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Hyderabad-based bridal designer Mrunalini Rao is known for her romantic and delicate feminine silhouettes and pastel hue-d lehengas. Simplicity, minimalism and attention to detail, her unique style mandate is embraced by brides all around the world. We asked the designer to give us an update on what brides are looking at in 2021 and how bridal style is interpreted in the coming months. A look at designer Mrunalini Rao’s do’s and don’ts for modern, millennial brides.

What do you think brides should be looking at when they are buying their wedding lehengas?   

It’s the aesthetic appeal, art work and craftsmanship going on to the outfit that needs to stand out. Sometimes less is more, it is the beauty of placement and intricacy that’s important. You can stick to your roots yet choose a new design in terms of colour and embroidery unlike what’s been overly done or what’s in trend. You can choose the traditional red colour and zardozi embroidery that we often see brides wearing for their wedding but make sure it is unique yet classic, something that is not a fad. A timeless design is always a great choice.                        

Colours brides should be looking at? 

On your big day, keep your tradition alive with a hint of red, it is always nice. You can also choose pastels like soft pink, lilac, mint and champagne shades – they’re in now and look great on brides. Jewel tones like purple, dull orange, ochre yellow and emerald green are beautiful when paired with contrasts or as monotones. 

Trends brides should be looking at?

A mix of solids with a little bling, some fun breezy florals and crafted art pieces with a blend of new techniques and colour combinations. Lot of Layers, new silhouettes, innovative sleeves, clothes that are versatile and styles that are classic, designs that are unique and remain a trend forever 

Should you buy jewellery first or lehenga? 

Outfit first and then design the look around it. 

What makes a good lehenga – fit, silhouette, style etc? 

It is the fit and silhouette that make the lehenga what it is. It is how good you feel in an outfit that matters the most. Everything looks good when you feel good. So look for one that makes you feel comfortable while showing off your best features. 

Tell us about your latest collection, Chitra?

Chitra has a lot of love for design. A beautiful representation of a Victorian era in the modern times. A royal lady lounging in a European bistro; taking you back to the times when chintz was known to the world. A combination of prints, surface techniques, embroideries and patterns put together in pastels and bright colours bringing to you a new range of bridal wear. 

What are the minute do’s and don’ts brides should look at when dressing up?

Ensuring the whole set from top to toe matched and put together – that’s essential. you Los need to plan the jewellery, accessories, shoes, hairstyle and make up well in advance to not repeat the outfit or style. 

Do not stress and overdo everything. It’s not important to wear something heavy for every occasion. Maybe you could let the outfit speak for one event and the jewellery for the other. Not all outfits and accessories have to be very heavy. End of the day, you got to look beautiful and make sure everything’s styled well. As a fashion designer, clothes are always my priority.

Blouses – what styles are in? 

I love exaggerated sleeves, and playing with necklines. I have made lehengas with big tulip sleeve blouses and leg-o-mutton sleeves dresses. So try out some new sleeves and necklines. 

Dupatta drapes – what are your tips?

For me a dupatta has to be worn as beautifully as the lehenga. My new collection has got very elaborate dupattas. I suggest the bride, to open up the dupatta and wear it as a single layer either like a sari palla or bring it from the back and wear it on the side.

Timeless designs – how does one build a good bridal trousseau?

Just do not go with the fads and trends. They don’t last long. Heritage weaves, intricate hand embroideries and unique prints don’t age. Classic silhouettes and pure fabrics make a difference. Do make a note of these while you pick your trousseau.

Give us an insight into the fabrics and silhouettes brides should be looking at?

The less polyester the better fabrics are. They feel good on your skin, last long and drape well. Silks, cottons and their blends are the fabrics I would suggest. 

Traditional silhouettes never age. A new innovation of an old silhouette is always a good investment. And some unique timeless silhouettes that are neither Indian nor western, our creative designers’ effort in creating historical designs. I call these the art pieces that you got to own. 


Latha Sunadh
Deputy Editor
When she's not trying on a new serum, researching on yet another classic fragrance and sharing lip balms with her 5-year old daughter, Latha Sunadh keeps it reined in with a nice song and a good book. Special skills include obsessing over handmade, home-made and handcrafted luxuries.