Subtle and effortless is how the dress flows in Varun Bahl’s studio and the celebrated couturier knows how to keep his craftsmanship impeccable and delicate in a market that is overflowing with cookie-cutter drapes and over-the-top designs. It is a known fact that Bahl works with heritage Indian handcrafted embroideries and gives them his own spin with a sensitive touch and a modern colour palette. In that sense, his work has stood the test of time only because of the restraint, the sophistication and the delicate beauty that comes through in his silhouettes. Brides today are looking at Bahl for two things, the lightness of his fabrics and the delicacy with which he handles embellishments and embroideries – nothing is ever too much and everything is just perfect. His signature style of using floral motifs through embroideries, weaves, and prints is very popular and his unusual colour pairings work beautifully on millennial brides who like the off-beat side of things.
This week, Varun Bahl launches his Couture 2019 Collection titled The Dancing Paisley, an ode to the garden of paradise that bridges simplicity with delicate maximalism. Nature has always been a part of his work and this collection too explores this irreplaceable inspiration. There’s a definite Victorian era touch to this collection that looks at ruffled necks and breezy cuts. There’s also a bit of baroque art nouveau embedded in this collection with structured traditional paisleys and floral motifs, textural appliqués and floral embellishments. The textures are three-dimensional and compelling and he plays around with luxe fabrics like velvet, silk- raw, Chinese silk, georgette, brocade beautifully. We spoke to the designer who gave us a bit of an insight into the new-age bride and her needs.
On his new collection, The Dancing Paisley
My newest collection is called The Dancing Paisley and it’s not just for brides, but for bridesmaids, moms, sisters and in-laws and even wedding guests – let’s just say that it’s for the full family. This is the path I wanted to take this time – to dress up the whole family. I feel that brides are now going through a bit of shift in styling – no one wants to wear heavier clothes, heavier embroideries and over-the-top looks. Everyone’s looking for lighter clothes, there’s styling and a certain restraint.
On his customers and loyalists
People are becoming more and more stylish and more confident. They are comfortable with who they are – there’s a sense of individualism that’s both refreshing and ideal. And one doesn’t just wear something only because it’s in trend or someone recommended the look – it’s about being original. And my sensibilities have always been on the delicate side and people have appreciated that.
On new-age brides
The bride who wants a red lehenga will always wear a red lehenga. But now, brides are opening up to newer ideas in terms of execution – they don’t want to wear dupattas, some brides want a stylish blouse, there are brides who love unusual colours. Brides want to be carefree and handsfree nowadays, so it’s about versatility and functionality too. The trend is that brides today want lighter fabrics and easier silhouettes.
Colours that are hot on brides now
In the wedding space, yellow is a huge shade that’s taking over the bridal colour palette. Pastels are also big now – the lighter, the hue, the better. Indian skin is unique so most colours suit us well.
On destination brides
My collection fits the destination bride and the people going to a destination wedding perfectly. It’s light in feel, its subtle and delicate. It’s not regularly-styled clothing, it’s minimalistic with a certain refinement.
On the bridal blouse
The traditional blouse is taking a backseat currently. Sexy is in. And sexy doesn’t mean skin show, it means more style, one has to feel sexier first. Today’s girls are much more confident about pulling off unique blouse designs.
On the Varun Bahl bride
Our bride has a discerning eye – quality and workmanship are important to her. The fact that we use traditional Indian techniques to give a more global appeal to an outfit works for her.
On what he loves about the current collection
This time we experimented with three-dimensional designs. It’s a demi-couture collection, the space between pret and couture. I’ll say the lehengas work are perfect for a mehendi. The silhouette is effortless and looks beautiful on the body. The millennial bride is strong – set in her ways with a strong sense of self, I like that.
On bridal jewellery styling
I think very chunky is out. And delicate, easy pieces are in style. I always say quality over quantity in everything, that should be the most important thing. Wear something that is not in the face, jewellery also has to match the bride’s personality. Varun Bahl brides likes a certain fabric, a certain pink hue, a look that’s becoming of her so it’s personal too. We balance metallic work with our colourful embroideries so the jewellery must also balance that out. Jewellery, in that sense, has to be light – because our embroideries are dramatic.