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Designer In Focus: Rahul Mishra

Designer in Focus - Rahul Mishra
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In 2006, Rahul Mishra made an impressive debut at the Lakme Fashion Week. Rest, as they say, is history. A graduate in Physics, Mishra left the world of science behind to do a post-grad in design at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. The Delhi-based design whizz then went onto become the first non-European to win a scholarship to Milan’s famed fashion school, Istituto Marangoni. From then on, the designer’s career has always been a celebratory ride with a host of ‘firsts’. In 2014, he became the first Indian designer to win the Woolmark Prize—joining notable recipients like Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani and Yves Saint Laurent.

That same year, his work was featured in an exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and he was invited to show at the Paris Fashion Week as a part of the Spring/Summer 2015 season; he has been a regular fixture at the French fashion scene since then. In January 2020, he added yet another ‘first’ to his illustrious resume. Mishra made his debut at the Paris Haute Couture schedule when he became the first Indian fashion designer to be invited as a guest member by Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture (a prestigious governing body in the French fashion industry).

Today, his creations from his eponymous label known for their effortless marriage of Indian craftsmanship with European silhouettes are sold across high-end stores worldwide. Mishra continues to show at various fashion weeks across the world and is also a fixture at the India Couture Week held by the Fashion Design Council of India annually.

His flagship stores in Mumbai and Delhi are an expansion of his brand ethos. The 41-year-old fashion ace describes his journey like this: “I make clothes with the intention to employ as many people as possible and to also enjoy the process of creative exploration rather than just producing beautiful outfits. Emotions, memories and personal moments have always served as key inspirations behind our collections. This intention has remained unchanged since the beginning when I started a decade ago. However, the visual language of the brand has evolved. In the initial days, our philosophies of slow fashion and ethical sustainability were realised through the inclusion of handloom weavers and the use of innovative textiles. With time, this has changed, and we’ve found our love for hand embroideries and the participation it creates. This has also translated into our signature 3D embroidery that is now the brand’s signature.”

Lotus Pond: The festive collection
Men’s festive looks from Rahul Mishra Couture are deeply rooted in values of artisanal craft and human touch. Here’s a sneak peek into some festive menswear from his latest collection Lotus Pond—an organic extension of the Paris Haute Couture 2020 collection.

The Bidri hand-embroidered kurta

The ‘Bidri’ pieces from this collection represent quintessential hand embroidery with the artisanal charm of traditional motifs articulated in a vintage-style colour pallet. Translating in various silhouettes such as the ‘Bidri’ sherwani, bandi and kurta set—this range is an exquisite representation of traditional Indian craft reimagined for the contemporary Indian man.

Aaina hand-embroidered sherwani set

The ‘Aaina’ kurta is hand-embroidered with monotone resham threads and Mughal-architecture inspired mirror-work motifs. Subtle, but festive in a lovesome peach, this silk kurta is amongst the most special designs from this collection.

The Nishat Bandhi set

The ‘Nishat’ bandi made in sheer silk organza paired with the pinstripe kurta is hand embroidered with blush pink resham threads to achieve a monotone look. “Representing the delicate tenderness of couture, along with the intricate painstaking details of Indian craft, this look is at the heart of our design and philosophical value system.”

Eva Pavithran

Vertical Head - Lifestyle