There may be many heavyweights in the Indian fashion fraternity, but not everyone gets an invite to showcase at Paris Haute Couture Week 2021. Vaishali Shadangule makes us proud as the first ever Indian female designer to showcase at the prestigious platform, and only the second Indian after Rahul Mishra. IANSlife spoke to the designer to get more details on her upcoming show scheduled for July 8.
Q: After designer Rahul Mishra, you are the second Indian name to be invited to showcase at Paris Haute Couture Week. How do you feel about this?
A: India is the land of amazing textiles, embroideries, sensibility for colours and attention to design. I think it is high time we start being more present on the global stage. I think it is high time we as designers start experimenting more in silhouettes that have a more global language.
Q: How does it feel to be the first female fashion designer from India to have your own show on the Haute Couture calendar?
A: You know, it is a great recognition, and I am very proud of it, after a 20-year journey of research and expression. What I feel more though, is a huge sense of responsibility. India has a vast heritage and population of highly skilled workers: this will be a global stage for all of them, through my work. This is a huge opportunity to show what India is capable of, at the highest global standards.
Q: For decades luxury houses have been making couture clothes in India due to the highly skilled artisans and handmade textiles in our country, but never has India received the recognition it deserves, do you agree?
A: I totally agree with you on this. I must say though, that India lately has been extremely self-referring, very ethnic, thus in a language that is not easy to understand globally. Confirmation is in the fact that being the first Indian woman to get there is since I have managed to give our precious heritage a more global language and innovation of lines.
Q: With the pandemic there is a focus on sustainability and handmade, do you think we have an edge over others when it comes to the future of fashion thanks to our handwoven textiles and slow fashion culture?
A: I will never stop repeating that now it is the time of India. What the world is looking for now is exactly the very basic of our normal life and tradition. We just need to “package” it in a more understandable way. Where we must up our game is also in the service and final quality, where technology can also happen: another area where India is at the top of the world. It must be the time of India; I hope it is not just another lost opportunity.
Q: You lend a global design language of expression to Indian handwoven textiles, please share your vision for this collection.
A: I am on a very clear journey of continuous discovery; I have been on it for the last 20 years. This collection will be only a further step along it. I will always get inspiration from Nature and how homegrown textiles drape around women’s bodies to transmit my message.
This collection will maybe have the difference that for Haute Couture you can make your message more vocal and understandable.
It will have also a stronger direct and visually clear tie with Nature, and how we are part of it and a ring of the chain.
Q: Haute couture in India is very different from what is traditionally associated with it globally, how do you identify with couture and what does it mean to you?
A: Yes, I agree with you, and thus the small global presence of Indian designers in Haute Couture; in India it is more about bridal and very ethnic.
I fully identify with it, and that is the way I have always been working. It is precious hand-woven fabrics created starting from precious yarns. Highly customized with a lot of attention to details and accessories. All this expressed without limits of traditional silhouettes, rather a continuous research extremely customized on the client. Haute Couture is excellence at 360 degrees, thus also in the way it impacts the environment and community it involves.