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“The Shape Of Air”, Rahul Mishra Haute couture FW 2021-22 Collection


‘Why is the flower pink?’ asked my daughter who was then four-years-old.
And ‘Why does the bird fly?’ ‘Why is the sea water blue and why does it taste salty?’
‘Why does the sea glitter in the sun?’ ‘Why does the sun shine at all?’

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My wife and I continue to marvel at the curiosity that fills her mind everyday. On our holiday to Santorini before the pandemic, we found ourselves answering to her, some questions that we’d forgotten to ask ourselves. Questions about simple things that seem to bewilder only a child. And it overwhelms us to observe the unseen details that make up our experiences. Experiences of walking down an unknown street and discovering a new corner, of greeting a stranger in a new language and making a friend. It’s like we are learning to be curious, just like a child. To observe infinite details and be inspired by them. Isn’t that what travel is about? About being curious for the unknown, sliding our fingers through moments that haven’t yet become memories.

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Prepossessing visuals of the streets of Santorini, stored at the back of my head, fuelled this collection. The glistening blue sea, bathing in the bright sun, the salty wind and pink bougainvilleas. Having build on a volcanic rock, I observed the peculiar architecture of the city, arranged akin to a maze, the buildings with their sense of lightness and almost aerodynamic—curved edges. I remember thinking that the air around the island seems to have, quite effortlessly, shaped the cityscape.

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‘The Shape of Air’ is a dive into those visuals—curious childlike observations, tinted by memory. An attempt to recreate the Aegean sea as the sun throws glitter on its surface, our very own blue sky with soft white clouds and the salty wind that flows through the streets of Santorini. Also the cityscape, the architecture that is unique to the city, rendered in silken threads like lego blocks fixed atop a volcanic rock. The houses, cafes, churches and flowers soaked in the humid air around them.  Here I revisit Monet, from a conversation with Herman Bang in 1895:

“I am pursuing the impossible… I want to paint the air in which the bridge, the house, and the boat are to be found—the beauty of the air around them…”

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This collection renders our artistic expression in couture. A recollection of the overall experience, of how a physical space is perceived by the eyes and felt by a soul. Five elements, all containing, form a physical space when combined together in right proportions—earth, water, fire, air and space. At our atelier, we have attempted to comprehend the city of Santorini through this point of view and translate those elements into clothing. Intricate details rendered in hand embroidery—hand cut and individually tacked on the bright hued, ombre surfaces. Pinched, gathered and sheered lengths of tulle representing air and water in their different interpretations gives volume and movement to the otherwise sculptural silhouettes. Some of the other applications include dramatic draping of sheer fabric, so as to create a fluid bubble around the garments.

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This season, as we tread further into creative expression through couture, our purpose and founding values of sustainable and slow fashion only seem clearer by the day. With this collection we feel elevated confidence in our intentions and pride, for our entire team of artisans, weavers and embroiderers that wholeheartedly contribute to the realisation of our dreams, come what may.

© Rahul Mishra
Ph: Hormis Antony Tharakan, Dolly Devi

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