The quintessential South Indian wedding is often considered incomplete without silk sari, while a wedding in the North is almost always associated with heavy embroidery the lehengaensemble based on ensemble — yet, over the past few years, brides have been choosing wedding dresses that don’t necessarily follow these unspoken rules. A the lehenga it doesn’t have to be OTT, loud and flashy and nobody says wedding saris they need to be more understated and subtle – Kaveri Lalchand’s first celebratory arrangement from her brand new line, Couture by Kaveri, seems to believe in that very idea. We spoke with the couturier to learn more about her brand new line, her bridal collection and much more.
Known for her love of linen and one of the most vocal advocates of the upcycle movement in the country, Kaveri Lalchand proudly calls Chennai her home. What started as a label in 2011 – due to Kaveri’s inability to ever find fashion that suited her body type – is now a well-known eponymous brand spread across the country, with fans including Vidya Balan, Shabana Azmi and Alka Yagnik.
The story of Kaveri
“As a brand, we have always listened to our customers. While our light, breezy and comfortable silhouettes have found plenty of people, we have also always had a lot of demand for slightly heavier clothes that people can wear for celebrations, festivals and weddings. After the lockdowns due to COVID-19, we’ve seen a shift in the way weddings are planned. They became more intimate celebrations and people seemed to choose comfort – something we were known for. As our brand is now more established, customers have started considering Kaveri as an option for their wedding dresses. It’s not like we haven’t done many custom projects where we’ve been asked to take embroidery from one piece and embellish another to create a heavier dress for the bride; but now there was a demand for a suitable wedding collection. This led to the idea, initially and then eventually to the launch of our first holiday line,” begins Kaveri, who launched her label at Lakmé India Fashion Week several times and has ensured an international presence of its brand in stores across France, Spain, Portugal, Réunion, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Qatar and Lebanon.
Known as one of the most prominent theater artists of Chennai; and a social and cultural activist, Kaveri lived and worked in New York for several years before returning to Chennai to join her family’s garment export business. From close cooperation with the theater collective to following her spiritual path for a year; and from running an art gallery and cultural space to starting an independent publishing company; and finally launching her own luxury clothing line – Kaveri has traveled extensively and had many adventures and experiences that have led her to gather more stories and skills. She has also worked closely with the Indian Crafts Council to preserve and promote traditional Indian crafts and textiles.
The ‘copied’ bride
“My personal experiences have led to what I create as part of Kaveri and now, Couture by Kaveri. The label has always strived to be an inclusive brand that makes clothing for women of all sizes, ages and lifestyles. We stick to easy-to-wear seasonal clothes and we’re all about slow fashion and recycling. So much so that this new celebration line will give us an opportunity to allow consumers to upgrade something they bought for a specific wedding event into something they could wear every day,” adds Kaveri.
The label has always focused on silhouettes that are confident, comfortable and relaxed. “We’re all about pieces you want to touch and pieces you want to wear every day. It’s the beautiful details and the care and attention to the little things that make our clothing precious and unique. The point is that each piece is individually printed and embroidered by hand. Our contemporary cuts flow and flow across the body in interesting and flattering silhouettes that can be styled in a number of ways, resulting in a look that is both powerful and whimsical and always simply elegant! We extend all these definitive qualities to our celebration couture line as well,” explains Kaveri.
Elegance in simplicity
So Couture by Kaveri brings 10 years of experience, understanding and learning to create comfortable wear for celebrations – in flowing linen mixed with silk and organza and metallic threads. “This is our interpretation of wedding and shaadi as concepts and holiday wear in our signature style. For this first collection, we also developed a fabric called silk satin with a blend of linen — with the sheen of silk and satin and the feel and weight of linen, which gives it a very interesting texture and character. These new fabrics are performing very well lehengas, ghagras and anarkalis. Under the sub-label we have several smaller collections and capsule edits such as A window into Eden, Painted forest and Butterfly shadow defined by our much-loved motifs,” says the fashion designer, adding, “Our bridal wear is not the typical bridal fashion we are used to seeing in India. We avoid hard work, but we have continued to use our embroidery, lace, cut, hand print and unique heat grafting technique among many others to create silhouettes that are extremely comfortable and easy to wear. For now, our colors will continue to be subdued, subtle and deep, such as pomegranate, jade, pink, orchid, lilac and light blue; however, we will include bright colors later if the collection or season calls for it.”
Next up, the brand has a small capsule of Christmas edits that focus on more western silhouettes in red and black, and they’re also working on their SS ’23 edition, which is slated for release by January 2023. The label has a sub-brand called Baby K that focuses on to children’s clothing. Kaveri has just reopened stores in Mumbai, in Kala Ghoda; and in Fort Kochi; and plans to open a brand new store in Bengaluru by mid-December.
25,000 INR onwards. On Kodambakkam High Road.