When it is Rohit Bal couture, one expects exquisite craftsmanship, extraordinary design inspiration and exemplary showmanship. The couture show by the grand master of Indian fashion on Day 4 of India Couture Week had all these prerequisites but what was noticeably new was the overt art & culture reference across the collection pieces. Titled
‘Husn-e-Taa’iraat’ or ‘The Beauty of a Bird’, the collection drew inspiration from the rich crafts of Persia while drawing parallels with renaissance and post-impressionism art movements, a juxtaposition of Rohit Bal‘s thoughts, inspirations and art affiliations with his fascination of Persia’s textile heritage.
Blending renaissance, Persian and his signature Kashmiri influences, Rohit Bal‘s couture collection explored the elusive and chaotic nature of beauty, art and fashion set against the ‘unbelievable balance in nature’, in the designers’ words. Set against the Victorian grandeur of the Lutyen’s era Imperial Hotel, the ramp was a reinterpretation of the plush Persian carpets, recreating the iconic motifs of apple tress and rose bushes – a time travel to an eclectic colonial-oriental era of the designer’s imagination. The achingly melodious sound track of western classical compositions lent itself to the metaphysical ambiance, a striking backdrop for the actual creations themselves.
Presented as an intimate clothing presentation reminiscent of the 1900s era of House of Worth and fashion maisons, the show featured models in regal old world get up of smoky eyes, berry lips and flapper hair styles with clusters of white and red roses as neckpieces, sassy yet demure with their champagne flutes and coy smiles,swirling and kneeling to the audience. The collection itself featured intricate Persian zardozi and metal threadwork and was an ode to the natural world with prominent motifs of long-tailed exotic birds, elephants and camels in addition to the signature Rohit Bal florals. In signature Rohit Bal color palette of ethereal whites, antique golds, royal blues and plush maroons and rich mulmuls, velvets, tulles and heavy cottons, the 60 piece collection included womenswear and menswear options. Bal‘s signature long jackets, voluminous lehenga skirts, Bandhgalas and sherwanis made an appearance along side jalabiyas (kaftans), angrakha style gowns and Victorian high collared blouses.
The raw intensity and energy manifested itself with the spellbinding environment and fashion we witnessed, a sartorial high note for the couturier who was his typical showman self, dancing, cheering and bowing extravagantly to the audience at the end of the show.