ICW2018: Rahul Mishra’s Exquisite Showcase Provokes Questions On Popularity
You’d think that designers like Rohit Bal (who closes India Couture Week tonight at The Imperial), Sabyasachi, and Manish Malhotra would have massive social media following given that their work is almost worshipped. The truth is that Rohit Bal has 43k followers, and his Instagram followers number a healthy 271k. Sabya’s Insta is at 2.4m followers, with 1.2m on Facebook; Manish stands at 506k in Instagram and 1.5m on Facebook. Compare these to Shyamal & Bhumika, whose Instagram has 859k followers, with a whooping 3.1m on Facebook. That’s a total of over 3.9m, and far outstrips the country’s most famous designers. Why is that?
I expected to have an answer to that question as I entered the first show of day 4—Shyamal & Bhumika. And my old-fashioned heart, that still believes that quality and good design prevails over everything else, was, to put it mildly, disappointed. Suffice it to say, dear reader, that Diet Sabya would have had a field day. They probably will.
Later, at Rahul Mishra (65k followers on Facebook; 172k followers on Instagram), it was quality and originality that shone through, even though the ivory section—all muted-gold-embellished lehengas and jamdani kurtas for men (yes, he debuted menswear last night)—was reminiscent of Rohit Bal. But that is bound to happen with any designer taking on ivory cottons and silks. The Rohit Bal throwback is just an inevitable side effect.
What’s truly emerging as Rahul’s signature is the way he creates entire ecosystems on his clothes. We saw lehengas and anarkalis that had lakes, birds, animals, huts, swaying palms…all together done in exquisite, hand-embroidered silk threadwork. But he does’t stop there. Ecosystems are also cultural in nature, and while taking inspiration from 17th-Century Mughal architecture, he unpredictably chose a dilapidated monument from Lahore rather than the Taj Mahal (both built at the same time). From there, he recreated the old tomb’s amazing tilework and Islamic tessellations on delicate organza through silken embroideries. This is why he is a designer to watch out for; he is one of the few still bringing some new-ness to the scene.
Today, Raynu Taandon (8,824 followers on Instagram, and 12k on Facebook) showcases her collection at 3pm, and after a gap of six hours, we all will traipse down to The Imperial by 9.30pmfor Rohit Bal’s finale. Watch this space.