Sentiment in seams
Intricate designs, motifs and style with a message — Madras Bridal Fashion Show pays tribute to weavers and farmers
As the wedding season comes to full swing and the saris, pattu pavadai, lehengas, veshtis and sherwanis find the limelight, it is important to appreciate not just the intricate details, the ornate embroidery, and pretty weaves but also the hands that crafted them.
Carrying this sentiment forward yesterday, Madras Bridal Fashion Show returned for its 5th edition, as a tribute to the weavers and farmers of the nation. The event was organised by Shan and Dene, presented by PVR and co-presented by Kirtilals, powered by Sri Kumaran stores and Challani House of Silver.
A black stage bathed in yellow lights featured the five collections from designers Anjalee and Arjun Kapoor, Deepthi Ganesh, Vaani Raghupathy, and brands Kirtilals and Sri Kumaran stores, all showcasing their works with traditional weavers. The show began fashionably late — which, I suppose, is true to its nature — but did not disappoint with its versatility and design.
Weaving the wears
The night honoured six award-winning weavers from the state, as they walked down the aisle to the sound of applause. Undeniably, the weavers played a major role in the collections, as the designers attest. “Without them, there would be nothing on the ramp. We source everything from weavers outside Benaras and a town in Maharashtra. Unfortunately, they have really suffered in this lockdown so we tried to buy from them regularly and tried to avoid middlemen,” shares Arjun, and Deepthi brings in her experience, “A lot of them came to my store saying they couldn’t sell a single sari in two months. During Covid, I started a wide range. We have a digital presence and with it, we could take the weavers from small villages to global space. I tried doing live and interactive shows with my clients, who could then order the garments online.” There is no better evidence of the pivotal role of weavers than the beautiful garments that graced the stage.
The theme for this year seemed to be a palette of warm colours, specifically pinks, reds, oranges and purples. While a few outfits strayed away from the zeitgeist, these colours found their place in every selection. Models, bold and full of attitude, sported eye-catching diamond jewellery from Kirtilals, paired with the traditional saris by Sri Kumaran stores. A background of classical strings with rock beats gave the collection an ethereal quality. The mesmerising and detailed necklaces, bangles, kamarbandhs, and earrings were exclusively handcrafted and designed for the show and paired perfectly, even if contrastingly, to the yellows, oranges and even a seafoam green. Kirtilals’ display gave way to another collection by Sri Kumaran stores. This time, flaunting fuschia, mauves, whites, and purples for a more sophisticated look. Actresses Dushara Vijayan and Vedhika Kumar walked the ramp as showstoppers for the collections respectively.
On the walk up
Showcasing her collection MYSA by her brand Magnolias, Vaani Raghupathy introduced an important message of body positivity with models of different body types, all wearing gorgeous attires in bright reds, greens, and blues. With a varied colour palette, MYSA also featured motifs of flowers, birds, and geometric patterns. “MYSA is something that came out of the lockdown. It is inspired by everyday things we see but may miss due to our busy schedules. The colour palette comes from nature (I am a sucker for nature) — a multi-coloured palette with pastels, and dark tones, which complement each other,” shared the Chennai-based designer, speaking of the inspiration for the garments. Of the traditional motifs and fabric, she explained, “My collection is entirely weaved. People associate Indian weaves with traditional colours and motifs. So, I wanted to build a modern twist to that. I have also used light fabric since it is summer year-long in this city and it is hard to work with patta saris. My aim is versatility; wear it for a meeting, a wedding or elsewhere,” she explained.
As MYSA retreated backstage, energetic Bollywood music burst through the speakers, ushering in ‘The Legacy of Indian Weave’ by Hyderabad-based Deepthi Ganesh. Wrapped in floral motifs, varied pinks, blacks, golds and magentas took to the ramp. “Today’s collection talks about the modern bride. Whether North or South Indian, I wanted to create looks that were tributes to weavers and also something the modern bride would be proud to carry. I have showcased the kanjivaram, banarasi, gadwals, ikkats with amazing, handcrafted zardozi blouses. The embroidery, too, showcases the architectural theme in Hyderabad,” explains Deepthi, who takes pride in their locally sourced and handcrafted traditional weavers.
Finally, came the finale with the haute couture collection of Anjalee and Arjun Kapoor, a Delhi-based designer duo. Inspired by the Renaissance era, the gowns, shararas and saris stole the show with intricate, highlighted embroidery and soft, muted colours of pink, soft reds and creams. The theme was also brought in with their motifs of birds, flowers, alcove-like designs and more.
“The modern bride wants tradition with a twist; a play on colours and motifs. This time, we have taken inspiration from Italian architecture and while I don’t follow the trends of bridal wear, I definitely follow the colours of the season. So, red is in big time and muted colours too (which can be seen in the collection),” shared Arjun Kapoor.
Make-up artist N D Ashmitha and actors Pranitha Subash, Iniya, and Samyuktha Shan walked the ramp as showstoppers for the designers respectively. The night the way it began: slightly late, but we all left with much-required appreciation for the weavers whose works left us wanting them in our wardrobes.