Fashion Week Review | Rajesh Pratap’s collection


Fashion Week Review | Rajesh Pratap’s collection

Amazon India Fashion Week (AIFW) opened on 25th March with a show by Rajesh Pratap Singh, who ably carries the heavy burden of being India’s Mr. Minimalist. ‘Because Medicine is the Best Laughter—his Autumn-Winter 2015-16 collection that punned on the clichéd saying “Laughter is the best medicine” reflected both—his matter of fact approach to life and fashion’s fickleness as well as his viscerally investigative approach to design.

The former stood out through hospital beds attached to IV drips with black or red scissor signs on the ramp—a rather morbid set for an industry that drums up celebration through conventional cheer and “happy” clothes. Models wore red lipstick and severe hair-dos, black framed spectacles, some a nun’s black and white veil. They enacted nightmarish impulses, cheeky grins, whimsical and theatrical emotions on the ramp even as musicians Grain, Karsh Kale and Ankur Tewari, wearing doctor’s coats crooned Outside Its New India. Another model wearing a checked jumpsuit with flared bottoms broke into Bharat Natyam on her “Zaha-inspired architectural heels. The spectacle was unique for sure and relevant at a time when the world is discussing the torturous lessons from the Ebola outbreak, India is still struggling with the destruction caused by swine flu, film star Deepika Padukone has gone public about her battle with depression and just two days back, one of the world’s most known celebrities Angelina Jolie announced that she got her ovaries removed as another step to prevent cancer that runs fatally in her family. Is “medicine the best laughter” in this scenario we can’t be sure but it is certainly a prescription we can’t shrug away.

Pratap has his own style, a thoughtful design signature defined by stark silhouettes, a commitment to textile innovation and a fertile mind that is peripherally if not frontally influenced by his fascination for the trials of medicine. A lot of it has to do with his father being a surgeon. His stores also reflect sterile set ups, including hospital beds and surgical lockers.

While the satirical theme of the show evoked tremendous curiosity among the audience, I thought it deflected from Pratap’s work. He has a viscerally investigative approach to design which was evident in the black and white collection’s applause-worthy approach to fabric experimentation. Wool weaves, the discreet use of leather and “black blood drops morphing into polka dots” (from his note), set the tone of the collection. I was stunned to slowly realise that the large black blood drops on the garments was actually hand woven Ikat on contemporary garments.–Rajesh-Prataps-collection.html