Zardozi embroidery on bridal footwear

Zardozi Embroidery - Origins and Applicability

The art of embroidering with golden and silver threads, from being merely associated with the royalties, has come a long way, thanks to their early patronage. 

Zardozi — the magnificent metallic embellishment of India — dates back to ancient times. It finds mention in Vedic literature, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and all accounts of the Sultanate period. Zardozi may find its root in Rig Veda but the craft expanded its wings during the Mughal era and especially because of benefaction of Akbar.

Done with metal wire and metal pieces or sequins on velvet, satin and heavy silk bases, Zardozi is one of the most famous and elaborate techniques in metal embroidery. The original embroidery of Zardozi was done with pure silver wires coated with real gold, and was known as Kalabatun. Though silver and gold wires have now been replaced with synthetic threads, the art remains the same. The use of metal embroidery in Indian textiles and costumes, especially those used for ritual or ceremonial purposes, demonstrates the importance of gold and silver within the culture. The current trends indicate its extensive play in bridal outfits. 

Sitting around the wooden frames in their small karkhanas, craftsmen or ‘zardos’, chit-chat among themselves and their hands speak a different language which they have learnt from their forefathers. The craft not just requires perfect stitches, but also requires understanding of the innate techniques by which it is created. Zari, which is the life of the embroidery, is flattened silver or gold wire wounded around a silk thread. Zardos create beautiful designs which stand out like a peacock on a rainy day. These designs have Persian influences, so the motifs are primarily inspired by flora and creepers. 

Apart from the thread itself, it is the trimmings that add more splendor to the work of zardozi. Pearls, beads, stones and silk thread not just add a dash of colour, but lend a royal glam to the design.

Unlike a lot of traditional embroidery, here the craftsmen require a design which is drawn on a butter paper and traced on to the cloth to be embroidered with the help of chalk powder and kerosene oil. The cloth is stretched on a wooden frame or adda which is similar to that khatiya used in the villages. Once this has been done, around 6-7 of them take a part of the design and start the process of embroidering with zari. 

A fine hook needle is used to make quick chain stitches with the Zari. The thread is held with a finger at the reverse of the fabric and the aari, an awl-like needle with a sharp point, is held on the top. Using aari is quick and easy but it has its disadvantages. One tug at a loose thread can spell disaster to the entire design as it can unravel in a matter of minutes. The other way is to secure stitches using normal needle which is time consuming and expensive. Zardozi uses array of stitches like satin, surface satin, chain and couching depending upon the need of the design.

The embroidery is by and large done on closely woven fabric as all fabric doesn’t have strength to bear its weight which weighs around kilos.

It takes time to embroider with zari like all hand embroidery. Depending upon the intricacy of the design it may take days or even weeks to complete a work. While these designs vary from place to place, even from artisan to artisans, the patterns from the pockets of Delhi, Kolkata, Lucknow and Ahmedabad wins the attention of women across the world. 

Descending from the royal wardrobes of kings and queens, today, this embroidery adorns the traditional grabs of various states, on saris or lehengas of brides or on festive attire. Zardozi also grace exquisite evening dresses, coats, fashion accessories, furnishing accessories like cushion covers and wall hangings. At Around Always, we have made a modest attempt at using the classical technique in our bridal shoes and wall frames. The traditional Kolkata craftsman has a unique charm to his work!

These art forms have seen a whirlwind of change by the way they have been perceived. What was a dying craft 50 years back has become vital to the garments ‘en vogue’ in Hollywood and Bollywood. Though the richness of gold may no longer grace the work of Zardozi craftsman, but the glitter and glamour endures –and hopefully it will for years to come.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which heel do I pick for my wedding footwear?

  • If your primary concern is comfort during the long wedding day celebration, opt for our super lightweight and cushioned wedges. The wedges will provide you great support with a heavy lehenga.
  • If you want some glamour and stance you can go for upto 3inch of block heels as well. The cushioned insole shall take care of your feet.

Is Around Always' footwear comfortable?

At Around Always, we endeavour to make our footwear comfortable by taking into account:

  • We provide cushioned insoles so that the shoes don't hit you on your heels
  • We use lightweight materials - outer sole, wedges and heels to ensure the shoes don't feel like extra baggage to carry
  • The inners of the footwear are lined with soft materials that reduce probability of any shoe bites significantly.
  • We also customise the footwear to add arches on the insole and increase or decrease the inclination of the heels (from back to front) as per the requirements

Should I get a versatile wedding shoes for use later or a one-time wear bridal footwear?

If you want a versatile pair of wedding shoes that you may use later, you can opt for the following:

  • Get a wonderful golden or ivory colour footwear with hint of colour highlights to match your lehenga. Our Gulshan Wedges is a perfect example of such a pair.
  • If you are wearing a red or rani (hot pink) lehenga you can also get a similar colour footwear, as you shall be able to team it with other similar coloured outfits in your trousseau for functions right after your wedding

For a one-time pair, Around Always can do a bespoke bridal footwear matching with your lehenga. This will complete your look from top to toe and lead to some marvelous shots of your attire on the wedding day.

What customisation is possible for bridal shoes with Around Always?

At Around Always, we customise our footwear for colour, heel type, heel height, embroidery, width of the feet etc.

While most designs can be customised, we may operate under some constraints like large motifs may not be possible to fit in low heels, some colours may not be readily available etc.

We advise you to please check with our customer support for customisation before placing an order. You can reach out to them here - Contact Us.

How can I get my footwear customised?

You can get your footwear customised by reaching out to Around Always at:

  • +91-9147070698 via Whatsapp
  • Writing to us at
  • Filling out our customisation form on the product page

Please allow the customer services team atleast 24 business hours to respond to your request.