While the rest of the country celebrates Holi — India’s beloved festival of colours — I’m admiring an ocean of Sunflowers, tall and brisk, flaming with the very essence of the all consuming, all giving, Sun — the life-force of the Universe — yellow light caught and forever immortalised on canvas, on Earth. That summer day, Vincent Van Gogh strolled in the sun kissed fields of his favourite flowers and ended his own, not knowing that his very rejection would be revered, sought for, treasured, in the afterlife.
And then comes another moment when an Artist from the far shores of India, attempts to step forward and bring to life, reclaims, and possesses even, renews Van Gogh’s philosophy, “The Sunflower is mine, in a way.”
Designer Rahul Mishra continues to floor me, even as he continues to treat his garments like canvases coming to life. The sole reason that makes him stand apart, head over shoulders, from his peers.
Season after season, Summer to Fall, re-creating art, photography, nature, into Ready-To-Wear collection of artworks. This time taking head-on inspired and driven by the likes of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Signac at the Fall Paris Fashion Week 2017, exploring his passion for Pointillism — “the mother of pixels” — in silhouettes that fused together soft, sporty basics with his signature multicolor hand-embroidered landscapes, to create tiered ruffled skirts, blouses, oversized palazzo pants, playful effervescence and optical effects. Re-creating starry nights and fields of sunflowers, in a summer of sunshine on dark fabrics of Fall — black, blood red, deep blue, earthy mud, stripes, graph-checks, sweatshirts, separates. The entire collection a canvas so vast and expressive –overwhelming, with the technique on display — speaking of his method to madness, like an artist gripped with fervour, a controlled fever threatening to run amok, yet reigned in and made to perform, an experiment with scientifically juxtaposed small dots of pure color, intended to combine and blend, not on the canvas, but in the viewer’s eye.
For Rahul, it began with a midnight walk through The Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Pompidou, that treasures the finest European collection of art from the 19th-20th century. Leaving him, as Rahul says, “Mesmerized and dazed. The `awakening’ left a deep impression on my mind, and to see this craft and my craftsmen in a new light. The inherent artist that lays within the weavers and traditional embroiders and the ideas to explore their infinite skills to conjure graphic designs and impressions. It gave birth to `Infinity,‘ my Fall 2017 collection, that attempts to decode the boundless creativity of human skills,” shares Mishra. See his collection and you know exactly what he means.
Inspired by the Arts, Rahul then set to explore the creative sphere of traditional artisans equipped with centuries old hand techniques to create a modernist composition of Nature, largely seen in Europe’s 19th century art movement –Impressionism, Abstract, Expressionism, Surrealism and Pointillism. “The defining feature of Pointillism is how
embroidery is treated on hand woven textiles to etch colorful imageries of trees, flowers and cherries. Deep insight of the collection may reveal interpretations to The Pine Tree at St. Tropez by Paul Signac or Sunflowers by Van Gogh in a contextual manner. So basically, what the artists did with paint and brush, we attempted with needle and thread,” says the designer, bringing to life a 3D dimensional approach that has now become singular to the brand of Rahul Mishra.
Like “visual zealots,” as Rahul says, his band of artisans set to task putting this humongous canvas to work, on fabric. “It is through them that I see the materialization of my ideas and impressions finding language and voice,” Mishra says, in an ode to the master artists of the earlier era. “The ‘Handmade in India’ collection is a collective effort of nearly seven hundred traditional artisans and a realization of their techniques painstakingly crafted to create the visual imagery, sewn to perfection into an art impression like an artist.”
The result was an ovation in Paris. In India, we can be proud to see this celebrated designer find a space that is all his own, and for this — for a reaffirmation — that you can walk the untrodden path and come up tops. Thank you, Rahul.
HIGHLIGHTS RAHUL MISHRA FALL WINTER 2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=663socvLk_c
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