Designer Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna Equinox Collection© Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna

Dupattas Are Out & Capes Are In, Says Designer Rahul Khanna

Salva Mubarak
Senior Features Writer

Largely known for their penchant for mixing structure with seemingly fluid silhouettes, designer duo Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna are gearing up for their upcoming showcase at India Couture Week 2023 where they’re presenting their new collection ‘Equinox’.

“When we started working on our collection, we initially started discussing balance, time, and occasions (day and night) one could wear our garments. We want our pieces to have a good balance so that one can wear them multiple times and not just once. The idea is to create couture pieces that are a perfect balance of being couture enough and at the same can be worn on other occasions,” says Khanna, “During this discussion, we came up with Equinox. It’s a phenomenon where the sun lines up with the earth to make day and night equal halves. The concept just went with our thought process. This collection marries faith and fable, with architecture and craft to birth a collection that is equally balanced.”

The designer shares that there are many new things that we can expect from the duo on the runway this time around, “Apart from the signature Rohit + Rahul looks, you would see corset-inspired tops, micro blouses, and gowns with thigh-high risqué slits. We have worked with lace for the first time, which has been developed by us in-house, and we are also introducing a new colour this season—copper. Another interesting thing to look out for is the jewellery that we have used. It’s from Badalia Diamond’s latest collection called Celestial—a range of exquisitely hand-crafted jewellery for the modern bride and groom.”

Known for their explorations of unique surface embellishment techniques, Khanna reveals that they’ve developed a luxurious handmade lace using a beaten metallic technique for ‘Equinox’. “It is an old Rajasthani technique where women beat the metal and thread together to give it a metallic feel. It’s all done by hand and takes hours to make. This is something new that we’ve tried this season. We have also embellished this lace with our signature Tanzanite and metallic crystals, aquamarine, and baby pink stones. It’s a good mix of old and new.”

Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna Sketch for 'Equinox'©Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna

The designer largely credits their clientele for continuing to inspire them and the collections, “I feel today’s consumer is well-aware and well-travelled. They know what’s happening around the world. I remember there was a time when women used to buy for men but now men come on their own to shop for themselves. They know what they want and how they would like to dress up. On the other hand, women know exactly their body type, and what suits them—they’ve tried and experimented.”

Khanna says this growing style consciousness and willingness to explore will bleed into the wedding wear space too. “The big heavy lehengas are a little bit out this season and I think the fishtail or mermaid silhouette is going to rule this festive/wedding season. I also feel dupattas are going to be replaced by capes. When it comes to menswear, men are not just wearing sherwanis, but are also opting for completely embellished tuxedos.”

The key to investing in an outfit that is on trend yet remains timeless is styling, claims Khanna. “For example, for a classic couture jacket, you can style it differently and reuse it. It’s important to know your personal style, comfort, and what looks good on you, and then play around with mixing and matching pieces. Buying couture pieces is like buying art—you sort of live with it.”

Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna will showcase ‘Equinox’ at India Couture Week on 29 July 2023.