Designer Rahul Misra’s collection at the India Fashion Week included fabrics and techniques, ranging from gossamer tulle, organza to plush velvets, and traditional aari work with resham threads to French knots inspired by pointillism art
Embroidery hold instinctive appeal for internationally-acclaimed designer Rahul Mishra. The physicist-turned-artist grew up in the sleepy village of Malhausi, 83 km from Kanpur city. What was simply a delightful recreational activity in childhood, became a precious treasure trove of inspiration to deal with existential philosophies of adulthood for him. The artistic genesis of life, the spirituality in its pre-ordained symphony, the role of change in igniting its versatility, they all began to captivate him.
He feels that his collection for Lotus Make-up India Fashion Week (LMIFW) looks back on a decade long journey, which began with the exploration of an important fact of life — metamorphosis. He says, “I didn’t consciously intend to make the concept a brand signature, when I launched ‘The Butterfly Effect’ back in 2010. Maybe, it has become one now, because that first exploration was honest, straight from my heart, steeped in the metamorphosis of the artist from the physicist.” Since he’s learning something new with each day, this metamorphosis is continuous, both within him and his brand.
“The celebratory collection would be incomplete without a tribute to embroidery,” he says. They have come alive through intelligent separates. They have a strong aura of dynamism in them because of the interplay between architectural silhouettes, vibrant colours, as well as prints and motifs inspired by the unapologetic, unbridled beauty of nature.
Rahul has tried his best to progressively build a craft-based lineage that empowers the artisan. This lineage, at the heart of his brand DNA, is in turn a tribute to the universal DNA that has created a kaleidoscopic lineage of thriving life on this planet. In elevating the artisanal spirit and honouring the creative spark that gives it shape and form he hopes to pay his dues to the beautiful life.
The designer says that his sacred relationship with metamorphic memories fuelled the shape-shifting level of embroidery that defined his debut collection. Inspired by the tessellated prints of MC Escher’s woodcuts, these changing embroidery patterns seem to give the garment a life of its own. The depiction of life in motion remains to tell the tale of the hands that made them.
He says, “As time passed, I found that the physicist within me awoke from his deep slumber and produced the 2018 Spectral Forest Doppler dress. I metamorphosed into a Father. Growing up, I knew little of the world I saw and more of the world I imagined. I want my daughter, Aarna to develop a fertile imagination too. I want to teach her how spending time in nature is the only way out.”
Rahul narrates how once he and Aarna sat for sketching in a village near Nainital. Bold blue hydrangeas of varying sizes and distinctive tints inspired him to create life-like renditions for the 2019 Spring/Summer collection.
He says, “It took months of arduous research and development to achieve a refined surface. But, the hand-embroidered organza petals in shades of blue, appliquéd onto light fabrics and embellished with Swarovski crystals, form a story in themselves of how the flawed perfection of the human hand can imitate and imbibe divine perfection.”
A private tour of Musee d’Orsay in 2016 brought him closer to the surrealist magic of Van Gogh. His ‘sunflowers’ series reminded him of the flowers growing wild and free in Malhausi.
He says, “The sweet nostalgia manifests itself in the diaphanous silk gown from Fall 2017-18, which graced the runway yesterday at LMIFW.”
Many of the looks in this collection have never been showcased in India.
Rahul says, “They are reminiscent of the 10 Paris Fashion Week collections, that have given me the privilege of presenting the best of Indian handicrafts on an international platform. The collection includes a range of fabrics and techniques, from gossamer tulle and organza to plush velvets; and traditional aari work with resham threads, to French knots inspired by pointillism art. The idea is to combine Eastern mysticism with Western meticulousness and highlight the overlap, so as to demonstrate that the world shares common ideas of timeless intricacy and elegance in fashion.”
With the ‘Rahul Mishra in Retrospect’ essence of this collection, he wishes to share a message which is close to his heart — completing a full circle and then returning to the source is a celebration of our roots and a testament to our ever-evolving aesthetic. As Rumi once said, “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”
Photo: Pankaj Kumar