When actors Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan got married a year ago today, there was intense speculation about who would be dressing the bride on her big day. Most assumed it would be designer Manish Malhotra, who is a favorite of the actress. But the couple, who dated for five years and had a progressive and unconventional relationship by Indian standards, chose a very traditional path when it came to their wedding. Rather than wear the season’s latest couture, Kareena got married in the same traditional bridal ‘joda’ worn by her mother-in-law Sharmila Tagore and Saif’s grandmother, Begum Sajida Sultan of Bhopal, who first wore at her own wedding in 1939.
Since it was an heirloom piece consisting of a kurta, farshi pajama and dupatta made in gold Benaras fabric, each needed to be restored and that task was given to designer Ritu Kumar, whose knowledge and understanding of ancient craft techniques is unparalleled. Kumar spent four months recreating and contemporizing the original zardozi and antique embroidery, working with master craftspeople who understood the way the special stitching was done. The fabric was also woven on old naksha looms of Benaras to replicate the richness and old world quality of the fabric.
The outfit would of course not be complete without ornate bridal jewelry and Kareena fittingly wore the traditional tikka, haar (bridal necklace) jhoomar and jhumkas (earrings) of the royalty of Bhopal and the Begums of Pataudi.
Since the bridal outfit was quite heavy, Kareena changed into a pink Manish Malhotra gharara following the nikkah (vows) for her wedding reception. Malhotra wanted to continue the “old world” look to her outfit and designed the gharara to reflect that aesthetic.
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