Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Slow Fashion in a Fast World: Indian Designer Rahul Mishra

Prismatic colours embroidered on to a flowing dark navy gown at Rahul Mishra's SS18 show in Paris. Cover picture and all photographs by Elli Ioannou

Designer Rahul Mishra believes in "slow fashion" where time is taken to research and produce collections. He uses artisans from across India that work by hand using traditional techniques like fine embroidery to create collections that are shown during Paris Fashion Week. Mishra wants to combine both the best of new technology with craftsmanship to enhance a sense of beauty and peace, writes Antonio Visconti. Photographs by Elli Ioannou

Intricate flowers and stripes create a
richly-textured jacket
IN our rapidly changing world of digital technology and social media, fashion designers are pressurised to deliver their shows and collections as soon as possible to world wide audiences and often in real time. Although many fashion houses in Paris and Milan have resisted the "see now, buy now" movement because either it is not feasible given the conceptual nature of many shows or the time-consuming workmanship required for high-end collections. Philosophically, Indian designer Rahul Mishra who shows on the official Paris Fashion Week schedule, supports "slow fashion". His fashion house is based on sustainable and ethical production using both hand-craft techniques combined with new technology. Mishra collaborates with craftspeople in different regions of India. The designer aims to create collections that are contemporary yet use traditional artisans that support local economies.

When Mishra visited his hometown village Malhousie in Uttar Pradesh earlier this year, it allowed him to literally slow down and appreciate the stillness and beauty of the natural world. In the quiet of the village, cut-off from digital distractions, he focused on the joy of observing the birds and the bees under India's great blue sky, walking across the village fields and listening to the crickets.

Animals like birds, bees and tigers embroidered
on to a jacket at Rahul Mishra
Mishra's latest SS18 collection, presented in Paris earlier this month, was inspired by watching the honeybees in his village and looking at prisms of light and colour created by movement. When the designer returned to his studio in Delhi, he researched what he had seen in the countryside and spent months creating his new runway show, "Light In The Sky". During Paris Fashion Week, he showed the new collections including some one hundred garments, many pieces finely embroidered with bees, flowers and birds and prismatic representations of light. The collection includes floating, sheer dresses with ruffles, flowing skirts and a multitude of different colours ~ inspired by seeing colour and light at speed. It was a frothy, buoyant and summery collection, one that contrasted with his Autumn/Winter 2017 show with its rich pointillist embroidery inspired by 19th century French Impressionist painters, created by 700 different artisans.

Studying a science degree, Rahul Mishra did not seem destined to a life at the epicentre of haute fashion in Paris. He comes from a family of doctors and grew up listening to his grandparents tales of history and myth in his village.

Layers of ruffles enhances the summery, buoyant
theme of the show
Mishra went to school locally before completing a graduate degree in physics at nearby Kanpur University. But he decided to change career completely and express his ideas about the world through design. He went on to do a post-graduate degree at the National Institute of Design in Ahmadabad. His dissertation addressed social issues that he encountered meeting Indian crafts people. His aim was to find out how to make these artisans more empowered. Mishra's debut collection was based on using traditional Kerala looms. This first collection won him a scholarship to Italy's Istituto Marangoni. By 2008, he opened his own fashion house focusing on specialist textiles and hand-made garments. Mishra's work became known beyond India, when he won the prestigious Woolmark Prize in Milan in 2014. This buoyed him to launch his Spring/Summer 2015 collection and show it on the international fashion stage at Paris Fashion Week. So far, Mishra has managed to maintain a strong Indian identity based on the country's traditional skills while melding that with the latest in digital technology.

Tap on photographs for full-screen slideshow
Rahul Mishra's fashion house is based on sustainable and ethical production using both hand-craft techniques combined with new technology.


Mishra collaborates with craftspeople in different regions across India.


The designer aims to create collections that are contemporary yet use traditional artisans that support local economies.

Mishra's SS18 collection, presented in Paris earlier this month, was inspired by watching the honeybees in his village and looking at prisms of light and colour created by movement.


When the designer returned to his studio in Delhi, he researched what he had seen in the countryside and spent months creating his new runway show.


 During Paris Fashion Week, Rahul Mishra showed the new collections including some one hundred garments, many pieces finely embroidered with bees, flowers and birds and prismatic representations of light.
The collection includes floating, sheer dresses with ruffles, flowing skirts and a multitude of different colours.
The new collection is a frothy, buoyant and summery with fluid fabrics and brilliant colour.
 Mishra's work became known beyond India, when he won the prestigious Woolmark Prize in Milan in 2014.
After studying Physics, Mishra went on to do a post-graduate degree at the National Institute of Design in Ahmadabad.

Mishra has managed to maintain a strong Indian identity based on the country's traditional skills while melding that with the latest in digital technology and showing on the international stage in Paris.




Monday, 2 October 2017

Iceland's Volcanic Mountains and Grassy Plains Inspire New Issey Miyake SS18 Collection

Dancers wear the malleable and supple creations of Yoshiyuki Miyamae, showing great freedom of movement. The colours and shapes  inspired by the volcanic landscapes of Iceland. Cover picture and all photographs for DAM by Elli Ioannou

Japanese fashion house Issey Miyake used dancers to open an evocative show in Paris, inspired by Iceland's austere, volcanic landscapes. The Spring/Summer 2018 collection's fluid, three dimensional textiles evoke a frozen, igneous world that is harsh yet full of life, writes Antonio Visconti. Photographs by Elli Ioannou

Backstage in Paris with Issey Miyake
 artistic director Yoshiyuki Miyamae.
ISSEY Miyake's artistic director Yoshiyuki Miyamae's new show in Paris was launched with three acrobatic dancers performing great leaps and runs under flashing lights to atonal music. Located in the Grand Palais' Salon d'Honneur, a spotlight showed the three figures immersed in fabric creating shapes with the asymmetrical knitwear. The designer wanted to display how the clothes gave great freedom of movement and elasticity to the wearer. The overall vision and story of the Spring/Summer 2018 collection was inspired by Yoshiyuki Miyamae's travels in Iceland.

The textiles are printed with natural landscapes displaying volcanic rock and glaciers. The designer wanted to capture the mystery and vastness of Iceland's countryside and mountains.
Miyamae's collection includes flowing, slim dresses and long asymmetric tops that do suggest ice floes and ice cubes. The fluid, three-dimensional garments with their abstract, blurred patterns show in a visual way the haziness of memory. The designer said that despite the tough and primitive Icelandic terrain, it was a place full of life and this inspired his work. He wanted to try and create his experience in the clothes. "The theme of this collection came from my memory of the landscape in Iceland, where I got many new inspirations and I saw the beautiful landscape," Miyamae said. "That's how we started with a simple pattern, like a square of land."

Elemental forms enhanced the vivid prints and colours
The first looks that emerged on the runway were knitwear, with the Issey Miyake signature pleats and folds that give the pieces their unique silhouette. Long tops with high slits, ponchos with graphic prints, flowing shift dresses, and diaphanous silk chiffon skirts gave the collection a breezy, summery atmosphere heightened by the colours and textures drawn from Iceland. The variety of the designs was reflected in the hetergenous casting, with models of different shapes, sizes, colour and ages all walking the show together, still a rare occurrence in Paris. Yoshiyuki Miyamae is able to recreate and breathe new life into Issey Miyake tropes and traditions every season.

A futuristic vibe was enhanced with
three-dimensional fabrics
and angular sandals
Although this collection explored knitted fabrics in an abstract and original way, the designer also experimented with dramatic and eye-catching prints. The palette ranged from rich turquoise to yellowy golds, ochres and sienna. Despite the textiles' complexity in form and pattern, the clothes all had elemental shapes. The dresses and tops had a strong sense of the squares, rectangles or ovals they were made from. Yet the pleats and the strong colour and prints gave a rippling, three dimensional effect.

The check patterns were created with a Japanese dyeing technique called "dorozome" where a textile cube is created by putting together square pieces of fabric. This was highlighted by fringing which gave a sense of Iceland's grasslands. The futuristic, fluid look of the collection was emphasised by the angle-heeled sandals and sleek Velcro trainers. The Issey Miyake loose silhouette gave a broad scope to show the Icelandic landscape on big swathes of the specially-created textiles. The blurred Icelandic motifs ~ suggesting distant memories ~ were created by baking printed glue on to the fabric, which is part of the Japanese fashion house’s continuation of experimenting with new techniques.

Issey Miyake's three-dimensional fabrics, using various stretching methods, brought waves and textures to dresses and tops, enhancing again the sense of the mistiness of memory.  The dark hue of some prints was created using a brown taken from a natural mud pigment that conveyed the geometric designs meant to evince volcanic Icelandic rocks and moss-covered landscapes with crystalline glaciers.

Tap on photographs for full-screen slide-show
Backstage pre-show at Issey Miyake with make-up artist Alex Box adding the final touches



Hair and make-up before the runway show at the Grand Palais in Paris
Backstage all of the new Issey Miyake SS18 looks are printed out and numbered
Pre-show wearing the new SS18 Issey Miyake collection inspired by the Icelandic landscape before walking the runway 
Issey Miyake Creative Director Yoshiyuki Miyamae backstage in Paris being interviewed
The Icelandic landscapes captured in the new Spring/Summer 2018 collection
The fluid and elastic nature of the new Issey Miyake fabrics shown by dancers opening the runway show 

The dynamic dancers were a dramatic launch for the new collection
 Natural brown pigments and flowing shapes conveyed the sense of landscape
The show was made up of a diverse mix of models wearing elemental, fluid shapes

 White as snow, this draped tunic with Velcro sneakers made a light contrast to the colourful collection inspired by Iceland's landscape

Issey Miyake's prints of the sky, lakes and mountains of Iceland were superlative pieces in the collection
Backstage the models prepare to walk out on to the runway captured by a photographer
The long swathes of material and simple shapes allowed the designer to show moss-covered rocks and grassy hinterlands of Iceland
Caught in Motion, the dancers leap and bound before the show, displaying the elasticity and freedom of the collection's fabrics

A spotlight at the Grande Palais highlighted the opening choreography of the show, with it's long, knitted forms 
 
Dark navy blues and rich azure of Iceland's blue skies make a strong constrast to the greens of the landscape colours  

The fludity and fine pleating that are the signature of all Issey Miyake collections

The check patterns were created with a Japanese dyeing technique called "dorozome" where a textile cube is created by putting together square pieces of fabric
 
 
 
 
 


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