Reining in his nostalgic impulses a bit, Rahul Mishra offered a less embellished and more contemporary lineup, which made a stronger case for the use — and, thus, preservation — of traditional handiwork. Much of the show was dominated by a traditional checked weave — woven by hand — made strictly from black and white threads, forming various shades of gray. The pared-down color palette and structured pattern were well-suited for the complex display of tailoring and draping techniques. They also offered a contrast to the intricate, flowery work that followed.
Ornateness came in the form of bronze and black lace work from Japan, lattice patterns drawn in sequins and three-dimensional flower embroidery that crept up from the bottom of sheer, black dresses.
Mishra described the emptiness of visiting abandoned houses from his childhood — they had all left the village for urban life. But, hearing a cricket and noticing sprigs of vegetation cropping up, he found comfort in the encroaching nature. New life had crept in.
“It was quite positive to see Nature doing its own magic without human intervention,” he said, pointing to images on his mood board. There was lichen on weathered lattice and moss growing in the cracks of a brick wall. Not all of the photos were from his visit—though the rusted drain pipe and roosting pigeons were.
Feeding the label’s craftsmanship lexicon this season was a hand embroidery technique called “Fareeshe ka kaam.” This was used to make the three-dimensional flower embellishments.
Layering was an intriguing element of the collection, especially on one look—a long black dress that grew wide at the bottom — tentlike — with sheer panels that revealed a snug-fitting skirt in bronze lace underneath. It added a new dimension to the volume in an interesting way.
Artwork is not always easy to wear — Mishra’s garments are pieces of art, each one individual, given the craftsmanship involved — so making it more contemporary should serve as a stronger selling point.