Old world pistachio green, rose pinks poised in moments of poetic hush, misty mauves and Victorian blues—Hyderabad-based fashion designer Mrunalini Rao’s creations, part of her bridal couture collection titled ‘Chitra’, exude a sense of quiet panache in vintage pastel hues and contemporary embroidery. 

Hyderabad based fashion designer Mrunalini Rao's new bridal line comes alive in sheer pastel colours

“In India, we tend to associate bridal outfits with bright colours and heavy embroidery,” says Rao, having earlier complied with the flamboyant bandwagon with bright hues and bold motifs. ‘Chitra’ is a direct departure from that. “This collection centres around a regal lady, lounging in a luxury vintage space, intricately adorned with jewellery and flowers. For the new age bride, this brings in a new embellishment, a new colour story. I have dipped into the Victorian era of chintz prints and drawn out the vintage colours,” she explains.

Each garment celebrates the traditional Hyderabadi techniques of embellishment, in unconventional formats—from zardozi with appliqué, to pearls with resham, textured appliqué panels, and cutwork with prints. Noveau designs, stylish silhouettes and rich contrasts run through the collection marked by pastels, tissue, and layers of intriguing jewellery with fruits, flowers and butterflies darting across the fabrics, in hand embroidery and print patterns. After all her creations are synonymous with fun, colourful and ageless prints.

“Layering brings different elements in a single ensemble,” she shares. The silhouettes abound then in the kaftan, jacket, waist coat and experimental sleeves. “We have added a leg-o-mutton sleeve to an anarkali, shaped a tulip sleeve blouse and a jacket sleeve,” she adds. An accomplished and talented designer whose collections incorporate creative drapes, delicate embroideries and contemporary cuts, Rao strongly believes that unspoken expression of thought creates design and this reflects exquisitely in her masterpieces. 

Rao’s eponymous label offers a range of classy and elegant clothing. Each design is a well-defined silhouette, made with fluid fabrics in pleasant colours and unique embellishment. “But Chitra is my first collection that is a pure reflection of me,” she wraps up.

Shilpi Madan for The New Indian Express

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