Rajesh Pratap Singh’s Autumn/Winter 2013 collection as India first Wool Ambassador was a stunner
It is not very often that a fashion collection so complete and powerful in its look and purpose walks down the ramp. A line which within minutes of its arrival silences all small and big laments (some justified, some just hysterical substitutes of everyday exhalation) that fashion audiences, especially critics develop when they watch fashion shows from morning to evening. Rajesh Pratap Singh’s collection titled These ****** North Indian Winters as The Woolmark Company’s first Wool Ambassador of India was that rare show.
First, thankfully, in a fashion week which should ideally have been titled Make Your Own Season, Pratap reminded us--with his sets--what Autumn/Winter really looks like. Leaves of fall covered the runway and trees twirled with jute fibre and dry tamarind leaves stood by as mute spectators. Airily drifting snowflakes would follow.
The first three garments itself proved that we would need to sit ramrod straight so as not to miss what was going on. It was a joyous autumn even before it began snowing as fuss free, beautiful garments made from Merino wool fibre using felting and knitting, wool yarn embroideries, wool patchwork appliques, even Ikat weaves came out soldiering the cause of pure, good fashion. There were tweed skirts, knitted wool jersey gilets, jackets, long and short dresses using structure and drape; flare and fit like polarities--diverse yet germane to the cause. Some pieces used worsted suiting, others flatbed jacquard intarsia. Satin insets, zippers from motorcycle jackets and accessories like sheepskin gloves, leather footwear and headgear made it a winter that lent you warmth.
With a first such collaboration with an Indian designer, the Woolmark Company has made an influential indent into our market. We are not a wool buying nation; winters are sharp but fleeting here, that too only in some parts of India. The North India, as Pratap himself underlines in his title disclaimer. Yet here is a fibre that we may start taking seriously enough all because a designer has given it relevance and wearability. In all probability, fashionable Indians travelling abroad will want a Rajesh Pratap wool jacket to take as a signature piece.
Sometimes all we need to convince ourselves to keep fashion in our worldview is simple abundance. Pratap’s collection proved why.