The durability of this flamboyant Indian tradition, especially the way people still wed, encouraged National Institute of Fashion Technology ( NIFT ) to bring the Asian Bridal Summit to Delhi. Says choreographer Harmeet Bajaj, "The Japanese designer Yumi Katsura conceived this summit as tradition is eroding there. This was a way to reinforce ones commitment to it. This is a visual representation." She adds, "No matter how westernised you may be, you dont get married in a pair of shorts, kiss the bride, exchange rings and its all over. Here, its much more than that. We dont want to lose that tradition."
Three days were spent by 134 delegates from countries like Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and India discussing the rituals and endurance of marriages in their respective countries. Two fashion shows and an entire session of mock weddings brought these aspects sharply into focus for the delegates. Next, the summit moves to New York to "show the West the richness of our traditions," says an organiser of the event. For, how many people knew the difference between the local darzi (tailor) and a fashion designer 10 years ago? Or, how many were there willing to shell out many thousands of rupees on something as ephemeral as a wedding garment? Enter the dramatis personae of the bride and the bridegroom. Says fashion designer J. J. Vallaya, who is well- known for his trousseaux and wedding lehangas, "Indian weddings are the mainstay of Indian couture. There are no budgetary constraints. Most clothes that we sell are either directly or indi rectly meant for that grand moment."