With India’s strict lockdown measures heavily impacting the artisan embroiderers he has made it his mission to support, Rahul Mishra dedicated his fall couture collection, produced in only six weeks instead of six months, to what he calls the “Butterfly People.”

“Every stitch, every knot is strongly related to the present and future of an artisan, especially hit by the pandemic,” Mishra wrote in his show notes.

With stores closed and orders at a standstill, the Indian designer was more determined than ever to ensure the future of his fledgling couture collection — he showed for the first time as a guest member of the couture calendar in January — and the livelihood of the artisans who create it, even if it meant short-term financial difficulties, he said via Zoom.

“These people are almost like the butterflies, and this crisis is like the cold season,” he said. “I’m like a gardener at the moment, planting the flowers.”

The 13 pieces in the collection buzzed with his signature luxuriant embroideries, evoking nature coming back to life without human intervention.

A kaleidoscope of butterflies and clusters of dragonflies hovered over vividly recreated lily ponds and gardens on pale, translucent capes and gowns, alighting on sheer muslin veils and face masks that hid the models’ faces, enhancing the ethereal feel.

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