March 17, 2013 Asmita Aggarwal

Caterpillar to Butterfly

There are three reasons why you will walk away from Rahul Mishra’s show pleasantly pleased—-he immediately gives credit to his wife for his success, tells you that he has abandoned his ‘safety net’ of textiles, and introduces you to the next big thing; caterpillar sleeves. “I was fascinated by the way the caterpillar moves so I incorporated that in my line, through the medium of sleeves on my jackets. If you observe, even the sleeves which start from the upper shoulder move like the caterpillar on your arms,” he smiles.


And no, he is not exaggerating, they do move like that, as he passionately explains how he was taken in by the beauty of chintz, from the Coromandel Coast in the early 19th century which was supplied to Europe, but gradually disappeared without a trace. “I tried to find artists who did this mesmerizing, fine hand painting, but failed to trace them,” he adds.

But unlike designers who work with regions or cultures as their inspirations, Rahul dips into his own work for references, so that each line shows an evolution and natural progression in his design philosophy.

Interesting, the line which is titled The Baroque Tree, is a bit of Zen meets baroque. So you will see hand embroidery on net, complete with trees, birds and flowers, Islamic jaalis, almost like Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s poetry, the zari threadwork embodies finesse, French knots are fine making the interpretation elaborate. “I think the biggest challenge for me was to do something new, in fact I made this line listening to a lot of poetry and soulful music,” he says, adding that it helped him cope with a tragic, personal loss.

Interestingly, women for Rahul symbolize power, strength and he is fascinated with the way his wife manages to balance her work and home life. “I watch her giving me inputs, being a hard taskmaster and then transforming into this fabulous, caring homemaker and wife. So I respect the way she keeps me grounded and sane,” he concludes.

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Fashion Design Council of India