With his first couture outing, Rahul Mishra built on the idea that cities are living, breathing beings that expand and grow much like the natural landscape. And so he elaborated on his previous experiments with 3-D embroideries — to striking effect.

On a canvas of off-white organza, he tacked hundreds of individual embroidered skyscrapers in the same hue, jutting out from the body and designed to rustle as they moved. On one shift dress, they radiated out from the chest; on a long gown, they trailed, as if growing uncontrollably from their concrete foundations.

The same neutral background was the starting point for designs built from floral embroideries on tulle, creating vivid, bucolic bouquets that mirrored motifs previously seen in Mishra’s ready-to-wear but allowing new creative freedom not possible with commercial designs.

The designer explained that he wanted to play with embroideries, often seen as beautiful yet traditional, to bring them into new territories with his shape-shifting designs. Some of the creations, worked by hand by artisans from around India in their own homes to help fight the country’s rural exodus, necessitated more than 3,400 hours of hand cutting and sewing.

Elsewhere, colorful needlework and Swarovski crystals — here worked flat on their organza background — adorned translucid gowns with flowers, birds and foliage against a tone-on-tone landscape of architectural forms, evoking a peaceful walk through a luxuriant urban garden.

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