Dark & Desirable

Once a trousseau no-no,black is fast seeping into bridal wear

Written by Jagmeeta Thind Joy | Published:August 12, 2013 5:46 am

Designer duo Falguni and Shane Peacock’s collection,“The Garden of Eden”,showcased recently at the Aamby Valley India Bridal Fashion Week 2013 (IBFW) began with an elegant softness but soon graduated to an edgy,darker look. The highlight was indeed actor Neha Dhupia,dressed in a shiny black multilayered gown with a metallic butterfly on the waist,who closed the show for the designers. As tempting as it is to christen the look,“The Bride Wore Black”,it would be unfair to compare the ensemble with a Gothic vibe,to the sinister French film by Francois Truffaut as Dhupia looked more fun than remorseful. Incidentally,the Peacocks aren’t the only ones who have embraced black and its family in a bridal line-up.

In the last couple of weeks,collectively,more than 20 of the country’s leading designers have put forth their collections targeting the big fat Indian wedding season ahead. First to roll out was the Aamby Valley India Bridal Fashion Week (IBFW),which was closely followed by the PCJ Delhi Couture Week. A look at what came down on the ramp and it feels designers were in a rebellious sort of mood. While there’s no denying that the ceremonial bling was present in all its glory,what was more striking is the appearance of the colour black in bridal wear collections,traditionally considered a strict no-no in an Indian bride’s trousseau for being inauspicious.

The choice of closing with a black outfit,admit the Peacocks,was well-thought out. “As designers we have always followed the philosophy that life is too short to blend in and our clients understand that. They come back to us because they want something different,” says Falguni Peacock as she goes on to add,“We feel brides today are moving away from the regular colours and are keen to experiment with bridal couture. So Neha closing our show (in that outfit) was reflecting exactly that.”

At the PCJ Delhi Couture Week,designer Gaurav Gupta’s collection titled “Lighfall” comprised newer silhouettes in gowns and derivatives of the sari and lehenga but also pushed tones like moon grey and metallic black. Gupta feels that black is as important as any other colour in a wardrobe for a bride. “Bridal wear does not necessarily limit itself to what the bride wears at her wedding. It is also about the other numerous occasions where black and its families add to the sensuousness of the wearer. It is entering that scenario in a slithering and sure way,” feels Gupta. Quiz him whether the modern Indian bride is looking to experiment with unconventional hues and Gupta replies,“A bride today is a reflection of the culture around her and in my experience,more and more ladies want to express their individual chutzpah rather than being a subject to any form of cliche.”

Designer Manish Arora’s first bridal couture collection seen at Delhi Couture Week and JJ Valaya’s collection at IBFW,saw some beautiful examples of how the colour need not be shunned from a trousseau as did designer Raghavendra Rathore’s new collection. The latter chose black as the base for his womenswear line with embellished bandhgalas and jackets. Rathore admits that there’s been a noticeable emergence of black in Indian couture but there are still some rules to follow. “There is definitely a mindset change but the shift to dark colours is mostly for functions other than the main wedding day. A certain degree of dark colours are considered okay as long as the trims are gold and bright,” explains Rathore,who also feels that the younger generation cares more for the style aspect of the look over ritualistic demands.

Designer Mandira Wirk,however,disagrees. “The bride never shops alone and the decision of the bridal outfits is influenced by other members in the family. So while a black ensemble might work for pre or post wedding events,it never gets a go-ahead for the wedding day. I have burnt my fingers once with a black bridal lehenga that still remains unsold,” she quips. While it might still be creeping into bridal wear choices,the power of black in fashion per se remains indisputable.

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