Designers in demand for Mumbai weddings
The super-rich, the affluent and the middle-class seek aesthetics, sobriety and style in their dresses and jewellery
Weddings are one of the most important occasions in the social lives of Indians. The super-rich and the affluent, the middle-classes and even the poor invest a lot of money and efforts in ensuring that family weddings are momentous events and images from such occasions are captured and preserved for years.
Bollywood also exerts a lot of influence on Indian weddings, and it is not uncommon to find brides and grooms and their close relatives all decked up in garish jewellery or fancy gowns and ghararas, or silky shararas and sherwanis, trying to replicate the Big Fat Indian wedding shown in countless films.
However, while people are willing to splurge on weddings, elegance and style are sorely missing in many such events. But of late there appears to be a gradual change, especially among NRIs from the US, the UK and even the Gulf, who are increasingly seeking aesthetics, sobriety and style in their wedding dresses and jewellery.
Nisha Kundnani, a well-known Mumbai-based stylist, who has over the years worked with top Bollywood actors and celebrities, including Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao, Nandita Das, Anushka Sharma, Shraddha Kapoor and even sports personalities such as chess champion Vishwanathan Anand and cricketer Rahul Dravid, recently set up Bridelan, a wedding wardrobe consultancy that offers styling services for brides, grooms and their relatives.
“There is need for better aesthetics in Indian weddings,” explains Nisha. “A lot of brides end up wearing too much jewellery, which they have never worn in their lives. They look uncomfortable, awkward and overwhelmed at their weddings.”
Nisha says she’s had good response from NRIs, including those in the UAE, who want professionals to help them select designer-wear clothing, accessories and jewellery for the weddings. “NRIs from the US and the Gulf do not have much time for shopping,” she says. “They have heard of prominent designers, but Bollywood is often the only window to our culture for them.”
Many overseas Indians especially in the US and Europe wear western attire and only during social occasions such as weddings that they opt for Indian clothes. A prominent designer’s dress might suit a Bollywood actress, but may not necessarily fit elegantly on someone else. Nisha’s job is to ensure that the bride or groom — and their parents, grandparents and siblings — look elegant and stylish during the weddings. “It should not be something gimmicky or temporary,” explains Nisha. “These moments have to last for a long time.”
As a stylist, Nisha advices celebrities when they go for commercial or ad shoots, images for magazine covers and other media shoots, and also during public appearances. Styling, she points out, helps refine an individual’s personality based on clothing. “It helps you enhance your looks: if you want to be simple, we simplify your clothing, if you want to be more stylish, we make you so.”
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