A restrained colour palette is not something one would normally associate with bridal wear. But a look at the recently concluded editions of India Bridal Fashion Week and India Couture Week in Delhi, and you realise that while bridal red, rust and pink appear in majority, they are being balanced out by starker shades of ivory and off-white. In the past, while pret collections have been indulgent with white, this season, couture collections targeting brides-to-be have all included shades of ivory, sometimes without the presence of any other colour.
According to designer Suneet Varma whose recent collection “The Princess of Shekhawati” includes stark white and ivory ensembles with white on white aari embroidery, the appearance of the hue in bridal collections shouldn’t really take us by surprise. “Traditionally, a north Indian trousseau has kept white or even pale hues out, but in southern India, white has always been a wedding colour. A lot of traditional saris in white are complemented with gold and red,” explains Varma. He also points out that though white ensembles are finding preference, they are chosen to be worn on extended wedding functions. “Nearly 95 percent of all the brides who come to me want to wear at least one Indo-Western outfit as part of their wedding celebrations and that’s where ivory and off-white make for a perfect fit,” says Varma.
It’s the modern India bride who has no reservations about the colour, feel designer duo Ashima-Leena. “Even though our collections are very vibrant, for the last two seasons we have consciously brought in shades of white as there is a demand for it,” says Ashima. Moving away from its perceived paleness, the designers too have used golden accents to accentuate the hue.
Showcasing a glamorous side to the colour is designer Raghavendra Rathore whose collection “Re-incarnating Relics” presented full volume and asymmetrical skirts in silk and organza paired with his signature bandhgalas and that too in white. A striking example was his showstopper, actor Aditi Rao Hydari, who wore an ivory sari paired with a similar hued jacket. “White is elegant and ideal for formal occasions. With destination weddings on the rise, brides are looking for pastel colours and ivory is quite popular this season,” says Rathore.
The popularity of the shade was also evident in the bridal collections by designers Varun Bahl and Gaurav Gupta. While Bahl has focussed on colour-on-colour embroideries in traditional silhouettes, Gupta’s white mermaid gowns with heavy sequin work are all statement ensembles. Interestingly, with designers choosing to play up ivory without mixing up too many colours, the focus has been on traditional hand embroideries and techniques like crochet.
That is something designer duo Rimple and Harpreet Narula kept in mind when designing their debut collection for the India Couture Week. Inspired by the nomads and the wanderers of the North West Frontier Province, the collection doesn’t steer away from beige and ivory. “White can be a tricky colour and we wanted to highlight intricate fabric manipulation and crocheting in the collection. Also the colour is reminiscent of the rugged terrain of the area,” explains Harpreet. The long dresses would be ideal for a beach wedding. “The bride today is looking for outfits that are a good mix of modernity with tradition,” adds the designer. And the preferences
for colours like white is a signal in that direction.