Shehzarin Batha (of Shehzarin Batha Couture) is redefining the bridal couture experience. Pulling references from the designer’s rich Indian heritage, Shehzarin creates intricate opulence that could only come from years of perfecting her craft.
When future brides step into Shehzarin’s new High St boutique, the service doesn’t just stop at finding the perfect gown… it’s so much more. Read on to find out what makes this formidable bridal designer tick, and why her greatest influence is women.
Tell me about your journey so far, how long have you been designing for?
Practically since I was 18 but prior to that my mom used to sew all my clothes, we came from a middle-class family in India, so we did everything ourselves. I always dabbled in making things and sewing and putting things together and when I was 18 I went on to study fashion at RMIT. I was always more of a technical person I guess, more of a pattern maker. Then I went on to study at the London College of Fashion and did my post grad there which really opened up my eyes to couture and I knew that’s where my heart was.
In 2005 I came back and I set up my business straight away and it was basically corsetry, lingerie and burlesque. One thing led to the next and I started working in the bridal industry. In 2009 I completely took the plunge and thought okay, I’m going to do this. It was all about couture and tailoring, I used to do a lot of suits and coats and that kind of thing as well and slowly I streamlined it and now I just focus on bridal.
What have you been doing recently?
I have been establishing myself in my new boutique, it’s only about a year old in high street which is great. We are working to make it a styling hub for brides, so I’ve got a very contemporary take on bridal. We introduce bridal shoes, we’ve got bridal accessories and we’ll keep adding as we go along, focusing on the full couture experience and not just the gown.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by lots of things. Beautiful textiles and fine craftsmanship. For me it’s about couture, taking that most bastardised word, and redefining it. Less is more, and in Australia people are moving away from that. It’s all big and monstrous and overpriced. It’s about keeping it affordable and accessible and giving that highly personalised bridal experience. I’m also hugely inspired by my background – I grew up in India and textiles are a huge part of that. I love incorporating or infusing those elements of my heritage. I use a lot of beautiful silks, hand weave and the beading is very fine. I am also constantly emulating and experimenting with how to bring about a fusion that is also sellable and relatable to my market here.
To be honest, women are my BIGGEST inspiration. All the different women in my life. Mum, grandma, and the women that now work alongside me. All their amazing stories to tell. I’m very inspired by my clients too. I meet a lot of very special people along the way. Everyone’s got a story but its why I love what I do. You get so intimate with people while working on the gown.
What are the trends at the moment?
There’s definitely a lot of emphasis on sheer, lots of naked dressing. To each their own. It’s finding a balance between what’s trendy, and what suits them. It’s about making real dresses for real women. So, I’m not strongly influenced by trends, I tend to go by instinct. Obviously, I’m looking around and exploring ideas but yeah, they come from an innate desire to dress women immaculately – what suits their personality and figure. It’s all about the individual.
What do you love most about being a bridal designer?
I get to be a part of the most special day of a bride’s life, bridal to me – it’s not just about the gown. It’s about bringing together design and craftsmanship. It’s an extension of fashion design. It’s something you can really evolve, six months into working with someone. I love that it’s so personalised. There’s nothing more satisfying when they come to their final fitting and mums in tears and it all comes together. It’s why I do what I do you know? It’s just the most beautiful thing. They are about to embark on this journey of theirs with their other half. Yeah, it’s really really special. I encourage brides to have that couture experience because it’s once in a lifetime and getting fitted and having something made especially for you – it just makes that day even more special. You’re going to treasure that more than just something off the rack.
Do you have any advice for future brides looking to that perfect dress?
Keep an open mind and if you can, experience couture because it’s a dying craft and much more special to have something made for you. I think at the end of the day they have to really trust their instincts and not be too swayed by everything that’s on Pinterest and social media. Really do some soul searching. After all, you’ve been dressing yourself for your whole life. You know what works on you but keeping an open mind and allowing the designer to do their thing and guide you is equally important. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so much that’s out there. Pick a few designers that you think you resonate with and then go from there. You don’t need to try on a million different dresses to find the one.
Eve – Melbourne Bridal Fashion Hub
Wedding & Trends Editor