Manish Malhotra decodes Alia Bhatt’s mehendi outfit

Bollywood weddings and events are almost an extravagant fashion week of their own. At Alia Bhatt’s recent wedding to Ranbir Kapoor, she was dressed in ensembles by various designers for her multiple functions. Besides her sartorial choices aided by stylist Ami Patel, the jewelery, muted makeup, and subtle decor made the shaadi different. Bhatt’s eye-catching, “upcycled” mehendi look designed by Manish Malhotra was a conversation starter.

In an exclusive chat with DHdesigner Manish Malhotra decoded his creation for the actress — a fuschia pink lehenga with vintage metallic sequins, real gold dawnand silver nakshi and bark flower embellishments.

“When Alia and I met to discuss the ensemble, her idea was to take a sustainable approach, which I wholly agree with,” Malhotra said of how the “upcycled” outfit came about. “She’s a new-age, thoughtful bride, and the ensemble was customized, keeping her personality in mind. Her endeavor to wear an eco-conscious garment was thoughtful and generous.”

Also Read | Alia Bhatt’s mehendi lehenga took 3,000 hours to make, says Manish Malhotra

The designer elaborated that the lehenga blouse set was made using fabrics from Bhatt’s pre-owned outfits and incorporated fabrics and materials from the brand archives. Handwoven using a couture technique of cross-stitches with three and six tar anchors, the patches, weaves, textiles, and embroideries were planned to match the color scheme and signify her roots and diverse ethnic origins.

“Alia belongs to a conscious generation, and her vibe is outgoing and full of life. She is exceptionally down to earth and rooted to her origins, and we had to highlight every bit of her individuality,” says Malhotra.

The actor-designer duo wanted to pay an ode to our artisanal lineage and Indian craft through Bhatt’s ceremonial heirloom piece.

After collecting tailored patchwork fabrics and pieces from Alia’s earlier outfits, the designer said he enhanced it with Kashmiri and Chikankari stitches.

“Be it Kashmir, Benaras, Gujarat or Kanchipuram; the heirloom lehenga had a significant element from every corner of India. We also used the Banarasi brocades, jacquard, bandhani, handwoven silk from Tamil Nadu, and kachha resham knots to make this intricate upcycled heritage ensemble. “

The personalized outfit featured components of over 180 textiles and took approximately 3000 hours, about 20 artisans and a team of three to four people to ideate, design, and put together.

“We wanted to stray away from the usual yellows and green for her mehendi ceremony,” shares Malhotra. “She knows how to pull off pink. We looked at the pink bridesmaid outfit she recently wore to her friend’s sangeet / mehendi from our brand’s archival diaries. We knew this was the color for her to wear to her mehendi celebrations.”

(Sanjana Chawla is a freelance journalist who writes about women, society, culture, lifestyle and entertainment.)

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