Understanding dress codes from Jamnagar

Minute by minute account of the three-day festivities

I have had the most fun at the Ambani-Merchant wedding (okay okay, pre-wedding), and I didn’t even have to go to Jamnagar and line up for hours in the private jets’ queue. Ensconced in the comforts of our own homes, we were treated to a minute by minute account of the three-day festivities. That’s what I love about the Ambani family, they invite everyone to gawk—whether you are their guest, or just an ordinary gawker. This is, after all, the age of Instagram, and in the words of Sabyasachi, you are either a voyeur or an exhibitionist.

The youngest son of Mukesh and Nita Ambani, Anant, married his longtime sweetheart, the very beautiful Radhika Merchant. Like the festivities of other two Ambani children—twins Akash and Isha—this one was expectedly ostentatious, peppered with dancing A-listers from Bollywood, international musicians performing, and global billionaires. Two things stood out magnificently this time: first, that it was hosted at Jamnagar, home to their precious oil refinery and their gorgeous new animal sanctuary. Second, a wedding is made especially amazing by amazing clothes. Not for nothing does Indian couture equal bridalwear that equals a Rs1,000+ billion industry.

Nita and Isha Ambani wore emeralds the size of doorstoppers | Instagram@manishmalhotra05 Nita and Isha Ambani wore emeralds the size of doorstoppers | Instagram@manishmalhotra05

Let’s start with the bride, since she is the MVP in this squad. Radhika’s early look was a young and girlie fringe dress from Ashish couture. For her sangeet, she wore a custom Versace gown previously seen on Blake Lively in 2022. Her final outfit, a pastel lehenga sari in kashidakari embroidery by Tarun Tahiliani, paid homage to Mughal miniatures. Radhika was styled by the stylist-and-filmmaker Rhea Kapoor, who really deserves a national award for her cool quotient. Isha looked her best self, in Miss Sohee, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Manish Malhotra numbers as well as a gorgeous Alexander McQueen corset with Kanika Goyal pants. Shloka’s Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla lehenga had borders in multiple zardozi styles (AJSK zardozi is the finest in the country), and a dupatta with animal print borders. Sandeep Khosla was his irreverent self, wearing a crystal monkey harnessed to his shoulder.

Sonam Kapoor, also styled by her aesthete sister Rhea, pulled off many original looks. A gobsmacker was a Ladakhi outfit inspired by the Balti ethnic group’s costume, a tunic-cape ensemble with the local crane motif, and lots of jewellery from her mother and mother-in-law’s extensive personal collection. I love that both Deepika Padukone and Natasha Poonawalla braided their hair in long plaits, using Punjabi-style ‘parandis’ and hair jewels. I also loved Deepika’s red, embroidered Rimple and Harpreet sari. Natasha, meanwhile, wore her ‘gutt’ (plait) with a museum-quality revivalist store called Pankaja S Heritage from Delhi.

Karisma Kapoor also wore hair jewels, a matha patti, with a white mundu skirt, as she danced with Diljit Dosanjh on stage. Kareena Kapoor Khan wore a tonal Manish Malhotra sari when it was her turn to groove with Dosanjh. Nita and Isha Ambani were both resplendent in ivory chikankari by Manish Malhotra. The emeralds on the mother-daughter duo are not mere ice-cubes, they are door-stoppers.

I also loved that international guests wore Indian designers. Ivanka Trump wore Manish Malhotra and got a nod from Rihanna, the biggest international act here. Mark Zuckerberg and his wife wore zoo-themed Rahul Mishra. Rihanna’s clothes were disappointing, she picked a green and pink ensemble expecting a gaudy audience. Not only did it rip mid-performance, she also got panned on social media. The diva made up for it with her kindness though, she posed with Indian paparazzi and policewomen brushing aside her bodyguards’ warnings.RiRi learned a lesson we already knew: Indian fashion trumps the Met Gala, the Oscar’s red carpet and Paris Fashion Week in one fell swoop.