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How to make couture approachable, by Abhinav Mishra

The designer talks about his new collection, 'Dilbar', and the changing demands of the Indian bride

From the 'Dilbar' collection
From the 'Dilbar' collection

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For his latest outing Dilbar, designer Abhinav Mishra looked at Marrakech, a city steeped in fashion history and folklore. 

"Marrakech is a sensory overload for someone with an inclination towards design. It was a definitive memory, one that revolved around stark stucco walls, intricate mosaics and the signature chevron pattern that I couldn't get out of mind," he says. 

All these elements juxtaposed with the vibrance of colour was something he retained and reimagined with the new collection. 

In an interview, Mishra talks about crafting wearable ornate ensembles and more. Edited excerpts: 

Also read: Is elegance finally making a comeback to the world of fashion?

How was the process of conceptualising and realising this collection?

The process is exciting with sleepless nights amid second thoughts and discarded sketches. It is almost a meditative process that requires me to step away from everything around me and immerse myself in the vision I have created in my mind. Post our spring couture, we launch another segment focussing on our more classic silhouettes across gold and ivory palettes showcased in a Sufi setting, a somewhat signature.

We also have a capsule resort-wear collection that we launched with Ananya Panday last year. This collection will be launched officially with many more designs and silhouettes as well. The design process remains quite exhilarating since our collections are spread out into different sub collections with different themes and ideas.

Haute couture globally is becoming increasingly edited and pared-back. Have you attempted to scale back or edit down your couture pieces to make them more everyday as opposed to occasion wear?

You’ll get an idea about this when you see my upcoming resort wear collection. It’s whimsical, it’s something I did to challenge myself and see if I could go above and beyond but in essence it carried all my design sensibilities and signature elements. So, the fair answer would be no, I have not consciously edited down. My ensembles are celebratory. They are the realisation of an aspiration, they are approachable, adaptable and yet extremely luxe and lavish.

In India, the term 'couture' is used very loosely…

That's because of the advent and access of social media and digital platforms because of which a lot of self-proclaimed announcements are being made. Couture means designing, making and selling of luxury and vogue ensembles. 

What are the new spring-summer wedding essentials for brides and grooms?

Wedding essentials this season are definitely vibrant colours, hues of the ocean, which are really beautiful. Lots of colour play can never go wrong and, of course, summer-friendly fabrics with all the opulence of traditional embroideries and embellishments.

One faux pas which Indian brides make while styling their wedding looks and should possibly avoid?

The first thing that comes to my mind is that brides should be very careful when picking their jewellery or clothes. If your outfit is too heavy, the jewellery should be lighter and vice versa. Apart from this, don’t listen to too many people. A bride should listen to her heart and trust her instincts.

What are the demands of the new-age brides and grooms?  

We can look at them as demands, but quite honestly it’s more about how personally involved brides and grooms are getting when it comes to their wedding planning. It’s a good thing and it’s a trend I’ve been seeing grow over time. It helps retailers like me because we can reach an end goal faster; their deep involvement comes with very specific requirements, it hastens the process of creating the perfect pieces for them.

How important is Bollywood (or a social media influencer) for your brand?

Without sounding patronising, everyone is extremely important to us. Having said that, Bollywood stars and social media influencers are important for every brand because they have honed their skills in matters of design, beauty, creativity. They know how to project a vision forward and that’s absolutely great. We love working with them because they add their own personality to our creations and have their own audiences who loyally consume their content.

Also read: This summer, get your resting beach face on

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