Interview with Indian Fashion Stylist and Founder of Bridélan, Nisha Kundnani
Interview Nisha Kundnani of Bridélan
Bridélan is a one-of-its-kind styling consultancy for brides and grooms-to-be, based in India, who are looking for skilled and professional help to create their dream wedding wardrobe. Bridélan is a vision that belongs to Nisha Kundnani, an renowned stylist from Mumbai whose career spans almost a decade in fashion.
Her work in celebrity, commercial and editorial styling reflects taste, grace and glamour. We stumbled across Bridélan on facebook, and simply fell in love with Nisha’s style and modern approach to Indian wedding attire. Below, Nisha talks us though her career as a stylist to celebrities, brides and grooms alike.
Tell us about yourself, your career so far and the path you took to become a fashion stylist?
After completing a post-graduate course in media and communications management in London, I returned to Mumbai to pursue journalism and, as I’ve always had an eye for fashion, I picked this as my beat and devoted three years to fashion journalism at national dailies such as DNA and Hindustan Times.
I was then handpicked to be the Mumbai bureau chief and assistant fashion editor at the Indian version of the French magazine Marie Claire. There, I styled many Bollywood celebrities for cover and fashion shoots. So, my journey through the world of styling really started seven years ago. During those years, I’ve worked independently and freelanced for several magazines. I have also styled top Indian celebrities such as Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Shraddha Kapoor and others.
You have recently received a lot of publicity over the below styled shoot. What inspired the shoot and what is the story behind the stunning images, captured by Sharik Verma?
Frankly, I can’t say if there was a specific inspiration for the shoot. The launch shoot was about keeping it real, but it’s actually a fantasy. It’s about this beautiful Indian family who are part of a dream belonging to the bride. This is a family shoot and involves characters I imagined to be inspiring. It’s the bride’s wedding day, and it’s a balmy afternoon in a lush, green garden. She’s just got married in the morning and is now posing for pictures with her family and girlfriends. These would become the most beautiful and memorable moments of her life.
The bride is beautiful but nonchalant. She’s dressed up traditionally, but has a cool air about her. We took care to bring her personality alive, so that it’s not lost amid the ornate designer-wear that could have looked overwhelming. You can see her radiant smile and delight in her eyes. She’s a new-age girl, but hasn’t lost her family values. Her family and friends are equally important and, although she is every inch the bride, she’s not the showpiece.
Shoot credits: Photography: Sharik Verma // Designers: Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Tarun Tahiliani, Kotwara, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Raw Mango, Varun Bahl, Ekaya saris. Madsam Tinzin available at Aza India. (All available in India and some are available in Dubai too) // Jewellery: Anmol Jewellers, Mahesh Notandas Fine Jewellery, Jaipur Gems, Aquamarine, Suhani Pittie. (All available in India) // Decor by: Roma Kundnani Wedding Planner
What are your top three styling tips for our Indian bride-to-be readers?
Firstly, ‘Indian’ clothing doesn’t necessarily have to be garish and over-the-top. It is in your hands to pick a gorgeous, classy outfit; the styling can also make or break a look. Keep it glamorous, but always elegant.
Secondly, don’t go overboard. Not every bride can pull off maang tikka, nath and too much jewellery on the face. Pick a statement piece and see what jewellery proportions suit your face structure. Thirdly and most importantly, dress according to your body type. A lehenga will look right if you understand what works for your height and body proportions.
For our non-Indian readers, please could you talk us through the various outfits that Indian brides wear during the marriage process?
The most fascinating thing about Indian bridal wear is that it is completely cultural. There are more than 28 states in India, so clothing traditions and cultures are tailored to the rituals and customs of each state. However, the most popular colour is red, which, as per Hindu traditions, is worn by the bride. The look is basically a long, ornate skirt known as a lehenga, worn over a blouse called a choli. She covers her head with a veil called a dupatta. The nine-yard sari is the traditional garb of the Indian bride and is worn in many states in India.
At Bridélan, you not only style the bride, you also style the groom. What is your personal favorite look on an Indian groom?
At a wedding, it is the bride who everyone sets their eyes on because she looks like a princess. However, at Bridélan, we are equally passionate about dressing the groom, as we feel the bride and groom should look like a prince and princess. Our favourite regal look on an Indian groom is a traditional sherwani/achkan/bandhgala, which should be well-cut, fitted and worn with a churidaar with oxford shoes, a saafa (turban) and minimalistic jewels. It is a look borrowed from the history of Indian royalty; in pictures of Indian maharajas, you’ll see that that’s how they used to dress.
What is the Bridélan ‘must have’ wardobe list?
Trends belong to now and today, so if you want ‘must-haves’ in your bridal trousseau they should be heirlooms – hand-me-down pieces that can be passed on to new generations. While trends are easy to pursue, they are, after all, temporary. Style and elegance are permanent.
The Bridélan ‘must-have’ list would be:
- Traditional hand-woven and silk saris
- Heirloom jewellery passed on by your grandmother
- A Birkin or a Hermes Kelly.
- A pashmina shawl
- A voluminous anarkali
Is your job as glamorous as people imagine?
Styling real people and brides is not about being in a glamorous profession. The goods and products are high-end and luxurious, but this job is more about having the right people skills and understanding good taste. As well as a knack for styling, you need to be able to do a good job under pressure.
What has been your most memorable moment in your career to date?
The most memorable time of my career was styling Indian superstar Aamir Khan and his wife Kiran Rao. They looked very elegant and charming when we styled them for the Berlin Film Festival. Recently, my most memorable moment was styling the Aashiqui 2 star Shraddha Kapoor for red carpet events and personal styling.
Lastly, what colour trends are you loving at the moment?
A colour ‘tend’ we are currently loving is “Icy Blu”. We predict it will be a favourite for summer weddings.
A big thanks to Nisha Kundnani for the interview; we look forward to featuring more of your breathtaking styled shoots. Brides, if you are planning your Indian wedding back home, check out the Bridélan website for more information and contact details.