After JJ Valaya’s show at India Bridal Week, and after what seemed like a few too many drinks later, the audience settled into the second part of the evening. The camaraderie of the audience had intensified thanks to the first show, and the first rows were exchanging hugs, numbers and laughs before the couture hit the runway. Once the lights dimmed, there was almost instantaneous meditative silence, which was periodically broken by collective applause for some spectacular outfits.
From the beginning of summer, the social media friendly Nikhil’s Facebook feed was filled with images and updates from the romantic city of Rome. This blogger wished she had paid better attention to be able to predict this season’s inspiration from the decadent European Rennaisance. For Indian bridal wear, this is a tricky theme to embody due to the multiple periods and interpretations of style and aesthetic – and because it was spread over a full four centuries! But, Shantanu & Nikhil made it relevant to the Indian bride. We were feeling the fantasy in full force.
This collection was deeply feminine, more so than the duo has ever been, highlighting and accentuating every curve of the female body with the frill and drape that is their trademark. Shantanu & Nikhil didn’t hold back at all, and introduced some new techniques to their repertoire that elongated and slimmed out their usual silhouettes.
The S&N drapes were present and played well with their post Renaissance, rococo-esque Madame Pompadour bodices. There was an unusual, but comfortable balance between Indian textile silks and very European applique gold leaf motifs that seemed to flow through their presentation.
A roundup of my favourite sartorial stylistics through the show:
The hybrid blouse jacket: Cropped, high colour, peplum. Exaggerated shoulders, in all shapes and forms that non-traditionally brought some life back to the typical lehenga. Here are a few stellar pieces:
High Collars: Perhaps because of period movies and dramas based in the 1600’s, the allure of the high collar was instant for me. Its an aesthetic not common in India, or traditional for women, but it was originally worn by noblewomen, queens and princess – individuals of stature and prestige. It definitely trumps the trend of the power shoulder for me!
Hidden cinched waists: Shantanu & Nikhil played with the empire waist in a few pieces and hid that layer of design from the anarkalis. The use of ombre definitely flattered this design choice and the results were as you can see, light and romantic.
Golden Leaf: It was to be found everywhere – on accessories, headgear, shoes, layered heavily on clothing and on shoulders; as if they had fallen from a a shedding autumn tree, in tune with the naturalistic fall/winter season.
Muted tones: What I love about typically Christian weddings is the abundance of white, ivory, and muted tones. Whilst it may be seen as a colour of norm for mourning in India, Shantanu & Nikhil successfully represented that palette in their current collection. Perhaps the modern Indian bride and groom should care less about cultural norms when you have tapered princess French Chantilly lace and intricate gold applique made-to-order? I think so.
Pix: Yogen Shah and Surbhi Sethi for MissMalini