They say time is the essence of success and in this cosmic connection Rahul Mishra has emerged as a winner. From winning the Woolmark Prize to showcasing his immaculately crafted clothes in Paris for the last five years, Rahul has carved a niche for himself. In fact, he is the only Indian, to ever be invited by the Chambre Syndicale De La Couture, to participate in the coveted Paris Haute Couture Week.
Life has been kind to Mishra, but the boy from Malhausi, who studied in a village school, was never deterred by naysayers declaring fashion a reserve of the rich, requiring massive investments, driven by money and power. He feels “blessed” making it to the A-list of the world, getting past the velvet ropes of a club that is known to be notoriously rigid, where top CEOs of labels like Chole, Louis Vuitton and Chanel decide on the fate of who gets to show at PCW.
“It is like clearing a really tough exam, as this body controls a $3 trillion business and Elie Saab was the only Asian to ever get a chance to showcase at PCW,” explains Rahul. So his first line in Paris was inspired by his travels to Maldives. The collection was a mix of art, fashion, craft and above all emotion, a more overwhelming approach to design, you could term it as wearable art with a dollop of simplicity, a Rahul Mishra trademark. “Five years I did haute couture in India, with exaggerated volume, but for Paris it was modern, not bridal. It was diverse, original, fierce and fearless. I played with my brand’s DNA,” he says.
Minimal & Classy
Modern doesn’t mean metal, plastic, sci-fi or shiny materials, but how clothing can enhance our lifestyle, explains Rahul, with a minimalist approach. With many feathers in his cap, he has received multiple requests for red carpet events, including the Oscars, (Princess of Monaco wants to wear his clothes), as well as a bevy of advertisers, have lined up, seeing his graph rise. Though what keeps his head firmly on his shoulders is his wife, confidant and companion Divya, who also was his classmate at NID, Ahmedabad. “If a model tries on an ensemble and Divya approves it, I know it can go to the catwal— she is my confidence barometer. If she likes it, we know it will work,” he laughs.
Newness, Rahul believes comes from the aesthetic, and his ideology is more skewed towards design, not fashion — it is all about problem solving, new materials, embroideries, cuts and shapes... “The concept of sustainability is dear to me, as the process involved in creating is more important than the product,” he adds.
Nature & Couture
The designer confirms he is not trying to sell the India story as many designers in the past have from Etro, Galliano, Gaultier, Chanel to Fendi. His quest is originality of thought where the focus is on lightness and where leaves look almost as gossamer as feathers. Art, poetry and travel have been Rahul’s muses and the workmanship executed on his nifty ensembles comes from well-being and kindness of the human spirit that’s why Madagascar, the film became the fulcrum of the showcase. “Aarna, my daughter, who is four, is the fourth dimension of my life, she is my love. Raising a child in the capital is a challenge, as the smog and pollution would keep her indoors. For a playful child this can be tough; Divya would tell her, ‘when the sky turns blue, we will go outside.’ It is this blue sky that you can see in my line, as my daughter’s words, ‘baba, blue skies kar do na’ would ring in my ears,” he admits.
Human experience forms the epicentre of his collections and as he watched Madagascar, more than 30 times with Aarna, became the moodboard and artwork of his Paris show, besides already being their favourite film. If you look closely it has cutwork zebras, tigers, lions, birds, kangaroo, ostrich and elephants roaming freely on jackets deftly placed. “When we were making the line, my team was thrilled seeing the animal kingdom so well represented, and they would exclaim it looks like the jungle book, which children read in kindergarten. There was a joy in creating, and this reflected in the final collection,” he adds.
Slow & Steady
Rahul Mishra the label is anti-trends, as fleeting tastes are the biggest threat to sustainability, and slow fashion is the future. “It is not like Van Gogh discovered sunflowers, what he did was make the flower his own, giving each stroke a distinctive edge, leaving his footprints in the sands of time,” he confesses.
The future for the style guru is clear —— creating clothes that make him happy, and the desire to work like an artist. Business is soaring, he is looking at opening two more stores in India, and three internationally (London, Paris and the Middle-East). “I could not have reached here without Divya and I owe a lot to her, she is by my side always through thick and thin, this is what makes the journey worth it,” he concludes.