India Insight

Colour is India’s over-hyped commodity, fashion designer Rahul Mishra says

(Any opinions expressed here are not those of Thomson Reuters)

Rahul Mishra is the man of the moment in fashion. He just brought home the international Woolmark Prize, the most coveted prize in the fashion world, and one that has gone to some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Karl Lagerfeld.

Mishra, who made his debut at the Lakme Fashion Week in 2006, has created a new kind of fibre from Merino wool that can be worn in the summer. Mishra’s fashions will be on sale at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, Harvey Nichols in London, 10 Corso Como in Milan, Colette in Paris and elsewhere.

Mishra spoke to Reuters on day three of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi. Here are excerpts from the interview.

Q. Tell me something about the fibre that you have created.
A. My idea was how can I change the entire notion behind wool being a winter fibre. It’s such a beautiful fibre, but half the world doesn’t even receive serious winters so it can’t be used by so many people. So I thought, can I make wool so thin and lightweight that it turns into a spring summer-fibre? Some of these garments are going to be far more comfortable than their cotton counterparts, and you can wear them in 50 degree centigrade (122 degree fahrenheit) temperature in Delhi.

Q. How did the idea of creating a completely new fibre come to you?
A. I am a control freak, I want to control my yarns, I want to control the fibre which I am using for my designs, that is what gives it uniqueness. I rarely work with ready fabrics which are existing in the market, I am never satisfied with those. If I can create something which is so unique a textile, which does not exist in any other brand in the world, I can express myself in a far more effective way. And this I can do because I am in India and I have got access to hand loom, and a huge archive of beautiful textiles which are woven in India. My idea is to look really far back into the past and create something for today, for the future.

Room for experimentation at Delhi fashion week

(Any opinions expressed here are not those of Thomson Reuters)

The collection that designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil displayed at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi last week had all the right elements: it was beautiful, it had lehengas and gowns, it looked regal, it looked vintage. It was an instant hit and a big “sold out” note adorned the door of their stall the very next day. Still, a guest remarked, “it didn’t do it for me.”

That’s the way it goes at fashion shows. Most established designers take the safer path, creating garments in their signature styles and adhering to what the world wants now. Few designers experiment or create avant-garde clothing or try something different than what the market knows it wants and would pay to get.

Take Anand Bhushan’s show, “Broken”. The audience looked confused. Did they like what he made? Maybe, but how many of them will buy it? His clothes were made of leather, plastic and acrylic, and he used copper binding. Some of the pieces were welded together. His skirts, gowns, crop tops and jackets were textured and edgy.

Photo gallery: Best of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week

Traditional Indian wear with the latest trends dominated the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) in New Delhi.

The Autumn/Winter 2014 edition showcased designers such as Tarun Tahiliani and Namrata Joshipira, with Rahul Mishra presenting a collection that won the Woolmark Prize in Milan in February.

Here are highlights in pictures from the fashion week that ended on Sunday:

(Additional reporting by Arnika Thakur, editing by Tony Tharakan; Follow Sankalp on Twitter @sankalp_sp, Arnika @arnikathakur, Tony @TonyTharakan | Disclaimer: This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced in any form without permission)