Rahul Mishra Strikes Gold

Rahul Mishra Strikes Gold

At Paris Haute Couture Week, designer Rahul Mishra invokes the Tree of Life metaphor. Here’s why a gold leaf from his (look) book is the sun total of good fashion 

In the collection note of Rahul Mishra’s Fall 2022 couture collection ‘Tree of Life’ that invokes the metaphor of the tree as guardian, protector, green god in Indian culture and other communities, the words “basking under the golden sun”, catch a particular ray of light. They glisten in the note that also quotes German theologian Albert Schweitzer and Scottish international rugby player Nelson Henderson.

Mishra’s Tree of Life, that walked out on July 4 at the ongoing Paris Couture Week caught a ray of light too. It wore gilt without hysterics. It shone light on Mishra’s talent as a designer who uses Indian craft and influences amply and consistently but knows the importance of inflecting the story just before it pales because it is becoming obvious.

The spectator, fan and buyer understands that Mishra will take them to the birds and the bees; to butterflies and trees, to forests through woods—his excursion narrative guided by sustainable work traceable to artisanal hands in India’s villages. Still, you wish the light changed.

And it does. This time it is sunlight and sunset, two luminous zones in the life of a day on earth in the era of the sun. Zones that are golden for a rainbow of reasons.

Gold is autumnal and sun-blessed and that is how it has been used here by Mishra in two and three dimensional motifs of petals, leaves and flowers. Muted in its brilliance. Offset with black body suits, embellished long, sheer stockings, fitted silhouettes and constructed garments. While gold can be applique and earnest embellishment, Mishra’s black is the deep, dark frame for the opulent foliage and ancient, old gold wilderness that blooms on the clothes.

These couture pieces were sent out in the discreet company of one or two garments that hark back to Mishra’s former collections, offering a link and connect, with an eye on the past. The past of fashion seasons and Mishra’s reasons for why he made them.


Mishra takes a bow after his showcase at Paris Haute Couture Week.
Long and short dresses, mini dresses and billowing skirts, bodices and short tops, black body suits, a long and a soft jacket or two, inform us about the modularity of global couture.

Let’s make no mistake. Mishra is not refashioning the body in fashion. Nor is he re-scripting global couture that now aims for experimental red carpet hysterics. He does not offer something from under the radar in Indian craft and embroidery. Unlike Manish Arora’s (the other, once upon a time Paris Fashion Week regular—not for haute couture) whimsy driven, satire-on-steroids India, Mishra’s homeland is sun-kissed with a gilt complex.


But it has what counts most—an emotional tug. A value that scores very high in red carpet glamour, personal closets, for the stuff that couture dreams are made of. What moves a buyer’s heart will move the business of the couturier. It is the sun total of good fashion.


Banner: Models present a creation for Rahul Mishra Women’s haute couture Spring-Summer 2023 collection during a fashion show as part of the Fashion Week in Paris on July 4, 2022. (Photo by Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)