Brides in Bangladesh have long been very traditional. Saris in heavy benarasi brocade are a standard primary choice for most brides here even today. Over the years with the availability of varied choices, styles have emerged in different genres of weaves and embroidery for wedding saris. When we look at bridal wear, we see that there is a great deal of interest in something more customised. Every bride wants to be a diva unique in presenting herself at her own wedding and that definitely will continue to be the trend in the future.
Personally, I believe heirloom quality weaves in one-of-a-kind adaptations are very important as a wedding ensemble and one must patronise traditions, especially during such formal ceremonies. The wearer will enunciate and articulate her own culture as it clearly personifies her roots. However, the younger generation can rarely relate to customs these days, as the current generation is not so connected to our past heritage. Is there a disregard for our textiles as a wedding sari? I believe there is a sense of indifference; the love for such saris is a lifestyle choice, most do not practice and learn to embrace it spontaneously as it is a sentiment that is acquired over time. In South Asia, regions are demarcated by language and regional distinction of generic natures. In these changing times of globalised integration, there is very little space or understanding for the controlled time-honoured observance of culture. It is imperative to say the least that in events such as weddings, music, culinary delights, ambience and presentations, customs have over the years evolved in appearance and in character in Bangladesh.
Why would you use a professional eye for a bridal collection?
Ensembles in weddings need to be developed in a collective manner. Fabric colour, style,
theme, message or motif all must fall into place in a compilation of ideas. It is the job of the designer to match the wedding clothes with a specific theme. It is also important to match and build the accessories, gift-wraps, parcels, and encasements to the original concept. It does make sense doesn't it, especially since it could be a once in a lifetime experience. Some times it is not about the scale or size of the wedding, but rather the impression or the message. The ideas convey a perception of what you enjoy or like. A theme could be country chic, floral gardens, forest greens, rococo extravagant, baroque fancy, princely royal or quirky ones such as decorative kitsch decoration or rustic charm. Whatever your heart fancies within reason can be achieved these days given the desired objective is within one's budget.
What do new brides like to wear today?
Urban chic brides are confident and self-assured. A bride is now well versed in her style vocabulary. She understands and easily connects with her imagination. She wants to reflect her will and free spirit to reveal and express this through her ensemble. Sometimes it is a chiffon sari embellished just the right amount in diamante or metal work with a beautiful heavily worked bustier that compliments the sari in a union. She is also experimental with dapper trailing dresses that finish with shoulder-less chi-chi bodices or mermaid skirts with backless low cut cholis. The key statement would be functional designs that bellow a high utility value. Colours too are also unfamiliar and avant-garde, mint green, melon orange or genteel lavender. The jewel tones are relegated to pure traditional styles.
Brides choose either to be global or local. There is no shame in looking native. In fact it easily comes with a certain variety of pride that is a very special blend of patriotism rarely found in our upwardly mobile style conscious girl. But there are some brides who still continue to search for the suave Bengali sophistication. This is forever epitomized in the indelible unfading weaves of our nation.
Is it necessary to follow a pattern?
Colour should be the first choice to provide a direction. Light creamy and cool shades are chosen time and again as the new standard. Although I also feel rich jewel tones as accents work fabulously for us as the vibrant colours surely enliven us and brighten up our environment. Styles should transform with contemporary trends that are fabulous and fun. Look like a princess from a bygone era is a time-tested inspiration that does seem to work. Try to look savvy it is the pre-requisite for a modern confidence. Pick wedding themes that are eclectic yet casual and easy to manage, that is far better than our usual uptight over the top ornamental menagerie. Dress for a tranquil serenity that signifies your true personality, as brides should above all look relaxed.
My final word
Modern brides should not be styled so excessively that their true personality is lost. Vibrant or subtle embellishment is vital for an ideal Bangladeshi wedding. If the bride is wearing an ensemble, then structured or molded drapes are necessary so that the figure is cinched and feminine. She should be radiant, luminous and dazzling. For a wedding I like traditional textiles whether it is fine needlework or jacquard light delicate fabrics so that the beauty is enhanced rather than heavy motifs that wears the bride down. Makeup should be light with just the right amount of shimmer and fresh flowers will generate a charismatic allure. For the holud the bride should avoid yellow or orange and wear pinks, peaches or even nudes. The idea is to be playful with volume as you shift and mingle or even dance to the music. It is one of the only occasions that the bride no longer sits ceremoniously. For the after wedding reception, brides should wear an outstanding blouse and preferably in contrast shades with a traditional Dhakai that includes an extra long end piece so that you can show off the engineered motifs that spin a magical thread entwined in our history.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Zamsad, Airin, Raisa
Wardrobe and Jewellery: Mayasir
Makeup: Farzana Shakil
Styling: Maheen Khan