Anita Dongre surely does know a thing (or two) about style. No, scratch that…the veteran designer could very well be the last word when it comes to all things fashion. Hence when we decided to rope in an expert for this trousseau-shopping guide, we couldn’t think of a more fitting name than her. So listen up brides-to-be — pay close attention and bookmark Dongre’s ace advise…it is bound to prevent all your retail anxiety as well as several bridezilla fits! We are already swearing by this bridal shopping bible, you’d be wise to say ‘I Do’ to it too.
Luxemi: How soon should one start putting together their trousseau? How much time must one dedicate to it?
Anita Dongre: I would say that you should start deciding the colours, styles, designers, and the overall look that you want to wear for each occasion well in advance. Start putting everything together over the 6 months leading up to your wedding — that, I feel, is the ideal time frame.
Luxemi: Brides tend to go overboard with their trousseau shopping. How much is too much?
Anita Dongre: It’s never enough and the sky is the limit when it comes to wedding shopping. However, it is advisable to work on a budget for the trousseau. List down the key pieces you require for your trousseau and stick to the list.
Luxemi: 5 must-have trousseau essentials?
Anita Dongre: That’s easy. My 5 must-haves are —
- An elegant anarkali
- An embroidered jacket or bandi (also known as the Nehru jacket/traditional vest) that can be paired with pants, pallazos or lehenga.
- A heavily embroidered dupatta that can dress up any Indian outfit in your closet
- A cocktail gown
- A set of sarees for both formal occasions as well as casual outings.
Luxemi: What are the top trends this season? Which colors are must-haves?
Anita Dongre: It’s the time to move away from traditional reds and maroons and experiment with a varied color palette ranging from neons, fluorescent, limes and peacock blues to fuschia, corals and dusty pinks. There’s a plethora of choices when it comes to lehengas — the mermaid style, A-line, straight cut and flared versions — with such a wide variety of cuts and styles, there is something to suit to every style sensibility and body type.
Net, chiffon, georgette and silk are the preferred fabrics for Indian bridal wear this season. Experimenting with unconventional saree drapes is also a trend that is fast catching on. So pair a raw silk bandi with a saree or a lehenga. One could even opt for the lehenga saree as it’s easier to drape and very convenient to carry off.
Luxemi: Which Luxemi ensembles ought to make their way into one’s trousseau trunk?
Anita Dongre: Luxemi’s Scarlett Saree with Rich Gold Border, Gold Embellished Chantilly Lace Saree, Pink Anarkali with Gota Work by Nikasha, Gold Sequined Saree, Lehenga Saree with Thread Work and Brocade Coat with Velvet Border by Kisneel are must-haves!
Luxemi: Trendy pieces vs classics — what’s your take?
Anita Dongre: Your trousseau should always have a mix of both. The trendy pieces can be used for your cocktail party and sangeet while the classics can be saved for your main wedding day and reception. Trendy and classic pieces can also be paired together for an edgy yet elegant look. For instance, you could pair a traditional bandi (vest/Nehru jacket) with a gown/skirt or wear an embroidered jacket/bolero with a saree and so on.
Luxemi: Let’s talk jewelry shopping — do’s and don’ts?
Anita Dongre: Always go to a trusted family jeweler. Here too, list down the main ceremonies and outfits and match your jewelry accordingly. Invest in versatile pieces that can be dressed up or toned down and be worn with both Indian as well as western outfits.
Luxemi: Which are some of the best cities for Indian trousseau wear according to you?
Anita Dongre: Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkatta are go-tos in India. There’s my Anita Dongre Bridal store as well as Phoenix Mills and Palladium in Mumbai, multi-designer mall The Gallery on MG in Delhi and Forum Courtyard in Kolkatta.
Luxemi: Who are some of the celebrity brides one can take inspiration from?
Anita Dongre: Kareena Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Esha Deol hands down! The one thing they all have in common, and is worth taking inspiration from, is that while each dressed in tune with their respective traditions, the final look was not overbearing — right from the choice of the bridal ensembles to the make up; it all spelled elegance!
Luxemi: So what’s your parting trousseau shopping advice?
Anita Dongre: While everyone’s shopping habits and needs will vary, there are certain pointers that will help you sail through your trousseau shopping effortlessly. First up, make sure you have a list of designers or multi designer stores you wish to visit. Dedicate a week to visit all these stores, shortlist what you like from each of them, and then start buying. Always have a shopping budget and try sticking to it as far as possible!
So there you go…let the splurge fest begin. And yes, you can thank us later! 😉
Praachi Raniwala for Luxemi