The 1700s-built restored heritage hotel on the banks of Bhagirathi in Azimganj, Murshidabad, was our abode for two days when The Telegraph planned a special shoot for a vintage lookbook with the latest collection of traditional weaves from the Indian Silk House Agencies. Brother-sister duo Darshan Dudhoria and Lipika Dudhoria restored their ancestral palace and turned it into this opulent heritage hotel that specialises in treating guests to an experience of the Sheherwali culture by involving the local community.
Our vintage occasionwear lookbook, ideated by taking inspiration from the women in the 18th and 19th century paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and Nandalal Bose, complemented the chosen backdrops of this 18th century heritage structure decorated with vintage artefacts. Incorporating traditional weaves like Benarasi, Kanjivaram and Patola, the looks styled in traditional Marathi and Bengali drapes twisted with inspiration from the paintings, created an overall elegant, vintage frame for each look with a dash of contemporary minimalism, creating a mood board of occasion-wear looks for modern women.
1. For this look in the balcony, the vibrant magenta and gold Rajkot Patola sari is worn with a traditional drape, teamed with a classic and elegant high, round-neck blouse with full sleeves, designed with hand-embroidered kundan lace border. The bun, bindi and neutral make-up complete the look.
2. Sana and Bitasta cut a glam frame depicting the looks of the bridesmaids. Bitasta channelled the glam with subtlety in a Kanchipuram sari with golden zari detailing from one corner to another. Sana complemented her look with a rose gold Kanchipuram sari designed with zari detailing. It is paired with a contrast yellow bridal Benarasi brocade blouse in a classic cut with embroidery highlights. It is draped in the Marathi style with a twist in the pleats. The pleats are kept broad in the front with a sweeping fall. Kohl eyes, nude lips, vermilion bindi and the hair left loose in waves complete the look.
3. White and gold as a combination embodies elegance and is trending as a preferred palette for occasion wear. Shot in the Gaddi Ghar, this shot has Meghna in a graceful frame in a milk-white Kanjivaram with broad zari border and zari work on the fall, worn in Marathi dhoti style with an uneven open fall. It is complemented with a golden blouse, glammed up with a bajubandh around the arms. Neutral make-up, with the hair worn loose in waves add to the simplicity of the look.
4. Shot in the majestic Maharaja room, this frame sees Meghna in a black katan Benarasi draped in a traditional aatpourey style, with a twist in the fall draped from the front. Highlighted with vibrant shades of pink, orange and purple, it is detailed with kadwa design all over. Nude makeup, vermilion bindi and the hair tied into a bun complete the look.
5. Sitting on the ‘European stairs’ of Bari Kothi, Sana cut a regal frame in this emerald green katan sari detailed with paisley motif zari work and paired with a hand-embroidered zardosi blouse designed with nature-inspired motifs. The hair tied into a plaited bun, neutral makeup and small bindi complete the look.
“Bari Kothi has always been patrons to the finest textiles, art and lifestyle. Showcasing the exquisite craftsmanship of the heritage handloom saris from Indian Silk House Agencies and the ornate hand-embroidered blouses from V-Cut, against the backdrop and setting of Bari Kothi, is truly a celebration of the heritage and culture of Bengal for us,” said Darshan Dudhoria, co-owner of Bari Kothi and CEO of Indian Silk House Agencies, posing with sister Lipika Dudhoria, design and operations head of V-Cut.
“With Marathi dhoti-style and Bengali vintage-style drapes, we chose simple looks for hair and make-up inspired from paintings of Nandalal Bose and Raja Ravi Varma. Fresh make-up look on a nude palette, open curls and waves for the hair or gel bun and vermilion bindis were highlights of the looks for this shoot,” said Abhijit Paul, make-up pro.
“This shoot required a lot of background research. Keeping in mind the heritage and vintage look and feel of the property, we chose the colour palette for the saris. We chose saris that can be easily draped and draped it in Marathi dhoti style and traditional Bengali style. The drapes, hair and make-up were inspired by paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and Nandalal Bose. The accessories used were very different. We used traditional designs and a lot of thokai jewellery. We used tone-on-tone vintage and traditional style blouses complementing the saris. Excellent team work helped us to get this lookbook together,” said Anupam Chatterjee, styling expert.
Pictures: Pabitra Das
Models: Meghna Bose, Sana Khan, Bitasta Sinha Roy
Styling: Anupam Chatterjee; Hair and Make-up: Abhijit Paul
Jewellery: Crisanto Jewels, Gahena Jewellery, Aranya Kolkata