When it comes to bridal wear, brides-to-be have high expectations of their dream wedding wear. And more often than not it's a Herculean task for brides-to-be to find their perfect wedding wear. This is when Tan Kuruvilla of Kavani comes to the picture. This bridal designer's collections are exceptional with her main focus being Indian Christian bridal wear.
We got talking with Kuruvilla on everything from her inspiration to current bridal trends to the future of Kavani. Scroll down to read all about it.
Where did the inspiration for Kavani come from?
Finding the right wedding trousseau with the perfect colour, fabric and style is a tough task for brides-to-be. A wedding saree, gown or a lehenga is an expression of the bride’s personal style. In spite of the growing number of fashion labels, there are very few options available for an affordable bespoke wedding wear.
During my wedding, I was keen on finding a specific type of wedding saree. I had certain elements that I wanted to incorporate. Christian bridal wear sarees have specific colours, tones and patterns. While shopping for my wedding saree, I was quite disappointed with the limited variety of white wedding sarees in stores, which made me design my own wedding trousseau.
‘Kavani’ is an exclusive wedding wear studio that specialises in Christian bridal sarees along with lehengas and gowns that cater to the preferences of the modern bride. The name Kavani is derived from the traditional Kerala wedding attire worn by the brides of the yesteryear. ‘Kavani’ is a timeless combination of the classic and the contemporary. Each piece at Kavani is made with utmost care and designed as per a bride’s requirements.
The unique styles and silhouettes in subtle colours of beige, white, cream and gold is perfect for those who love a unique sense of style. The flowy georgette and the delicate chiffon with intricate embroidery and fine cut work is ethereal and angelic. The ornate bead work and the zari against the netted tissue fabric adds a regal touch to the overall look.
What are the aspirations of the modern Indian bride?
Nowadays, bridal wear shopping is not merely about walking into a store and picking up a dress. Brides today are fashion conscious and prefer to work closely with a designer to plan a perfect D-day look. Modern Indian brides love experimenting. They like to move away from the conventional style and opt for an outlook that is exclusive, unique and makes them stand out.
Brides are opting for the sophisticated yet simple look rather than being over the top. I have also noticed that many brides prefer to go beyond the traditional shades of red. Offbeat icy pastel shades like peach, golden, hues of pink and beige are quite popular.
How much has globalisation influenced the modern bride's choices?
Indian bridal wear has evolved over the years. Many traditional attires have a modern twist to suit the changing styles and preferences of the brides. The traditional lehenga is now offered with offbeat blouse designs. Western designs like halter necks, corsets or even the crop top lehenga blouses are quite the rage these days. Long dresses/gowns are popular among the bridal wear category. It gives a sleek, tall outlook and provides a beautiful blend of contemporary and modern designs
How customised is your bridal wear? How much of the customer's input goes into customising the bridal wear?
The designs, colours and patterns are plenty now. A design which is interesting for one may not be for another person. So first I hear what are their general thoughts on the attire, the colour that they are looking for and pattern. Once I hear from them, I evaluate and give them suggestions on what best can be done putting their ideas in line with the current trend and their body type and complexion as well. We give due value to the customer taste and preference and give them the best we can which makes their shopping with us a wonderful experience.
How are you different from other bridal wear creators?
We incorporate more of western elements in our outfit which give a new look. We work on mostly thread work, cut works, bead works and we create new designs mostly that are a mix of geometrical and floral. We use most of the silks and laces. We show our customer the material from scratch what will be used in making their costume before they place order so that they can step out with confidence.
Kavani specialises in Christian bridal wear. There are hardly any brands offering traditional Christian bridal sarees in customary colours like beige, white and golden. There is a definitive gap in terms of finding the right Christian bridal wear saree that can be customised as per the needs of a customer. There is no doubt other brands that offer bridal lehengas, gowns and sarees. But there are very few that cater to Christian bridal category. Kavani focuses largely on Christian bridal wear. But we do have lehengas and gowns that is suitable for any bride.
Does Kavani have a signature look? How can you recognise a Kavani creation from afar?
Yes, we do have, especially in our Christian bridal segment. Each saree that we make is uniquely handcrafted from the design to the material and to embroidery. We mostly try to make our own weaves and embroidery for the whole saree. Also our quality of work and the designs and the type of work and materials used makes us stand apart.
Why is the focus primarily on Kerala-Christian bride?
During my own wedding, I was quite disheartened with the kind of choices that I had in Christian bridal wear. I decided to design my own wedding saree because I was unable to find a Christian wedding saree that matched my preference. I started Kavani to address this gap in the Christian bridal category.
What are some of your best-selling pieces so far?
Our bestselling pieces are sarees with intricate cutwork. We have also done Kerala handloom Onam sarees with rich embroidery work that we were able to showcase with a new modern feel and elegance.
How are bridal magazines and celebrity bridal wear inspiring the modern bride-to-be?
Brides today have access to a variety of styles and trends. Brides-to-be are constantly on the lookout for specific designs and patterns that might impress them or look good on them. There is an abundance of information that is available online through blogs, bridal magazines or even through stories/photos of fashion shows of celebrity designers. I have seen that many of my customers come to me with specific requests of a certain kind of design, pattern or fabric that they have seen/read in blogs/magazines.
Do you follow trends or timelessness when it comes to designing the bridal wear?
I follow timelessness. Fashion is about making choices on what suits you best and how good you are to carry it off. I believe if you could carry off a dress of 80's now, then you are the trendsetter of today.
Do you have brides-to-be come in with brand new ideas and start from the scratch on their bridal wear?
Mostly they come with ideas that they browse from internet. But there are customers who really leave everything to us and ask us to make whatever we think is the best. In both ways, we love to work with those set of customers, where we have opportunity to bring out new works, colour schemes and experiment new patterns. I must say those customers are 100 per cent happy with our output, too.
How far can you accommodate customisation?
We can accommodate customisation to every bit of creating a costume with start of selection of fabric, weaving pattern, embroidery design, stitching patterns, etc. We encourage customisation as it helps us in creating something unique and never seen before.
What is next for Kavani?
We want to be a preferred destination for brides to design their wedding costume. At this moment, we have two stores. One in Kerala and the other in Bangalore. We have customers who are of Indian origin reaching out to us from across the world. Our focus is to make ourselves accessible to customers. Keeping this in mind we plan to strengthen our online presence and are looking at expansion to other locations as well.
Will you be branching into other areas or is it just going to be bridal wear?
We will continue to be in the bridal space as that’s what excites us and that’s what customers come to us for. We will also be doing party wear sarees and gowns.
Tell us your favourite Kavani bride story.
A friend of mine once invited me to her cousin's wedding. I was not very keen on going for the wedding because I barely knew anyone there. She was quite insistent that I should make it for the wedding. After a lot of persistence, I finally agreed to go for the wedding. On reaching the wedding venue, I was surprised to see the bride wearing one of my creations. This was a surprise that was planned by my friend and the bride's family. I was thrilled to be a part of a customer's wedding. It's a joy to see brides wear my designs. It was an amazing experience.
Any advice for brides-to-be for them to look their best on their special day?
Now it's a time where you can get whatever you like in your fingertips. So, go for the best outfit. But a gentle advice to brides-to-be, don't fall for the pictures you see on the Internet. Think what's good or will work for you and take your designers advice. Designers are flexible and they will fit all your requirements in the best possible way. Believe them and you are going to look the best for your special day.