For the Ladies

It was a fine evening with a nip in the air. As the music began to play, models walked down a ramp that was set against the backdrop of the beautifully-lit Umaid Bhavan Palace in Jodhpur. "My show, 'Royal Salute', marked the culmination of the polo season in Jodhpur. It was a glamorous collection of eveningwear and I was glad that it was well-received," recollects Raghavendra Rathore. As somebody whose work is synonymous with finely tailored clothing (read: menswear, mainly his bandhgalas and jodhpurs), the positive response to his show should hardly be surprising. Except that this show — it took place last December — was special, as it displayed Rathore's first womenswear line in almost eight years.

While Rathore says he does not remember much about his earlier women's collection, he points out that staying away from this segment wasn't a conscious decision. "It so happened that I got busy with my menswear range. Fine-tuning this segment (menswear) meant shifting attention away from womenswear," he explains, adding that with this recent show, he is warming up to womenswear yet again.

However, he is quick to say that this time, his focus lies squarely on couture offerings. "The idea is to come up with glamorous, custom-made capsule collections of eveningwear on a regular basis and show them not too often but on special event-driven occasions," he elaborates. The collections will also have a global appeal with predominantly western silhouettes. For instance, in his hometown Jodhpur, he showed a range of skirts, dresses and gowns made of velvet, silks and satins. "Luxury and lustre will be the core design philosophy for the womenswear line. There will be bright colours and some embroidery to lend it that sophisticated, red-carpet look. Plus, there will be lounge wear thrown in for good measure," reveals Rathore, who honed his craft at the Parsons School of Design in New York and assisted the likes of Oscar de la Renta and Donna Karan, before making a name in India.

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