Unarguably any Indian’s favourite time of the year, wedding season is round the corner and the love is in the air! But let’s get to our most favourite part of shaadi time – and the brides’ – the gorgeous wedding and trousseau fashion.
Years of coveting, months of planning and days of anticipation later, Indian wedding wear culminates into a few gorgeous days of celebration. So to help you look the bride that you always dreamt of, we rounded up the top 10 wedding designers in India, all creators of breath taking couture. Take a look!
Tarun Tahiliani is always first a connoisseur of the arts before he’s called a designer. Armed with degrees from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Tahiliani has taken Indian wear to glamorous heights, with European cuts, structured draping and digital prints studded with Swarovski crystals. His award-winning designs retail globally and regularly starlight runways all over the world.
The designer’s signature elements include vibrant colours, some gota, zardosi and Swarovski crystals spanning fabrics – all fitting elements for the perfect wedding outfit. Typically, all his drapes are body conscious, layered, and moulded to the body so it gives the figure a cinched, feminine silhouette.
His latest collection, The Last Dance Of The Courtesan at the India Couture Week, was a tribute to Indian courtesans, inspired by the naach girls or tawaifs from India’s royal past. Expectedly, it had all the frills of a dancer and all the grandeur that history carries with it.
The face behind many a Bollywood makeover, from Urmila Matondkar in Rangeela to Kajol in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge to Sushmita Sen in Main Hoon Na, or Kareena Kapoor in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Manish Malhotra has set a milestone for fashion in the world of Bollywood. Whether his filmy bright chiffon sarees that everyone from Sridevi to Deepika Padukone has flaunted, or Preity Zinta’s memorable salwar suits from Veer Zaara, the designer’s creations have gone down in Bollywood history. When Michael Jackson visited India for a Bollywood show, it was Malhotra who was asked to design his outfit. Manish is not only a household name now, but the label has gone international.
Capture the adoration of Indian brides all over the world, Manish’s specialty is perhaps his stunning bridal wear. He’ll use a soldier’s uniform buttons at the back of a lehenga blouse, but it will still turn out feminine. His label works with artisans of Mijwan and Kashmir to create stunning handcrafted work on his sarees and lehengas – from subtle antique zari that shimmers in the light, to bold and heavy zari, and everything in between, his couture is heavily embellished.
Staging an exquisite show at the last Couture Week, A Persian Story had every bit of the opulence you’ve come to expect from Bollywood’s favourite designer, setting the right tone for the rest of the fashion week, with Fawad Khan and Deepika Padukone playing gorgeous show stoppers.
If there’s one thing that will go down in Indian fashion history, it’s that Sabyasachi is one couturier that never disappoints. Hailing from Kolkata, the label 'Sabyasachi' has been there since 1999, while the designer has also successfully become a part of Bollywood now.
The NIFT Kolkata graduate won the Femina British Council for the most outstanding young designer of India in 2001, taking him to London for an internship with Georgina Von Etzdorf, a designer based in Salisbury.
In 2005, he designed the costumes for Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film, Black, Baabul (2006), and Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (2007). Ever since, Vidya Balan’s wedding designer has earned the reputation of being one of the top designers of the country.
His exquisite handwork embroidery on bridal wear and regal menswear collection glamourize simple, age-old Indian fabrics, bringing back Kanjivaram, banarsi and cotton to the ramp – a very pregnant Kareena Kapoor flaunted her baby bump in a heavily embroidered olive green lehenga and a kurti patterned choli at the Couture Week this year.
Anita Dongre’s designs lave always showcased exquisite Indian aesthetics and craftsmanship in a contemporary language. Inspired by Rajasthan and India’s rich craft tradition, Dongre has handcrafted bridal gotapatti lehengas and handwoven heritage Benarasi creations that are coveted by brides all over the world. Aside from her bespoke bridal, couture, prêt and menswear lines, she also works with handcrafted gold jadau jewellery.
The contemporary woman rooted in quintessentially Indian sensibilities, is who Anita Dongre designs for, all the while celebrating India’s heritage, but with a modern twist. Celebrities flock to her for traditional red carpet looks – Sonakshi Sinha, Bipasha Basu and Malaika Aroraa Khan are just some of the celebrities who count as fans.
Although it’s been 4 years since Anita Dongre started her bridal line, it was the first time the designer showcased her bridal collection at the India Couture Week ‘16 runway. Her collection Epic Love romanticized Dongre’s muse, the mythical gyspy bride Nayantara, meeting her true love – perhaps a fitting reflection of the designer’s own love for couture.
ABU JANI & SANDEEP KHOSLA
Known for their signature chikankari, an eye for detail and a luxurious lifestyle, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla have established themselves as veterans in the fashion industry at a time when flamboyance is often mistaken for elegance.
The designers have come quite a long way. In 1986, soon after they launched a boutique called Mata Hari, one of the first of its kinds in Mumbai, their luck shone in the form of a magazine cover. They were featured on the cover of the prestigious Bombay magazine and were one of the five designers first approached by Tarun Tahiliani for his multi-brand boutique Ensemble.
Dimple Kapadia was their first celebrity client, and today women like Jaya Bachchan and Parmeshwar Godrej have been longstanding clients of the duo.
Their line of shawls, under the brand name of 'Shakira Caine' mark at Harvey Nichols, Neiman Marcus and Harrods in London, along with Bergdof Goodman in New York and Knightsbridge in UK, also launched them into the global forum.
Jani & Khosla won the national award for designing some of the fabulous attires for the movie Devdas, and in the span of twelve years, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla have established their first London store, gained stronghold in Britain, featured on Business Week's list of the 50 most powerful Indians, and have started a successful prêt line as well.
Having been designing wedding dresses since 1985, and worked on over 300 films, Neeta Lulla’s name became synonymous with Bollywood, especially after Devdas, in which Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit wore her costumes. Lulla committed herself to a building a strong Bollywood client base and has succeeded by a long shot, especially when she designed for actresses like Sapna, Salma Agha and Sridevi at the beginning of her fashion designing career.
No wonder the designer was Aishwarya Rai’s pick to craft her pearl-encrusted lehenga for her mehendi ceremony and an additional dress for her South Indian wedding ceremony. Celebrities like Shilpa Shetty, Aishwarya Rai, Sridevi, Sapna, Salma Azad, Isha Koppikar and Juhi Chawla frequently flaunted her designs, just like brides all over India.
Lulla’s signature style is her use of Paithani, the ancient technique of tapestry that combines multiple threads of different colors and incorporates gold and silver threads woven together to create a dynamic piece of silk.
This Hyderabad-based designer may have appeared on the scene a few years ago, but what we’re considering is that she’s now at her absolute peak. Anushree did her Masters in Business Administration, but fate – or the Indian fashion industry, whatever you want to call it – had other plans for her. The self-taught seamstress first started crafting clothes in her atelier and made her ramp debut at Fashion Week Summer Resort 2013 in the Talent Box section.
Her signature romantic, fresh floral designs are what make her not just a crowd favourite but a celebrity sweetheart as well – Madhuri Dixit, Deepika Padukone and Nargis Fakhri count amongst her celebrity clientele.
The designer’s attention to detail is what takes her couture to the next level – she mixes floral prints, lace and gota and uses pure fabrics with delicate embellishments to create ethnic designs that are especially popular with young brides.
If you’re even remotely sartorially inclined, chances are you’ve already seen Arpita Mehta’s gorgeous work on the runways, and flaunted by a slew of celebrities like Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Yami Gautam, Madhuri Dixit, Soha Ali Khan, Karisma Kapoor and Malaika Arora Khan.
A graduate in apparel manufacture and dress design from S.N.D.T University, Arpita went straight to interning with Manish Malhotra, and then debuted her eponymous label at Lakmé India Fashion Week Winter-Festive 2013 which was met with great success.
Her collections can be described as contemporary ethnic, with fusion ensembles hinging on intricate embroidery, vibrant anchor threads and mirror work.
A NIFT New Delhi graduate, Varun Bahl launched his epnymous label in 2001, and has since become one of the most popular designers among brides today. Perhaps it’s his inimitable talent for quality work, or perhaps it’s his dedication to detail, Varun has worked with international fashion maestros through his family export business, embellishing the works of Armani, a part of Kenzo Jungle, Jeans and Kenzo Paris, and Lacroix's Bazaar and Jeans. In 2003, the designer showcased his Spring/Summer 2003 collection at White in Italy, and his collection was voted the "Best of Season" amongst 20 competing designers from different countries.
His creations are a beautiful blend of two worlds, mixing a vintage and antique look with the new and contemporary lines, to create pieces that are chic and trendy. Bahl combines his eye for detail and breathtaking embellishment with clean silhouettes and a blend of techniques. The average Bahl ensemble will feature block printing, appliqué and embroidery crafted from fabrics with different textures – exhaustingly beautiful to say the least.
If you’ve been obsessed with florals lately, the Vintage Garden collection that the ace designer showed at India Couture Week ’16 would be just the thing. Reinventing traditional silhouettes for the contemporary Indian woman, the designer presented a bouquet of fantasy on the runway, full of sophisticated colours, textures and patterns. Feminine and fashion forward, we spotted delicate vintage inspirations by way of nets and laces, blended with Baroque influence for good measure.
Best known for her eponymous label, Anamika Khanna’s style of design is presenting India’s rich craft traditions through contemporary silhouettes. She’s considered both highbrow and sartorial, but the first thing to resound with Anamika Khanna’s name is her habit of setting trends that everyone follows. From being the first female Indian fashion designer to showcase her collection at the Paris Fashion Week, to being the first Indian couturier to launch an international label, Ana Mika, she has become a celebrity favourite when it comes to red carpets and grand events.
She is credited for introducing the dhoti pants, for reinterpreting the saree, and you’ve definitely seen her famous embellished capes on many-a famous faces – Sonam Kapoor, Jacqueline Fernandez, Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone, and Kareena Kapoor are all regular clients.
The label Anamika Khanna is synonymous with craft, experimental styles; modern and edgy design – going from a ready-to-wear collection all the way up to couture. At an off-site show at the India Couture Week ‘16, Anamika Khanna impressed with her collection titled, When Time Stood Still, that aimed to resuscitate the youthfulness of romance. ensembles like embellished lehengas with 3D flowers, palazzos, sequined jackets, long trailed anarkalis and pant sarees were featured, with traditional embroideries like kalamkari, dori work and zardosi throughout the range.