spend some time draping fabrics of several colors to find what suits her best. Changing trends have seen brides shift from conventional Indian bridal outfit colors like maroon, red, gold to brighter neon shades but that shift does not necessarily translate to a successful one.
By working on some or all of the above factors brides can create a basic framework on how to pick or tailor the best possible outfit for their wedding day. Be assured through each stage of the process, as a bride, you will understand your requirements better therefore contributing to a perfect outfit and avoiding the big day dress dilemma.
We all know how brides-to-be go gung-ho about their big Wedding Day. But weddings are not about brides only, they are about grooms too! After all, the bride’s best accessory is a well styled groom, don’t you think? Let’s pay some attention to the men today with this blog post.
It’s agreed that the groom might not have as many accessories as the bride, but he is not completely devoid of them. There’s nothing really better than a groom in a custom tailored outfit, but in our opinion, it’s the accessories that make the man.
In case of Indian outfits like a Sherwani or Kurta-Pajama, embellished juttis, mojris or kolhapuris work the best.
In an Indian wedding, Pagri comprises of one of the most important accessories for the groom. Traditionally, pink has been the color of the groom’s Pagri, with cotton being the fabric used. However, changing times have brought about changes in this accessory as well. These days, grooms go for red-colored Pagris as well, in different patterns, like leheriyas, tie dyes, or self woven brocades.
For an occasion which requires the groom to be suited up, cuff links are the most common accessories. Custom cuff links are trending and how! There are a lot of quirky options doing the rounds now. Have a look!
Every groom should sport a boutonniere, and unlike flower boutonnières, this feather one won’t die.
Vintage pocket watches are very exquisite and can be used as accessories on the wedding suit.
A simple yet modern circle tie pin gives out a classy look.
Apart from these options, the groom can experiment with his own tastes and try to match up with the bride, or with the theme of the wedding. Nothing better than an uber cool groom to sweep the bride off her feet, what say?