Dressing up for weddings in the scorching heat just got easier with the fashion industry redefining luxury with summer-friendly fabrics.

This is the time of the year you fill your wardrobe with lightweight, airy cottons and linens. Palazzo pants, wrap skirts, chikan kurtas and tank tops are on priority list. But ironically, this is when your social calendar moves into top gear, with plenty of weddings to attend.

Dressing up for a summer wedding is tricky. If the thought of heavy Kanjeevarams with elaborate zari borders in the sweltering heat makes your groan, take heart. In recent years, the fashion industry has tuned itself to cater to those who like to be summer friendly. The retail space is filled with saris in lightweight Kanjeevarams, Rajkot ikat silks, light weight Benaras, Kota cotton and silks, raw silks and jute blends.

Designers tell us how you can look your best and not be weighed down by elaborate wedding wear.

Anand Kabra

“Nothing much has changed for the bride. Since it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event for her, the heavy silks or lehengas are still part of the trousseau. What changes is the colour palette keeping with the season,” says Anand Kabra. For the family and friends though, he says there’s more variety to choose from: “Heavy embroidery and over-the-top embroidery get replaced by finer embroidery and easy styling. In a sense, we are returning to the classics. Apart from favourites like georgettes and chiffons, it’s heartening to see people not shying away from handlooms. For my wedding line, I have used silk-muls and malkha. Silk-muls have one count silk that adds lustre to the comfort of muls. Malkha (mul and khadi) had a raw texture that’s great for embroideries. It takes a discerning eye to take a liking for an unusual but comfortable fabric like malkha.”

If saris are not your thing, Anand recommends floor-length anarkalis: “These are simple, easy to wear and give you the look of a lehenga. The Hyderabadi ghararas and shararas will always remain wedding favourites.”

Sanjay Garg

Sanjay is known for his label Raw Mango through which he has, in a small way, changed the way the fashion-conscious buyer looks at Chanderi saris. Lightweight Chanderi cottons and silks in a vibrant splash of colours are Sanjay’s USP. The idea of taking a re-look at traditional handlooms, says Sanjay, “is redefining luxury.” While the heavier Chanderis with intricate buttis cater to older buyers, the lighter saris with simple designs target the young, non-habitual sari buyer. “Vintage style statements are back this season. Chanderi, organza and Bengal cottons are being picked up for special occasions,” he says. Sanjay emphasises on keeping the styling minimal to let the vibrant colours of Chanderis do the talking: “Luxury is not about wearing everything. Choose your accessories carefully.”

Rajeev Kanth

Rajeev likes to work with handloom cottons, cotton-silks and raw silks for his Indian line, targeted at young women who look for aesthetic, classy outfits to be worn for a friend’s wedding or pre-wedding occasions. “The outfits are designed to suit the season. We’ve used breathable Maheshwari cottons in different colour combinations, at times with raw silks,” he says. There’s also a diligent use of kalamkari prints and statement embroideries at the borders. He suggests salwar-kameezes with minimal flare in fabrics such as kota, mul-mul, Maheshwari cottons and raw silks. “If a raw silk kurta is lined with mul-mul, you still get the luxurious look while feeling comfortable wearing it,” he says. Rajeev uses a sheer kota or silk over a layer of mul-mul with kalamkari to arrive at contrasting patterns and textures.

Mamata Reddy

Kotas in citrus and aqua shades are big this season. Mamata adds a new dimension with natural-dyed kalamkaris on kotas. “There’s a whole lot of variety the kalamkari artisans have helped us create, for example Benaras weaves with Sanskrit and Hindi mantras and aksharalu (Telugu alphabets) on the pallu,” she says. Mamata suggests teaming up kota saris in yellow, orange, pink and blue with raw silk kalamkari blouses. For younger women, she suggests floor-length anarkalis in Mangalgiri cottons with Nizam borders. Not to forget the half-saris for the teens.