House of Kotwara's new wedding collection is every elegant bride’s dream
The new bridal collection from the House of Kotwara led balances the fine line between traditional crafts and modern silhouettes
One could be forgiven for believing themselves to be in the court of Awadh in the 19th- century as they traverse through the House of Kotwara store located on the outskirts of Delhi. From dim mood-lighting to mellow strains of the rabab, vintage furnishings to the meticulously curated bric-a-brac, everything points to the creative genius of designer-duo Meera and Muzaffar Ali, whose design philosophy aims to recreate the craft traditions of Lucknow and its surrounding areas.
It, therefore, comes as no surprise to see their daughter, Sama, follow in their footsteps with her latest bridal collection that occupies pride of place in the store. Consisting of lehengas, farshi ghararas, suits and other festive ensembles, ‘Dilam’ is clearly every elegant bride’s dream.
“The collection is an evolving exploration. It has been guided by my legacy and experiences from my childhood in the rose gardens of Kotwara, and the wild blooms at our home in Delhi, to the Kews in London during my university days, to the Victorian British artworks from the Royal Academy,” says Sama. Apart from her Awadhi heritage and exposure to global trends, the young designer’s penchant for fantasy-fiction also helps her create an imaginary world.
This is evident in her heavily embellished couture offerings. Sama does well to stay within the Kotwara design sensibility, which is known for its focus on traditional embroidery techniques like chikankari, aari and zardozi, yet attempts to appeal to a wider audience by interpreting these techniques in a contemporary context.
Her blouses are decidedly daring in their cuts and modern in their use of feathers, tassels and sequins. Further, zardozi embellished brocades and velvets juxtapose gauzy organzas, and rich Benarasi fabrics offset light and airy nets, to offer a variety of drapes and structures, while staying true to the overarching theme—the old-world charm of handicrafts that brides preserve and pass down generations.
Where some pieces of ‘Dilam’ boast the signature tukdi style of work associated with the Awadhi tradition, others are heavier on sequins and cut-dana work. Yet others artfully combine the two. The showstoppers— a vibrant raspberry red lehenga and a pure ivory one—-are as distinct as chalk and cheese at first glance, but on closer inspection, have much in common.
Keeping the tonality of hue as the main objective, Sama creates outfits with the same colour thread on fabric. The result is dramatic yet subtle, restrained yet statement- worthy. Floor length veils add to the overall effect of the conventional meeting the contemporary.
“The idea is to encapsulate the memories that are created with loved ones during one’s wedding. These are an expression of who you are and what you love. For instance, a pink and purple farshi gharara in the collection is a one-of- a-kind lehenga, which I designed for my own wedding, congregating my favourite colours, materials and techniques in one design.
This evolved into ‘Dilam’, which is inspired by all the Kotwara brides I’ve had the honour to interact and work with, putting into the collection a bit of them and a bit of me,” she says. So, if you’re looking to stand out as a bride, look no further than ‘Dilam’.