Designer Kunal Rawal is a popular name in B-Town, having designed for several actors in recent years. The designer made his couture debut to celebrate 15 years of his brand with a grand show at the FDCI India Couture Week on Saturday. For the collection called ‘Dear Men’, the designer drew inspiration from the medley of cultural and traditional influences prevalent in India.
The collection caters to the whole spectrum of celebrations ranging from modern luxury to deep rooted traditional wear. The designer has created a sartorial alchemy of ensembles which can be easily elevated or toned down, mixed or matched, or can even be worn to work.
Exuberating flamboyance in a tone-on-tone embellished sherwani, actor Arjun Kapoor walked the ramp in the night’s highlight piece crafted with signature hems and ornamented with polki buttons. The actor was cheered on by Malaika Arora who was also wearing a Kunal Rawal number – a bandhgala with a cropped top and skirt which was fashioned in golden waffle embroidery. Other notable people in attendance were Anaita Shroff Adajania, Arjun’s cousin Mohit Marwah and his wife Antara Motiwala, and designer Arpita Mehta.
“The collection is a celebration of different personalities of men, and my DNA. This has been a very special show for me. In the last 15 years what I have not played with or toyed with, but had strong feelings for, woh maine 15 saal baad kia hai. There’s drapes, paisley, brocade, stuff that I thought were not for menswear, I have now used them, after 15 years," the designer elaborated.
Talking about having Arjun as his showstopper, Kunal said, “I’m also selfish. I am my best around my family and my friends like family. So any special show comes up, I believe a lot in my vibe, my tribe, and that’s what I have represented for 15 years."
A big believer in androgynous and gender-fluid pieces, the designer has experimented with structured pieces complimented by new silhouettes. The collection is replete with flattering garments for every form, shape and style. Jackets with built-in stoles, pattern play and intriguing textures that represents the brand’s DNA.
Designing with every point of view, Kunal aspires to dress the diversity in its entirety. The show saw models of different ethnicities, age, height and body type sashaying down the runway in uniquely crafted and styled pieces from the collection. “Menswear is going through such an evolution, it is not so boxed up. Earlier men used to leave occasion wear to someone else in the family to decide. I believe a lot in diversity, when you are retailing you need to see the clothes on a similar skin tone and body type," Kunal said.
Arjun spoke of his friendship with the designer and the years of struggle that both of them shared in Mumbai. “I feel very happy and proud that it has been 15 years since he opened his first store in Mumbai. I was there before it even opened and we were settling up the store together. I was laughing at him saying I don’t know if your clothes are even going to be sold. I still remember on the day of the opening, his collection was sold out by the evening. I thought this boy actually knows something about fashion that other people don’t.
“Today he has become someone I look towards for my marketing, my films. He will never phone it in. He is not one of those people who will say, ‘Achha, yeh bol raha hai, ek bhej do piece.’ He knows I am doing it for Arjun, or Shahid Kapoor or Ranbir during Shamshera promotions, he is very meticulous, you the man cares," Arjun said.