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Designer Kunal Rawal on the multi-functionality of his new Lakme Fashion Week line

“The indulgence of luxury menswear today is striving towards being worn in many different ways rather than being a glamorous one-purpose suit,” says designer Kunal Rawal. With this statement, Rawal pretty much sums up what his label stands for. The go-to designer for Bollywood, Rawal’s designs are functional, modern, and suitable for multiple occasions. In the past, he has created needle-pleated vests with kurtas, intricately embroidered sherwanis, separates with quirky messages emblazoned on them, and quirky, colour-blocked kurtas that can easily be paired with jeans and sneakers.

His latest line, Confluence, toes the same line – to suit the many roles we play in life. Lifestyle Asia caught up with him to get an in-depth look at his new line and the vision behind it.

Spotlight piece from Kunal Rawal’s “Confluence” collection
What was the inspiration behind Confluence?

The Confluence collection is the coming together of many different worlds. Just like how luxury menswear takes inspiration from industrial accents, I’ve taken inspiration from the grunge of old Western rodeos as well as vintage rock and roll. Apart from this, military designs have always been a part of our style DNA so that has been factored in too. It’s a combination of industries that excite me and inspire me to create for the occasionwear market in India and especially for the new-age grooms. I think that’s a must considering the evolution of sartorial needs and the attention to detail we have today.

Kunal Rawal, Jahaan and Arjun Kapoor
Tell us about the smaller details that make this collection work?

I’ve also emphasised on cross-cultural menswear designs considering India is now a global destination in terms of style. Things are much more modern now – sherwanis aren’t super shiny and heavy, things are very tone-on-tone. I’ve paid attention to the hem breaks and the cuts of the sherwani. There are also bulkier power shoulders, which comes from Western designs. You can expect a lot of international appeal from the Confluence collection.

Kunal Rawal
Kunal Rawal’s showstopper, Arjun Kapoor
What’s the biggest festive season trends for men?

I think it’s a big trend today to be involved in what you wear and allowing the piece to be a sartorial reflection of your personality. We’ve come to a point where men have established what works and what doesn’t and they embrace that to their fullest. Even if it isn’t a bespoke garment, you can customise and personalise it your way uniquely.

Are there any timeless details, or classics that stand the test of time in this collection?

Minimalism has thankfully found its way into occasionwear in India without compromising attention-to-detail luxury accents. The tone-on-tone knit-work is something that works. The third would be functionality and reusability – this isn’t just for groomswear but the entire menswear ecosystem. Mock layering, where the illusion of layering to make the piece look heavier than it actually is, is what’s also being implemented today.

A star piece that stood out in this collection

I’ve designed a sherwani that can still allow you to freely dance, wearing it at a sangeet, which is an example of functionality in menswear today.

How will functionality shape up in the future?

Fusing functionality and detail-rich menswear is a major inspiration for Confluence. We have used an attach-detach clasp system, breach-bands or Kamar-Bandhs, which allow you to lighten your waist up to four inches and change the overall silhouette, which caters to my next favourite trend of body cheats.

All images: Courtesy Kunal Rawal

Designer Kunal Rawal on the multi-functionality of his new Lakme Fashion Week line

Mikhail Gomes

Features Editor, Lifestyle Asia India & Contributor - Augustman

A watch aficionado, Mikhail also enjoys learning about fine whiskies, and one day hopes to establish his own menswear label. At Lifestyle Asia India, he writes on watches, menswear, auto and tech.


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