Translating the mathematical concept into their latest couture collection, designer duo Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna present ‘Fibonacci’
A collection with an ethnic heart meets international aesthetics in the brand new wedding edit by designer duo Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna
What began as a friendship and shared love for a similar aesthetic in design and fashion, way back in 1997, has led to a label that is considered one of the most experimental and fashion-forward houses of design in India today. Meandering between their passions for both couture and prêt, designers Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna (RGRK) presented their latest couture collection recently at the India Couture Week 2022. The collection — Fibonacci — homage to the mathematical conundrum, presented a wedding couture line for both women and men that rooted itself in ethnic silhouettes reconstructed for an international aesthetic.
Much loved by many celebs including Vicky Kaushal, Ayushmann Khurrana, Anushka Sharma, Sonakshi Sinha, Radhika Apte, Vaani Kapoor and their forever muse, Ranveer Singh — the duo chose Malaika Arora as their showstopper for the show and the actress wowed the audience in a gorgeous black body-hugging embellished sheer gown which featured a thigh-high slit and a plunging neckline. We caught up with Rahul Khanna for a quick chat about the collection and what we can look forward to next from the label.
Unravelling the mystery
“The collection is in itself quite a natural progression towards couture and we were thinking about this collection for the last two to three years, during the lockdowns. We really wanted to keep our karigars happy, busy and occupied and wanted to keep giving them some kind of work, so that the lockdown didn’t have a negative effect on them. We decided to start with some interesting embroideries and tried to revive some of the older, almost forgotten forms of embroidery. The karigars would come to the studio from their villages in and around Delhi, Rajasthan and Bihar, pick up the raw material and bring us the final product when they completed it. Little did we know that we were creating with them what would become a part of a couture collection some day!” begins Rahul who started the label Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna (RGRK) with Rohit Gandhi in 2018, almost 20 years after they launched their first label, H2O, together in Delhi.
The Delhi-based designers bring years of experience of working in partnership with industry-defining international brands like DVF (Diane von Furstenberg) and Dona Karen to this collection made up of nude tulles, breezy organzas and opulent velvets. This is a collection where fabrics overlap with embellished embroideries of pearls, crystals and sequins. A combination of cutwork, crystals and tassels produce visual movement with a clever use of metallic shine and reflection in the form of hand embroidered origami figures on their silhouettes.
“We were experimenting with new ideas, experimenting with these couture embroideries and it just multiplied its way into our next couture collection. We had planned to do it anyway when things got back to normal, and so, when this season of the India Couture Week came upon us, we thought the timing was perfect to release this edit. The collection is called Fibonacci, a kind of a multiplication, where everything multiplies in set patterns, almost into infinity. We were inspired by the Golden Ratio, by triangles and mathematical motifs. And as designers we’re already known for our love for architecture, so that kind of fed into this concept too. Therefore, our motifs are architectural — swirls, kaleidoscopes and a lot of focus on the visual display of these Fibonacci-related concepts — simple, in the way we’ve treated them, but definitely magical at the same time,” Rahul further explains.
The core within
Using a spectrum of blues from mineral to midnight and shades of grey, coral, hearthstone and teal to create points of focus, the collection at its heart, is a nod to craft — both structural and artistic. For men, this is a collection of constructed jackets, sheer embellished shirts, draped kurtas and layered suits, while for women; this is a collection of cocktail lehengas, draped saris and gowns.
“The collection was designed for the upcoming wedding season. A lot of our NRI clients reached out to us during the back-to-back lockdowns looking for clothes that could have the ethnic wedding aesthetic but could also be worn on a red carpet or at a special event — they wanted something beyond the regular lehenga and sherwani. So we did a fusion, we did gowns for women and tuxedos for men. We tried unusual silhouettes. We like to think of ourselves as masters of deconstruction and reconstruction and so we incorporated a sort of androgyny too into these silhouettes. We made lehengas with slit openings, saris with drapes, but we kept it very light and soft and stayed away from heavy couture wear. We were fully aware that weddings have become smaller and more intimate and brides and grooms are looking to invest in trousseaus that work beyond the wedding day too. Nobody wants their wedding wear to hide in their cupboards all their life, once they’re married. Nobody wants that anymore. So, they’re picking cooler, more international silhouettes that they can even travel with, go on holidays with and do other things in. So our focus shifted with this collection — less flamboyance and more wearability!” adds Rahul, who also co-owns an art gallery with Rohit in Golf Links, New Delhi — something the duo launched in 2001, to celebrate their shared tastes in art.
Fibonacci, as the designer duo claim, is built for the global Indian dancing at a sangeet one evening and waltzing across Vienna’s historic ballrooms on another. Every pattern in this edit is uniform, built with clear lines and divisions and the collection hopes to present a world that is perfect, returning from the brink of chaos (the lockdowns).
“We’re known for our monochromes, we love our skin tones, but we have incorporated a lot of glamorous metallic gold and silver into this collection. We’ve also used a lot of rose gold; and all the colours of the ocean including ocean blue, turquoise; some ombrés and some fuschia among other hues. The fabrics are lightweight silks, organzas and some of the lehengas even have light corsets in them. We’ve stuck to opaque fabrics and metallic fabrics and special metallic woven zardosi fabrics. Some of the silhouettes also have been embellished with crystals. You can look forward to light gowns, light saris, lehengas, double-breasted tuxedos inspired by James Bond, but contemporised for the millennial of today with unusual cuts; and bandhgalas and sherwanis,” the couturier adds.
Next up, the designer duo plan to release their SS ’23 collection. A prêt, resort wear edit, just in time for the next Lakmé Fashion Week. “While Fibonacci is our couture wedding collection, our ready-to-wear collection will be revealed at the upcoming Lakmé Fashion Week. Fibonacci is handmade, bespoke and has just 50 pieces that we will make on order and will customise on size to ensure it makes anyone feel special on their special day. Our resort collection, however, will be an evening wear resort collection that is affordable and wearable. You can look forward to more construction, less embellishments and lots of prints,” the designer concludes.
“There are a lot of fights and a lot of contradictions, but we’re two designers working on one collection and so we often end up taking the best suggestions from the both of us. We’re open to each others’ criticisms and the pieces we create have inputs from both of us. Our design languages might be different, but we always come together as one voice when it comes to a collection.”
“In India, it’s definitely Ranveer Singh — he’s been our showstopper three times — but my childhood dream has always been to see Julia Roberts or Sharon Stone in one of our creations.”
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