New Delhi, March 26: Around 36 percent of Indian women wear their wedding day ensemble only once. So it might be wise to dig out your mother's fabulous wedding sari from the trunk and restyle it for your own marriage instead of splurging thousands of rupees on a new one, say fashion experts.
Saroj Bala, a professor, and Tripti Guha, an associate professor, at the Pearl Academy of Fashion have found in their survey that most people keep their wedding trousseau locked away in the closet for emotional reasons or the 'feel good factor'.
"It is also right to say that the huge investment for wedding wear seems to be unjustified as it's one time wear. According to the survey, 36 percent brides wore their wedding trousseau just once, 44 percent wore it two-four times and 17 percent wore it five-seven times, while two percent wore it 8-10 times, and only one percent wore it more than 10 times," said Bala.
For sentimental reasons or for the love for precious heirloom, many celebrities have been opting to wear their mother's or grandmom's wedding trousseau for their 'saat pheras'.
Actress Raveena Tandon wore her mother's wedding sari on her marriage with businessmen Anil Thadani; tennis champ Sania Mirza looked stunning in her mom Nasima's red bridal sari when she married Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik; and Priyanaka Gandhi wore the same khadi wedding sari that her mother, Congres president Sonia Gandhi, and grandmother, late prime minister Indira Gandhi, had worn at their weddings, while tying the knot with Robert Vadhera.
"Yes, it's true that many celebs are adopting this trend," said Bala.
Delhi-based designer Anju Modi told IANS: "I think India should have a heritage clothing shop where one can buy old wedding trousseau and more. In a way, people will get unique designer clothes at half the price they pay for new ones."
There are a few designers like Abdul Halder, Jattinn Kochhar who are making an effort to recycle these garments, but their number is almost negligible.
When a wedding sari is passed on to a daughter or daughter-in-law as heirloom, it could be restyled a bit. Raveena got her mother's wedding trousseau redone by fashion designer Manav Gangwani.
"It is an important occasion for most brides and they want to look their best at any cost, which is not possible with a garment stitched 25 years ago. Recycling them could be an interesting way to make use of such an expensive garment. I would love to do that," said Mumbai-based model Dippanita Aggrawal.
So how can one recycle the precious ensemble?
"Young women can use the dupatta with another attire or the blouse can be teamed up with a new lehenga or sari. For a touch of glamour, one can do an unusual mixing of colour combinations like red and green or green and gold. Layering is another way of making it more glamorous," said Modi.
Monika of designer duo Kapil and Monika said, "One can recycle by using zari borders from the old kanjivaram and silk saris along with the motifs that can be extracted and used on new fabrics of today to give it a new revamped look."
"One can add more embellishments to the heirloom - they can go for broad borders or can use tie and die fabrics to make it more trendy. Also sequence work can jazz it up."
The blouses, in olden days, were mostly with tight sleeves and a decorative neckline. Dupattas and saris used to have heavy zari embroidery, but times have changed.
"We can style it in more glamorous ways by giving the blouse a better fit, recycle the borders as neck bands for blouses. Also deep backs or stylish sleeves can work wonders. Sweetheart neckline or halter necks are the most in vogue," said Preeti.
Kolkata-based designer Dev R. Nil said: "One can wear sari with single strap blouses and if possible team it up with tights. For lehengas, a colourful chunni with modern and trendy designs will work. You can also wear a jacket over the lehenga."
Designer Meera Gupta says recycled trousseau can easily be teamed up with modern jewellery, a mix of both traditional and contemporary designs.
"Diamond polki with stone is the latest and stylish jewellery which can be matched perfectly with this trousseau. Add very long latkans, waistbands and bajubands and it can give a whole new glamorous look," said accessory designer Meera Gupta.
So if you are planning to get married, it may be time to peep into your mom's cupboard.