Bakhtawar Bhutto wedding: Designer Wardha Saleem on making the perfect bridal outfit
Pakistani designer Wardha Saleem talks about designing Bakhtawar Bhutto’s wedding dress and all that went behind creating the iconic bridal look.
It would be an understatement to call 2020 a difficult year. Plans went for a toss, celebrations came to a virtual standstill and lavish destination weddings were cut down to in-house intimate affairs due to the ongoing pandemic. That said, the public's interest still remains captured when influential personalities’ nuptials are celebrated.
Talking about influential personalities, Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari, who was engaged to Mahmood Choudhry in November 2020, tied the knot with him on 29 January, 2021 in an intimate wedding ceremony at the Bilawal House, Karachi. Touted to be the most high-profile wedding of Pakistan, the guest list included a few senior politicians, PPP leaders, business giants, real estate tycoons, prominent lawyers, some legislators, close relatives and an entourage of bridesmaids who flew from the UAE. Once the post wedding festivities are over, the couple is expected to move back to Dubai.
There were tight security protocols and the guests were instructed not to carry their mobile phones; which is why there were very few pictures that came out from the event. The first look of the bride was shared by her brother, PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari where he shared that it was the "Happiest moment in many years to see my sister Bakhtawar getting married." Bakhtawar opted for an ivory and gold look which was a tribute to her late mother, the iconic Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who wore the same combination at her wedding.
When Bakhtawar’s engagement pictures were released, there were a lot of speculations doing the rounds. The guess game had already started as to who would be the lucky designer. Just like Princess Diana’s wedding dress designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel was declared the "most closely guarded secret in fashion history’’, Bakhtawar’s wedding dress details were not known at all. The dress was a complete mystery until its unveiling on the wedding day.
City Times managed to receive exclusive images from designer Wardha Saleem who created the look of the bride. Regarded as the “Queen of Colour” in the Pakistani Fashion Industry, Wardha Saleem who has proven to be one of the most celebrated creative talents in the industry shared some interesting details about the preparations, the briefing and the trial process with City Times. Here are some snippets from a conversation with the designer.
What was the brief that was given to you by Bakhtawar Bhutto?
Bakhtawar wanted to go with an ivory and gold look along with the vibes of her mother’s iconic wedding look and we could not have been happier. She trusted us and gave us a free hand to give it our own interpretation and create our own signature look. We see her as a young and sophisticated bride who is connected to her roots and someone who values her traditions and legacy. At the same time, she is someone who wants to make her own mark. Keeping her personality in mind, we created a classic traditional and royal look.
What kind of pressure does the designer go through when he or she has a client who is super influential?
Bakhtawar was the dream bride any designer would love to have. She was easy to work with and was open to the designer’s vision. Coming from a Sindhi background myself, it gave me great pride to design the wedding outfit for “The daughter of Sindh”. This has been a wonderful experience that we at Wardha Saleem will always cherish.
Did you have a ‘Plan B’ or perhaps a back-up dress to offer?
We wanted to design an exclusive custom-made hand embroidered heirloom bridal for her big day and presented her with three different designs based on three concepts. We did thorough planning to lock our design direction; from actual fabric samples, to real embroidery swatches and actual-size design pattern. Since Bakhtawar is based out of Dubai the initial silhouette sample was sent to Dubai for which the fitting was done via a video call meeting from our studio. The first measurements and final ensemble fitting was carried out in Karachi. All the way through it was a smooth process. There was no need for us to look into ‘Plan B’.
They say happy brides are the most beautiful brides. What was Bakhtawar’s own feedback when she wore that dress ?
Bakhtawar is a beautiful person inside out. She appreciates comfort and quality. She loves mixing tradition with the modern. We met her at the wedding and she was super excited to be receiving so many compliments from her friends and family. She appreciated our professional approach and all the effort that was put in our planning. She also loved the extensive intricate hand embroidery and attention to details in the bridal outfit which she carried so gracefully.
Sadiq Saleem is a Dubai based entertainment writer. His instagram handle is @sadiqidas.