Rahul Mishra is a riveting conversationalist with a passion very few can boast of. In a country which can’t get enough of zardosi and swishy gowns, he comes armed with his organza lehengas in ‘Monsoon Diaries’, this ICW 2016.
By Asmita Aggarwal
He is the pride of India winning a coveted honour, the Woolmark Prize, but there is a lot more about Rahul Mishra than just his endearing simplicity and willingness to take risks. “What’s the point of doing a collection if you can’t do what your heart tells you to, no matter what trend forecasters and soothsayers dictate,?” he confesses.
And this is just the quality that is most admirable about Rahul, who has titled his ICW 2016 line, “Monsoon Diaries”. So the rain and the subdued sunshine, have left an indelible mark on the man, who will show you videos of his adorable daughter on his phone and tell you unabashedly, “She is really my sunshine.”
The colours, flowers and freshness as well as growth is mirrored in his line, which also has a smattering of hand spun and woven khadi, his fabric of love, which he can’t seem to get enough of.
“Monochromes have been a staple in my lines, all through along with off whites, but this time there is mint green, and washed down hues with very few brights. For me, it was an exploration of a different kind, something that connects all my previous lines to this one. I don’t believe in disjointed collections, they must flow into each other seamlessly,” he admits.
The idea was to do a graphic collection, to create a story with strong visuals and for Rahul, his artwork is his holy grail, it changes every year. The story, he believes, is the soul of a concept, as he explains, “Don’t we all want to watch a movie or read a poem which somewhere deep down tugs at our heartstrings? That’s why for me it is all about expressing my journey through the dialogue of fashion,” he says.
Mentioning the Kerala collection with the reversible pieces he first designed to his Paris Fashion Week line, everything has been handloom-based and it remains a continued narration, however the application is different, each season.
This year at ICW 2016, what will make a splash are his organza lehengas, pure, virginal and woven to perfection in Beneras. He admits, he likes, the see-through elements in it, the lightweight texture, which makes doing hand done embroideries a laborious task. “I somehow see an insane beauty in its transparency, though we have also developed a particular kind of silk with hints of tussar and matka fibres in it, along with my soulmate, chanderi with a few pieces of Maheshwari,” he grins.
In a sea of designers, who are wooing brides with zardosi and promises of eternal dreams, Rahul believes that he is looking at only 5 per cent of women, “who don’t want to look like a chandelier on their D-Day”. He is also looking at dressing the brides’ extended family, and those who wish to wear something that doesn’t overpower their personality with lehengas, which are too costume-y. “She can also mix and match; wear a lehenga with a differentcholi, throw on a bomber jacket or try on a new dupatta,” he admits, adding, “I am tired of seeing the same old, boring paisleys, ambis and chintz on lehengas, so I want to offer my version of monsoon, which comes with a fresh bouquet of motifs—leaves, florals and birds, the humble sparrow.”
The problem, he feels, is that the market is so saturated with embroidery-laden lehengas that there is no alternative for brides. And this gap is something that he wishes to bridge. “We make brides and grooms fashion victims, I must say I remember my own wedding and I can safely confess that I’ve looked better on other days,” he laughs, adding, “Weddings are such beautiful occasions, but we tend to go overboard with everything when it comes to clothes.”
Admitting that it is the right time to enter the market, Rahul’s embroideries are done in resham, 100 per cent executed by hand with some French knots and also the traditional tar ka kaam. “They are so fine that they look like textures, and resemble the gara or Parsi embroidery techniques,” he says.
The ICW 2016 line has taken almost 200 workers and over three months to plan and execute and some of the flowers are so beautifully rendered that they give a 3D feel. “Now I will have to just wait and see how many brides will really love my organza lehengas as much as I do,” he concludes with a hearty laugh.