Raghavendra Rathore’s collection of carpets with Obeetee offers a window into the opulence of Rajasthani royalty
Designer Raghavendra Rathore, who has gained international renown for over 25 years by creating luxury bespoke menswear for the who’s who of Bollywood, is an exemplar to his upbringing as a royal in the erstwhile princely state of Rajasthan. While that environment spurred him to create designs that made him one of the most influential designers of the decade, one could take away the luxury and the privilege, and still, Rajasthan will remain his eternal muse. “There is a deep sense of sentimentality attached to the state. Growing up in a house with secret corridors and attics, I would encounter unusual boxes and handmade trinkets from around the world that were stored away behind these doors. And every time I visited these storerooms, I would encounter something new. Rajasthan, to me, is like that attic,” says the designer, as he reminisces his childhood. Bringing to the fore this undiminished love affair with the state, he recently collaborated with a Mirzapur-based handwoven rug company, Obeetee, to showcase a collection of carpet pieces, titled Proud To Be Indian.
Brief history of time
A five-year collaborative effort that began in 2015, the mood board for the series was created by referencing history, culture, architecture, embroidery and handcrafted techniques of the Marwar region — specifically Jodhpur. “The very essence of the brand is to evoke bygone eras through our products. All our carpet designs attempt to showcase the old-world regalia of Rajasthan and the land’s many stories.” The Proud To Be Indian series offers three variants — Durbar Gaadi Masand, rendered with opulent embroidery in velvet derives inspiration from the textured royal settee used by kings and queens in their darbars. The patterns in Rajasthan Architecture, on the other hand, are influenced by the arches and structural design elements — including mirror work and brightly painted religious figures — of the Sheesh Mahal in Mehrangarh Fort. The third variant, Coat of Arms, showcases the logos, emblems, insignias and monograms of princely Rajput states and jagirs.
Among the first few couturiers to position his brand as a complete lifestyle label, the 52-year-old explains that the ethos of design across segments, be it garments or interior decor, is similar. “The ideas of structure, style and silhouette are crucial to fashion, while carpet making is bound by its norms of weaving. A staple commonality between these products is the inspiration and research that goes into their creation. As a designer, the challenge lies in one’s ability to break away from convention and reinvent the idea.”
Giving us a sneak peek into his year ahead, design projects with corporate houses and work with the Raghavendra Rathore Foundation are in the offing.
Available online. Price on request.