Bridal COUTURE WEEK Institutionalising Bridal Beauty

Wrap Up In Flimsy decor, exotic flowers, grandeur, rich colours… these are the words that best explain the aura and ambiance of Style 360 Bridal Couture Week (BCW). The third season of the grand bridal show was held at the Pearl Continental Lahore. The event commenced with its entire splendour carrying forward some of its hitches and overcoming a few that it saw during the previous season. For one, this time around BCW started only half an hour late which is a pleasant change, it brought forward not only the best creations of famed fashion designers but also presented a wide palette of theatrics infront of a live audience.

The extravagant bridal show was held on the 15th and 16th of October with the city's crème de la crème coming together to participate. Despite the dengue scare, cars queued outside the hotel and pedestrians hurriedly tried to find their way in through high security checks. Laying ahead was a narrow pathway lined with Christmas lights over a thick red carpet, decorated along the sidelines were images of the last Bridal Show. Following the red carpet area were more dramatic effects; bare trees were aesthetically placed on both sides of the ramp, life like peacocks crafted completely out of flowers stood perched on them. The ramp too was lined with the same flowers and spiral crystal chandeliers hung above. The event was definitely bigger and better than its previous seasons and the creative team had outdone themselves.
The show started with Mona Imran's bridal collection who decided to start slow with soft pastel gowns, building up towards more elaborate lehngas. The gowns were detailed with silver embroidery and jamawar choori pyjamas brightened up single toned shirts.
Kosain Kazmi was next with his Mughul inspired collection, pulling out one beautiful dress after the other. His was a colourful palette of bright jamawar intertwined with chundri fabric. The bridal dresses were not mere lehngas, they were more like gowns trailing behind with thick gold borders. This was the first time a model wearing black sashayed on to the ramp that evening.
Up next were the duo Saba and Misbah of the label 'Hijab'. Their focus was on kalidar shirts, artfully using applique work on a palette of bright yellows and greens. The choori pyjamas were lined with beadings and buttons to give an added effect.

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Bina Sultan from BNS Couture presented her line of winter bridal wear with velvet capes over gowns. Their fusion of thick velvet with netted fabric and contemporary mirror work on dresses would have been beautiful if not paired with the contrasting gold jewels.
Round two of day one started with the talented MEHDI for whom Waseem Akram dressed in a sherwani made a special appearance. This, however was not the only special appearance since model and actress Iman Ali too waltzed on to the ramp looking slightly pale but still beautiful nonetheless in a striking white gown.
Fahad Hussayn wowed the audience with not just his bold designs but also the dramatic way his collection was presented. The models wore black netted veils which clearly showed off their unconventional jewels and matha pattis. This collection too was full of surprises as singer Quratullain Baloch made an appearance that marked the end of day one, not just displaying a piece from Hussayn's collection but also entertaining the audience with live music.
Day two kicked off (fashionably an hour and a half late) with the 'Dera Jutta' women inspired collection of self embossed ivory palate with muted embellishments. Adorned with velvet applique work and laden with chundri dupattas and layers upon layers of fabric!
Motifs depicting the Mughal era are still quite popular as Saira Rizwan gave them a twist from the classic silk painted to motifs on velvet. She vamped up the bridal gown with belts over sheer cloaks and the seventies inspired hairdos completed the look. To further add spice to an already steaming collection, the very talented Omar Iftikhar sang (with his eyes closed – a huge audience can be very intimidating) a wise, tasteful selection of Bollywood numbers. His voice mesmerised the audience and the spell was broken by the beautiful film star Resham; as she boldly came and took over the ramp with a beautiful banarsi fabric lehnga bedazzled by intricate embroidery on net.
Sadaf Arshad changed the aura completely with her turquoise and soap green collection voluminous gowns. With background music of Ali Zafar from his latest Sufi album, the collection and choreography both stole the show. Model and actress Fizza Ali brought this sequence to an end adorning a beautiful green and white dress.
More paneled cloaks, velvet and banarsi borders appeared along Shazia Bayani's collection who brought forward a traditional red-bride parade. The dupattas were weighed down further with heavy tussels and the frail models were laden with more layers!
The trio from India, Rabbani and Rakha redefined the traditional gota and started off with a very unconventional collection that although showed their creative sides but failed to define bridal beauty. Their experiments with net and heavy kamdani on sheer saris lined with sequenced fabric, she stole the show. Hadiqa Kiyani shone in an orange dress by the talented designers and received great applaud.
Ali Xeeshan, the talented young designer brought forward farshi ghararas, mukesh dupattas and ivory gowns. He improvised the bride-grooms dress with pieces from his bridal collection such as a heavy dupatta and even a mermaid lehnga! Xeeshan was the only one to fuse cottons with silks and accentuate them with pearls and beadings to bring a fresh new flavor to the traditional bridal attire.
Concluding the two day even was 'La chantel'. The designers collection had been a huge success in the second BCW and she came back to stupefy the audience with more glorious trousseau.

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The designers were not the only ones who stole the show; infact there was another art form that made the audience dizzy with excitement – literally!
This was a Turkish version of spiraling sufi dance, performed by the extremely gifted young boy, Hamada. This talented performer spiraled non stop for a whopping twenty minutes, making the audience cry out with sheer joy as he pulled off one trick after the other. This visual delight was one that many had never seen before and was a class apart from all other performances previously seen at the BCW.
Other performances were by Maryam, who performed Lollywood style on a dance choreographed by Pappu Samrat and one by model Fia who performed a classical dance.
Bridal Trends this season
For the winter bride, velvet is a must. Whether in the form of trimmings, applique, hems, borders or if you are more daring, complete cloaks!
Black is the new red! The colour traditionally avoided by brides can be tastefully and stylishly added to your bridal gown. From black bodices to black velvet trimmings on hems, this will add the extra oomph you need on your big day.
Layers and length are here to stay. Add layers to your gown giving it more volume for a more sixties look or get a long embroidered shirt that can be paired with a lehnga on the big day and churidar pyjamas on other occasions.
Cloaks and capes might change shape, size and volume but they add richness to any outfit. Trailing cloaks with intricate silver embellishments are must haves for the modern bride.
What the participants had to say
It was a mad rush backstage but the designers were eager to voice their views. Here is what some of the participating designers had to say.
Saba and Misbah – Designers
"Bridal Couture Week is an excellent platform for designers to showcase their talent and get noticed. Our work is simply inspired by beauty – any girl would feel beautiful wearing these designs"
Sabeena Pasha – Model
"BCW this year is more organised and has a renewed energy about it that everyone can feel. The makeup is different and so is the choreography. The dresses are smart and simply beautiful"
Saira Omer – Jewellery Designer
"Because of the skyrocketing jewellery prices, the current trend should be to have portable poeces that can be shuffled around to create something new and different each time. This way the money saved on jewellery can be used for something more important like buying a house or even a car!"
Sunita Marshall – Model
"The dresses are to die for! They have lots of length and layers upon layers of fabric. Any bride would feel beautiful wearing them."

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