Rahul Mishra opened day 1 of Paris Haute Couture Week 2022 with the fashion heavyweights like Dior and Schiaparelli—for some, this may be daunting. Not Rahul. One look at Mishra’s collection and you know his craft can hold its own globally. Seeking inspiration from nature and nostalgia has been a familiar feat in Mishra’s vast body of work. This time around, it’s an amalgamation of both through ‘The Tree Of Life’.
Elaborating on the connection between the two, the designer further explains the influence behind his botanically beautiful line. “My grandmother would tie a hand-spun cotton thread around a banyan tree, not far from our house. The memory of this routine, of the ladies of the house worshipping the tree to bless their families, is a precious one. The great Banyan tree is a god-like presence throughout our lives, witnessing our journey from childhood to adulthood just as it did with generations of our ancestors. It is the visual of this very tree—where numerous mornings of seasons of the earth have passed—that flashed before my eyes each time I sat to sketch this collection.”
Returning to a physical format after showcasing his previous collections through fashion films, Mishra meant business. From the first model who walked the ballroom in a signature black and gold, 3-D foliage embroidered attire to the last one who closed the show in a glimmering gown made with layers of gold petal—Mishra managed to retain his trademark essence of big and bold, but still pleasantly surprised the audience by infusing inventive techniques in ornamentation and pushing the envelope with construction.
“While designing, I let myself and my team explore and experiment, without constraining them within the idea of how a collection should look like or picking up from where we left off with the previous collection—it’s always a clean slate. Of course, there are certain elements that have become the brand’s identity, but with each season, we try to challenge our own capabilities as creators.
Inspired by the complexities of a tree and its intertwined appearance, Mishra incorporated its architecture in the structures of the ensembles as well as its surface decoration. Fabrics used in this presentation are handwoven in remote locations in India, embroidered with hand for over 10,000 human hours. “Each silhouette that looks larger-than-life has been architectured and engineered in a way to appear opulent, be weightless and yet, stand strong against gravity. My idea of fashion is always consumed by art, but of course, make it wearable—which is the real challenge that I enjoy thoroughly,” added Mishra.
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With only one of the two recurring designers to showcase at the prestigious Paris Haute Couture Week, season after season—Mishra has carved a place for Indian handicrafts, textiles and techniques at a universal level. The core aim of the collection continues to focus on grass root empowerment and providing encouragement to the artisans who make these clothes. While bridging the gap between India and the world, Mishra is not just making a strong case for the Indian fashion fraternity’s ability to partake in events of this magnanimity, he is also educating the world about the source behind the gold mine of culture, craft and heritage his collections are rooted in—his homeland.
For more on couturier Rahul Mishra and his expansive array of collections showcased across multiple international fashion weeks in recent years, tap here.