Monday 23 January 2023

Paris Haute Couture: Rahul Mishra's Luminous Spring-Summer 2023 Collection

Planets, moons, stars and the Milky Way embellished this gown in Rahul Mishra's new 'Cosmos' haute couture collection in Paris. Cover and main picture by Elli Ioannou

The celestial embroidery and exuberant silhouettes of Rahul Mishra's luminous collections make them a standout during Paris haute couture week. This Spring/Summer 2023 season, the cosmos inspired his new work, and he sent an array of glimmering, transcendent gowns down the runway, writes Jeanne-Marie Cilento. Photographs by Elli Ioannou 

A regal yet whimsical creation from
Rahul Mishra's Paris SS23 show, in the 
atmospheric ballroom of the historic
Westin Paris ~ Vendome hotel. 
RAHUL MISHRA'S sumptuous new haute couture collection is an evocative expression of his philosophy of design. 
Called "Cosmos", the show featured handsomely embroidered designs that shimmered and sparkled, created by the skilled artisans working at his ateliers near India’s capital city of New Delhi. 

The show was held in the magnificent baroque ballroom of the Westin Paris - Vendôme, a historic hotel in the rue de Castiglione on the corner of the rue de Rivoli, facing the Tuileries Garden. Designed by Charles Garnier's son-in-law Henri Blondel, it opened in 1878 and was the largest and most luxurious hotel in Paris. The ballroom with its painted ceilings and enormous gilded chandeliers provided the perfect backdrop to Mishra's opulent designs.

Although Rahul Mishra has now shown for many seasons in Paris, this couture collection is the most exuberant and unabashedly beautiful. The designer looks to the meaning of "cosmos" ~ both the universe out there and the one inside our minds. He expresses these ideas in the exquisitely rendered details of planets, moons, stars, jellyfish, birds, snails, flowers and even cityscapes in his designs.  

Called 'Cosmos', the show featured handsomely embroidered designs that shimmered and sparkled, created by the designer's skilled artisans

This glimmering and diaphanous design
with its voluminous proportions, brilliant 
colour and fluidity was a highlight. 
of the show. 
"We, as humans, lie at a fascinating junction between two infinite worlds. Looking outwards, we face the boundless, ever-expanding interstellar space and inwards, we preserve the illimitable, all-containing human mind. 

"Like a thin membrane between two identical planes, not separating but not combining them either, our physical bodies are embraced by realities that are vast and convoluted," the designer ponders in the show notes. 

Inspired by the Sanskrit statement 'Aham Brahmasmi', I am the cosmos, Mishra has tried to express philosophical ideas throughout the collection. He explores the scale of the universe, from the enormity of galaxies and oceans to the tininess of a ladybug, each perspective offering a different understanding of the world. The glimmering gold of the sequined pieces suggest the "the sunken city of Atlantis, gleaming in gold over a vivid coral reef."

When Rahul Mishra won the International Woolmark Prize in 2014 at Milan Fashion Week ~ a prestigious award won by iconic designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Giorgio Armani ~ it helped launch him into Europe. In that formative year, the French Fashion Federation, also incorporated his collection onto the Paris ready-to-wear schedule. Six years later, he became the first Indian to be included among the official Paris haute couture shows.

Looking outwards, we face the boundless, ever-expanding interstellar space and inwards, we preserve the illimitable, all-containing human mind." 
The flower-like hues and shapes 
added to the sense of the 
celebration of the natural 
world in the collection. 
And the French capital has, he says, been a key part in developing both his creative career and his business. Mishra wants his work to be on the global stage and is planning to expand his reach. This year, a new ready-to-wear collection will be launched plus there will be the opening of a first boutique in London.  

In one sense, his achievements seem a long way from his childhood growing up in a small Indian village, yet he has incorporated his youthful love of nature and the work of local artisans into his work. And Gandhi's philosophy and humanity is key to how Mishra views the world and tries to live his life.   

While he did his undergraduate university studies in physics, he ended up going on to study at the National Institute of Design, winning best student of the year in 2005. Four years later he was in Milan, studying at the Istituto Marangoni on a scholarship, beginning on the path that set him on the route to Paris and his stellar career. 

In this new "Cosmos" collection, Mishra has melded the best of the artisanal work, philosophy and textiles of his home country with the burgeoning creativity and savoir faire of Parisian fashion design.  

 Highlights from the Rahul Mishra SS23 Haute Couture Show 

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