#ICW2016: Rahul Mishra’s Understated Elegance
Last year, when Rahul Mishra made his couture week debut at India Couture Week, his collection was met with a mixed response. While he largely kept his signature design language intact, a lot of showgoers felt that the drama and novelty demanded of a couture show was sorely missing. So this year, the designer gave them all that and more with his new presentation, Monsoon Diaries.
As the name suggests, the collection was inspired by the lush romanticism of the monsoon season, and the colour story aptly moved from powder blue and indigo to mint, blush pink and ultimately white. Fabrics such as Maheshwari and muga silks, organic khadi, and handmade silk organza were used to hold tonal and intricate embroidery that wove a strong cultural story. The star of his collection was undoubtedly the dense thread work intricately patterned on all the ensembles. Metal yarns, zardozi, and resham were used to add dimension to jackets, kalidar kurtas, and lehengas, besides French knots and his signature cutwork.
Interestingly, the designer has stayed true to his aesthetic of letting design — and not embellishment or sparkle — be his calling card. And considering bridal couture is all about bling, Swarovski crystals, and sequins, his resolute defiance of not including them in his couture collection is noteworthy. In a time when originality and innovation in Indian design are constantly called to question, his use of handwoven textiles and hand embroidery (the completely handmade collection of 36 pieces took 200 embroiderers nearly 6 months to complete) — and the near exclusion of bling — is both a conscious and applause-worthy step in the right direction.