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What Alia Bhatt’s wedding sari tells us about individuality

Alia Bhatt's choice of an ivory and gold ensemble reflects the evolved sensibilities of the post-pandemic bride. Lounge gets style experts to weigh in on her distinctive look

Bhatt's ivory and gold bridal sari was designed by Sabyasachi
Bhatt's ivory and gold bridal sari was designed by Sabyasachi (Instagram)

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It's always hard to picture a traditional Indian wedding without the glittery fury of sindoor reds and shocking pinks. The saat pheras around the holy fire are synonymous with retina-vibrating jolts of maroons, wines and cognac. However, Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor rewrote sartorial rules on their main wedding function by opting for the subdued and serene ivory kissed with gold embroidery. 

Twinning in Sabyasachi ensembles, the moony twosome matched their attire to the white-themed wedding. Looking chic and cheerful in an organza sari, Alia accessorised her look with a choker necklace, jhumkas and a maang tika. While she may have taken a departure from the Bollywood bride go-to red lehenga route, she still embraced tradition by stacking a red and gold chooda set -- the key insignia of a Punjabi bride. 

In the past too, actors like Sonam Kapoor Ahuja have opted for ivory for their mehendi (she wore an ivory and gold Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla), but picking ivory for the main wedding function speaks volumes about the post pandemic bridal sensibility of self expression and individuality. 

No caked-up face, no crazy contouring, and thankfully, the typical twirly bridal hair extensions were missing here! The subtext was clear - staying true to one's personal style while respecting tradition and also staying ahead of the style curve and refusing to look like another bridezilla clone. Lounge got a panel of style savants to discuss Alia's wedding pick. 

Was she drawn to her mom's Catholic roots? Was it an attempt to look different than her contemporaries like Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Anushka Sharma -- most of them favoured reds for their nuptials. Or did she feel the ivory complemented her ethereal appeal and brought out her innate femininity the most?

Designer Sonam Modi of SVA Couture observes that ivory and gold is a classic combination, which has been the choice for many modern day brides for a while. “It’s only the first time a celebrity has adorned this look. The softness, and elegance that it brings in, gives a sense of realness to the wedding. Ivory, also being a symbol of purity, is apt for wedding rituals,” she says.

Palak Shah, Founder, Ekaya Banaras observes that red is essentially the colour of India in all its manifestations -- be it a modern ensemble or a heritage inspired look. “Having said that, India is a vast culture and the ivory and gold combination is popular and significantly symbolic in so many customs and regions -- for instance, the white and gold Kasavu saris in Kerala or white and gold kanjivarams. All in all, today’s evolved Indian brides like to embrace a palette that reflects their mood, core aesthetic and personal style. Ivory and white are slowly becoming acceptable with so many white-themed weddings happening. Plus, ivory lends itself to a vast array of prints and embroideries thereby putting the ultimate focus on the bride,” says Shah.

In the coming years, she sees the emergence of the confident Indian bride making many interesting choices.

Designer Pranay Baidya recalls that growing up in Kolkata, he saw his granddad wear white dhotis and kurtas for pujas, his grandma in white sari with a red border.

“Hues of white and beige instantly evoke a sense of peace, calm, serenity and stillness. I think ivory was a great pick for the couple as they embark on a beautiful journey together. After the turbulent two years we've battled, nothing is more serene, calm and dignified than white and Alia's outfit spoke about it at length. Moreover she came across looking natural and radiant. The delicate touch of gold on the sari added the perfect touch of the traditional Indian craft. As much as white is a modern option, it's rooted in our textiles too if you look back at our traditional natural colour of mulberry and cotton yarns. In fact, it's also seen in temple costumes of our gods and goddesses,” says Baidya.

Designer Pria Kataaria Puri, who for her own wedding wore a white and ivory ensemble 28 years ago, doesn't see Alia's pick as breaking away from tradition. “It's about being who you really are on your special day. Ivory resonated with who I was and my personality. Alia chose that colour, maybe as her mother's side of the family is Christian. Growing up, I used to find Catholic wedding gowns ethereal. What's equally noteworthy is that she picked orange and pink for her mehendi ceremony. Also, the very fact she didn't wear much makeup proves that she wanted to be herself,” says Puri.

Opting for a clean ethereal look as she wanted to represent herself goes to show Alia's innate confidence. “It was a day wedding and wearing red could be jarring. Red is a strong colour and doesn't suit everyone,” says Pria underscoring that we will always remember Alia as a bride and it didn't remind us of anyone else. “Other actors on their wedding day look so similar. She expressed her individuality more than embracing tradition,” she adds. 

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