This is a long overdue post but I wanted to take some time out and share my journey with you. Must mention that this post is very personal and comes from an intimate space.
I got married in the age of non-existent social media.There were no wedding blogs, no Pinterest and nowhere to get inspiration from. But like any other girl it is was my most special day and I had the opportunity the buy the most special outfit. When I was doing my wedding shopping, my mum and masi took me to some known places in Delhi like Ushnak Mal in South Extension. Our last stop was their tried and tested place where my entire family has bought wedding lehengas from. If you have done wedding shopping in Delhi, then you would know of the lehenga shop called ‘Anarkali’ in Karol Bagh. Shopping in Anarkali is not the most pleasurable experience but they stock really gorgeous lehengas and their collection is huge.Ten years later, I ended up in the same shop with the same women troupe and bought this gorgeous peach colour lehenga. Here is my lehenga story.
My brother’s wedding was a momentous occasion in my life. Finally, he was getting married and I couldn’t stay calm. The problem was that I was here in London with two young kids. I was itching to visit all the shops all over again and explore the latest wedding fashion scene in India. Sitting here in London, you only get a brief picture hence you need to be out there to see the stuff in its full glory. I really wanted to go and shop in peace but my little one was only eight months old. I knew that if I take him to India with me I won’t be able to do anything. So I took the hardest decision in my life and left the kids with my husband for 10 days. In this process, I did get some slack from the family but I didn’t want to regret the fact that I didn’t go. So I went on my epic trip to India.
I had only ten days to spare. My mission was to come up with a master plan of what I am going to do and when. The research and planning started in London. Mood boards were created and the excitement was full on. I had to organise my wardrobe, my sister’s wardrobe and much more. This process was a full-on emotional drama with lots of tears. After all the research, I narrowed down my ten-day shopping itinerary. I didn’t have a huge shopping budget so had to work within my limits. This was the rough guide I had to stick to but I modified it as I went along. On this journey, I explored some new brands as well. My main aim was to buy a nice lehenga for the sangeet function. I wasn’t very keen to go down the designer route due to budget constraints.
So here is my shopping itinerary, what I did and where I went. I hope you would find some of these notes useful. I also took a lot of help from wedding groups like Wedwise and WedMeGood. They are a storehouse of Indian wedding-related information. I visited all of these places below but didn’t like any outfit except a few from Christina W T which I loved. On the last day, my mum took me to Anarkali since they mostly do bridal lehengas. I was convinced that finding something for me would be challenging. Finally, we saw this piece above and both my Mum and Masi made me buy it. At that time I felt that I wasn’t making the right decision but I loved the peachy pink colour. I agreed to give in and chose the lehenga with some customisation. Instead of the chikankari material for the base, I decided to use raw silk. The final product is out here. I loved it but there is one downside to it. It is a bit heavy and I can only wear it on special occasions. Because of the weight, it becomes very difficult to dance in but it gives a grand look. The customisation was as per my brief and I was delighted when I first saw it.
Here is a detailed list of my ten-day itinerary in India. Hope you can find some pointers for your next trip.
Day 1 – Visited the local nearby places. I went to Greater Kailash M-Block market to get sari blouse stitched. Recommended tailors in GK are Roshan Tailors and Eves Tailors. Another hidden find is a boutique place called Kavita Vanita (their facebook page is outdated but they stock some really nice pieces) They store some unique designs and customise it to your liking. Also, I recommend that you visit Yellow Stone for some stylish and modern Indian wear collection. I also paid a visit to my favourite GK- N block market where there are quite a few eclectic shops selling homeware and much more.
Day 2 – On the second day, I explored Hauz Khas market. There I went to Ogaan (a multi-designer store where you can find exclusive designer pieces. A few designers to check out are Monisha Thahryamal, Nikasha, Madsamtinzin and Ridhima Bhasin. I also paid a visit to Ashta Narang’s standalone store in Hauz Khan where you can book an appointment for a personal consultation. Astha is one of my favourite designer for light lehenga and bridesmaids look. Do visit her store next time you are in Delhi.
Also pay a visit to Reasons Jewels in Hauz Khas village for stunning jewellery. Their prices are a bit on the upper end but you won’t be disappointed with the collection.
Day 4 – The whole day was spent in South Ex market exploring very well known names like Ushnak Mal, Anantam (Multi-brand store), Frontier Raas (nice bridal wear options), Aza. For menswear, we explored Divani, Gujral Sons, Manyavar and Study By Janak, all in South Ex.
Day 5 – Day 5 was dedicated to Shapur Jat. Some of the recommended brands there are Abhinav Mishra, Preeti Mohan (jewellery) Rani Pink Love (Wedding decor), Gazal Gupta Couture. Christina W T, Kanika Chawla, Kyra by Bhavna Bhatia and Ek Soot. Shapur Jat host some new and upcoming designers and you are likely to get things in your budget.
Day 6 – After searching all markets in and around south Delhi, we made our famous trip to Chandni Chowk and Karol Bagh. I totally recommend Asiana Couture in Chandni Chowk for heavy bridal wear. Other recommended names are Om Parkash Jawahar Lal Naya Katra (354, Naya Katra, 1st Floor, Chandni Chowk) and Dalmia fashion.
Day 7 – The day was spent in exploring a versatile exhibition in Delhi called the ‘Akshay Pratishthan Show’. Exhibitions in Delhi are a good source to explore brands from all over India.
Day 8 – I paid a visit to all of the famous designer stores in DLF emporio mall – a must visit place for all your bridal shopping and inspiration if you want to go down the designer wear route. Most top designers are based here. Do not forget to visit Ensemble -the multi-brand designer store
Day 9 – On my last day, I visited Khan market to explore Amrapali and Shriharidiagems heritage jewellery stores. I picked up this beautiful maang tikka from Amrapali and it’s one of my prized possessions.
The last day was spent in wrapping up things and finalising the outfits and orders.
There were a few other brands that I came across on my shopping journey and I have listed them here. Sue Mue, Ilk, Mastya, French Darjee, Namah by Priyanka Duggal, Natasha Dalal, Payal Pratap, Prathyusha-Garimella, Little black bow, Abhinav Mishra, Kyleeofficial. I have tried to stay away from high-end fashion brands in this post as most of them are household names now. The purpose of this post was to highlight some great brands who are doing good work.
I hope you find my suggestions and shopping itinerary useful. If you end up visiting these places in the near future then do share your experience. Finding this lehnga was one epic journey for me and it will go down as a golden entry in my fashion journals.
Pictures by A Few Good Clicks