How to dress up for an Indian Wedding is an art in itself, with the festivities going on for days. An Indian wedding calls for a bagful of attires and accessories that you can wisely mix and match. This holds true not only for the bride but for the guests as well.
What makes these carefully chosen attires for an Indian wedding different? These wedding attires speak of a history, which makes its presence felt even today. They contain aspects that have travelled through times to be a part of your decision of how to dress up for an Indian wedding. This mainly relates to the rich embroidery crafts of India that make a wedding outfit, well, Indian.
The textile crafts preserve the ‘Indian’ essence of the attires, even as their silhouettes get modern. Let the decision of how to dress up for an Indian wedding call for careful attention to the crafts too.
Applique work means application of another patch of decorative fabric to the base fabric creating interesting patterns. The term applique is a borrowed French terminology meaning ‘to be applied’.
The applique patches can be decorated with sequins, mirrors, beads, and zari. Applique work on saree borders and pallus add glamour, and even lehengas and salwar kameez with rich zari appliques look exquisite.
The gota embroidery (silver or gold laces attached to the base fabric with metallic threads), from Rajasthan also uses applique technique and the famous designer Anita Dongre makes extensive use of gota patti in her wedding attires.
Brocade indicates raised intricate embroidery with gold or silver threads and the Banarasi brocade from the holy city of Varanasi uses Mughal inspired motifs like intertwined floral vines and leaves. Owing to its affluent regal look Banarasi brocade has become a part of lavish celebratory events like weddings.
Due to the elaborate embroidery involved one Banarasi saree can take 15 days to six months to complete. The anticipated Lakme Fashion week winter festive of this month is giving homage to the handlooms and crafts of Varanasi. The designers are answering the how to dress up for an Indian wedding woe by using Banarasi brocade on contemporary outfits like gowns and skirts, creating interesting blends. More about Banarasi brocade here
The Bandhani is a tie and dye form of art on fabrics used extensively in Gujarat and Rajasthan. As the name suggests the fabric is tied in a pattern, dyed and untied to reveal interesting dot and square motifs. The motifs of animals, people and flowers are nature inspired.
The traditional gharchola saree worn during a Gujarati wedding ceremony essentially uses the Bandhani technique along with chequered zari. The Bandhani is no longer restricted to sarees and salwar suits, it adorns lehengas, jackets and dhotis nowadays, resulting in contemporary attires. More about Bandhani here
Chikankari is a traditional embroidery technique from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. It is believed that the Mughal Empress Noor Jahan introduced Chikankari in India from her native land of Persia. The technique includes use of very delicate embroidery in white tread on pastel coloured muslin, cotton, silk and chiffon or organza fabrics.
Various forms of stitches are used to create thread designs on a block printed fabric; the print is later washed away exposing just the charming thread work. For weddings, a Chikankari lehenga in off-white or beige with a hint of bling on the border and golden blouse will be show stopping in a simple way.
In Persian ‘zar’ means gold and ‘dozi’ means embroidery and under the influence of Persian invaders this art found its place in India and reached its pinnacle during the rule of Mughal Emperor Akbar. Zardozi involves making patterns by sewing silver or gold threads on fabric.
Bead or pearl embellishments are added to the design to make it more opulent. Zardozi is a preferred technique for lavish wedding lehengas and sarees.
Block printing is an ancient art of textile designing that can be traced back to the Indus valley civilization. Ajrakh is a popular form of block printing prevalent in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab. Block printing also flourishes in West Bengal; and in Andhra Pradesh by the name of Kalamkari.
In block printing an engraver makes the block and an artist applies prints on the fabric with natural dyes. The blocks are so intricately designed that the impression is impossible to recreate by any other technique. The fabrics used are generally linen, cotton and silk. A twirl in an elaborately block printed lehenga or anarkali at a wedding will definitely not go un-noticed.
Apart from the silhouettes and styles, the techniques also play an important role in deciding how to dress up for an Indian wedding. Each craft results in different looks ranging from subtle to the ostentatious.
The knowledge of crafts takes ‘how to dress up for an Indian wedding’ to an all new level as knowing what went behind making that bespoke outfit, elevates it as an entity that revives our heritage. A close look at the outfit can give us a vivid imagination of all the artisans working together to create that inimitable outfit, which will make you dazzle at a wedding.
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