Aisha Rao recreats the splendour of a bygone era

Aisha Rao recreats the splendour of a bygone era
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Aisha Rao recreats the splendour of a bygone era

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The beginning of every “once upon a time” comes with that reassuring mystique

The beginning of every "once upon a time" comes with that reassuring mystique. Perhaps it stands for the many parables we've all grown up with. Perhaps it renders the story with whimsy and excitement as we immerse ourselves in imaginary places. Perhaps it's both.

It is this naïve curiosity that has inspired Aisha Rao's latest collection for FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week —Paper Dolls—an Autumn/Winter '21 line-up that will take you on a trip to the childlike dreamscapes of beloved storybooks and fantastical tales from the yore.

Rao, the designer behind the eponymous label and a mother of two, has reimagined these tales with subliminal lehengas, contemporary saris, show-stopping dresses, and gowns. What's more? Many of the pieces bring back the lost luster of the most ubiquitous fabric spotted during yesteryear Indian weddings—tissue—minus the fraying.

Diana Penty, the showstopper for Rao's Paper Dolls, says, "Each ensemble stands out on its own; it's a collection that ought to make it to every bride's wish list! The tissue saris and lehengas, especially, bring back fond memories from family get-togethers and weddings I used to attend as a child."

Decorated with Rao's signature Appliqué work created with contrasting foliage, Paper Dolls will transport you into a wondrous world with its shimmering tactility and its bold yet enigmatic colour palette of ebony, lavender, gold, and soft shades of pink. However, more than anything, this collection—both traditional and of-the-moment—is full of long-lasting keepsakes.

Many of the pieces are made with upcycled fabrics and designed for modern-day women who want to make mindful choices. In addition to this, Rao will also be presenting the brand's first-ever menswear collection showcasing streamlined tailoring, vivid patterns, and classic colours like black and white. "The refined details of appliqué, the classic silhouettes, and the moody colour scheme," she adds, "are made for the discerning buyers of today. Plus, what makes these pieces even more special, is how they use discarded fabrics to make something that's one-of-a-kind. Sustainability is IN."

Designer Aisha Rao says, "Paper Dolls is dedicated to my children. It's an ode to those most precious moments of bedtime storytelling where each night we are transported to another world. Interestingly, that's also one of the reasons why I love creating clothes—it's because many a time they have the potential to make fantasies seem a little bit closer."

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