Fashion special: Celebrated designer Ritu Kumar unveils her festive winter looks
From Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone to Madhuri Dixit, there haven’t been too many who haven’t flaunted a Ritu Kumar sari. The grand dame of fashion, known for her passion for natural fabrics combined with traditional weaving and printing techniques, began her sartorial venture from Kolkata, with just two small tables and a hand-block printing setup that eventually went on to become an empire with a turnover of over INR 10 billion. The Padma Shri awardee is now back with a whole new range of festive and bridal wear for winter, which are cuttingly different from her previous collections, and target the new-age millennial bride. We had a chat with Kumar on her latest edit. Excerpts from the interaction:
What is your latest winter wedding collection all about?
It’s about two things — we are going back to classic in a big way, but in a much lighter version, where there should be no heavy make-up or jewellery. It’s not an ‘old-dated look’, and is very much for the young millennial bride. A lot of them like to wear the nice, traditional red colours, and this time, we are keeping the three items in the bridal outfit a lot lighter, so that they can wear them in the future too.
For example, they can wear the choli with a sari, and pair the lehenga or churni with something else. It’s not a one-time investment, and you can also pass it on to the next generation. They are made in such a way that the bride too can enjoy her wedding and doesn’t get bogged down by the trousseau. Also, a lot of destination weddings are taking place in exotic locations nowadays, and most of them are daytime affairs, hence we have used dusty colours in festive looks such as pink, mehendi colour, strong shades of yellow, which are all very festive, but not dark colours.
What other changes have you incorporated in the new collection?
We aren’t doing any crystals at all this time, and going back to metallic embroidery and threadwork, namely zardosi and aari, that’s being done in Bengal. They are very subtle and understated in looks, and stay for years. We have also changed our blouses radically. There’s a lot of closed blouses that we see during any traditional wedding, but this time around, we have played around with cuts, and we have off-shoulder blouses, low front-cut ones and backless ones too. It’s for the young and stylish bride, who’s out there in an exotic location for her wedding, and wants to look modern yet traditional.
What are the lehengas like this time?
We are doing a lot of pleated lehengas, which are light and easy-to-pack, and you can dance wearing them. I highly recommended them for sangeet or mehendi ceremonies. We are doing them in chiffons, and pleated nets, since they look very feminine.
What’s the colour palette this season?
The colour palette this season should be something that suits our skin. We have a warm skin tone, which goes well with warm colours. Very pale blues or lilacs look nice on mannequins, but don’t do much for us. Colours like gold, saffron, yellow and olive green complement our complexion a lot.
Any fashion tip for the bridesmaids and relatives?
They don’t need to dress up even half as much as the bride, and they should wear something stylish and comfortable. Maybe, a heavy churni with a lighter lehenga and some jewellery. If you are a sister or a bridesmaid, a lehenga and a blouse is a very suitable combination, and you can wear that later too.
What other trendy attires have you come up with?
There are stitched saris to choose from, besides very trendy dhoti pants and asymmetrical tops. A word of advice for the bride? I seriously feel, brides shouldn’t be overshadowed by our clothes. They are very well-turned-out, so their clothes should enhance their looks, rather than overpower them.
Be yourself, and choose things that suit you and your personality. You mustn’t dress to please someone or to be trendy. Dress for yourself, and go for an attire that vibes with you as a person.
Styling: Poulami Gupta Accessories: Senco Gold Pictures: Debarshi Sarkar Hair & make-up: Abhijit Paul Clothes: Ritu Kumar Location courtesy: JW Marriott Kolkata