Here’s what’s trending in fashion this wedding season
At the beginning of the wedding season this year, Indian designers showcased a glittering line-up of Bollywood showstoppers and inclusive models on the ramp to give us a glimpse of 2023’s re-imagined fashion royalty. From saris with bespoke motifs paired with cape veils to lehengas with jackets that redefine bridal power — this year’s trends dare you to dream beyond the expected.
Presenting a fresh take on lavish peplums, slim skirts, jackets, and draped saris, Bollywood’s darling Manish Malhotra showcased a dramatic line of bridal lehengas, sparkling kurtas, and shararas at the recent Bridal Couture Show 2023-24 in Mumbai. The designer completed the look with extravagant trails, head veils, and statement blouses. The hand-embroidered pieces feature classic zardozi, aari, Kashmiri, thread-work, and taban techniques.
Besides the classic shades of ivory and rose, the palette also includes invigorating colours like oyster, gunmetal grey, caramel, and navy for the couture range. “As the brand celebrates 18 years, each shade and silhouette featured in the collection is a heartfelt note from my atelier,” says Manish, adding “It’s about capturing the magic of earthy tones and daring individuality, blending tradition with a new-age spirit for a bride who’s just as graceful as she is brave. The craft and cuts display a true amalgamation of modern heritage and glamour.”
The pick from his men’s collection is a beige sherwani accentuated with intricate floral embroidery, paired with a royal silk panelled kurta, and a brown and ivory stole.
According to designer duo Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, haute couture trends in 2023 are all about balancing opulence and refinement. Whether you have a preference for timeless or modern styles, there is something for everyone, according to the duo. There is a notable focus on sumptuous fabrics, intricate embellishments, and soft, muted tones.
Popular for fusing heritage handcrafts in contemporary cocktail gowns, luxe tuxedos, and contemporary Indian formals, Rohit says,, “This season, voluminous and heavy lehengas have taken a backseat, making way for the trending fishtail or mermaid silhouettes. Additionally, it appears that dupattas are being replaced by capes as a fashionable choice. As for menswear, men are opting for sherwanis, and also favouring fully adorned tuxedos.”
Their latest couture collection titled Equinox, based on celestial geometry, blends elements of faith, mythology, architectural influences, and expert craftsmanship. The offbeat colour palette includes shades that span the sky, ranging from Milkyway blues, with highlights in garnet, rosewood, and twilight lavender.
“We are excited to introduce a new colour into our palette this season — copper, which we anticipate will be the trending shade for the wedding season. We have developed a luxurious handmade lace using a traditional Rajasthani technique known as ‘beaten metallic’. It involves beating metal and threading together to create a metallic texture. For an added effect, we have adorned this lace with tanzanite, metallic crystals, aquamarine, and baby pink stones,” explains Rahul.
This year, traditional fabrics such as Benaras and Kanjeevaram silks, Chanderi, and bandhani are in the spotlight. Designers Shantanu Mehra and Nikhil Mehra, of S&N by Shantnu Nikhil, say they are glad that the unmatched attention to detail and sustainable manufacturing processes is finally taking centre stage in bridal wear. “The persona of the cocktail bride is being highlighted time and again, and it has become a niche category of couture within itself,” says Shantanu, adding, “Couture pieces that are heavy on embellishments and hand embroidery will do well this year.”.
Known for their anti-trend ethos and contemporary couture, Shantnu and Nikhil mention that their latest collection Etheria is inspired by the Sicilian region of Italy. Depicting the grandeur of Roman palaces and Baroque architecture, the range is a juxtaposition of Indian and Roman influences showcased in hand embroidery with crystals and glass beads. “The colour palette focusses on darker tones like royal navy, charcoal grey, and flaming red, crafted for a glamorous cocktail evening. For the bride’s big day, choose from a softer, pastel palette in ice aqua, soft mint, and blush tones to accentuate her silhouette in daylight,” says Nikhil.
If your heart is set on grandeur, Siddartha Tytler’s recent collection Husn is for you. Inspired by the courtesans of the Mughal era, the designer opted for a stunning colour palette in black and white, with hints of blush, blue, purple, and metallics like gunmetal and gold. “We used a lot of sequin work such as crystal and thread work, zari embroidery, three-dimensional work. It was all about layering and corsetry and volume, and the drama of that period. The basic printed kurta starts at ₹22,000 and the lehengas can go up to about ₹7 lakh,” says Siddartha.
Sharing his inspiration for the collection, he says, “This year, I saw Mira Nair’s Kama Sutra and it just stuck with me. Corsetry, layering, lots of jewellery, and OTT styles are what I’m gunning for this season for a stunning trousseau. For brides, it’s all about the drama, the volume, silhouettes, slimmer on top with double dupattas, lots of colour, lots of crystal, and lots of bling paired with our pearl work to look beautiful.”
Bridal wardrobe is incomplete without jewellery, and this year’s trends are designed around classic couture pieces that portray Indian design elements encrusted with global sensibilities. Jewellery designer Archana Aggarwal’s latest bridal collection Royal Opulence showcases the essence of traditional Indian heritage with a modern twist. Perfect for royal wedding looks, the colour palette features emerald green, ruby red, and sapphire blue, with accents of gold. .
Speaking about the trends she anticipates this year, Archana says, “I foresee the resurgence of traditional art forms such as jadau and nakashi, known for their intricate stone settings and skilled metalwork. Design-wise, there is a growing demand for statement pieces, including choker necklaces and oversized earrings. As for colours, we see a preference for a mix of classic hues like deep red and royal blue, along with modern pastel shades like blush pink and mint green, for a contemporary bridal look.”
This season, a lot of prominence is being laid on multi-functional jewellery pieces that can be deconstructed into smaller or longer pieces, and worn with different kinds of outfits on varied occasions. These are practical for destination weddings as well, says Vivek Ramabhadran, founder and CEO of Aulerth, a multi-design house that has jewellery designed by the likes of JJ Valaya, Suneet Varma, Shivan & Narresh, Tribe Amrapali, among others. For example, the Iris necklace and hairband by Suneet Varma doubles up as both and can be worn with Indian and Western outfits. Likewise, Tribe Amrapali’s Valley Of Flowers piece is a contemporary expression of the traditional navratna that can be worn as a statement choker or a bracelet.
Aulerth’s latest bridal collection Gulmohar (designed by Tribe Amrapali), and Pakeezah (designed by Suneet Varma) juxtaposes state-of-the-art designs with understated luxury.
If modern brides are embracing unconventional colours, cuts, and styles for their big day, the grooms ought to match. Menswear designer Kunal Rawal, known for his futuristic designs, decided to pay homage to his homeland and crafted modern-day heirlooms for his latest couture collection. From intricate thread-dipped pieces and embroidery, to surface embellishments in the form of 3D motifs; the designer has a range of colours and clothing options for men’s formal wear that includes dhoti pants, quilted jackets, and layered sherwanis.
On the other hand, designer Tarun Tahiliani’s menswear line takes inspiration from the dramatic flair of the ‘90s. His couture line The New Man, part of his collection For Eternity, fuses innovative chikankari, Persian motifs, artful kashidakari, and Egyptian door influences. His collection features draped silhouettes, dhotis, re-imagined kurtas in structured fits, buttoned shirts, cummerbunds as belts, plunging cowl necklines, and open jackets, replacing conventional styles with a fusion of masculine flair, innovative tailoring, and sartorial drama.