The bride who is first on the floor.
The bride who laughs the loudest.
The bride who pours the shots.
The bride who dances her way to the altar.
The bride who is in charge.
The bride who writes her own rules.
When Anita Dongre was designing her new limited edition collection, Wedding Couture 2021, this is the kind of bride she had in mind. “The woman who wants her wedding outfit to be light as air; who wants to be able to rewear a blouse, a dupatta, or a sari again and again. And, she needs pockets! Yes, even in her bridal lehenga. She owns who she is, and tells her story with pride,” says the designer.
Pockets, did we say? Viewing her bride as an empowered woman who needs to be functional even at her own wedding, there are nifty pockets in the lehengas to keep cellphones and the like. The hemlines too are cropped at the ankles to allow free and easy movement. “The designs are an ode to the self-made, intelligent woman who lives life with joy, abandon, courage, and kindness. This modern Indian woman knows how to have fun, and how to make sure everyone is touched by her spirit.”
If the muse is the contemporary Indian bride, the inspiration is most certainly the classic and timeless art and architecture of Rajasthan — a perfect coming together of traditional aesthetics and modern sensibilities.
So, you have gota patti, a thread work and zardozi embellishments in Banarasi silk saris, lehenga sets and anarkali suits, besides stunning pieces in hand-painted silk pichwai, like the ‘Hea Pichhwai lehenga,’ depicting wild herons amidst blooming gardens in a vibrant shade of lime.
Another classic takes on a new interpretation with the silk ‘Sitashi lehnga’ in red. It represents motifs of trees atop arched pillars that echo the eras of ancient royalty. Complete with intricate embroidery and additional embellishments of pearls and sequins (the pockets come included, of course).
An ode to Bhuj in particular, with liberal doses of bandhani, ajrakh and block printing, this is a collection of conscious couture—the handmade ensembles are inspired by heirloom Indian crafts and brought to life by traditional craftspeople in rural India.
Dongre prides herself in celebrating craft traditions and this particular collection asserts the beauty of the diverse rural Indian communities. It harks back to royal legacies from centuries ago that bring together handwoven fabrics, rich embroideries and intricate fabric dyeing. Indeed, a collection for keepers and connoisseurs.