A top fashion designer dresses up BSF’s first woman combat officer for her wedding Leave a comment

We often hear about top fashion designers dressing up celebrities, film stars for their wedding, an award function or even vacation. But last month fashion designer Anita Dongre dressed up assistant commandant Tanu Shree Pareek, the first woman combat officer in the Border Security Force.
In the past, Dongre’s creations have been showcased by celebrities like the Duchess of Cambridge, Ivanka Trump, Kim Kardashian, Beyonce wore Dongre-designed jewellery while performing at the Ambani wedding. But it’s rare and encouraging to see a top designer dressing up a real-life hero.
“It was her mother’s desire to see her in beautiful Rajasthani bridal attire. Tanu Shree is an amazing woman, she protects the country. I wanted her to look her most beautiful on her wedding day,” said Dongre who also provided Pareek with her designer jewellery and hair and make-up artists. Pareek picked up a red coloured lehenga from Dongre’s ‘Pichhwai collection’ from 2019. Pichwai is a traditional art form of Rajasthan. The lehenga is completely hand-made and hand painted and took about three months to make. It has floral motifs and images of herons that fly across the wetlands of Rajasthan painted on it. For Pareek, who hails from Bikaner, it was important that what she wore on her wedding day was more than just a designer outfit. “My and my mother’s personal choice was Pichwai as it is a local art form and now being practiced by less than 100 people. We wanted to do our bit to revive our local culture. The lehenga sent across a good social message,” said Pareek who got married in February but decided to share the story with the media a few weeks after the wedding.
For the 29-year-old Pareek, dressing up doesn’t come naturally. She said that she has never owned more than a lip gloss because, “the uniform has its own grace and does not need make-up” and the only changes of dress she has are, khaki, PT and camouflage. “Even when I would go on dates with my husband, I would wear jeans and t-shirts. I like wearing earthy colours like grays, whites, blacks and browns. So, my mother was worried that for my wedding too I will choose a dull coloured outfit in peach or cream. She wanted me to look like a traditional Rajasthani bride. In the past five years since I joined the BSF, I have never got more than a few minutes to dress up. But for my wedding, I wanted to get in touch with my feminine side and also make my mother happy. That’s why I chose this lehenga,’’ said Pareek who was inducted in the BSF in 2016.
Although she had completed her engineering and got placed in IBM and TCS, Pareek decided to don the uniform. “At times during our year-long training I would feel that it is so tough. But at those times I realised that I had to complete this journey for all the women out there who wanted to join this force. If I dropped out, then the entire women fraternity would have to drop out. I couldn’t let that happen,” said Pareek and added that she always keeps her gender separate from her profession.

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