Nature and architecture influenced Rahul Mishra and Zoya’s collaboration for Paris Fashion Week

One morning in February this year, Delhi-based internationally acclaimed designer, Rahul Mishra noticed a genda (marigold in Hindi) flower growing amidst a large and luscious bougainvillea pot; his gardener had—in Mishra’s own words—“humbly potted the marigold with it”—and the designer was struck by this amazing contrast—in shape, colour and texture—of flowers, and by how the two grew alongside, quietly, with dignity and dynamism.

A few months ago, as a speaker at the Hong Kong Design Week, Mishra reminisces returning to his hotel room well past midnight. Overlooking his room, was the sea—still and restful—and the buildings’ reflection in the water was like a parallel, new world altogether. “If you look at a city, at night or day,” Mishra says, “it looks like an abstract flower and the river flowing through it, is like a stem that, in a sense, gives it the life it needs to grow.”

Jewellery from Zoya’s rare collections paired with Rahul Mishra’s Metropolis II at Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020

Metropolis II, Mishra’s Spring/Summer 2020 Collection in collaboration with luxury jewellery brand, Zoya, that was unveiled at the Paris Fashion Week in the last week of September, was a culmination of these many everyday influences and encounters over a deliberate process. “Metropolis,” says Mishra, “is an interpretation of the cities we live in; how a barren land is transformed into buildings and a concrete jungle of sorts; and how, we live inside these boxes and attempt to personalise them.”

Model wears Zoya’s upcoming baroque-inspired collection

Metropolis’ layered universe found a happy partner in Zoya, that is recognised equally for its imagination, interpretation and craftsmanship. Truth is, Zoya didn’t have to scout around to play bride or groom. From across Zoya’s many new and old collections—Whispers from the Valley (an ode to Kashmir’s seasons), 6299 Hollywood Blvd (celebrating glamour of Hollywood’s most iconic periods) and Pezzo D’Artre (a modern interpretation of classical Italian wonders)—that find expressions as chains, rings, studs, and bracelets—Mishra’s layered and voluminous creations acquired a dynamism of their own.

In Metropolis, nature and architecture combine to create movement across garments—long and short—using a technique of three dimensional embroideries where the skeleton is simple and modern ways of envisaging the embroidery impart and affect volume in a manner that is “shape-shifting”.

The highlight of the collaboration was also the unveiling of a limited selection of Zoya’s brand new series, Baroque. As its name suggests, the range draws influences from the seamlessness and sensuality of baroque architecture, sculpture and paintings. In its actual form, Baroque unfolds in a distinct colour and texture of gold and liberally uses cut and uncut diamonds and precious stones to create for itself an identity that is about story and craft.

Earrings from Zoya’s Inheritance collection

Foraying into its 11th year, Zoya believes that jewellery is ever-evolving for the urban woman who likes to wear her dreams and aspirations on her sleeve. “Jewellery is no longer about wearing your status,” says Amanpreet Ahluwalia, business head, Zoya, “Women are looking to wear something different that reflects who they are and makes a statement about their sensibilities. All our jewellery is constructed on that premise–to celebrate nature and translate into design, the many inspirations from around cities of the world that a modern woman travels to or inhabits.”

Mishra agrees: “Our wardrobe is often filled with clothes that we either don’t need or use,” he says, “While investing in designer clothes or jewellery, it is imperative to invest in statement pieces; to buy just a few but those that are conversation starters. This is especially crucial in the world we live in where everywhere we go, people are busy on their phones with little or nothing to say to each other. For me, how a piece of jewellery or a garment can trigger and sustain a conversation, is particularly fascinating.”

A necklace from Zoya’s Krsna collection

On the ramp, Metropolis took a final bow as Queen’s iconic ‘I Want to Break Free’ played in the background. Young women from across ethnicities, countries and cultures raised a toast to an aesthetic that is Indian at heart but global in reach and appeal; edgy, experimental, imaginative and uninhibited.

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