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Whether it’s inspired by 19th century European Impressionist painters, Mughal architecture, or Pietra dura motifs, art is the soul of whatever Rahul Mishra. One only needs to look at his floor-grazing skirts, lightweight trenches, renditions of the traditional chanderi, and chikankaari work to know that his designs are crafted for those with a discerning eye. In July this year, the International Woolmark Prize winning designer officially became part of Paris Couture Week’s calendar, and presented ‘Metropolis 1’; a collection with underlying themes of human growth, cityscapes, and nature. For his upcoming show at the Paris Fashion Week SS 2020, he’s presenting the same concept although with subtle colourways, evolved 3D embroideries, new fabrics, and more. We spoke to Mishra to get a complete lowdown on his SS 2020 collection.

Image: Courtesy Rahul Mishra

On his inspirations

“The collection juxtaposes ever-evolving urbanscapes and nature. I’ve drawn parallels between an actual forest/garden and the urban jungle. Buildings with gardens, which people create to be one with nature – that’s what inspired me, a certain personalisation of the living space.”

Handwoven embroidery Rahul Mishra

On the techniques used

“The collection has different patterns embroidered on delicate organza dresses, and hand-embroidered flowers on tulle. Structures that are part of the intense embroidery replicate details of a palace and its interiors, gardens, and boundary walls, and 3D appliqué work has been employed to create signature floral motifs. The collection features motion and lightness. An outfit shows building-like structures, and through it we are exploring the ‘shapeshifting’ technique. Whichever way you sit, the dress will shape accordingly. The idea is to explore embroideries that shape the garment.”

3D embroidery Rahul Mishra

On fabrics used

“You can never go wrong with tulles and organzas, so we have versions of it. This time, we worked with Supima, a US-based NGO that aims to promote American Pima cotton around the world. What sets this product apart is the extra-long strands, sheen, and colour retention capabilities. Our version is the cotton-velvet, which is perfect for summer. It’s light yet luxurious.”

floral embroidery Rahul Mishra

On pieces that stand out

“Another piece I’m working on is a floor-length jacket paired with an exquisite dress with 3D embroideries. Then there is one with gathered detailing flaunting beautiful marigold embroidery. My association with Zoya Jewels resulted in elegant pieces – we are aligned in terms of minimalism and design. Their jewellery reminds me of India, but at the same time it’s universal too. You will witness beautiful layering again in my work. Paris-based stylist Elisa Nalin has styled the collection. I have worked with her for three years, and she has brought a girl-next-door vibe to the line.”

All images: Courtesy Rahul Mishra

Anupam Dabral
Sr. Associate Editor
It was while studying fashion journalism at London College of Fashion that Anupam developed a keen interest in the anthropological aspect of the discipline; for him, fashion only makes sense when seen in the context of its environment. He is always on the hunt for great stories, and in his spare time binge-watches films/shows starring Whoopi Goldberg, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.