These days, the back of a dress, particularly a wedding gown, is especially important to them. Sachin and Babi Ahluwalia, the husband-and-wife founders of fashion brand Sachin & Babi, recognize that for a large portion of the wedding ceremony, a bride’s back will face her family and friends, as well as the photographers.
It’s a detail they carefully considered while creating their first bridal collection, which was shown to the press in April and will be available in the fall of 2016. Since then, they’ve been thinking a lot about how to make a wedding gown appealing from all angles. They started by giving the gowns low V-backs, and then added beautiful embroideries and detachable bows. “Feminine but sexy,” Sachin attested.
The Ahluwalias’ signature ready-to-wear dresses are rich in textures and embellishments, and their use of color is highly praised. When they launched Sachin & Babi in 2009, they already had several years’ experience creating and manipulating fabrics for couture houses.
In the early days, their designs for the couture houses stressed opulence, and their ambitions were to “add value” to all types of fabrics. But as time passed, the allure of couture dimmed, and practicality began playing a larger role in fashion.
“Women started getting more cued in to what the trends were,” explained Sachin. “They would look at our designs and say, ‘That’s wonderful, but that’s not our lifestyle.’”
Asked why they decided to start their own company, Sachin replied: “The things that we were making were not for our peers. But we were able to use our knowledge from the past and create a product that was comparable to what people were seeing in the media.”
The Ahluwalias were lured into creating a bridal line by neither the fashion media nor a particular passion to design wedding gowns. Babi, whose background is in textiles, said that a few people walked into their boutique and asked if they could customize a dress. One was a doctor. She was looking for her wedding dress.
“In three or four cases, we did custom gowns before we started doing bridal,” said Sachin. Plus, they were told that a few clients were already wearing Sachin & Babi dresses at their weddings. “A lot of our gowns lend themselves to bridal,” he continued. “A black or a red gown—if we made it in white—could quite easily be a wedding gown.”
Soon, the department stores that carry their ready-to-wear line realized the same things. They said they didn’t have a bridal line with a Sachin & Babi aesthetic and that they’d like one. “Bridal,” said Babi, “became a natural evolution into what we are doing.”
“We went to the same resources where we buy all our jacquards from,” added Sachin, “the same mills that that weave our jacquards and our satins. We just asked them to weave our eggshell colors, our ivories.”
Today, the quality of their fabrics and the effort put into the construction of the garments remain as they always were—top-notch. And that, combined with the Ahluwalias’ ability to blend fantasy with reality, is what makes their dresses desirable.
“At the end of the day,” stressed Sachin, “we still need to make clothes that fit women. Clothes that they can actually buy. If you look at what women really can wear and what they want… If you can fulfill that, everything else is fluff.”