Sandeep Khosla and design partner Abu Jani have been at the forefront of Indian couture for 30 years. Renowned for classical elegance, they work with everyone from royalty to movie stars. However, their collaboration with Shaadi by Marriott—the hotel group’s premium wedding hospitality and services brand—is a first. Launching this season, this annual bridal showcase is intended for the woman searching for a distinctive and luxurious style statement, and she wouldn’t have been disappointed. Eleven ranges—Award, Bloom, Bougainvillea, Paris, Aubusson, Spring Blossom, Sonaa, Phulwari, Sheen, White and Classic Chikan—were shown over a five-part sequence that brought to life every wedding ritual. Through Cocktail, Mehendi, Haldi, Sangeet, and finally Shaadi, a breathtaking array of richly embellished silhouettes shimmered past, interspersed with whirling dancers and a traditional shaadi band.
The range of fine fabrics alone was enough to fill an Aladdin’s cave: organza and silk, taffeta and tulle, duchesse satin, Chantilly lace and georgette, but it was the imaginative interpretation of the embroidery and embellishment that captivated the audience. The artisanal skill was evident: Bloom’s floral motifs drawn in colorful Resham embroidery with Zardozi highlights (silver-coated thread); Bougainvillea’s 3D appliqué flowers embellished with Swarovski crystals; and the beadwork on Paris, which featured pearls, sequins and crystals. Other notable elements could be seen on the pieces inspired by the iconic French carpets of Aubusson: here, pastel colors in Resham embroidery strewn with sequins and pearls was accented with crystals. Sonaa boasted some ravishing metallic ‘tikki-work’ butterflies on circular skirts, while the Sheen range was radiant, showing pastel tulle sarees decorated with Kashmiri crewelwork, net blouses with hand-tacked Chantilly lace, as well as constructed bows on the saree pallays for a contemporary twist.
Naturally, it was the grand-finale range, Classic Chikan, which brought the house down. Celebrating the designers’ 25th year of working with Chikankari, a type of intricate white-on-white embroidery, its showstopper outfit was worn by Bollywood star Sonam Kapoor. The exquisite Venice-inspired lehenga skirt showed off a wonderfully imaginative use of Chikankari, while Swarovski crystals provided the shimmer and a lattice dupatta and traditional jewelry in red and white completed the look. This was a sumptuous showcase of Parisian chic beautifully blended with traditional Indian grandeur.