Looking back on ten years of his creativity in fashion here is a retrospection by the talented young designer, Rahul Mishra whose final show at the LMIFW 2019 on the opening day yesterday wowed audience: Over to Rahul Mishra:
I grew up in the sleepy village of Malhausi, some 83 kms from Kanpur City. I set out in life armed with a degree in Physics. But, the scholastic facts that stimulated the mind of a young man, did not compare to the grandmothers’ stories that nourished the soul of a young boy. What was simply a delightful recreational activity in childhood, became a precious treasure trove of inspiration to deal with existential philosophies of adulthood. The artistic genesis of life, the spirituality in its pre-ordained symphony, the role of change in igniting its versatility – they all began to captivate me.
This collection looks back on a decade-long journey, that began with the exploration of an important fact of life – metamorphosis. I didn’t consciously intend to make the concept a brand signature when I launched ‘The Butterfly Effect’ back in 2010. Maybe, it has become one, because that first exploration was honest, straight from the heart; and steeped in the metamorphosis of the Artist from the Physicist.
Since I’m learning something new every day, this metamorphosis is continuous – both within me and within the brand.
I have tried my best to progressively build a crafts-based lineage that empowers the artisan. This lineage, at the heart of my brand DNA, is, in turn, a tribute to the universal DNA that has created a kaleidoscopic lineage of thriving life on this planet. In elevating the artisanal spirit and honouring the creative spark that gives it shape and form, I hope I am paying my dues to a beautiful life.
Embroideries hold instinctive appeal for me. I feel the holy forces of creation become meditative, magical poetry in the way the artisan’s needle and thread move through the fabric. This celebratory collection would be incomplete without a tribute to embroideries. They have come alive through intelligent separates. The separates themselves have a strong aura of dynamism because of the interplay between architectural silhouettes, vibrant colours; as well as prints and motifs inspired by the unapologetic, unbridled beauty of Nature.
My sacred relationship with metamorphic memories fuelled the shape-shifting level embroidery that defined my debut collection. Inspired by the tessellated prints of MC Escher’s woodcuts, these changing embroidery patterns seem to give the garment a life of its own. The depiction of life in motion remains to tell the tale of the hands that made them. As time passed, I found that the Physicist within me awoke from his deep slumber and produced the 2018 Spectral Forest Doppler dress. The Physicist-turned-Artist also metamorphosed into a Father. Growing up, I knew little of the world I saw and more of the world I imagined. I want my daughter Aarna to develop a fertile imagination too. I teach her how, through the only way I learned myself – spending time in Nature.
Once, Aarna and I sat sketching in a village near Nainital. Bold blue hydrangeas of varying sizes and distinctive tints inspired me to create life-like renditions for the 2019 Spring/Summer collection. It took months of arduous research and development to achieve a refined surface. But, the hand-embroidered organza petals in shades of blue, appliquéd onto light fabrics and embellished with Swarovski crystals are a story in themselves, of how the flawed perfection of the human hand can imitate and imbibe divine perfection. A private tour of Musée d’Orsay in 2016 brought me closer to the surrealist magic of Van Gogh. His ‘Sunflowers’ series reminded me of the flowers growing wild and free in Malhausi. The sweet nostalgia manifests itself in the diaphanous silk gown from Fall 2017-18 gracing the runway tonight.
Many of the looks in this collection have never been showcased in India. They are reminiscent of the 10 Paris Fashion Week collections, that have given me the privilege of presenting the best of Indian handicrafts on an international platform. The collection includes a range of fabrics and techniques, from gossamer tulle and organza to plush velvets; and traditional aari work with resham threads, to French knots inspired by pointillism art. The idea is to combine Eastern mysticism with Western meticulousness and highlight the overlap; so as to demonstrate that the world shares common ideas of timeless intricacy and elegance in fashion.
With the ‘Rahul Mishra in Retrospect’ essence of this collection, I wish to share with you a message that is very close to my heart – coming full circle and returning to the source is a celebration of our roots and a testament to our ever-evolving aesthetic. As Rumi once said, “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”