Customer demands drove Rohit-Rahul to launch Indian couture

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New Delhi : Ace designer duo Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, who have made their Indian couture line debut after over 20 years in the fashion industry, say they stayed away from this expansion all this while because everyone in the country was doing couture lines. However, the growing interest of their clients pushed them to take the plunge.

"There were too many people doing couture. We wanted to do contemporary clothing which is elegant and affordable and not only stick to traditional lehengas," Rohit told IANS in an email interview when asked that what made them stay away from doing Indian couture for so long.

Added Rahul: "We have fused our signature style into Indian couture because of the increasing demand for our customers who wanted something different from the already existing lines."

Their first Indian couture collection is called 'The Luminous Wave'.

"It is inspired from the celestial early morning sun and its incandescent rays as reflected on the calm ocean, which forms visible energies mirroring on the waves. So our colour palette comprises of sea pearl, ivory whites and light gold among many others which exemplifies the richness of soft flowing tones of tranquil oceans," said Rahul.

"The collection portrays Indian sophistication and celebrates intricate craftsmanship to personify opulence and elegance," added Rohit.

Launched in 1997, the designer's label is known for ensembles with linear structures, geometrical lines and greatly influenced by modern contemporary art. Their look is minimal, and the clothing modern and sophisticated.

When the Indian market in the 1990s was filled with traditional, ethnic wear, Rohit and Rahul brought their contemporary Western sensibilities and sophistication and fused these influences with their sense of non-conformity to create a style that is both nationally and internationally recognised for its tailoring, engineered cuts and chic detailing in the most luxurious fabrics.

Their brand's umbrella includes the pret labels H2O and CUE, where H2O is primarily ready to wear menswear and CUE has both ready to wear and customised womenswear. CUE also specialise in corporate dressing and custom-made uniforms.

During their career, the designers have participated in over 18 fashion weeks in India and abroad.

On how the definition of couture has changed over a period of time, Rohit said: "In the western countries, couture is mostly used for red carpet events, and in India mainly for Indian bridal wear. But now everyone wants to own them. The West is noticing our intricate hand embroideries and sequence work which they want to use into their western silhouettes."

Rahul elucidated: "Indian masses, especially youngsters, are experimental and have become open to distinct styles and designs. To make couture more attractive and approachable to them, it's important to explore various ideas and include contemporary styles too."

The designers feel that couture has always played a significant role in the Indian fashion market with major focus on bridal and traditional designs.

"Today due to social media, red carpet events and Bollywood, people are becoming more aware about fine distinctions within couture and are now opting for couture pieces. Even modern brides are breaking conventions and are trying modern silhouettes," said Rahul.

Rohit says the idea is to make clothes for both the markets -- Indian as well as Western.

"India has many seasons. This collection has been made to keep Indian festive season in mind. We fused our surface ornamentations on well-constructed Indian silhouettes. The process of making the couture pieces is time consuming which requires skilled man-power," he said.

After this, the designers further plan to expand their product line by adding accessories and home furnishing.

(Nivedita can be contacted at