Quite possibly the most exciting Asian bridal show fixture in London – the Aashni & Co. Wedding Show is returning to The Dorchester in early January in the new year.
Hosted by our favourite Notting Hill boutique Aashni & Co, the exhibition will feature the grandees of Indian fashion as well as some exciting new talent. Some of my favourite designers – Anamika Khanna, Tarun Tahiliani, and Sabyasachi (obviously) – will be exhibiting their latest bridal and formal collections.
Sabyasachi continues to turn out beautifully evocative and highly desirable collections. This year there was the Tales of Benares collection (lovely even though Payal Khandwala probably outdid him with her banarasi lehngas – wish she was exhibiting!), and the equally regal Firdaus collection. But who can forget that ground-breaking moment a couple of months ago when a pregnant and breathtaking Kareena Kapoor walked as showstopper in his Lakme Fashion Week show?
And who doesn’t love Anamika Khanna? She of the improbable but almost always effective silhouette, and the exquisite marrying of Eastern embellishment with Western cut. Has she had a somewhat quieter year in 2016? Although there was this star turn by Neha Dhupia a few months ago.
Tarun Tahiliani remains the master of silhouette, and luscious, tasteful grandeur. His recent work seems to reflect a search for a much more modern aesthetic, but to me this 2016 appearance by Malaika Arora is a reminder of what he does best, and is one of my standout celebrity outings of 2016.
Bound to be popular at the Show is Anushree Reddy whose flowery, flirty, floaty confections are the stuff fairytale weddings are made of. Here’s Nargis Fakhri in one from a 2014 collection.
Pakistani design will make its debut at the show via high-end design house Élan – whose trademark is heavily embellished modern cuts, and who are every Pakistani bride’s dream. This is from their Palais Indochine collection.
What I’m most excited about is Monisha Jaising. Her take on sexy-glam-luxe is refreshing and jaw-dropping (but admittedly in the wrong hands sometimes a little OTT). See Jacqueline Fernandez in a stunning metallic dress here. She’s even dressed Pakistani actor Mahira Khan. And then, in November, there was THIS awesomeness from Deepika at the MTV Europe Music Awards (if you can ignore the annoying leg action). Not very bridal but I couldn’t help myself. Flipping HECK.
Gaurang – equally exciting! He creates traditional handwoven weaves – banarasi, jamdaani, kanjeevaram – which can take up to two years to make depending on the garment and design. He’s been working to revive traditional handlooms across India – and to stunning results. Although from what I can tell, his stuff doesn’t come cheap – at all. This beautiful outfit features a kanjeevaram weave.
Also exhibiting will be Gaurav Gupta who I know best for his line of saree gowns. Also anarkali supremos Rimple and Harpreet Narula, SVA, and Jade, and the Bachchan and Khanna (Dimple and Twinkle) clans’ favourite Abu Sandeep’s new diffusion label ASAL. Jewellery powerhouse Amrapali will also be exhibiting – we profiled the opening of their Selfridges concession here. Amongst the lesser known designers is Akanksha Gajria, who has a nice line in hand tie-dyed lehngas in candy colours. Also watch out for her very lovely high-waisted silk palazzos.
The Show is being promoted as the ultimate trousseau shopping experience, but I don’t know that you need to be in the market for such a thing to enjoy it. Even if you are, the vast majority of us are likely to be priced out of most of these very high-end designers. Still, the design and craftsmanship from some of these fashion houses – many of whom are doing important work to revive traditional techniques and livelihoods – are works of art in themselves. And while they’re beautiful, and fun, the clothes are also an important window into India’s textile heritage – past, present and future. £30 is steep for an art exhibition, but where else can you try the art on? 😉
When: Sunday 8th January 2017, 11.30am – 6.30pm
Where: The Dorchester, 53 Park Lane, London W1K 1QA
Tickets; £30 (children under 5 go free)
More info: Aashni & Co Wedding Show
By Seema Khan
Posted on 26 December 2016