Iconic cultural landmark, Somerset House, played host to the UK’s leading, South Asian high fashion and beauty extravaganza, Aashni + Co Wedding Show. After three successful residencies at The Dorchester, Somerset House was this year transformed into a wonderland for discerning brides and fashionistas alike. Some of India and Pakistan’s most celebrated designers once again descended on the Capital to present their latest bridal and couture collections on one high-end platform, from established, A-list fashion houses to the most sought-after new-gen talents. Showcasing alongside them were leading names in fine jewellery, accessories and wedding/ occasion services, with the 1,450 visitors to the show having the opportunity of meeting their favourite designers and suppliers in person.
The Department of Clothing featured: Sabyasachi, Tarun Tahiliani, Gaurav Gupta, Anamika Khanna, Astha Narang, Bageecha, Elan, Gaurang, Mishru, Ridhima Bhasin, Samant Chauhan, Shantanu & Nikhil, Shehla Chatoor, Shyamal & Bhumika and Varun & Nidhika.
Exhibiting brands in the Department of Fine Jewellery were: Amrapali, Araya Fine Jewellery, Birdhichand Ghanshyamdas Jewellers, Jaipur Gems, Jewels by Queenie, Khanna Jewellers, Moksh, Rose Diamonds, Sabyasachi Jewellery and Sunita Shekhawat.
Participating names in the Department for Jewellery and Accessories were: Aamir Naveed, Ahujasons, Ambreen Ahmed, Amishi, Chakra, Isharya, Outhouse, Puneet Gupta Invitations, Rani Pink, Rusaru, RWS, Shaan Mu and The Wedding House.
Style council was provided during the day through a series of intimate masterclasses with some of the most internationally respected names in styling, makeup artistry, wedding planning and the fashion and beauty blogosphere. These included a discussion about bridal inspiration by heritage designer Tarun Tahiliani, hosted by TV personality and fashion influencer Kavita Cola; a tutorial by one of the most influential beauty creators in the world, Kaushal; a beauty master class with Bollywood celebrity makeup artist, Shaan Mu, and one of his muses, Bollywood actress and model Lisa Haydon; and a talk with one of the leading Indian influencers and bloggers from around the world, Miss Style Fiesta, Masoom Minawala. The grandiose of Somerset House was further transformed through floral styling by Zita Elze, an award-winning artist, designer, teacher, creator of the Living Embroidery Bridal collection and design consultant.
Event organiser and Founder and Creator, Aashni + Co, Aashni Doshi said, “Over the three, preceding years of hosting Aashni + Co Wedding Show, we had set an extremely high benchmark in presenting the top tier of South Asian bridal and couture fashion and the creators behind the most sought-after brands themselves to the UK public. After our previous residencies at Dorchester, it was imperative for us to surpass the precedent we had established. Bringing the wedding show to Somerset House has been amazing – a venue befitting to the leading designers and wedding suppliers from India and Pakistan that we showcase on one platform. Visitors have been delighted by the atmosphere, the ambience and the curated shopping experience we have created for them and the fact that, once again, they have had the opportunity of meeting their favourite designers. Introducing our masterclasses this year has had a tremendous response, each of them featuring the top names in fashion creation and styling; the beauty blogosphere; and hair and makeup artistry. Each masterclass has generated waiting lists for entry and been conducted to full-house audiences. It’s been another magical day all round, for ourselves, the designers, the exhibitors, the celebrities and, above all, for the visitors to the show.”
Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee said, “It’s been a crazy day because it was very cold, it was snowing and there was a two-mile queue waiting to come into our stall. We had to go out and say Hello to all of them and take selfies with them to cheer and warm them up and I wanted to say thank you to all of the lovely ladies that came into our stand. Thank you for your patience, your kindness and your belief in our brand. UK brides are very focused on being traditional and they like to come and discover India with our brand. It’s been very hectic and people were very excited about trying on our clothing and jewellery. Many of them have gotten married in Sabyasachi or have recommended their friends to get married in Sabyasachi. Everybody left smiling. I’ve been attending Aashni + Co Wedding show since its inception and it continues to outdo itself year on year. Somerset House is a wonderfully grand venue and it’s been amazing to showcase our collections in such a globally iconic location.”
Designer Tarun Tahiliani said, “I’m at the Aashni + Co Wedding Show, which is in it’s bigger and better, wonderful, beautiful, new historical mansion today, showcasing the latest in bridal couture and Indian fashion. What’s lovely about UK brides is that they’re very evolved, they’re second or third or fourth generation, they are now very independent. They’re into understatement rather than over-projection. Weddings don’t have to be about six necklaces, being over the top. It’s a nice blend of east and west, which is a direction I think we’re all going at the moment.”
Designer Gaurav Gupta said, “Somerset House is a beautiful venue, it looks like an art couture curation here today. It’s like a maize gallery to discover all of the best couture. It’s been beautiful. I love the live music outside, the harpist upstairs. It’s very much my vibe – more fantastical, beauty, magical. UK brides have really evolved in the last few years, thanks to Aashni + Co, the whole team. They have exposed the UK brides and UK families so much so that they’re now on top of what is now trending in India. They’re really coming to that level of where they should have been at all of these years. They really want the pastel colours or they really want the unusual styles, they really want the structuring that I give in their clothing. They want to wear a lengha gown or a saree gown now. They’ve really come a long way in a short time.”
Khadijah Shah, Creative Director, élan said, “As always, it’s been great showing at Aashni + Co Wedding Show. We’ve had a tremendous response, we’ve built a loyal clientele with Aashni + Co. The organisation is superb. We love and value our partnership with Aashni + Co and I hope to continue coming again. This is a great platform for designers to meet with their UK brides, where it’s normally difficult for them to access the Indian and the Pakistani markets and, rather than to keep going back, this is the perfect opportunity and platform. We’re meeting a lot of brides today. It’s the best place for UK brides to shop for their wedding wear.”
Beauty creator and influencer Kaushal said, “I’m so excited to be here at Aashni + Co Wedding Show. It’s such a great place for brides-to-be to come and see all of these amazing designers under one roof. I’m so excited about my masterclass too. It’s always great to see my fans and followers, so it’s a really nice way for me to be able to communicate with them, like friends just getting together. I’m really thankful to be invited here by Aashni + Co and the rest of the teams and I can’t wait for next year’s event as well!”
Bollywood celebrity makeup artist Shaan Mu said, “I’m so happy to be a part of Aashni + Co Wedding Show. It was always my dream. Every bride should come and experience this event. I’m so blessed to be here to share my experience and my tricks of the trade of Bollywood; of how a bride should get ready; of diet; of how a bride should prepare for her wedding; which designer clothes to choose; which makeup and hairstyles would suit them. One of my muses, Lisa Haydon, came for my master class and Lisa shared all of her experiences of how to be a perfect bride; how to get ready; and, of course, Lisa is friends with all of the top designers that are participating here. This is the place for every bride-to-be.”