After the recently concluded Haute Couture Week in Paris, Indian designers are in the middle of FDCI India Couture Week 2022. The FDCI India Couture Week, from 22 – 31st July in New Delhi, is in its 15th year. To celebrate the occasion, much like every year, FDCI is bringing together India’s ace designers to showcase collections that celebrate Indian craftsmanship and techniques.
Among many names, one duo whose collection we are eagerly waiting for is Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna. Titled Fibonacci, it brings to the table for the first time a cocktail/ wedding couture collection with a dash of fuschia along with their signature metallics and turquoise.
Ahead of their show on July 27, we caught up with Rahul Khanna to know more about their upcoming couture collection – Fibonacci.
Give us a glimpse into what can we expect to see in your upcoming collection?
. It was during the lockdown that we started thinking of venturing into couture, as we started developing swatches and embroideries. This collection is called Fibonacci. It is inspired by numbers, multiplicity and how everything becomes a perfect square.
Our collection takes a lot of inspiration from architecture, and we are sticking to our signature Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna style of bringing geometrics back, with an Indian twist. For this collection, we have experimented with different kinds of embroideries and are trying to do different modern lehengas —we’ve stitched them in the form of kalis. Overall, the collection is very soft, feminine, and breezy, it’s not too heavy.
While creating the collection, we really tried to emphasise on the fabric and embroidery to make things lighter yet ensure that the garments have a flow. Our idea was to create couture that is comfortable, and does not feel like you’re wearing a hard armour jacket on your wedding day. We have used a lot of tulles, organza, silk voile, braiding and tassels mixed together. This collection is an amalgamation of all the surfaces we have worked on.
What is the inspiration behind your latest collection?
The inspiration has been people — the modern bride and groom — who are looking for something different. We are an evening brand, and we are bringing in a new Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna cocktail version for men and women. Each of the garments is created with the idea that they can be worn for a cocktail function as well as for an after-party.
The collection is not just limited to wedding wear. Rather, it’s couture than can be worn on the red carpet or for any other function. Today, people are looking for something that they can also repeat and not just keep in their wardrobe.
Tell us about one piece we should look out for?
I particularly like our cut-work which gives a lot of illusion, there are gorgeous ombres in the collection and even our ocean colours— corals and berry fuschia which is very unusual coming from Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna since we love monochromes. This collection has colour, metallics, lightness and celebration in each garment.
How does it feel like returning to physical shows?
We are very excited that a runway show is happening after three years. We had a lovely experience doing a digital show as well; it was a different format and it was cool to do that as well. But as designers, we always love to do shows on the runway.
Throw light on the new kinds of silhouettes we can see in 2022.
You can expect to find couture that is not too heavy yet flamboyant, which can be teamed in various ways. One can style it up or tone it down — you can wear it as a lehenga, choli blouse or simply team it with a silk white shirt. We even have modern jackets that team well with palazzo pants and can be made completely Indian for a sufi night. There is an ease in the shape of each garment, and some have inbuilt corsets, and the lehengas are huge in shape but still very light. One key highlight is that all the lehengas have pockets, making them functional and stylish at the same time.
The silhouettes are long — so expect longer flowy jackets with wide pants. Shararas and divided pants are championed instead of lehengas which can be teamed up with a choli blouse. This season we are also bringing back capes — it will be like a comeback on the cape. There are also some gowns which are flouncy but they are interchangeable as well to suit an afterparty. This collection is more sophisticated there is a lot of layering added like scarves; we have some organza shirts over lehengas and corsets. The corsets is a big comeback for me, along with a little bit of nightwear lingerie coming back into the blouses (wired and un-wired).
We are also trying to revive some of the old techniques which have been forgotten in Rajasthan – the beaten lankan the beaten mukesh.
Key trends and colours in focus in haute couture.
Our love for metallics will always be there in every collection. Although you can see metal in our collection we have worked with gold, silver and gunmetal in some of the looks. We have done a lot of turquoise which is our favourite colour over the years. In a Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna collection you will always see a teal garment, but this year the addition of a little bit of fuschia is exciting. I think the colour fuschia is the colour of India and should be worn even for the cocktail and reception, not just the wedding day.
How do you stay relevant in the ever-evolving world of fashion?
You can stay relevant if you stay true to yourself. You should stick to your DNA and if that works there is no way you should change your style. Our biggest strength is that we stay true to our DNA, and people keep coming back to us because they know they can always find a beautiful, glamorous dress or a tuxedo that we specialise in.
What are your plans for the near future from a business perspective? Do you plan to pivot to a younger audience?
We are a new label called RGRK which is going to be an online platform. We are showcasing at the October Lakme Fashion Week. RGRK will have two different stores and two franchise stores, the quality will be there but the prices will be lower. We are there for the younger generation but nobody knows pret like us, we have been in pret for the last 20 years. With the sudden influx of multinational brands in India, we took a step back because everything was available. But we feel there is still a market for a niche line with good silhouettes and good cuts which aren’t discarded after two uses and we are trying to bring our evening RGRK line back in October.