Purist couturier Shehla Chatoor began her eponymous luxury label SHEHLA with a Bridal line 20 years ago in 1995. The indubitably heart-felt and wholly handcrafted ‘ALL THE RAJ’ bridal and trousseau collection for FPW 15’s ‘Winter Festive’ is the meticulous artisan’s celebration of the label’s milestone 20th anniversary.
With a playful nod to Sub-continental royalty, the grandeur of yore and subtle style influences left by the British, the vintage-revivalist collection – also a sincere ode to traditional craftsmen -harks back to the majestic British Raj, an era infused with modernity and presciently juxtaposes this timeless and regal aesthetic with a contemporary twist for the modern bride in terms of silhouette.
The silhouettes are a thoughtful union between the dreamy classicism of the Raj’s vintage costumes and the influences of an enveloping European culture which together create both timeless and Boho-edgy pieces.
Sheer and shimmery structural jackets in SHEHLA’s signature ivory and gold are created with antique artisanal handiwork and are paired with sensual, elaborate cholis coupled with voluminous dhoti pants and classic ghararas created from luxurious pure silk and velvet. An edgy noir (black) double-tiered leather lehenga is meticulously crafted using SHEHLA’s signature leather weaving, rendering it a unique and eclectic vibe, while a pair of gold leather pants is paired with a fantastical floor-skimming kimono-sleeved ivory and gold organza jacket for romantic allure.
Exquisite and unique quilted lehengas and dhothi pants crafted with innovative 16th to 18th century inspired chintz screen-printed silk are generously embellished with antique mukesh, Kashmiri zardosi, tilla and thread metal-work and beautifully highlight the easy interplay of classic emerald and ruby solids with painterly prints.
A Raj-period inspired sari artistically modified in an edgier and more sensual avatar is for the young and bold contemporary brides who enjoy subtly extravagant experimentations.
The opulent collection is offset with exquisite jewellery pieces created by SHEHLA in-house and is deeply inspired by the substantial adornments worn by the jewellery-loving maharanis and female denizens during the British Raj era, keeping their timeless essence alive while transposing them brilliantly into a contemporary milieu.
The modern-antique pieces symbolic of royalty and redolent of the British Raj include the still au courant and popular: maatha-patti, chaand-ballis tikas, jhoomars, jhoomkas, Rani haars and satladra as well as waist- belts and palmlets created by using multiple strands of pearls interspersed with polki and kundan and offset with rubies and emeralds stones that highlight the regal luxuriousness of the jewellery capsule that easily marries traditional craftsmanship with a covetable contemporary vibe.
Complimenting in-house ornamental hand-embroidered and subtly spiked shoes, box clutches and traditional batwas perfectly end-note the collection.
Rich in history with timeless pieces that can be passed on as treasured heirloom, but imbued with a delectable modern-day aura, ‘All the Raj’ promises to be a glorious and thrilling presentation and a visual treat for the eyes, heart and soul.
Latest bridal dresses by the designer Shehla Chatoor at Fashion Pakistan Week Winter Festive 2015.