“I don’t do anything off–the-rack. When a bride or groom or their families come to us, we make it just for them. It takes about thirty or forty people about three or four months to make an outfit for a bride or a groom,” he explains.
Though the word “couture” is often misused, it’s certainly true that the amount of skill, handwork and time that goes into these incredible Indian garments puts them in the same league as the very best garments fromhaute couture houses in Europe, albeit with very different aesthetics and silhouettes.
Mr Bal’s show, of course, ended with the traditional Indian showstopper: the appearance of a major Bollywood star — in this case, the stunning Sonam Kapoor, who is possibly the only Bollywood star to have a sense of style and credibility that translates on a global level. As she shimmied down the runway in a signature Rohit Bal bridal lengha to the sounds of “Aa jaane jaan” from a 1969 Hindi film, the crowd exploded with delight.
“I’ve sold that lengha about 25 times already,” reports Mr Bal, acknowledging the power of Bollywood to sell fashion in this country. “And it doesn’t have even one millimeter of bling. It is all dull, beaten, gold tillafrom Kashmir. I surrounded it with two very blingy outfits, because people should know I can do that too. But for me, what Sonam was wearing — that is who I am.”