#ELLEExclusive: In Conversation With Vaishali S About Her New Bridal Collection ‘Shakuntala’

After making waves at Paris Fashion Week last season, Vaishali S is all set to present her latest bridal collection ‘Shakuntala’. Known for repping indigenous weaves in an inventive way – Vaishali has played a pivotal role in narrating our culturally rich heritage through the power of fabric.

Her current line taps into the vast subject of mythology – she has depicted the epic love saga between Shakuntala and King Dushyanta from Mahabharata through a crafty interplay of threads. Handloom lehengas in bright hues, complemented with innovative drapes – the silhouettes are traditional but far from boring. Vaishali tried to imbibe the energy of the modern Indian bride, who is rooted yet free-spirited through this line. In an exclusive conversation with ELLE, the designer talks at length about her latest labour of love and her artistic interpretation of handloom fabrics as a unique statement.

ELLE: What is the inspiration behind your new bridal collection ‘Shakuntala’?

Vaishali Shadangule: “Once more Shakuntala is a further step ahead in my journey of self-exploration within the mission of bringing Indian traditional weaves to the best possible stages. Indian bridal being one of the big world stages, I have decided I want to pursue this exploration even here, the most traditional niche of luxury fashion.  In terms of inspiration, it is just a further step in my normal inspirations: Nature and the traditional Indian hand weaves.”

Vaishali S

ELLE: How have you woven the expression ‘Love in Modern Times’ into your collection?

VS: “Bridal collections are about weddings and about love. With Shakuntala, my plan is to give Indian traditional weaves a more modern language. Young women want to own their individuality in what they wear, and our design approach matches their current sensibilities. In India, bridal wear is extremely traditional with very structured habits in all aspects of the ceremony. Nevertheless, while sticking to these rules, we found a way of giving it a contemporary twist. 

Vaishali S

ELLE: Tell us more about the indigenous textiles and handicrafts infused in this line? 

VS: “I have used my beloved Khun, my evergreen Chanderi, Benarsi brocades, Murshidabad silks and Merino wools. All of them as usual have been re-interpreted in distinctive ways. The result is a uniquely rich view with a much lighter and fresher feel.”

Vaishali S

ELLE: The collection is truly a celebration of the traditional weaves of India, tell us more about the techniques and motifs used 

VS: “The collection is a celebration of weaves and motifs of India – framed by my usual textures that are inspired by nature. Corals, mushrooms, leaves, flowers – all of them are born out of techniques developed from the old skills of different corners of India, along with my signature cording technique.”

ELLE: India has no dearth of bridal couture, what will set your collection apart?

VS: “Well, while the final result aesthetically is there for you to judge already, this collection takes a further big step in sustainability, and more specifically in circularity. All garments are multi-layered and are in multi-parts. This means that they can be reused after the wedding in normal life by de-layering, re-matching. One part can be worn with a pair of jeans and the other one with a simple white shirt. It will be an investment – prolonging the usage, allowing the bride to enjoy the outfit in many creative ways.”

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