The old world charm of Rajasthan, its heritage and royalty have always been intrinsic to designer Raghavendra Rathore’s folio of work. That it is his forte needn’t be reiterated. Having stayed away from fashion weeks for almost four years now, his return to the ramp as part of the ongoing Amby Valley India Bridal Fashion Week (IBFW) in Delhi was much awaited. “The IBFW will see us usher a new hemisphere of the Raghavendra Rathore brand, where we will be showcasing the softer side of our menswear and also launch the womenswear red carpet line, which will have an international feel,” said Rathore, prior to the show on Thursday evening.
Those words couldn’t have been truer. The gurgling miniature fountains (in the centre of the ramp) and haveli-like arches set the backdrop to a royal rendezvous that saw Rathore present the classic styles in a new (fun) way. Channelling the spirit of the glory days of the Raj, the designer wanted to reinvent the “revelry and exuberance” of the 1920s, calling it “the era known for unprecedented economic prosperity”. The Jodhpuri bandhgala has been a true ambassador of the Rathore label and it saw a reinterpretation in this bridal week collection. For one, the bride now gets to wear the bandhgala and Rathore presented many avatars and colours of it in the show. A heavily embroidered bandhgala worn over the sari, even a bolero style, showed that the designer was looking to highlight a new side to the label and not just what was expected of him. “The uniqueness about the Jodhpuri bandhgala is not just its originality but versatility too. It has been worn over a century by aristocracy and has now become a hallmark for a modern, sophisticated Asian style. For me, it revives the true legacy of our heritage with a classy slant, transcending the borders of time, to be equally, if not more relevant in the modern world,” said Rathore. Speaking of modern, the collection also saw an interesting use of silhouettes in the womenswear line such as floor-length kaftans, dresses with thigh-high slits, and embroidered jackets teamed with pencil pants and gowns. The contemporary leanings were ably fused with traditional zardozi and thread embroidery on fabrics such as velvet and silk.
But, Rathore’s expertise with dressing up men in perfect fits remains unmatched. He infused dollops of colour with an all-scarlet suit in silk and fuchsia