Mumbai, Dec 10: Ergo, the western gown, complete with trails and veils, is slowly becoming a staple of bridal trousseau at the big fat Indian wedding.
The shift to western bridal wear is all about the creation of a market by international designers, observes couturier A D Singh, who made the gowns for Makhija and Rupani — Hindu brides who opted for the western gown.
In the last three years, brands like Versace, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci have opened their stores in India.
Brides now want a "modern" add-on (TOI Photo)
"Is it mere coincidence that top brands enter the market and gowns come into vogue at about the same time?" asks Singh.
The marketing formula of the western couturiers is simple and meant to be unobtrusive. No advertisements, rather, a celebrity is paid to wear such creations to familiarise others with the couture. The fashion house then relies on the herd mentality to get more clients. Fashion industry sources reveal how a socialite wore a wedding gown by a brand which opened its store in India last year.
Fashion designer Narendra Kumar Ahmed believes the popularity of gowns stems from the average Indian's perception of western as progressive.
"It's a way of telling others that you have become bold and progressive. At a very basic level, stepping out of salwar kameez to get into trousers is considered moving up the social ladder," says Ahmed. However, gowns have not percolated to the middle class as yet, he points out.
But that is perhaps only a matter of time. The lehenga itself replaced the saree at weddings because of the increasing Punjabi influence. Traditionally, only unmarried girls wore the lehenga , but the outfit is virtually a must, even in south India.
Rukmini Venkat, who lectures on the history of costumes, says that the advent of gowns in weddings was inevitable. "Over the years, the lehenga has been evolving to look like a western outfit. The ghagra has tapered into a mermaid fit. The colour red was replaced by gold, which paled into beige, which now has become cream."
Designers, however, rule out the possibility of gowns becoming the marriage ceremony outfit. "White is considered inauspicious among Hindus. The pheras will have to be in red with a dupatta on the head," says Ahmed.