When Shibani Dandekar got married to Farhan Akhtar in a small ceremony last weekend, it took the internet by storm, and photos of the couple (more importantly, of Akhtar and Hrithik Roshan dancing), flooded social media. What set the Akhtar-Dandekar ceremony apart was not only its intimacy, but also Dandekar’s sartorial choices.
The Bollywood way
The bride donned a Jade by Monica & Karishma bespoke red gown for her wedding ceremony, accompanied by a red veil, a choice that was a world apart from the usual Bollywood brides who preferred heavy Sabyasachi ensembles.
While her wedding gown was subject to polarising views, her mehendi outfit was an all-out hit. Created by her friend designer Payal Singhal, who also co-hosted the function, the outfit was a visual representation of the joy that was evident on Dandekar’s face throughout her wedding festivities. Matching the Mexican-fiesta-meets-mehendi-mela theme, the ensemble featured a bohemian kalidar sharara with Payal Singhal’s signature backless choli. Says Payal Singhal of the design, “The detailing was a mix of thread, wool and cord embroidery, mirror work and zardozi in pop colours that borrowed from Mexican folk craftsmanship.” Mexican elements were incorporated as a throwback to the couple’s time holidaying in Tulum.
Originally associated with hippie culture, now bohemian is essentially defined as a free-spirited vibe, and style elements include feminine florals, lighter fabrics, tiered skirts, peasant blouses, fringes, layers and subtle embroidery.As per Anisha Kapoor and Reema Singhania, founders of Mumbai-based fashion brand, Maison Blu, boho looks in Indian wear incorporate lace, pastel tones, frills, block prints, and lacy tie-up blouses in fabrics like silk and chiffon. Maison Blu often experiments with these types of looks, incorporating palazzo, crop top and cape ensembles in tones of blush pink, ice blue and green with fringe, tassel and feather details.
Saurabh Gupta, Director at Kalki, an Indian fashion and fusion wear brand, believes that the bohemian trend is currently peaking in Indian bridal wear. “It’s a fashion statement with natural fabrics and patterns, that are coloured in warm shades and merged with 70’s styles,” says Gupta, whose brand has insights into the pulse of the market, having stores all over the country. To cater to the modern bride, Kalki recently launched a luxe, glamorous and unconventional collection in collaboration with celebrity favourite, Deme by Gabriella. The edit featured shararas in silky fabrics paired with peplums tops and balloon sleeves, even an olive green ruffled saree in crepe with a green fur crop top that has all the makings of a bohemian-chic look.
The smaller, the better
According to Kapoor and Singhania, founders of Maison Blu, bohemian looks have been trending for brides globally but have also picked up interest among desi brides to be. As smaller weddings like Akhtar-Dandekar’s have become a necessity rather than a choice, brides have more freedom to be themselves amongst a close set of friends and family. “Our culture is known for its big fat Indian weddings, which come with its own set of pressure on the bride. Often, a bride would barely get to consciously enjoy her wedding, fretting after fittings, meeting thousands of guests, and plastering fake smiles on an elaborate stage,” say the Maison Blu duo. However, the weddings of 2020 forced families to cut down on numbers due to social-distancing norms, allowing small-scale, exclusive pandemic weddings, a trend that’s here to stay.
That means a bride is free to pick lighter, more free-flowing ensembles for her haldi, mehendi, sangeet and even wedding ceremony. A lot of brides-to-be then chose to embrace a bohemian aesthetic, for its overall artistic look and comfort level, doing away with heavy outfits. “The boho look speaks volumes about enjoying the moment, sans the heavy outfits that weigh you down on the most significant moments of your life,” say the founders of Maison Blu.
How to go boho
Talking about their upcoming collections, Kapoor and Singhania describe them as a blend of traditional lehengas with delicate patterns, embroidery, and prints, perfect for the cool Indian bride. Gupta of Kalki recommends “a celebration of raw beauty.” Minimal floral jewellery with fluid fabric ensembles in pastel tones are an easy way to ace this trend.
For more boho inspiration, check out these designer outfits below:
Worn by Priyanka Chopra-Jonas in the past, this Arpita Mehta ensemble is what beach wedding trousseau dreams are made of. A printed tiered georgette skirt is paired with a mirrorwork blouse and a thin tasselled dupatta. Follow in Chopra-Jonas’ footsteps and match it with a choker that is embellished with green danglers.
Nature was one of the points of inspiration for Anita Dongre’s latest Spring/Summer collection ’22 titled Paradise Found. This Swan Song Lehenga set in pink comes with subtle embroidery, a bralette-style choli with a tie-up detail in the back.
This Chamomile lehenga from Baise Gaba is the perfect choice when you’re looking for a lightweight non-fussy lehenga. The floral printed fabric is the epitome of boho-chic, the blouse has a square neckline with trendy balloon sleeves, that can be mixed and matched in the future.
An embroidered blouse accompanied by a dori tie-up sleeve, is matched with a tie-and-dye lehenga in this unusual brown lehenga set. Made with Habutai silk and organza, this outfit is designed by Capisvirleo, a brand which defines itself as luxury for the bohemian soul.
Corsets are all the rage this season, and Punit Balana cashes in on this trend with this mustard skirt set. A floral skirt in satin silk featuring a slit has mirror work details at the waist, and is paired with a corset top that has leather embellishments.
A dusty rose forms the base of floral appliqué lehenga-choli. Bright hued flowers in shades of yellow, red, teal and pink are sprinkled all over this outfit. A blouse with an attached dupatta and back cut-outs makes this the perfect choice for a modem Indian bride.
From the House of Ritu Kumar comes this floral fun ensemble. A peach-coloured draped saree is paired with a multi-coloured embroidered blouse. It has the feel of a saree without the worry that comes with draping it while at a destination wedding or a casual event.
Self-declared purveyors of luxe boho garments, Saaksha & Kinni’s green satin printed lehenga set is ideal for bridesmaids. An all-over abstract floral print skirt is paired with a corset-style cropped blouse with a sweetheart neckline. Whether it’s a garden function or carnival-style event, this outfit will fit in anywhere.