The balle-balle land has quite a lot to offer with regards to shopping. Punjab is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of handlooms and handicrafts. Everything available here carries a stamp of its rich culture.
Almost all tourist places in Punjab, from Amritsar to Ludhiana and Chandigarh, provide shopping opportunities and have a lot to offer in terms of traditional and rich crafted ware.
The kind of stuff you get here is colourful, authentic and traditional.
Footwear with beautiful embroidery and impressive patterns using a wide range of fancy materials, like beads, pearls, coloured threads, small mirrors and seashells, are a must-buy in Punjab.
A form of craft in which artistic embroidery embellishes a shawl, saree, dupatta or the entire dress, generally used for special occasions like weddings and other festivities. A special kind of thread is used for phulkari, which is called ‘pat.’ The designs used are varied.
Parandis are attractive hair ornaments, worn at the end of a braid. These parandis are woven out of attractive silk threads, clustered together artistically, in a variety of designs and patterns.
Mentioned above are just a few things traditional to Punjab and can be used for wedding trousseau, placed on the shagun thali or just give a piece of handcrafted stuff from Punjab as Wedding Favours!
So next time you are there, be sure to check these out! 🙂
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.
Neeta Lulla has been one of the most prominent names in the Indian fashion industry for almost three decades now. Her design philosophy is versatile, and her collections range from chic party wear to breathtaking, opulent bridal ensembles. If you’re looking for a wedding outfit that’ll make heads turn, pick one of the glamorous designs by this queen of bridal fashion. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re the bride, the groom, or a member of the baraat, you’re sure to find your dream fit from her festive wedding collection. Let’s take a look at the trousseau and other wedding collections by this style guru from 2013-2014.
The year that was: 2013
As usual, the India Bridal Fashion Week 2013 saw all the glitz and glamour as Neeta Lulla showcased her grand vintage collection titled ‘Bridal Goddess’ on days 5 and 6. An expert at fashion shows, Lulla’s collection of western and ethnic did not disappoint. The focus was mainly on long, white net skirts, lean tunics, tulle covers and gowns with sexy fish trails, and it was an absolute treat to behold. A very interesting ensemble was the smart use of the trench coat over belted, lace sarees. Though she stuck mainly to her traditional lehengas and sarees, there was an edge of innovation to the collection that was refreshing and left the audience enthralled.
Another delightful element of the event were adorable showstoppers and actor couple, Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia D’souza. Riteish was adorned in a royal blue, satin, Nehru-collared jacket, which had a dash of gold patchwork, over a midnight blue kurta with floral embroidery work on it; this was paired it with plain, royal blue trousers. Genelia looked like she had stepped straight out of a fairytale, in a bouffant hairdo and copper brown, satin ball gown with a sweeping trail. The brocade in deep pink and dull gold at the borders and other similar intricate embroidery complemented the copper tinge to the gown and made for a breathtaking ensemble. This is definitely the pick of the week!
Looking ahead: 2014
Neeta’s new venture with ace director Subhash Ghai, called ‘The Whistling Woods – Neeta Lulla School of Fashion’, has kept her busy most of this 2014. After having designed for some of the finest Indian films and biggest stars in Indian cinema, she is now ready for the second innings in her career and plans to give back what she has learnt over the years to the students of her academy. ‘The Whistling Woods – Neeta Lulla School of Fashion is the first of its kind fashion school created by the industry, for the industry. With this venture, we aim to provide relevant practical training and in-depth industry knowledge to fashion aspirants across the country’, says Siddharth Lulla, Neeta’s son, who manages the fashion school and her other businesses. With the help of her capable son, Neeta has been busy with expanding the business at the retail distribution level too.
Her brand, along with her signature couture collections, will now venture into creating more scalable designs for the common masses. The mother-son duet even established an online store recently, which has made the brand more accessible to international clientele. With Neeta’s daughter, Nishka, now assisting her in the fashion world, we’re bound to see new innovations and ventures from this fashionista real soon. Watch this space for more!
Neeta’s creative genius has helped her successfully contribute to over 300 Indian movies. She has created opulent designs for large-budget ventures such as Devdas and Jodha Akbar, and also decorated Twinkle Town’s renowned names, the likes of Sridevi, Aishwarya Rai, Juhi Chawla, Kareena Kapoor, Sushmita Sen, Shilpa Shetty, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Rajinikanth, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan.
With the launch of her fashion school, Neeta, along with several other established names in Indian fashion, has moved to a 3-dimensional business module to interact with the direct consumer more. Since she has been dubbed Bollywood’s resident ‘dream maker’, we wish Neeta all the best in her endeavor to impart her experience and skill to the budding generation of fashion designers in India.
Rohit Bal, the nawab of Indian fashion, needs no introduction to those who are style savvy. Born in Kashmir, Rohit started his independent career in 1990 and hasn’t looked back ever since. He is known internationally for his sophisticated cuts and comfortable fabrics, especially his bridal wear. He is a master at artfully integrating traditional and modern pattern. His designs reflect his own personality and are not restricted to any specific genre or style, but are more of a creative fusion. Let’s have a look at his creative trends from 2013-2014.
The year that was: 2013
Everyone who’s anyone in the bridal fashion industry participates in the India Bridal Fashion Week. And if you’re Rohit Bal, you’ll surely have a red carpet rolled out for you. The maestro wowed the crowd this 2013 with his exquisite collection titled ‘The Mulmul Masquerade’. True to its name, the collection paid tribute to the Indian and Elizabethan eras of grandeur and opulence.
Rohit managed to reconstruct the era where aristocracy paired with coquetry were the flavour of the age. Rich, red, velvet coronation robes and high collars and corsets combined with intricate gold embroidery and side maang tikas showcased the beautiful blend of royal India and Elizabethan England. The outfits were a fusion of subtle fabrics such as Indian muslin and patterns such as Japanese Shibori tie-dye paired with rich velvet; these were stitched together to create grand, A-line, full-length Indian silhouettes. Usually a showstopper, this time Sonam Kapoor stopped a few hearts as well, adorned in a white muslin lehenga paired with Kashmiri gold embroidery like a true Mughal bride, quite symbolic of Bal’s Kashmiri roots. All that can be said is that this ramp walk down memory lane was truly worth our wait for Rohit’s entry into IBFW.
Looking ahead: 2014
Come 2014, Rohit made a big statement that he plans to make his designs more accessible to the common masses by collaborating with the online fashion portal, Jabong, to create a 48-piece ethnic collection. Priced at 5999 and upwards, it features the trendiest-styled anarkalis, lehengas, sarees, and churidar-kurtas. The collection is ‘intrinsically Indian’ and has his ‘signature look’ of embroidered motifs, block prints and bold patterns, in Rohit’s own words. Top models Alesia Raut, Candice Pinto and Dipti Gujral walked the ramp for the master at a private fashion event to reveal the clothes line. Shraddha Kapoor turned showstopper in a simple, yet classy, blue-and-white floral print anarkali with a posh, gemmed headband.
After having designed for the likes of Uma Thurman, Cindy Crawford, Pamela Anderson, Naomi Campbell and Anna Kournikova, and practically every trendsetter in B-town, and creating outfits that have been sold at even 15,000 USD, Rohit has truly stepped away from his brand image and created a collection that the average Indian can afford. If you’re looking for a designer ensemble this wedding season, I recommend high fashion at an affordable price. Three cheers for the fashionista!
Rohit has won many accolades and laurels in his career as a fashion designer. Best known for his use of lotus and peacock motifs, he has created a distinguishable trademark for himself in this day and age of infinite competition. Besides being a great designer, Bal is also an enterprising businessman and has collaborated with many renowned international brands, such as Hidesign, Oriflame, Mitsubishi Outlander and Windproof Zippo Lighter. He is also an ambassador for Omega watches and is sponsored by the Swatch Group.
There is so much more in his list of credits that it would take us all day to chalk out the biography of this seasoned couturier. He has been, and still is, one of the greatest contributors to the Indian fashion industry, and after his recent collaboration to reach out to the broader Indian audience, I daresay that he has made fashion more relatable to the public.
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!
“I don’t believe in trends. My personal opinion is that trends don’t work. Just wear something, stand in front of the mirror and just be honest to yourself. If it works for you, it’s trendy enough.” – JJ Valaya
Known for combining the old with the new, the subtle with the bold, the ordinary with the distinct, and the offbeat with the mainstream, JJ Valaya is the true sardar of Indian fashion. His artistic skill, taste and design are different from any other Indian designer—he’s been doing this longer than most of them too. His masterful blend of modern and traditional is ideal for both bride and groom. So, if you want to stand out from the crowd at your wedding in a truly unique way, be sure to pick this fashion guru’s latest designs from 2013-2014.
The year that was: 2013
Fondly bestowed with the titles of the ‘czar’ and ‘maharaja’ of bridal couture, JJ Valaya wowed the crowd with yet a new set of masterpieces at the India Bridal Fashion Week 2013 in Delhi. He chose to exhibit the the heritage of Iberian fabric—artfully playing with the mural concepts, naval inventory and matador costumes of Spain—and successfully fuse it with Indian handicrafts and motifs. The focus of the theme was the classic, Spanish red rose, which was artfully included in the lehenga borders, daintily adorning the hairdos of the models, and peeping out from the shoulders of the creative choli jackets. This event truly reiterated Valaya’s role as a trendsetter in the bridal fashion industry.
Looking ahead: 2014
The Delhi Couture Week saw the return of the Ottoman Empire in JJ Valaya’s royal collection, ‘The Azrak’. Grand props, a regal setting and a heavy dose of embroidery and delicate motifs in metal work, zardozi, badla and semiprecious stones upheld the theme.
From saris, achkans, lehangas to anarkalis, there was every design an Indian bride could desire. Even the menswear had some interesting designs in the form of sherwanis and jodhpuris in classy colours, cuts and prints. An innovative mix of belts and jackets on saris was the highlight of the event.
After a great start to the year and many accolades later, we wish Mr. Valaya much more success in 2014!
JJ Valaya is one of the founding members of Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI). The fashion label, “House of Valaya”, that was established in 1992 embodies the very essence of his style. He was also the first global brand ambassador of the crystal giant Swarovski. JJ Valaya’s couture label—JJ Valaya—comprising his trousseau line, was launched in 1993 and has been growing from strength to strength ever since. He has showcased his designs at countless Indian and international fashion weeks. His other accomplishments include the following:
He was the first Indian student to win The Prixd’ Incitation at the Young Designers International Competition held in Paris
He won the Elyxa Award at The NIFT Graduation Show, New Delhi (1991)
He won the Thapar Dupont Medal at The NIFT Graduation Show, New Delhi for the most innovative use of fabric (1991)
He won the first prize at the KLM-NIFT Alumni competition held in Mumbai, India (1992)
He was the first Indian designer to showcase his designs along with an American designer (Todd Oldham) in New York at the Plaza Hotel, 5th Avenue in a unique fundraiser (1998)
After reading this long ode to his talent, skill, capability, and mastery, we realise that JJ Valaya’s achievements leave very little to imagination. He remains one of the biggest names in the bridal trousseau market in India, and is truly a force to be reckoned with.