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From here to Infinity

, 18 March 2017 -- The man who gave us ‘compassionate fashion’, by promoting economic self-sufficiency in villages, is all about pointillism these days. Earlier this month, Rahul Mishra, 37, was the toast of many fashion editors and influencers who attended Paris Fashion Week, for his take on surrealism and post impressionism.

The man who gave us ‘compassionate fashion’, by promoting economic self-sufficiency in villages, is all about pointillism these days. Earlier this month, Rahul Mishra, 37, was the toast of many fashion editors and influencers who attended Paris Fashion Week, for his take on surrealism and post impressionism. Across 30 ensembles, in silk, cotton, jersey and polyester, his 700 craftsmen had painstakingly employed the thread and needle like paint and brush to create little dots of colour, mimicking the painting technique of Paul Signac and other Post-Impressionists. Vincent van Gogh’s sunflowers were seen on jumpers and skirts, as were the distinct influences of Mondrian and Paul Signac. “The human hand, what it can achieve, stretches to infinity,” Mishra tells me over the phone from Delhi, also referring to the name of this collection, Infinity. Back from Paris, and reunited with his 17-month-old daughter and wife, Divya, he takes his role as catalyst seriously. Which is why, the Paris fall/winter collection will be interpreted later this year for Couture Week in the capital. This, he says, will give the craftsmen who spent months perfecting the art of creating barely visible stitches, an extended platform.

The CMYK effect

The Paris line celebrates a sporty aesthetic, with bomber jackets, capes, maxi dresses and palazzos. Menswear fabrics have been used to good effect, as he wanted “the strangest of elements to come together and create a new harmony, a new vocabulary”. Some of them were inspired by his father’s wardrobe, he confesses. And while his favoured black, white and yellow make several appearances, Mishra’s canvas this time is a burst of colour. There is restraint, as seen in last year’s collection, where Henri Rousseau’s rainforest paintings played a dominant role. But there are bold experiments, like the Mondrian-inspired ruffle skirts and tops with colour-blocked stripes. “I love the CMYK print,” he laughs.

Bridging art and craft for a while now, the designer admits that it was a challenge to edit the collection for the Ready-To-Wear runway in Paris. “My stylist and I had to tone it down, to create a sense of street fashion,” he recalls. That, incidentally, is a point of debate, as explored on the Vogue website by the doyenne of fashion critics, Suzy Menkes. “If it is the work of human hands, should it be defined as couture?” she asks. Mishra, meanwhile, reveals that he assiduously worked on making each garment lighter; in the bargain, a few personal favourites never made it to the runway, to avoid being mistaken for couture. “Once you are tagged as couture, it is predefined and limits your reach,” he says, adding, “The RTW space is rather exciting today and I work better with constraints. The fabric is soft, and thanks to the thread work, falls like jersey. Yet every garment is machine-washable!”

10 years and counting

Incidentally, this is Mishra’s 10th year in the industry. Focussed on “living in the present”, he says he isn’t obsessed about what the future holds. Yet that doesn’t stop this humble and accessible designer from Kanpur from upping his game. “My wife is my muse and biggest critic, and we were both inspired to work harder by what we saw at the other shows in Paris. I call it divine discontent,” he says. While Infinity was initiated during a walk through Centre Pompidou last year (it was Paris White Night, the dusk till dawn carnival of arts and culture), this year, Mishra was treated to a private tour of Musee d’Orsay’s ‘Beyond the Stars’. The concept of losing oneself in the cosmos, and the landscapes of Monet, Klimt, Gauguin and Munch, have given him a lot to chew on, he shares.

A big breakthrough for Mishra is his adoption of the fashion industry’s ‘see now, buy now model’. He is the first Indian designer to be invited by Moda Operandi, a high-end e-tailer that allows people to pre-order brands like Dolce & Gabbana. So Mishra’s high-waist peplum skirts with front slit and oversized Infinity landscape parkas are currently on sale for 25,000 and ₹104902 respectively. “There is a four-month waiting period and you will get the garments in July. So you can see now, buy now, and dream about it for four months,” he chuckles. In retrospect, he observes, this collection that took six months, from concept to realisation, was akin to making a film. And his champions, social media influencers with a following of 20,000 to 30,000, have helped promote his story. Mishra spotted at least 30 well-known attendees wearing his Spring collection at this show. “Social media lets me come very close to the end-user,” he concludes.Read more at: |

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Submitted by yokol on Saturday, 18 March 2017 at 2:09 PM
Category: Food & Fashion
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