Designer Rahul Mishra speaks his heart out on grabbing eyeballs with his new collection, the fashion fraternity in the country and on planning a family with wife Divya soon

Rahul Mishra’s version of the Indian sari at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, Spring Summer 2013

Top designers from the fraternity attended your show this time at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week 2013. What was your reaction?
Rahul: I was amazed! Rajesh Pratap Singh, Rohit Bal, Rohit Gandhi, Rakesh Thakore — it was a humbling moment for me. Honestly, I’ve never even spoken to Rohit Bal before, we rarely bump into each other because I am Mumbai based and he is from Delhi. But he made time to watch my show! David Abraham messaged me that he hoped the show would begin a bit late, because he was stuck in a jam and wanted to make it for my show. These are the biggest compliments of the season for me (laughs). My friends who were in the audience tell me that these esteemed designers had good things to say about my collection too. All this makes the struggle in the industry worth while. A lot of fashion editors also praised the line…
Tell us about your new line…
Rahul: The collection is inspired from 2013, the age of Mother Earth. The idea was to look at how consumerism is depleting our resources. We are trying to make more houses and products and end up taking a lot from mother nature in the process. We have to slow down the process… and that’s where the concept of slow fashion was born in my head. The line has handmade fabrics, cotton. I used khadi, one of the oldest fabrics and put modern graphics on them, the kind that will remain stylish in 2012 and 2020 also. The thought behind such futuristic silhouettes was to promote mutual coexistence. I believe that this era is about that, we may make sky scrapers but we have make them green and in a way that it helps conserve energy. The collection has that synergy. At the same time it has drama too.

Not too long ago, you were a rank newcomer in the fashion industry. How do you think the fashion industry in India treats newbies?
Rahul: I feel that our industry is the best for newcomers. If u have talent, you will get all the support required. Every industry has good and bad people and murky politics. But the good part about the fashion industry is that it is full of artists, they are bound to have good in them (laughs). Insecurities may crop up occasionally, but this industry definitely greets new designers with open arms.

Indian model Alesia Raut walks the ramp for Rahul Mishra’s show at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, Spring Summer 2013

Your wife Divya often models for your clothes. What does she get in return, a few free dresses at least?
Rahul: Hahahaaa. My entire office is open for her. She can take whatever she likes. Divya is the best muse and a very simple person. I get very emotional whenever I speak about her, she never demands anything from me, except for spending quality time together. She’s so content about everything.
Your line spoke about slow fashion. When are you planning to slow down…
Rahul: Very soon. Fingers crossed, we’re thinking of starting a family, probably next year.

Most couples don’t like to work with each other, least spending too much time takes a toll on their relationship. Have you felt that way too?
Rahul: I think if you are passionate about something, it adds to the relationship instead of taking away from it. Divya is an amazing designer, I’d say even better than me. Looking us work together backstage, someone once commented that he was reminded of the camaraderie that Rajesh Pratap Singh and his stunning and super-talented wife Payal share, and they always worked together. I don’t mean to compare myself to them, but I guess there are couples who are exceptions to the rule… 🙂
Touch Wood.

LOVE STRUCK: Rahul Mishra with wife Divya

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Nachiket Barve and wife-to-be Surabhi Lokre slogging it out at Wills Fashion Week in Delhi

Nachiket Barve

Guess who is giving fashion designer Nachiket Barve company at the ongoing Wills Lifestyle Fashion Week 2013 in Delhi. It’s none other than his wife-to-be, fashion merchandiser Surabhi Lokre! The lovebirds, however, barely have any time to themselves, thanks to the hectic FW schedules. The wedding, Nachiket confirms will be in January. “The exact date is not confirmed but it will be in January,” he says.

We got the lovely and shy Surbhi to open up…

Who is your favourite fashion designer?

Surabhi: That would be Nachiket Barve.

Did he hold a gun to your head and ask you to say that?

Surabhi: Lol. No. Honestly, I’ve been a fashion merchandiser even before I met him and I’ve always identified with his fashion ideology and liked his designs a tad bit more than the others.

Whose design do you plan to wear for your wedding?

Surabhi: Nachiket’s… but of course!

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Over to Nachiket for some serious fashion talk:

What is your new line about?

Nachiket Barve: Hacienda, my line is inspired by old restored Spanish villas. The colours, the artists, the architects who restored them for their own use – all these people breathed life into these villas and gave them an esteemed chic value. The local textiles, flora and fauna inspired me to translate these observations into various garments.

Nachiket Barve design (from a previous collection)

How is this line different from your previous collections?

Nachiket: The palette is very different from what I usually play with. Cantaloupe, Flamingo, Melon, Avocado, Papaya, Paprika, Olive, Chalk, Ochre, Mimosa Green, Lilac, Apricot, Chartreuse, Mustard, Lotus Pink, Maroon and accents of black and metallic burnished gold and bronze. I’ve adopted a new way of mixing tonal colour schemes, where colours with varying intensities and hues from one family are put together with a sensual effect rather than sharp contrasts. The fabrics used are georgette, chiffon, crepe, shot silk, raw silk, organza and the like… Having said this, the collection is ME in many ways, so you will find typical Nachiket signature elements in terms of drape and structure.

Narendra Kumar Ahmed aka Nari was full of praises for Rahul Mishra and your work. Do you think you are ready to take on the big guns?

Nachiket: I don’t think in that way at all. I mean I’m Zen in that sense. I would like to believe that I’m competing with myself and I say this in the most non-filmy way! Yes, at the end of the day, we’re all here to do business and grab the bigger share of the pie, but in a very healthy manner. We cannot control our own fate or anyone else’s. I just want to keep moving on, it’s all that matters to me.

That did sound a bit filmy. In your opinion, are the established designers supportive of new entrants in the fashion industry?

Nachiket: Anyone who is in love with fashion has a sense of joy when they see good work. I think there is a a lot of appreciation from the ‘big’ designers when they see new talent present something refreshing and nice. Frankly, none of us (the new lot) would be here without the support and appreciation.

Dawn of the new age bride: Nari tells us what made him want to design for the Indian bride

Narendra Kumar Ahmed bridal

When designer Narendra Kumar Ahmed aka Nari announced his bridal line, it raised a quite a few eyebrows. Besides being a new territory for him, bridal designs were not something Nari’s design aesthetics were associated with. He is more known for lending luxury stitches to boring work wear clothes and stylised and structured women’s and men’s wear. But all that changed when the master designer attended an after-after party at 6 am at a friend’s house. He heard a lady play the piano with such intensity that it shook him up and he knew right then that he was ready to create a bridal line. True story! Read on…

Tell us, was a bridal line always on the agenda?

Nari: It was on the cards for a while but I felt that I couldn’t find the right idea to translate into a line. I was clear that if I get into the bridal segment, the product has to be different from what already exists in the Indian market. There are 10,000 designers already doing it, and I didn’t want to be just another one to join the bandwagon.

Nari all the way

So, what changed?

Nari: The lady playing the piano at an after party. I’ve never heard the piano being played with such intensity. Honestly, it was not the sound or the music that moved me but the intensity that stirred something in me to kick off a bridal line. It really got me going. She was playing Rachmaninoff – different, dark music. Rachmaninoff was a romanticist but it was his version of dark romance that lured me to do a bridal collection.

Dark romance for the Indian bride…

Nari: That’s the thing. If you say dark romance, no one will buy the outfits in India. So we looked at the musicians life and the time period that he lived in. We took elements from his era. That’s how we mixed the idea of Swan Lake and Rachmaninoff and came up with outfits for the new age Indian bride.

What do you mean by ‘new age’ Indian bride?

Nari: Yep. The new age Indian bride doesn’t want to stand pretty in a ghaghra that weighs 100 kilos while the guests dance and have the time of their life. She wants to be able to participate in the celebrations. It is that mindset that the collection will appeal to. The new age bride is also a woman who is an avid traveller, been to destination weddings herself and has seen the world, but still wants to connect with her roots on her big day.

Tell us more about your inspirations behind the line. What makes it so special?

Nari: The line blends classic West and modern India. It is for a woman who is strong yet fragile in many ways. I’ve drawn inspiration from ballerinas in Swan Lake who look so fragile but if you notice closely they have to be very strong to portray that very fragility. I’ve been watching a lot of films based on ballerinas in the fast few months and their movements require a great deal of strength, both mental and physical. Yet their actions on stage make us feel like they are more delicate than a butterfly. It is this paradox that is the collection.

The Nari groom

Describe the collection. What has the response been like?

Nari: I’ve used a lot of organza to portray the fragility of the garment and the structure signifies the inherent strength of the ballerinas. Women love it for two reasons. The first is that they can truly look different on their wedding day and second, they can actually reuse some elements of the ensemble. For instance, one lady picked up a sari with a jacket and said that she will definitely team the jacket with plain black pants or denims after her wedding day. She was already deconstructing the ensemble to see how she can make use of it later. I think all this signifies the dawn of the new age bride, just like the tone of new age fashion came into being about five years back, with young designers like Nachiket Barve and Rahul Mishra taking centrestage. These guys clicked because the market was tired of seeing the same 20 designers doing the same thing since decades. It’s the same situation on the bridal front too. People want respite from decade old trends.

What is the biggest compliment the bridal line fetched you?

Nari: When someone came up to me and said that for her, that all the designers’ are on one side and my creations on the other. Don’t ask me which designers she was talking about though 😉

Fair enough.

Narendra Kumar Ahmed aka Nari