Vaishali Shadangule wants to change Indian bridalwear: “less bling, more textile”. The designer, who recently became the first Indian woman to showcase at the Paris Couture Week, unveiled a new line of bridal collection earlier this week, titled Shakuntala.
Combining traditional weaves and textiles, the line offers a contemporary twist to bridalwear while adding elements of nature to the design language.
In an interview with Mint Lounge, she talks about the new collection, the need to make handloom textile shine and her desire to change Indian bridalwear. Edited excerpts:
For this collection, you've combined the idea of love and mythology. What prompted you?
My focus for the collection is textile. I feel like even for wedding, we have such beautiful textiles, why not create layers using different fabrics instead of doing those heavy embroideries. If you will see Indian costume history or mythology, you will find such beautiful textiles for weddings. Even now, in different parts of India, it's always about the fabric. In Maharashtra, Gujarat, even north India, textile has been the major original highlight. Embroideries can be overpowering; we have to make the fabric shine.
When we talk about bridal, we think only embellishments and embroideries. I want to change that. When I show my bridalwear to customers, they say, "Oh, where is the bling?" Of course, embroideries are important and I have used them but you need to see and feel the texture of the fabric as well.
What kind of fabrics have you used?
Chanderi, Benarsi brocades, Murshidabad silks, Merino wools, Khun, all are very dear to me.
And the love and mythology connection?
I was reading about Shakuntala and I read these beautiful love stories that inspired me. And the clothes in those photos… the silhouettes, the drapes, so simple, yet so sexy. This is my attempt to make wedding clothes more functional: you can wear the lehenga with a white shirt, the choli with a cotton plain skirt; it's all about mixing and matching. It has elements from my Paris show.
How have you combined the elements of your Paris show in this collection?
I have used textures like cording that were part of the Paris collection. I wanted to show a seamless single flow in clothes that are both Indian and western.
Do you think people today's shopper is ready to buy less-blingy weddings outfits?
It's a mixed bag, to be honest. The youngsters, the post millennials, are definitely interested in something that's lightweight and comfortable and versatile. And something that's functional.
Because if we talk about sustainability, and if we talk about nature, we have to create clothes that are used regularly and are not left behind in cupboards.