We catch up with designer duo Shivan and Narresh to get a quick prediction on the upcoming wedding trends in fashion and how the new normal is going to shape up for those of you planning to tie the knot. By Riaan Jacob George
If you are following Shivan and Narresh’s social media platforms, chances are you are addicted to the glitzy lifestyle they portray on their feeds—couture and champagne, lavish weddings, and exotic locales with equally glamorous friends. We caught up with the designer duo to suss out the trends for wedding celebrations in the post-pandemic era. How do celebrations pan out in the new normal? What are the fashion choices that couples and guests will embrace this season?
To start with, we talk about the scale of weddings and Narresh weighs in with his perspective, “Small scale, intimate weddings are going to be the biggest trend this season. The big fat Indian wedding of 1,000 guests has now been reduced to a guest list of 20 to 50 at the most. It’s going to be all about creating an experience for guests. And the guest list will rarely extend beyond the couple’s immediate friends and family circle.”
Experiential weddings being the word du jour, Narresh also highlights that this can translate into both the destination and the wardrobe. “Destination weddings will continue to be popular and will be all about creating an experience for the guests during the celebrations. This will translate interestingly into fashion choices as well. For instance, now that you don’t have a 1,000-person wedding, it’s going to be all about having a good time on your own with those 15-20 close people.”
Whether this means the modern Indian bride walking barefoot on the beach, while walking towards a mandap, or a poolside mehendi followed by a dip in the pool, fashion choices will be very functional. We won’t see lehengas that weigh 30 kilos anymore. “Brides today would like to have a lehenga that is not only ornate but in which they could run on the beach too. It might not be made in traditional silk, but in neoprene, so if they want to jump into a pool they can do that. Or maybe a jersey sari, which stays the way it is whether you dance or jump or do anything with your friends at the destination wedding,” adds Shivan, highlighting that people want to break free after being confined in their homes for so long, leading to a sense of ‘wildness’ at the wedding ceremonies, a trend that will catch on soon.
In this quest for minimalism and movement towards more informal wedding attires, could we be losing our Indian-ness? Narresh disagrees, “I don’t see that ever happening. The millennial generation is very secure about their Indian identity and they’re good with experimenting with fashion as long as they look culturally rooted and relevant for the occasion. Whether they wear a sari made out of Italian jersey or traditional silk… A lehenga or a sari as a silhouette will continue to remain very relevant in weddings, but the fabrics may change. Girls will be open to experimenting with newer embroidery styles and adopt pieces that aren’t heavy, that don’t rust with humid weather or that is beach-friendly.”
As things stand, according to the duo, silhouettes like the bikini-sari are perfect for a beach wedding, and it can be coupled with a pair of palazzos to create a second look, like a very chic jumpsuit vibe. Millennials have become so open to interpreting Western silhouettes but wearing them for traditional occasions and there is an evident merging of resort-wear, Indian- wear, and festive-wear. “Apart from the main wedding day, which will continue to be very tradition driven, as far as silhouette and fashion are concerned, the other festivities around the wedding will be all about having a good time,” adds Shivan, who also points out that it is increasingly acceptable for the bride’s mother to wear, say, an embellished kaftan rather than a sari or lehenga, or the groom to be in a bundi with polo and linen trousers, rather than in a sherwani or kurta-pajama.
Austerity will underline post-COVID-19 weddings. “The expectation from my wedding ensemble is to not show off but to allow me to have a good and comfortable time with my loved ones. I need to enjoy my wedding as much as I enjoyed my friends’. Intimate weddings also make scope for experimentation, colour scheme, colour coordinating—to make sure that the pictures come out well,” Narresh smiles.
In conclusion, both Shivan and Narresh agree that the consumption habits of millennials have changed drastically. “If you give any millennial INR 2 lakh or INR 10 lakh, they would not spend it on bags or shoes or designer products. They would prefer to use it on experiences and travel. In the post-pandemic era, the value of experiences has increased exponentially. If they plan to spend a huge amount of money on their wedding, they would want it to be an experience, as opposed to spending on the most expensive outfit in the room. They might even spend on an incredible bachelorette party with 20 friends or take their gang on a friendy-moon after the wedding. That’s a trend to watch out for.