Fashion: “Celebrate your body on your wedding day”

Published on Jan 13, 2023 09:17 PM IST

HT Brunch Wedding Special 2023: The star of the HT Brunch Wedding Special 2023, Sanjana Sanghi, on everything a little girl’s fantasies are made of… and more!

Sanajana Sanghi says, “At my wedding, my first priority would be to choose a look that will celebrate my body & personality. I would definitely wear my grandmother’s bandhani saree for one function”; Styling by Avneet Chadha; Assisted by Tanya Agarwal; Art direction by Amit Malik;Make-up by Shaan; Lehanga by Abhinav Mishra; Shoes by Steve Madden; Earrings and neckpiece by Soni Sapphire (Shivamm Pathak)
Sanajana Sanghi says, “At my wedding, my first priority would be to choose a look that will celebrate my body & personality. I would definitely wear my grandmother’s bandhani saree for one function”; Styling by Avneet Chadha; Assisted by Tanya Agarwal; Art direction by Amit Malik;Make-up by Shaan; Lehanga by Abhinav Mishra; Shoes by Steve Madden; Earrings and neckpiece by Soni Sapphire (Shivamm Pathak)

Even though her parents have the sweetest love story—they met at school, dated only each other, and then married—actor Sanjana Sanghi had never once tried to imagine what her own love story and wedding would be like. Until the pandemic hit the world.

“A lot of my friends got married at that time and I happened to be part of their planning process,” Sanjana explains. “The Covid period was a tough one and people started to think differently about what they wanted from life. And that’s when we all realised that, ultimately, you need only your closest people around you on such a special occasion. Which means the wedding can be celebrated in a way that comes truly from your heart. I felt I collected a lot more memories in these weddings than I did in the grand pre-pandemic weddings which were almost like carnivals.”

Sanjana with co-star Ranbir Kapoor on the sets of Rockstar
Sanjana with co-star Ranbir Kapoor on the sets of Rockstar

Slow and steady

Having said that, Sanjana is in no way ready to get married herself, though she’s happily taken on the role of bridesmaid at several friends’ weddings this season. The 26-year-old Delhi girl, who made her acting debut as a child artiste with Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar and then shot into the limelight when she played the lead opposite the late Sushant Singh Rajput in his last film, Dil Bechara, before his tragic death in 2020, is 100 per cent committed to her career at this time. But she loves weddings and will attend one any time when invited.

“What I love the most about weddings is the food and endless dancing,” Sanjana says. “Some of my best memories are of being part of my closest friends’ mehendi ceremonies which start in the afternoon and go on till late at night. We dance for hours and hours, with everyone looking their best, and there’s so much love and joy in the air!”

Sanjana and her mother Shagun
Sanjana and her mother Shagun

The dressing-up aspect of Indian weddings can sometimes be a big cause of stress for the bride, Sanjana acknowledges. “Earlier, I saw my friends go through a lot of stress as they thought and planned all the different outfits they needed for the various ceremonies,” she says. “But things became a lot easier during and since the pandemic, when close-knit celebrations became the way to marry. Since then, the brides’ choices of clothes have been more in tune with their own fashion sense and feel more authentic too.”

Miracle of love

If she were to marry any time soon, Sanjana would likely pick outfits that are a cross between traditional and experimental. “My first priority would be to choose a look or style that will celebrate my body and my personality,” she says. “And, if there are four functions, I would definitely wear my grandmother’s classic bandhani saree for one of them, paired with a blouse of my own choice. For the other functions... well, I really enjoy an Indo-western look, or maybe I’d wear a pant-suit in brocade. Even in daily life, I often wear trenches with crop tops and pants, which are in different kinds of Indian woven styles whether it’s bandhani, brocade or chikankari. I would have fun with my clothes because that’s an important part of any wedding. Since footwear is very important and comfort is key, I’d probably have sneakers hiding under my sarees and lehengas.”

With her Dil Bechara co-star, the late Sushant Singh Rajput
With her Dil Bechara co-star, the late Sushant Singh Rajput

The man Sanjana intends to marry has not yet come into her life, and she acknowledges that her idea of what he may be like could change in the coming years.

“All this depends on various factors—who walks into my life and who I fall in love with eventually. I feel that love happens in the most unexpected and unimaginable way and I want to stay open to the universe and let that miracle happen,” says Sanjana. “Between love marriage and arranged marriage, it’s a no-brainer for me—I’m all about love, love, and only love. I do have friends who had an arranged marriage and fell madly in love with their partners, but I can’t see myself being able to do that because I’ve grown up seeing my parents’ love and am very idealistic about the notion of love.”

Her next project is with Pankaj Tripathi
Her next project is with Pankaj Tripathi

Tone it down

It’s time to move past the clutter

By Leena Singh

The focus has shifted to having more specialised work on your wedding clothes; Skirt and top set by Joskai;Earrings and rings by Soni Sapphire (Shivamm Pathak)
The focus has shifted to having more specialised work on your wedding clothes; Skirt and top set by Joskai;Earrings and rings by Soni Sapphire (Shivamm Pathak)

The pandemic was a lesson for people who believed in lavish, grand weddings. Now, people have understood that weddings can be more enjoyable and manageable with intimate gatherings comprising just family and close friends. With a scaling down in the size of the weddings, everything else was scaled down, too. The multiple formalwear options needed for the bride, the groom and even relatives reduced. The look became lighter with more intricate work, while heavy outfits went out completely. Interestingly, though the looks changed, the price point did not, as the focus shifted to having more specialised work.

Today, brides want a clean, elegant and sophisticated look with a single colour tone. The clutter has given way to intricate, detailed but delicate embroidery or other work. Gold and ivory lehengas are now all the rage as the overall bridal look has been toned down post the pandemic.

Leena Singh
Leena Singh

Leena Singh is the co-founder of clothing brand Ashima-Leena, which she launched in the early 1990s and is now well-known globally

Sure, be experimental

Modern, contemporary silhouettes are your answer

By Rohit Gandhi & Rahul Khanna

Brides & grooms are opting for clothing in which they can freely move around and enjoy their events; Coord set by Graine; Neckpiece and earrings by Tribe by Amrapali; Headscarf by Ghunghat Fabrics (Shivamm Pathak)
Brides & grooms are opting for clothing in which they can freely move around and enjoy their events; Coord set by Graine; Neckpiece and earrings by Tribe by Amrapali; Headscarf by Ghunghat Fabrics (Shivamm Pathak)

There has been a drastic shift in weddings post pandemic. We strongly feel weddings have now become more intimate, where the brides and groomsare focussing more on personal choices—they are opting for comfortable clothing in which they can freely move around and enjoy their events.

New age couples are more aware of their surroundings, which reflects in their daily choices. Hence, many of them opt for sustainable clothes that can be worn again, and not just on their big day.

Brides and grooms have become experimental; they are evolving and looking for modern, contemporary silhouettes. Brides are moving towards cocktail sarees and straight-fit gowns rather than extravagant cancan gowns as they are easier to move around in. The grooms, too, are no longer looking for typical options like bandhgalas, sherwanis or kurtas and have moved to experimenting with bomber jackets, sequinned shirts or sheer shirts.

On the whole, wedding culture has completely evolved, with more destination weddings taking place, which makes the entire affair more intimate and personal.

Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna
Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna

The iconic designer duo started their eponymous menswear collection in 1997 from a garage and since then have made their mark in contemporary prêt wear for both men and women

Bring back the saree

Think sustainable, organic, homegrown

By Samant Chauhan

A good thing that has happened post pandemic is the revival of the saree;Saree, bracelet, hairband and shoes by Papa Don’t Preach by Shubhika (Shivamm Pathak)
A good thing that has happened post pandemic is the revival of the saree;Saree, bracelet, hairband and shoes by Papa Don’t Preach by Shubhika (Shivamm Pathak)

We are seeing some major shifts in the way brides and grooms are planning their most important day, after the pandemic. Basic, comfortable and wearable seem to have become the keywords. People have started experimenting a lot with silhouettes as well as fabrics. Couture today isn’t just about heavy fabrics filled with embroidery. People have realised that couture could also mean comfort and wearable fabrics with fine details and sharp cuts.

Another good thing that has happened post pandemic is the revival of the saree. Even Alia Bhatt wore one and today, most brides are opting for a saree over a lehenga for a pre-wedding function, and even wedding. And, they are picking up traditional weaves like kanjeevaram, Banarasi silk etc, which is a big boost for homegrown weavers. Sustainable, organic and homegrown are fast becoming the choice of fabrics, and people don’t mind paying for them.

Samant Chauhan
Samant Chauhan

After Singapore Fashion Week in 2005, Samant Chauhan made a strong debut at India Fashion Week in 2006. He works with handmade, handwoven textiles.

Have fun on your big day

Personal and thoughtful is important

By Anju Modi

The modern bride can even do away with matha pattis and go for a tiara, instead; Pants and blazer set by Bhumika Sharma; Sheesh patti and earrings by Soni Sapphire; Juttis by Needledust (Shivamm Pathak)
The modern bride can even do away with matha pattis and go for a tiara, instead; Pants and blazer set by Bhumika Sharma; Sheesh patti and earrings by Soni Sapphire; Juttis by Needledust (Shivamm Pathak)

The fashion industry haschanged significantly after the pandemic. It has definitely become more personalised, in the sense that consumers have been prioritising comfort—what looks best on them and how they feel about a certain outfit. So, needless to say, they’ve been defying conventional choices.

Brides and grooms want to have fun on their special day, instead of fussing about their outfits. There has been a demand for lighter silhouettes and something more experimental yet comfortable. Colour choices have shifted from shades of red to more subtle pastels and ivories.

The essence of a new age bride lies in clothes that are hassle-free, easy to carry and have a sense of laid-back celebration. As trousers and jacket sets are in vogue these days, the modern bride can even do away with matha pattis and go for a tiara, instead!

There’s also something beautiful I see brides doing now, which is honouring their families by wearing family heirlooms or including an element from that into their own outfit. This approach feels more personal, thoughtful and also sustainable. Everything comes down to prioritising the simpler things and obviously oneself.

Anju Modi
Anju Modi

Anju Modi is a veteran Filmfare-award winning designer who started out in 1990 and has designed clothes for movies like Bajirao Mastani and Ram Leela

From HT Brunch, January 14, 2023

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