Celebrated couturier Kunal Rawal’s festive edit is a statement in gender-fluid fashion

Kunal Rawal has tried to dissect, disrupt and work around the set fashion norms

Sharmistha Ghosal Published :  05th November 2021 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  05th November 2021 12:00 AM
Kunal Rawal's Vision Quest

Kunal Rawal's Vision Quest

Occasion-wear has always been about looking your gorgeous best and there are certain unsaid rules and parameters regarding dressing up. It is this very basic tenet that acclaimed Kunal Rawal has tried to dissect, disrupt and work around in his latest gender-fluid festive edit Vision Quest that got unveiled a little before the Pujas.

“Vision Quest touches upon the thought of venerability and individuality. As we go through life, we’re constantly trying to find ourselves and I don’t mean in an existential way. I think occasion wear in the past has been dominated by restrictions — what’s appropriate for men or women, what colours look good on them or what will make them look out of place. But now the world is changing and people are becoming more experimental with their looks,” explains the designer describing his newest line consisting of 60 nuanced ensembles.

Kunal Rawal's Vision Quest
Kunal Rawal's Vision Quest

Tell us about the collection?

This collection is meant for all kinds of people irrespective of their size, shape, colour of their skin or their gender. Today, it’s all about expressing your individuality, whatever that might be and that’s what the label stands for. This season, we’ve played with glow-in-the-dark heavily embroidered pieces, relatable to young India. The idea was to make occasion wear fun again. We’ve incorporated new layers of smart design and most of our sherwanis now have hidden pockets to add functionality to the outfit. We’ve played around with fabrics mixes like linen, jute linens, cotton-based suiting fabrics, organzas, denim and handloom.

What was the thought behind choosing Sonam Kapoor Ahuja as your muse?

I’m a big believer in androgynous and gender-fluid pieces. We’ve seen a lot of this in streetwear and I feel the influence would change the way we look and approach occasion wear. Sonam has always been on the right side of fashion and who better to carry forward our ideals other than her? She truly embraces her personality and showcases it with what she wears.

Kunal Rawal's Vision Quest
Kunal Rawal's Vision Quest

What will be trending in groom’s fashion this winter?

As a brand, we believe in layering and we even create outfits with mock layers for Indian weddings because that amplifies the look and feel of the outfit. I think for a winter groom it really boils down to playing with fabrics. That’s the only real difference between a summer groom and a winter groom.

Fashion advice for would-be grooms?

Never pick a branded outfit because it’s popular now, it may not remain so in the future. Be true to your aesthetic and pick an outfit that amplifies your personality. Wear something that makes you feel comfortable and confident. Weddings, now, have become so intimate that it’s important to dress appropriately for the occasion. Keep your body type in mind while choosing your outfit. Customise the linings and hems so that the outfits fit and fall perfectly. I prefer micro motifs because bigger motifs tend to make one look bigger.

Kunal Rawal's Vision Quest
Kunal Rawal's Vision Quest

What kind of accessories can the grooms try?

I personally hate over-accessorising an occasion wear look because Indian wear, in general, is so detailed and intricate that accessorising takes away from the look and feel of a garment.

How do you see the growth or evolution of fashion in these last two years of the pandemic?

This year, in my opinion, will see a lot of rebellion, when it comes to fashion. People have been restricted in 2020 and will now seize the opportunity to stand out. I believe we will see layers of streetwear make their way into occasion wear. Another thing that I’ve seen over the past few months is that grooms are now looking for pieces that look good up close. Earlier grooms wanted to stand out because they were having larger weddings but with weddings becoming smaller and some moving to digital platforms, grooms are looking for pieces that do more justice when viewed closely. So, our tone-on-tone and 3D geometric handwork pieces are the ones that are really trending right now.

Kunal Rawal's Vision Quest
Kunal Rawal's Vision Quest

Have you incorporated sustainability in Vision Quest?

Today, we have a lot more men coming in and talking about sustainability, asking if pieces are hand-detailed or mass-produced. Everything we make is made-to-order, we incorporate a zero-waste pattern cutting to minimise wastage and we also use our excess for patchwork styles. We have focused on versatile separates in this collection that can be used to create 4-8 looks and we encourage customers to style them with pre-owned KR pieces to promote conscious consumption. We’ve also incorporated digital look-books in all our stores for a paperless experience and the aim is to find long term solutions to the problem.

Five wardrobe essentials for men?

A nice pastel kurta shirt, Indian black-tie silhouettes, our sneaker-Mojri, a deconstructed sherwani in navy blue, a neutral kurta and a tone-on-tone bandi.

Men’s kurtas starts from Rs 22,000. kunalrawalofficial.com

sharmishtha.g@newindianexpress.com

Twitter: @sharmidas

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