In Conversation with Raghavendra Rathore

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The name Raghavendra Rathore is synonyms to bespoke menswear and high fashion. It also gives you a flavour of imperial India, the era of Indian Maharajas in all their glory. Born in Jodhpur, Raghvendra Rathore has a sound understanding of the aesthetics and essence of the royal Indian man; one who is stylish, modern and yet rooted to his rich Indian culture.

Designer Raghavendra Rathore at the LFW Summer Resort / unveils his new label Imperial India Company - ready to wear
Designer Raghavendra Rathore at the LFW Summer Resort 2015

In Conversation with the designer himself.

You last showcased your collection in 2008. What took you so long to showcase your collection at the Lakme Fashion Week (LFW)?

There are no specific reasons for this. I just do menswear and I think menswear is somewhat the neglected cousin of fashion; it always takes a backseat. When it comes to LFW, it’s a pleasure to be part of this prestigious show. I still remember how Tarun Tahiliani, Wendell Rodricks and myself did the first Lakme show, 15 years ago.

Tell us a little bit more about your collection?

The onus is on us to promote the idea of textile and menswear in terms of use of fabric. The collection celebrates the skill of traditional weavers in Pilikothi (Banaras) and I have chosen the colour black, which is beautifully put together with khadi. We use a print to disguise the khadi and there are a lot of hand-made techniques. My collection encapsulates my experience on a three-day trip to Banaras; I noticed what the weavers are doing and have just put them together. We are also launching our portal today, where these ensembles will be for sale immediately after the show.

Tell us about the two variant capsule collections that you would be showcasing today?

The RR bespoke label draws on the royalty and regal story of India. Whereas the Imperial India Company draws inspiration from the British Raj. So, they are two different genres with a similar vision and idea of the modern Indian man. The Imperial India Company is a ready-to-wear designer collection for a youthful person. It has a tuxedo, a khadi waist coat,kurta and suit. The RR brand is more bespoke and customised.

You have been associated with Lakme Fashion Week since its inception, tell us about some memorable moments?

Well, at the very first show at LFW Tarun, Wendell and me were very nervous backstage, not knowing what is this going to be in the next 10 or 15 years. I think we got our pajamas mixed up for the show and there was no system in place then, so we let the show go on [he laughs]. The beauty of this fashion week is that over time, things are more organised. Earlier, designers used to design throughout the year, but now they follow seasons. This has brought about a system in place.

Who is your style icon?

I think the Modern Indian; somebody who is pushing this whole patriotic spirit. Once you walk out of a room, you need to leave a trail of your character and I think the only way you can do it is when you have indigenous style.

Jeremy Cabral With Designer Raghavendra Rathore

By: Jeremy Cabral

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