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From handcrafted couture to racy silhouettes, wedding wear takes a turn for fashion at the PFDC L’Oreal Paris Bridal Week.

(Published in Dawn Images on Oct 27, 2013)

Black bridals and unholy cholis, equestrian motifs and embellished prints…designers at the recently held PFDC L’Oreal Paris Bridal Week steered bridal couture from its conventional comfort zone to fashion, proving that even wedding wear can be creative.

While many designers toed the conventional (commercial) line, several memorable ones managed to raise the bar and step out of bridal boredom to configure interesting trends for 2013-14. Here’s what the contemporary bride needs to be looking for this season…

Silhouette: what to wear, dare and bare!

Anyone will tell you that everything works but the gharara, worn with a classic short shirt, was the core element of all bridal ensembles at fashion week. Sana Safinaz opened with this look while Nomi Ansari closed his collection with it. Almost every designer offered the long shirt option with the ornamental lehnga but it was the choli that made a strong comeback, riding higher than it ever has before (HSY, Fahad Hussayn, Ali Xeeshan). Brides-to-be had better hit the gym because even if they don’t have abs, a toned midriff is mandatory for wearing this micro-choli. Besides the choli, tying brides in holy matrimony was the backless blouse, giving a bit of a ‘flash back’ to the seventies, pun intended!

Wedding wear isn’t just about bridals and the ornamental jacket, a must-have for brides this season, dominated trousseau wear. Whether you go for traditional or contemporary, almost every designer from HSY, Sana Safinaz to Kamiar Rokni included delightful designs in their collections. If jackets aren’t your style, then designers like Sania Maskatiya also presented embroidered capes as a fancy alternative.


Colour: stay within the lines, or not

When it comes to weddings, red is a traditional favourite and will always remain to be so, however the introduction of black and midnight blue to the bridal canvas was very welcome and refreshing. HSY’s third capsule captured the shimmer of moonlight on a dark blue ocean, Asifa & Nabeel brought in crisp smartness with black tunics paired with regal red churidaars, Sana Safinaz perfected the unexpected black and white bridal look and many others featured a variety of deep blues with conventional ornamentation.

At the other end of the spectrum, literally, were collections bursting with vibrancy. Nomi Ansari, King of Colour, managed to juxtapose over 13 shades in one outfit and make them gel. Also on the lighter side, Sadaf Malaterre’s colour blocking presented an idea or two of how young girls should dress at their best friend’s wedding. Stay footloose and fancy!

While shades of gold also made it big (almost every collection featured gold blends), an ode to ecru and elegant whites was just as predominant, especially in collections by Misha Lakhani, Sana Safinaz, Asia & Nabeel and Elan.

Fabric: casting a wide ‘net’

Chiffon remains to be a perennial favourite for its access and versatility but ‘net’ appeared to be a fabric favourite amongst designers at fashion week. It will undoubtedly be the fabric of choice this season. Misha Lakhani made best use of it by encrusting kalidaars with equally delicate surface embellishment for a vintage look. Hers was a vision for the petite and sophisticated bride. Net also made an appearance in the Elan show, this time encrusted with pearls and crystals amongst a plethora of other adornments. Cast the nets, you might think, for a better catch!

Velvet accents were also abundant, whether in the form of a backless blouse (Ali Xeeshan) a pair of embellished eezar trousers (Sana Safinaz) or a sherwani cut tunic (Kamiar Rokni). Talking of sherwanis, HSY menswear featured velvet options in rich, jewel colours.

While these materials dominated, layering a combination of different fabrics also surfaced as a popular trend. When it comes to luxury-wear, the purity of silk is what matters most.


Motifs: embellishment for the edgy

For brides bored of the regular, forgettable ensembles, several brave designers stepped into unchartered territory with edgy motifs, themes and eclectic craftsmanship. Top of this list would be Kamiar Rokni, whose lyrical collection presented over 30 ways of how not to look run-of-the-mill. Also pushing the envelope successfully was Sania Maskatiya, who created separates and mixed them for coherent looks.

Surprisingly, the horse was a recurring motif seen in collections by Sania Maskatiya, Deena Rahman and Misha Lakhani, who showcased outfits that narrated stories through their resham embroidery. Birds of Paradise flew from The House of Kamiar Rokni and Zara Shahjahan brought garden flowers to her pocketed lehngas.

Jewellery: gold and headgear

Diamonds may look finer in white but this appeared to be the seasonal comeback for timeless, yellow gold. And when it came to statements, the focus lied on headgear. Most designers made the jhoomar and tikka a centerpiece whereas some, like Fahad Hussayn, took a turn to the extreme and suspended several dangling jhumkas from the hair. Ali Xeeshan constructed ornate gold tiaras (the taj) that was once an emblem of prosperity and social clout. For lighter trousseau wear and post-wedding festivities, designers recommended the statement earring as an essential investment.

To compliment the spotlight on headgear, fashion week stylists (Maram&Aabroo and Shammal Qureshi at Toni&Guy) created variations of the joora (topknot) for almost everyone. It most definitely is a hair trend this season. The braid has exited.

Other than the finery, floral headgear was popular, especially for mehndis and dholkis that precede the actual wedding. HSY’s hair was knotted tightly with deep red chrysanthemums or orange gladiolas whereas Elan used white jasmine (motia) flowers in abundance. Fresh and fragrant.

All photography by Faisal Farooqui @ Dragonfly


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