A close friend of mine was hoping to get married this November, with all her friends, family and relatives in attendance. Thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, those plans obviously changed.
My friend decided to advance her wedding and got married last month. “I don’t know how things will be in November, so I tied the knot now and livestreamed the event for my friends,” she says.
The coronavirus pandemic seems to have changed the way we marry. Many couples are finding a way to hold weddings despite countrywide lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. The big fat Indian wedding has become smaller in scale. Brides and grooms are planning last-minute, intimate ceremonies. And while there won’t be any destination weddings any time soon, many ceremonies are turning back time and taking place in the backyards of our homes.
Designer Amit Aggarwal feels that bridal outfits will always remain aspirational
All about my mother
Naturally, the same is true for bridal wear. Veteran fashion designer Ritu Kumar, who owns one of the largest fashion enterprises in the country, says, “Many brides are now bringing back a bridalwear piece – be it an odhni, lehenga or choli – that I might have crafted for their mothers and asking me to revamp or freshen it up for their weddings. Brides are moving back to tradition, from gota and patola saris to beautiful bandhanis.”
“Bridal choices will be subtle, muted, and lean towards a classic look to match the minimal jewellery and fresh make-up look” —Tarun Tahiliani, Fashion designer
The Padma Shri-winning designer also anticipates the return of the sari. “There is nothing more sustainable or versatile than the sari. And, if you ask me, I think it’s going to come back into the wedding trousseau in a big way. Even though the bridal market has been taking a hit since demonetisation, I don’t see people doing away with or losing interest in buying artisanal pieces that put Indian craftsmanship at the forefront,” she says.
Brides are revisiting heritage, according to Ritu Kumar
Priyanka Modi of AMPM says that shopping patterns will evolve and trousseau shopping will focus on investments that are long-lasting, and can be passed down to future generations. “Timeless prêt silhouettes such as dhoti pants, a lovely anarkali set or an embroidered throw might take precedence over excessively- opulent lehengas, that might not necessarily be reused,” she says.
A return to simpler times
Couturier, and a true master of drapes, Tarun Tahiliani believes that after almost 100 days of lockdown, dressing in ornate and extravagant Indian clothes is the farthest thing from people’s minds. “People are aware of the economic and the social destruction around them, this is not the right time for people to, in any way, go over the top. Rather I think it is going to push us into a more circumspect way of doing things. Which is why, I feel bridal choices will also be subtle, muted, and lean towards a classic look to match the minimal jewellery and fresh make-up look,” he muses.
Fashion designer and textile connoisseur Sanjay Garg, who is known for vibrant, lush silks that look as modern as they do traditional, also hopes that these volatile times will make brides more conscious of what or how they celebrate. “I think it’s possible to have a ceremony that is rich and beautiful without all the fuss or ostentatiousness. People today know only one kind of wedding or festivity in India – it would be nice to break away from this stereotype and revisit something that is equally our own,” he says.
“Brides are now asking me to revamp bridalwear pieces, that i might have crafted for their mothers” —Ritu Kumar, Fashion designer
Designer Rimzim Dadu, who has brought surface innovations with unusual materials like metal wires to the forefront, also believes that weddings will scale down. “I have always preferred small, intimate weddings. In fact, for my wedding a couple of years ago, I chose to drive to a 12th-century Himalayan temple with 30 of my friends and family to get married. I see smaller and meaningful weddings happening now, which are reminiscent of old times. This means that purchases will also get more meaningful. Brides would look at lighter clothing that would be more contextual with a smaller setup and wedding. This would bring more versatility out of a garment that will be reused later,” she says.
Timeless prêt silhouettes such as dhoti pants, anarkali sets or embroidered throws might take precedence over heavy lehengas
While this shift may impel brides and grooms to think of small, meaningful ceremonies, Kumar feels the shrinking budgets for weddings might not be the best news for artisans. “Not just craftsmen, but artisans who are associated with wedding décor too,” she says. Dadu agrees. “Since weddings are going to be smaller, the amount of money people spend on weddings and clothes is also going to shrink drastically. But the Indian fashion industry has to adapt to this new shift. The industry has been doing the same old stuff for bridal wear for far too long, just escalating the price tags every season. The change in consumer purchases is inevitable, and those who adapt their product lines and pricing will win,” she adds.
Tarun Tahiliani is all for wearing good quality clothes and making memories on your wedding day
“It’s possible to have a rich and beautiful ceremony without all the fuss” —Sanjay Garg, Fashion designer
Designer Amit Aggarwal remains hopeful. He believes that the bride, the groom, and the families will still consider the wedding ceremony as one of the most important parts of their life due to the memories it makes. “The couple should not shy away from investing in the creation of memories and feelings, which will last them more than a lifetime. And clothing has a very large part to play in doing this. I don’t think it should deter them from wearing what they always wished to wear. Bridal outfits are always aspirational because of the sacredness of the functions and their importance in life,” he says.
Of course, picture-perfect settings or choreographed wedding performances will have to be postponed en masse. But this shouldn’t dampen the spirits of soon-to-be brides and grooms. Tahiliani advises, “Wear good quality clothes, make memories with your immediate family and closest friends and enjoy this day for what it truly holds. Celebrate but be responsible, and once the world gets back to its (new) normal – host a grand reception, if you like!”
From HT Brunch, August 9, 2020
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