August 27, 2021 Asmita Aggarwal

Wise craft

Dressing the millennial bride in upcycled embroideries is Varun Bahl’s anthem as he delights in the details and adds fun to the often “starched” couture

By Asmita Aggarwal

At a time when budgets are tight and everyone is looking at value-for-money, Varun Bahl believes couture will survive, it is just going to be redefined by the younger generation which is going to find interesting ways to mix what they see with what they would like to wear.

This season, he has made his repertoire easy yet dramatic by upcycling embroideries which have been the mainstay of the ICW 2021 line. The simplifying of silhouettes has given the entire look a global appeal and if you add a boho vibe to it, it takes away from the seriousness making it fresher —- his brides and bridesmaids are not restricted by trials or veils.


“The idea was to encourage people to consume less, which is the only way forward, in couture to create pieces that withstand the test of time. We tried to use older embroideries in a newer way so that the millennial bride adds her unique twist to it,” says Varun.

Each season brings with it various moods of couture, some prefer it lighter as weddings are now intimate, while some like it bright, bold and beautiful — the whole nine yards, for Varun the feel of couture is now much easier and more soulful. “It is really a natural process to take something from the past and mix with the present to create a blueprint for the future. I’m hoping to dress the young bride, who has a definitive mindset and maybe doesn’t want two duppatas or even one for that matter to cover her head,” he says.

Most designers have understood after two really problematic years in the retail business that re-usage is going to be the flagbearer and this has been re-imagined in his fashion film. “Couture is always about your signature,” says Varun, who once launched an all black collection, introduced monochromes for weddings and this year has brought back the magic of red.

Interestingly, few would know the showtrooper and not stopper the beautiful Deveshi Sehgal, famous for her ethereal voice when she sings Ghalib’s Nazms, seen in the fashion film making her presence felt in pristine white.  Her father the super dapper Rajesh Sehgal was a lover of horses and an avid polo player in the late 90s —-the daughter inherited that vitality along with a quiet passion for style.

The concept for Varun is how the younger generation which likes to party is enjoying a wedding in a staycation, wearing couture, even on a treadmill in a hotel, nowhere to go due to the pandemic which forms the theme of his film. His love for chanderis, art nouveau, silks, dupion, nets and hints of velvets add a distinctive richness. Reflective mirror work, and zardosi which he believes is an integral part of couture, is mixed with geometric florals. “I tell my clients to wear my embroidered Anarkali jackets with torn jeans, that’s the only way you make something everlasting when you learn to modernise and customise it,” he concludes.



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