It has a price tag of £100,000 and is the most expensive Asian wedding outfit ever produced. Encrusted with diamonds, the sumptuous white wedding lengha weighs more than 30 kilos has been made by celebrity couturist Sati Takhar.
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Sati, who is based in Birmingham’s Soho Road, will unveil the outfit at The Asiana Bridal Show in London. The traditional Asian bridal outfit is so valuable that it is being kept in a glass box and watched over by a security guard.
“We’ve created the ultimate fantasy, an outfit that is so exquisite we’re placing it inside a glass box!” says Sati, 32, who has been a bridal designer for more than 10 years. His inspiration came from watching the Victoria’s Secret lingerie show last year where Brazilian models Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima took to the catwalk at London’s Earl’s Court wearing $2 million Dream Angels Fantasy Bras.
The bras featured 16,000 rubies, diamonds and sapphires, all of which are strung together with 18-carat gold. “I’ve seen and heard everything when it comes to weddings and the Victoria’s Secret show got me thinking,” says Sati. “I have clients who have flown in Kim Kardashian’s make-up artist in from New York to do their bridal make-up.
“The Asian wedding market is worth a lot. I was inspired to try something similar to the Victoria’s Secret show in bridalwear.” The decadent white silk lengha (a traditional skirt and top) features an embroidered strapless corset and full-flared skirt, finished with a veil around the head and shoulders.
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It is a collaboration with elite Indian jewellery brand Dhir Diamond Jewellers, who have provided the jewels for the gown. London jewellery designer Vansh Dhir says: “Diamonds aren’t just meant for wedding rings! “In this creative collaboration we are showcasing innovative ideas for combining your jewellery with your outfit.
“It’s a masterpiece that sets the benchmark for what is possible in the world of weddingwear.” Worth more than £3 billion a year, the British Asian wedding industry is the second most successful area of entrepreneurship among South Asians living in the UK after the restaurant and catering business.
New research by Asiana Wedding Magazine shows the average Asian couple in the UK spends upwards of £50,000 on a wedding with lowest figures being around £25,000 – well above the average price of a British wedding which is currently £21,000.
Some spend more than a million pounds on their nuptials, extravagant occasions that can be celebrated for several days and attended by upwards of 1,000 guests. All of Sati’s designs are bespoke and normally sell for around £3,000. “Not all of our outfits costs £100,000,” says Sati. “But when a brides puts on one of our outfits she feels £100,000.”
Sati goes through the entire process with each bride, from choosing fabrics and sketching designs in front of her to making a toile mock-up of the outfit in cotton for her try on ahead of the final fitting. “I get to know the brides well throughout the process,” he adds. “One brought her dad to the toile fitting the other day and he recorded it with a camcorder. It was sweet.”
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For Sati, the logistics of displaying a £100,000 gown have been just as intense as coming up with the design. “I’ve never done anything like this before,” he adds. “It’s a large amount of money so we’ve had to make sure we’ve got all the relevant insurances and security for it on the day.”
Sati’s design will be seen by 10,000 visitors at the The Asiana Bridal Show at London’s Lancaster Hotel.