July 27, 2019 Asmita Aggarwal

Runaway Bride

Shirt-like lehengas, meet handwoven chanderi displaying a shift to new vicissitudes as Reynu traverses to the other side with veils and net  with “Savannah Saga”

By Asmita Aggarwal

Reynu Tandon is celebrating her 20th year in her rather glitzy universe of style, and this is her fifth ode to couture at ICW 2019. Even though she started with the traditional gharana look for the trousseau, maybe her daughter Nikhita’s modern dimensions have rubbed off on her too. So it was “modernity” that remained the flagbearer of innovation in her latest collection that displayed a rustic charm, as she hasn’t left the lust for destination weddings and resort wear.

She admits the demand has changed so the supply must alter too, so the time of red and fuchsias, a bride’s staple has now vanished making way for pastels, subtlety, and minimalism. “Jewellery is lighter so lehengas can’t be heavy, we need to see what the young girl wants and her friends follow her lead.  There are no jewel colours, most have left the desire for two duppattas so my take is fresh, less constricting, more fun and frothy,” says Reynu.

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Some things haven’t changed despite contemporarisation—-chanderi remains handwoven, but the net has been added along with rainfall of pearls, which also bring back memories for the designer. She remembered how her mom used to add these tiny white beauties to her dresses as a kid, and confesses she never knew that one day the edifice of her bridal couture would hinge on pearls. “If you look internationally, Zuhair Murad and Elie Saab both use pearls along with thread work. I have added translucent net to my offering to give every woman the option of newness,” she says.

This time the focus is on 25-40-year-olds, who are looking to get married and Reynu’s colours haven’t changed in fact they have from pastels turned to powdered peaches and greens. But there have been new additions to the repertoire like Swarovskis, and the khakas of mirror works have been twisted to induce length and breadth in the embroidery. “I’ve also worked extensively with laser cuts, which I seem to enjoy doing,” she admits.

This change can be attributed to the interactions Reynu has had with her clients, who have followed her from her first line “Shah Bano” inspired by Turkish motifs dipped in royal blues and Muslim folklore. Then there were Rajasthani influences that could be seen in her gold foiling, moving on to her love for Cyan, and everything aqua. Finally, last year she took a detour to destination weddings looking at Europe with a focus on Spain. This came complete with sand-like flooring on the catwalk and flowers flown in from Germany to give the look of a faraway bride. The theme was immersive and expressive, targeting an audience that doesn’t live in India, but wants to come home and get married and could opt for a daytime soiree.

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“This summer I was driving in Los Angeles going to Lake Tahoe and I was mesmerised by the endless fields, blue skies, and crimson sunsets, it left an indelible mark on me, which I somewhat translated into my line,” she explains. Off shoulder blouses to nude colours Reynu has seen a vast change in what women desire, so much so that light is right now, in terms of colours and textures. “Some even ask me to add a veil with their lehengas and not give them dupattas. So the 12-20-36 kalidar Angarakhas are now losing steam, making way for more skirt-like lehengas,” she confesses.

Reynu believes fashion is cyclical and trends never really fade away they get their charisma back once they are on the forecaster’s charts. From Zeenat Aman’s bell-bottoms to Leena Chandarvakar’s cigarette pants everything will see a revival in years to come. “Who knows next few years red will be every bride’s go-to colour? But for now, it is ‘less’ that is the lighthouse,” she concludes.

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