The Aashni+Co bridal exhibition took London’s Dorchester Hotel by storm over the weekend. Hundreds of soon to be brides descended on Park Lane for the annual show which featured a number of designers who flew in to the capital to help brides make that all important decision.
Zita Elze once again curated the most decadent showcase which transported you to a gorgeous woodland with dresses from various designers hidden among ceiling high trees. Among the designers I got the chance to speak to, Manish Malhotra and Masaba Gupta had to be the two I was dying to get a couple of words with. Manish Malhotra’s careers expands far beyond the cat walk; his work has graced some of the top grossing Bollywood films, while Masaba Gupta’s unconventional prints has kept me on tenterhooks.
Ahead of the show Manish expressed his love for the fashion capital saying, ‘I love London. I was here for almost two months for Karan’s film and then I was here for a little bit for the British Asian Trust, so 2015 has been a lot of London, which I think is an indication to my life that there’s going to be a lot more of London. I love the city.’
The interactive nature of this show allowed visitors to get up close with the designers – one of the unique seeking points that makes the Aashni+Co shows an undeniable success. Have a read of their thoughts on a range of questions below…
On what they were looking forward to…
Sabyasachi: ‘I’m most looking forward to meeting a lot of brides I’ve never met before. You know I do a show on TV called ‘Band Baajaa Bride’ so a lot of girls from the UK write to me saying they want to be on the show. I know a lot of people are coming from Manchester for the show today so it’ll be nice to get to know them as well. It’s nice to put a face to a voice or a name.’
Akanksha Gajria: ‘I love that I’m going to get to interact with so many people. I’ve been speaking to people on email and through Instagram but I’m going to meet them today personally and I love that. I get to learn so much from them.’
On who they would like to dress…
Akanksha Gajria: ‘I really want to dress up Blake Lively. It would be such a thrill to see her in an old white tye-dye lehenga – I mean, how cool would that be? She would carry it off with such bomb. She would look amazing in it.’
Anju Modi: ‘Oh my God, every bride. You can’t name one person. To me every bridge is a unique person and it is her special day. I cannot say Angelina Jolie or Deepika Padukone, they are there of course, but I really give importance to every girl.’
On the collection they were exhibiting…
Faraz Manan: ‘The fall/Winter 15 collection called Casablanca, it’s a Moroccan inspired collection so there’s a lot of handwoven fabrics and embellishments.’
Sonali Gupta: ‘I’ve use a lot of contemporary colours. I’ve used a lot of off whites and blues because I do think these colours are trending now and people have kind of moved away from the reds and the blacks. I mean those are still in fashion and are always going to be there because they’re classic colours. I think what has happened is new colours are taking over. I’ve also done a lot of hand embroided jackets which you can take out in the summer, you can take out in the winter and you can show it off more.’
Anamika Khanna: ‘We’re trying to present an alternative to the traditional bride. For me it’s not necessary to conform as long as we respect the tradition and the sentiments. I’m actually of the opinion that we don’t need to go ‘bride’ in the literal sense as long as we can go ‘bride’ in some way.’
Top tips and biggest challenges
Manish Malhotra: ‘What I sense is a lot of times, the work that I see in America or London and people who are buying these clothes, are not even aware that they’re buying replicas. Maybe they’re paying a high price too, I don’t know about that. But there’s a lot of replicas that I see overseas but Aashni+Co is getting the originals to everyone. So even if you don’t buy, you get an idea; okay so this is what’s happening here, these are the prices, you know? So it helps you to differentiate between the replicas and originals. I would look at it this way, I like the idea of meeting so many people. It’s not about sales and how many sales you’re going to make in one day. Fashion and luxury isn’t just about that one sale, it’s about an association,’ he told Victoria from London ki Ladki.
Anju Modi: ‘To make the bride most comfortable before I start designing for them. I have to win their confidence and they should be comfortable in whatever suggestions I’m giving and I’m open to their own ideas also. The challenge is to make them my friends.’
On how the Asian bridal scene is changing…
Anamika Khanna: ‘Brides are ready to experiment. They come to you asking what can you do and they’re not scared of taking risks. They have better bodies, they’re more confident. They’re not looking at the deep rooted, ethnicity anymore. There is a definite change.’
‘I don’t think they are. I have to say actually, these girls are very educated, they travel, and yet each one of the, especially the brides on their wedding day, the day where they have to do the other rituals, they want to be traditional. They’re not losing touch, they’re just making it more modern, which we need to do. You can’t dress how you use to dress 50 years ago, things need to move on. It’s important and that’s what’s happening but they’re not losing touch with their craft and the traditions.’