Pride, Prejudice and The Indian Bride

Anita Dongre’s new bridal couture and jewellery store in Delhi’s DLF Emporio is inspired by Rajasthan’s royalty

Published: 06th September 2014 10:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th September 2014 03:28 PM   |  A+A-


When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.” Nietzsche is mostly right. In fleeting pleasures and passing pain, people find and lose each other within the cosy confines of marriage. What remain intact through the process are the tangibles. From the weight of gold embellishments on lehenga hemlines to the single-cut diamonds on sherwani cuffs, priceless objects maketh a marriage. Steeped in pride and prejudice, trousseau building is an important rite of passage and Anita Dongre has taken several brides and grooms through it, for the last two decades. The 50-year-old couture designer owns the `300 crore design company And Designs India Ltd, the first Indian label to have its own centralised production hub. Quite recently, she has launched a bridal, couture and prêt ensembles store that spreads across a 3,000 sq ft space on a higher floor in the capital’s DLF Emporio Mall. After Mumbai, this is Dongre’s second bridal couture store.

Beautifully1.png“Nayantara, a fictional princess, is my muse. She embraces modernity and change, but knows how to appreciate tradition. This is the sort of woman my creations are catering to”, says the designer who launched her first jewellery line ‘Pinkcity’, in collaboration with Pradeep Jethani of Mumbai-based Jet Gems.

The Delhi-store retails her new collections Nayantara for women and Anshumat for the rest. These are crafted from pure gold and precious stones in meenakari and jadau discipline. The women’s collection features jhumkas, multi-strand polki necklaces, bangles and cuffs in 18k and 22k gold. The man can pair buttons and cuffflinks sculpted in 22k gold, with bandhgalas or sherwanis.

Beautifully-2.jpgAs if emerged out of the first few pages of a newly opened coffee table book on the Maharajas of Jaipur, the store is glossy and has a waxy scent of varnish. There are densely engraved wooden arches all around, these divide up the deep pink walls. The chequered black and white floors are spruced up with the electric shades of Turko-Persian blue pottery that also happen to be a Jaipurian custom. There’s a living room setting with a marble inlay centre-table and Rajputana silver furniture, upholstered in neon pinks and greens. On the other side of a haveli-style wooden door, rests a jhula room, predictably, furnished with a handcarved wooden terrace swing. There’s also a changing room curled up inside block-printed cloth walls. “Picking out wedding gear isn’t as romantic as it sounds. I wanted to give my bride a relaxed experience where she can swing and interact with her girlfiends, as she chooses the cuts and colours for her big day,” adds Dongre, who has also placed a large silver-engraved mirror in front of the swing, should there be an existential mirror-on-the-wall moment in the curious mind of the bride-to-be.

The palette of her 2014 collection ‘India Modern’ shuttles between feathery soft neutrals like cream and flesh, to jewel tones of ruby red, peacock blue and rani pinks. “This collection is steeped in heritage, but is still comfortable and not  weighed down by decorative detailing,” says the designer who runs 123 retail stores across its brands AND, Global Desi, and Anita Dongre (Interpret and Timeless).

The wearable collection features a pink bandini kurta with gota-patti work, paired with pink trousers and a net dupatta, along with a raw silk front buttoned dress, and embroidered detailing on the cuff. There are raw silk kurtas, textured long jackets, classic sherwanis, dhotis and ghera salwars for the men in question.

Not all can do and undo a Jaipur wedding in Liz Hurley speed; this one’s for those looking for leisure and peace in the thick of their big, fat wedding madness.


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