When Selena Gomez appeared in a Rahul Mishra creation—a minidress designed to look like a large purple flower wrapped around the star—at a benefit event in Los Angeles last week, it didn’t cause the kind of furore that “Indian designer dresses international celebrity” stories usually do. For, Mishra, 43, who runs an eponymous couture label with Divya Bhatt Mishra, does this quite often. Zendaya, Priyanka Chopra, Viola Davis, Gigi Hadid and a host of Indian and international celebrities have been dressed by the Indian designer, who has been showing at the Paris Haute Couture Week since 2020. Rahul and Divya’s story is a somewhat unusual one, which makes their rise all the more intriguing: Though they are now backed by the might of Reliance Brands, they started about a decade ago with far less than most other designers in the fraternity. Rahul tells Lounge that he grew up in rather straitened circumstances in a village in Uttar Pradesh, and struggled to follow his love for drawing and turn it into a career, while Divya was expected to go to medical college. They have had their share of failure, which is often forgotten in the hyperbole about the way they adapt India’s textile and embroidery heritage. Like all Indian designers, retailing regular wedding-wear is what keeps them in the black, while the couture side puts them on the global map. It’s a good time to contemplate the business of fashion as we are right in the middle of the Lakme fashion week in Delhi, and we have a pick of the most interesting shows from the past week.
On our Books page, we unscramble Sakina’s Kiss, Vivek Shanbhag’s subtle yet poignant novel about family life in “new India”, and the struggle of men to come to terms with the changes around them, while our Travel page takes you on a trip through Karnataka’s Hoysala temples, which were recently added to Unesco’s list of World Heritage Sites. As always, there’s a lot to read this weekend.
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