Art is where the heart is and when you have been at your creative artistic best amidst a pandemic, you know you are unstoppable. Rising above the circumstances and giving it his all, fashion designer Rahul Mishra kicked off 2022 with showcasing his couture line The Enchanted at the recent Paris Haute Couture Week 2022. A love poem to nature, the collection is a humble tribute to the elaborate biodiversity of Himalayas. Akin to Rumi’s thought, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there, Rahul truly believes that beyond conventional and unconventional fashion, art, and fantasy exists a place where couture was created. A champion of mindful fashion, Rahul Mishra spoke to News18 about learning the craft of filmmaking for the digital showcase, missing the backstage chaos at live shows and why couture transcends culture and ethnicity.
In January 2020, he became the first Indian designer to showcase at Paris Haute Couture Week and through the past seasons, he has celebrated India on the platform. The Enchanted showcase, which was initially going to be a physical show, had to take the digital route because Rahul tested Covid positive. “I have been craving to go back to real shows and this time it was all planned to go back and showcase. Nothing can replace life-size clothes [on the runway]. My entire family was Covid positive in December. So, we decided that a physical show won’t work given the circumstances so we communicated with the federation that we will do a digital show instead,” expresses Rahul.
According to Rahul, a digital experience cannot replace the experience a live show creates. Even though the digital showcase was well received online, Rahul isn’t sure if everyone has seen it. He says, “Especially, at Paris Haute Couture Week, where people are scrambling from one venue to another to catch a show, you don’t expect them to see a fashion show on a mobile phone. It was a wonderful collection, but I don’t know if everyone has seen it. When you talk about important people in the fraternity attending physical shows, a digital experience cannot do justice. It can take your fashion concept far and wide digitally, but it can never replace the experience of people sitting and watching your show.”
However, embracing the digital space gave him the opportunity to learn the craft of filmmaking. And every successful project needs an army of creative people. Shot in day, Rahul thanks his team and wife Divya for making it possible. “Even though I miss doing physical shows, nothing can replace a live show. But yes, the digital medium helped me craft a message through a film which may not have been possible in a physical show. So, both are equally exciting and beautiful mediums. So, I don’t think one replaces another but yes looking at the given circumstances we are in now, it is the best time to do digital shows,” says Rahul.
When asked about taking Indian couture to Paris, he says, “It’s not a matter of Indian couture, it is about global couture. Couture transcends ethnicity and culture. What I showcase in India is my bridal collection. And what I showcase in Paris is India for the world. French people are very hard to please. They drop people very fast. There are instances where a designer showcases for one year and in the next season they get dropped. If it is not global enough it is not good enough. I am lucky to have represented India for the last 8 years.”
Be it Zendaya or Janhvi Kapoor, Rahul Mishra couture and ready to wear ensembles have been worn by Indian and international celebrities on the red carpet. So, does he feel the journey from runway to red carpet helps the couture business? “From a branding perspective, when celebrities walking the red carpet appear in your clothes it is a big high. But it does not make too much of an impact on the French federation. For instance, fashion giants Ralph & Russo were dressing almost every celebrity of the world, and they filed for bankruptcy. The business side and creative side are slightly trickier than what may appear like a formula.”
Reflecting on the critical and commercial success of Rahul Mishra couture collections, the brand is all set to embark on a collaborative journey with RELIANCE BRANDS LIMITED (RBL). “It has been our desire to equally focus on ready to wear business and extend our universe by democratising the fashion cultivated by us. With this partnership for the new brand, we are sure of achieving mindful growth while giving the process its due attention and care,” adds Rahul Mishra.