“Hyderabad has always been like a second home to me,” says celebrity designer Kunal Rawal who recently launched his flagship store in Banjara Hills. Having worked as a costume designer on Telugu films with stars like Ramcharan, Rana Dagubhati, and Mahesh Babu, Kunal finds a connection with the city and its market.
The designer, known for a perfect fusion of ethnicity with modernity, has forayed into costume designing for several prominent personalities in B-town, Telugu cinema, and also Hollywood. When quizzed about his favourite memory of designing for a celebrity, Kunal shares, “My most memorable experience till date was designing and creating a wedding wardrobe for Shahid Kapoor. I felt pressure like never before, but the good kind. When you’re dressing the youngest superstar of the country, who also happens to be a close friend, the stakes are high.”
Talking about how groomswear has changed over time, the designer adds, “At the time I was just foraying into occasion wear, but Shahid’s trust in my team and me made the end product so much better. This time, we decided to go with all-over French knots, tone on tone threadwork, and no brooches, feathers, or any of the conventional frills of groomswear. A few years ago, groomswear was visually very magician like – with a lot of shine and shimmer. But there has been a palpable change where clothes for grooms have become far more relatable and opulent, but opulent for the self and not for anyone else.”
Men’s fashion has just been experimenting away from regular shirts, t-shirts, and kurtas in the recent past. From suits and blazers for western wear to embroidered kurtas with fashionable cuts and overcoats for ethnic wear, men’s fashion has now come a long way.
“Years ago, with menswear, it had become a norm for men to choose from a rack of limited options. When I started my label, my market research showed me that men had big opinions about western wear – they liked their blazers, or shoes or shirts a certain way. But this wasn’t the case with occasion wear. Somebody else almost always chose clothes for a groom, and how alarming is that! They had no say. The key for me was to pique interest in occasion wear as well and get men involved in all their sartorial choices,” shares the designer.
To further bridge the vacuum between great occasion wear and men, the brand has introduced a new collection called Wedding Edit 2020. Bringing comfort clothing and functionality together, Kunal has incorporated sweat-absorbent linings. “Pattern play and deconstructed shoulders to increase mobility to each outfit make the client super comfortable regardless of the function,” he shares.
“Comfort and functionality is a need. Versatility in clothing and silhouettes that make you look or feel confident is a need. To be able to offer fashion that fulfills these needs is what has worked for us all throughout,” he concludes.
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