Kaveri Lalchand’s new celebration couture line focuses on a bride who loves to keep it sartorially classy
Label Kaveri’s brand new celebration couture line, Couture by Kaveri, takes a detour from wedding collections, by focusing instead on light, easy-to-wear silhouettes that would complement any bride
The quintessential South Indian wedding is often considered incomplete without a silk sari, while a wedding up North is almost always about a heavy embroidered lehenga-based ensemble — yet, over the last few years, brides are choosing wedding trousseaux that do not necessarily follow these unsaid rules. A lehenga need not be OTT, loud and garish and nobody says wedding saris have to be understated and subtle anymore — Kaveri Lalchand’s first celebration edit from her brand new line, Couture by Kaveri, seems to believe in just this idea. We caught up with the couturier to find out more about her brand new line, her bridal collection and lots more.
Known for her love for all things linen and one of the loudest champions of the upcycle movement in the country, Kaveri Lalchand proudly calls Chennai her home. What began as a label in 2011 — driven by Kaveri’s inability to ever find couture that did justice to her body type — today, is a well-renowned eponymous brand spread across the country with several fans even in the likes of Vidya Balan, Shabana Azmi and Alka Yagnik.
The Kaveri Story
“As a brand, we’ve always listened to our customers. While our light, breezy and comfortable silhouettes have had enough takers, we’ve also always had a lot of requests for slightly heavier clothes that people can wear for celebrations, festivals and weddings. Post the COVID-19 lockdowns, we saw a shift in the way weddings were planned. They became more intimate celebrations and people seemed to choose comfort — something we were known for. With our brand now being more established, customers started considering Kaveri as an option for their wedding trousseaux. It’s not like we hadn’t already done a lot of customised projects where we were asked to take embroidery from one piece and embellish another one to create a heavier outfit for a bride; but now there was a request for a proper bridal collection. This led to the ideation, at first, and then eventually, to the launch of our first celebration line,” begins Kaveri, who has showcased her label at Lakmé India Fashion Week several times and has ensured an international presence for her brand in stores across France, Spain, Portugal, Réunion, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Qatar and Lebanon.
Known as one of Chennai’s most prominent theatre artistes; and as a social and cultural activist, Kaveri lived and worked in New York for a few years before coming back to Chennai to join her family garment export business. From working closely with a theatre collective, to spending a year following her spiritual journey; and from running an art gallery and cultural space, to starting an indie publishing company; and finally launching her own luxury clothing line — Kaveri has travelled extensively and had many adventures and experiences that have led her to collecting several stories and skills. She has also worked closely with the Crafts Council of India to preserve and promote traditional Indian crafts and textiles.
The ‘upcycled’ bride
“My personal experiences have led to what I create as a part of Kaveri and now, Couture by Kaveri. The label has always aimed to be an inclusive brand that makes clothes for women of all sizes, ages and life contexts. We stick to trans-seasonal, easy-to-wear clothing and we’re all about slow fashion and upcycling. So much so, that this new celebration line will give us an opportunity to let consumers upcycle something they’ve purchased for a particular wedding event, into something they could wear every day instead,” adds Kaveri.
The label has always focused on silhouettes that are confident, comfortable and relaxed. “We are all about pieces you want to touch and pieces you want to wear every day. It is about the beautiful detailing and the care and attention to little things that make our garment precious and unique. It is about each piece being individually hand printed and embroidered. Our contemporary cuts flow and drape over the body in interesting and flattering silhouettes that can be styled in a multitude of ways, resulting in a look that is both powerful and whimsical and always effortlessly stylish! We extend all of these definitive characteristics to our couture celebration line too,” explains Kaveri.
Elegance in simplicity
Couture by Kaveri, therefore, brings 10 years of experience, understanding and learning to create comfortable celebration wear — in flowing linens, blended with silks, and organzas and metallic threads. “This is our interpretation of bridal and shaadi as concepts and festive wear in our signature style. For this first collection, we have also developed a fabric called silk satin with a linen blend — replete with the sheen of silk and satin and the feel and weight of linen, giving it a very interesting texture and character. These new fabrics work really well for lehengas, ghagras and anarkalis. Under the sub-label, we have several smaller collections and capsule edits like Window to Eden, The Painted Forest and The Butterfly Shadow defined by our much-loved motifs,” avers the couturier, adding, “Our bridal wear is not the typical wedding couture that we’re used to seeing in India. We stay away from heavy work, but we’ve continued to use our embroideries, laces, cutworks, hand printing and unique heat graft technique, among many others to create silhouettes that are super comfortable and light to wear. Our colours will continue to be muted, subtle and deep like pomegranate, jade, pink, orchid, lilac and light blue, for now; but we will be including bright colours later, if a collection or season calls for it.”
Next up, the brand has a small capsule Christmas edit that focuses on more western silhouettes in reds and blacks and they’re also working on their SS ’23 edit which should release by January 2023. The label has a sub-brand called Baby K that focuses on apparel for children. Kaveri has also just reopened stores in Mumbai, at Kala Ghoda; and at Fort Kochi; and plans to open a brand new store in Bengaluru by mid-December.
INR 25,000 onwards. At Kodambakkam High Road.