The Indian wedding industry is brimming with couturiers who are employing intricate, handcrafted techniques. With so much on offer, how does a millennial bride chalk out her final option? The key is to look for modern heirloom outfits that balance tradition and modernity. Here is our edit of India’s top bridal couturiers. By Anupam Dabral
1. Anita Dongre
Unorthodox hues and a medley of gota patti, pichhwai, badla work, and bandhani on opulent Indian weaves define Dongre’s oeuvre. Besides decadent pocket lehengas, expect charming day dresses and saris in striking colours; she can easily manage to dress up the entire bridal brigade. “Feminine yet practical, functional and easy” is how she describes her bridal offerings.
It’s not just lightweight handloom lehengas that make Tahiliani a futuristic bridal couturier. His pioneering take on brocade, chikankaari, embellished safari jackets and breezy tulle skirts justify him as the ‘Czar’ of Indian couture. “One can have the most elaborate and intricately detailed lehenga but with a structured dupatta contouring, the body,” says Tahiliani while summing up his signature.
3. Raw Mango
“Our emphasis is on quality, local craftsmanship, and creating a sustainable ecosystem for all,” says Sanjay Garg whose bridal couture is invariably tied to nostalgia. India’s past often becomes a point of reference when you explore his motifs and striking colour schemes. From reinvigorating the Gujarati mashru to making his variations of brocade, jamdani, mum, and chanderi saris, his bridal offerings qualify as pure heirloom pieces.
He creates modern heirlooms punctuated with decadent mirror work prints and patterns as an ode to Awadh. From layered tulle and lace lehengas to shararas, decadent dupattas and floor-grazing anarkalis— Mishra’s offerings are not just for the bride but her sisters and friends, too. “Our look articulates the creative union of old and new India. It’s a combination of glamorous and traditional silhouettes,” he says.
5. Rahul Mishra
Mishra’s love for intricate design, slow craftsmanship, and handwork reflect through his range of saris, jacket lehengas, and gowns. With sustainability at core, he has infused a fresh streak of whites, pastels, and metallics with the traditional bridal sphere. Mishra informs, “Fresh, botanical visual aesthetic has become a keen identity for the brand, enhanced by our explorative two and threedimensional surfaces.”
Palak Shah has weaved a modern narrative with luxury handlooms. It is not just saris that are on offer, Ekaya’s dynamic take on textile manifests via exquisite lehengas in an array of jewels tones. Shah’s modern heirlooms have already been embraced by Bollywood’s leading fashion fixtures. “Adaptable and approachable for today’s countless modern styling preferences,” is how she describes her creations.
From their georgette saris to lehengas featuring intricate zari work to blouses with bellsleeved arms, the design duo seamlessly blends Indian craftsmanship and European sophistication. “Our signature painterly florals done in silk and gold threads evoke a sense of old-age romance,” says Bhumika while recounting their signature.
Their voluminous gowns, cropped blouses lined with feathers, and an array of intricately crafted anarkalis and lehengas, resonate with modern-day luxury. One look at their creations will prove their admiration for cross-cultural confluence. “Today’s bride is evolving, and while she wants to be traditional, she also wants some modern cuts and silhouettes,” says Shane Peacock.
Jaising’s repository of silhouettes is bursting with everything unconventional; think thigh-grazing slits, risqué dresses, and strapless gowns crafted in breathable fabrics. She designs for the modern woman who does not seek external validation, yet respect tradition. “I have always created for the young, modern woman who is comfortable in her own skin,” says Jaising about her muse.
10. Varun Bahl
Decadent 3D floral embroideries over sequinned lehengas and blouses with a blitz of striking hues, Bahl has crafted a repository of couture that balances decadence with craftsmanship. “I love nature, specifically flowers and I have been incorporating elements of it in my collections since I can remember,” says Bahl.