Dressed like a fairytale

Wedding gowns displayed for sale at a showroom in Kochi   | Photo Credit: K_K_Mustafah

As Bella Swan walks down the aisle in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1”, all eyes are glued to her vintage-style gown — a classic ensemble in crepe satin and French Chantilly lace, which took four seamstresses and more than six months to make. The gown, with 152 buttons along its back and 17 on each sleeve and worth $35 million, is a hot talking point all over the world.

Different ranges

But far away from the US, stores back home are dreaming of giving many a bride a fairytale wedding dress. “There is a growing fascination for gowns,” says Abdul Rahoof, proprietor of a store in Kochi. In just a month, Rahoof has received orders from Kollam, Thrissur, Pala and Kochi. Stores are putting together an interesting range of ready-to-wear dresses. Enter the store and you are surrounded by mannequins draped in a sea of white — pearly white, off-white, stark white, chalk-white, ivory white and creamy white. Some of the designs are straight out of a Hollywood movie.

For a society used to seeing its brides draped in six yards, gowns have brought in a fresh twist to wedding fashion. Several leading textile shops have included gowns in their prized wedding collections. Though the trend was introduced by NRIs, it has now caught on among all brides-to-be. “Many of my friends got married in gowns. They looked pretty. That is when I decided to go in for a gown, too,” says Ligi Alex, a doctor, who is getting married in February. “Some of the gowns available in Kochi are of international quality. The finish is also excellent. I have ordered a dainty off-white gown, which will be ready in a month,” she says.

Even Muslim girls now prefer a gown to a traditional ghagra to be worn on the day before the wedding, says the manager of another prominent store, which has stacked up a range of snazzy colours from purple to pink, peach, magenta, wine red and blue, all with elaborate thread and bead work. A simple satin and net gown is available for Rs. 6,000. But depending on the work and the quality of the material, the price can go up to Rs. 22,000.

The embellishments involve pretty beads, sequins, embroidery and Swarovski stones. “The Swarovski stones we use are 18 carat,” says Rahoof. The silhouettes, styles, cuts, textures and drapes at Party Star are fancy. Strapless with plunging necklines, backless, A-line, V-shape waists, dainty net sleeves, with and without elaborate trains — the designs are varied. A gown displayed at the store has a train as long as 1.5 metres. “This one will need at least two flower girls. The shortest train is only about a quarter metre,” says Rahoof. The gowns at his store are priced between Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 40,000. Most of the gowns come with the veil and gloves. The veil is mostly done in varying qualities of net or similar diaphanous fabric. Depending on the complexity of the pattern, it could take about 20 days to a month to make a gown. Most shops source the gowns from outside.

The dresses, however, are not just for those who have a body like the mannequins. They come with padding, strings, zips and straps, which can be adjusted. “Even the length can be altered without spoiling the flare of the garment,” says Suresh M.R., manager another store which has gowns that go up to Rs. 50,000. Fakes of Kristen Stewart's Bella wedding gown are selling for $799 in the west. The craze here may not have reached such a fevered pitch. But the beginning sure has been made.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 4:46:02 PM |

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