Shloka Ambani, Radhika Merchant, and Isha Ambani at Château de la Croix des Gardes in Cannes
Signe Vilstrup
CAN’T STOP TALKING ABOUT 22 Jun 2024 5 MIN

From vintage gems to custom couture: Inside the Ambani ladies’ pre-wedding cruise wardrobes

Something old, something new, and custom everything

In Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant’s recent celebrations leading up to their wedding, the guest of honour was fashion. For the friends, relatives, and everyone else whom the Ambani and Merchant families hold dear, the pre-wedding Mediterranean cruise celebrations turned out to be the perfect summer escape. The four-day-long festivities kicked off on May 29 in Palermo and culminated in Portofino on the night of June 1 with ‘La Dolce Vita’ as the theme.  

Given the serious glamour quotient of the event, the star-studded guest list, and the fact that all eyes were on the family, it comes as no surprise that the women were out to make a serious statement with their sartorial outings. For this, the family worked with top stylists from three continents: the bride-to-be enlisted a trio comprising LA-based wardrobe stylist Mimi Cuttrell as well as Mumbai-based Shaleena Nathani and Rhea Kapoor. In a sister act, Shloka Ambani worked with her trusted collaborator, London-based stylist Diya Mehta Jatia to source two vintage Chanel pieces among other custom looks. Isha Ambani worked with Anaita Shroff Adajania.

Below, we break down the most memorable looks served by the ladies along with each day’s themes. 

Day 1, Palermo

The day began with a nautical-themed welcome lunch on the cruise. Radhika wore a red-and-white striped sleeveless Balmain knit top with trousers, which she paired with round sunglasses and cream loafers.

The evening’s theme was ‘Starry Night’, for which Radhika donned a custom black-and-white Robert Wun gown. Printed onto the chiffon skirt and trail was a love letter that her husband-to-be, Anant, had written to her on her 22nd birthday.

For the first part of the evening, Shloka opted for a custom look by UK-based designer Sabina Bilenko: a white puff-sleeved crop top with pants to match. “We went for white to mimic moonlight, with embellishments on the outfit to resemble stars,” explains Shloka's sister and stylist Diya Mehta Jatia. Later, she changed into a custom Ashish dress inspired by one of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous works, ‘The Starry Night’. “We recreated the painting in sequins on the dress. It was classic, elegant at first and then more fun and experimental for the after-party.” 

In her quest for vintage pieces, Mehta Jatia also stumbled upon a Chanel haute couture gem from the 1990s—a corseted, halter-neck tunic with pants—designed by Karl Lagerfeld. It had embellishments all over it. “It was love at first sight,” she adds.

The mother of the groom, Nita Mukesh Ambani, opted for a classic black dress with a pearl-embroidered Chanel bolero for the first part of the evening.

For the party, she changed into a crystal-encrusted custom couture look by Giorgio Armani. Staying on theme, the outfit was styled with star-shaped Deepa Gurnani earrings in her hair.

For the welcome lunch, sister of the groom-to-be Isha Ambani wore a playful aqua Pucci top and skirt, paired with white sunglasses and Swarovski jewellery shaped like sea creatures. “I love to give a theme a twist! I’m totally in love with Pucci, especially with the cool, fun feeling Camille Micheli is bringing to the brand,” says Shroff Adajania of the look. 

Later, she changed into a yellow Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini dress featuring a gingham print, paired with a Gucci cardigan.

Isha wore a custom Ashi Studio gown from the designer’s spring 2024 couture collection. “We decided to bring our stars down to earth with an incredibly sensual, shimmering custom couture look that had a structured velvet corset paired with a tantalising, delicately beaded, barely-there skirt. We added oversized diamond earrings that looked like shattered glass,” Shroff Adajania tells The Nod.

Day 2, Rome

Guests got to explore the ancient city of Rome during the day, before the evening’s toga party featuring a high-energy DJ set by David Guetta, which went on late into the night. For the event, Radhika wore a custom creation by Grace Ling (whom she knew from her college days in NYC). It featured a gold breastplate made of aerospace-grade aluminium which was 3D-sculpted and printed to look like drapes, paired with a trailing white skirt. 

Shloka went the vintage route once again. “While we were looking for the [Karl Lagerfeld outfit], we got lucky and found another vintage fringed Chanel piece for the toga party. I thought it was cool because when you think of a toga party, most people end up wearing white, but this was gold and had a little edge to it,” explains Mehta Jatia. 

Nita Ambani wore a custom Schiaparelli dress featuring the house’s signature surrealist anatomical brooches. “Definitely the coolest look in the room!” adds Shroff Adajania. 

Isha wore not one but two stunning outfits. At first, she opted for a Georges Hobeika dress from the designer’s ready-to-wear spring 24 collection. For the party, she donned a one-shoulder Giambattista Valli gown with a cleverly placed cutout on the waist. “We teamed it with gold flowers in her hair for that extra touch of glam and Alaïa ear cuffs to add a bit of naughtiness,” relates Shroff Adajania. “The vibe was all about being comfortable, but still looking cool and having an amazing time.” 

Day 3, Cannes

On the penultimate day of the trip, Shloka and Akash Ambani’s daughter, Veda, turned a year old. For the birthday celebrations on board, Nita Ambani wore a refreshing green Valentino look with feathers.

Isha chose a rare vintage gem: a 1950s hand-embroidered Christian Dior couture lace cocktail dress. A version of the dress is also exhibited in the Fashion & Lace Museum in Brussels as part of its permanent collection. “It fit her like a glove. It was a truly special moment that required no embellishments,” says Shroff Adajania. 

In the evening, a masquerade ball with a performance by Katy Perry was in store for attendees at Château de la Croix des Gardes. The estate, also known as Villa Perrier, has a formal garden that overlooks the Bay of Cannes. The bride-to-be, styled by Nathani, wore a custom blue Versace gown fit for a Disney princess with jewels from Lorraine Schwartz. The necklace featured an opal (Radhika’s birthstone) at its centre, surrounded by diamonds (Anant’s birthstone).  

On styling Shloka for this event, Mehta Jatia recalls, “Didi was keen to work with Versace. So this is something we started from the time the dates were set for the events. It was the first design house we connected with. My sister had just had a baby, so her body was constantly changing in this one year. They made it very easy to work around that.” On the mood board was the look Gigi Hadid wore to the 2018 Met Gala. The Versace atelier used it as a reference to create a special look for Shloka.

For the after-party, which featured a performance by Pitbull, Shloka changed into a dress by Sabina Bilenko. The minidress comprised a velvet bodice and a crepe skirt, embellished to conjure images of multicoloured fish darting amongst coral reefs. “Sabina did a phenomenal job. It was made in just two days. You had to see how confident Didi was in it because she felt so good,” Mehta Jatia adds. 

Nita Ambani wore a custom couture look by Oscar de la Renta which featured dégradé sequins over a nude sheath dress. A matching purple mask was created to complete the look.

On Isha’s outfit for the night, Shroff Adajania says, “We had fallen in love with this Tamara Ralph blouse with metal roses a while ago but weren’t sure how to style it. I realised it was the perfect starting point for the evening in Cannes. We added a dramatic pop of red with a voluminous ballroom skirt. I adore the combination of blush, peach, and red, and Isha absolutely glowed in this outfit.” 

For the Katy Perry concert, Isha rewore a custom couture Dior gown from her own wedding to Anand Piramal. “The gown is personalised with the wedding date and ‘Isha ❤️Anand’ embroidered on it. It was a beautiful and meaningful way to repurpose such a special piece,” reveals Shroff Adajania. 

Day 4, Portofino

On the final day of the celebrations, the family took over a square in Portofino and turned it into a festive open-air market. A highlight was a soulful performance by Andrea Bocelli, who even brought his son, Matteo, on stage. For this event, Radhika wore an archival Dior by Yves Saint Laurent cocktail dress, sourced by Cuttrell. “When I heard the ‘Roman Holiday’ theme, I instantly felt we should have a classic Audrey Hepburn 1950s Silhouette. I sourced a rare 1959 Christian Dior haute couture dress designed by a very young Yves Saint Laurent that I felt would be timeless and special for this moment. Most of his designs from this period are in museums worldwide, and it truly felt like the most fitting and special dress for this occasion,” Cuttrell tells The Nod. 

Shloka opted for a trio of floral outfits for the final day: a crop top and skirt set with 3D lavender flowers by Yara Shoemaker, a summery yellow Carolina Herrera number, and a pink off-the-shoulder Giambattista Valli dress featuring the designer’s Saint-Rémy print. 

Isha’s look for the final day of the celebrations in Portofino was a breezy Roberto Cavalli dress with a custom print from the designer’s archives.