In the world of fashion, Hyderabadi designer Mrunalini Rao’s `Hastkala’ is a showstopper

The collection features 11 exquisite occasion-wear ensembles, each a masterpiece in its own right. Crafted from luxurious canvases of various kinds of silks

By Anoushka Caroline Williams  Published on  21 Oct 2023 4:30 AM GMT
In the world of fashion, Hyderabadi designer Mrunalini Rao’s  `Hastkala’ is a showstopper

Hyderabad: In the world of fashion, the term `Hastkala’ resonates as a beautiful embodiment of artistry and craftsmanship.

It is a word that encapsulates the essence of meticulously crafted works of art, where every stitch, every thread, and every embellishment is a labor of love, skillfully executed by deft hand movements.

For the Hyderabadi designer Mrunalini Rao, known for her exquisite occasion wear edits, Hastkala is not merely a skill; it is a profound connection to our heritage and a testament to the timeless artistry of human hands.

In her latest collection aptly named `Hastkala’, Mrunalini Rao pays a heartfelt tribute to the exceptional talents of India's craftsmen and their extraordinary artistry.

The collection features 11 exquisite occasion-wear ensembles, each a masterpiece in its own right. Crafted from luxurious canvases of various kinds of silks like raw silk, matka, and organza, every piece bears the old-world charm of a bygone era. These garments are a symphony of timeless embroideries that have been passed down from one generation to another.

Mrunalini Rao expresses her vision, "In a world that's constantly evolving, we strive to transport the wearer to an era where craftsmanship was revered and every piece of clothing was a work of art. Our designs pay homage to the bygone eras when attention to detail and quality were paramount, resulting in garments that exude a sense of nostalgia and elegance."

The collection boasts a wide range of lehengas, Anarkali kurtas, kaftan dresses, embroidered jackets, saris, and fusion wear like the pant-suit lehenga. While these ensembles are firmly rooted in tradition, they also reflect a contemporary appeal. Mrunalini has fearlessly experimented with new-age styles, including deep V-neck patterns, leg 'O' mutton sleeves, and butterfly wings, infusing the pieces with a modern edge that makes them time-relevant.

Mrunalini advocates this fusion of old meets new style, saying, "With Hastkala, we embarked on a creative journey to reimagine traditional Indian styles through a contemporary lens. Imagine a lehenga paired not with the conventional choli but with a flowing cape that adds a touch of ethereal grace. An embroidered skirt elegantly complements a kaftan-style embroidered shirt, fusing two diverse yet harmonious elements into a single ensemble. There's the jacket with 3D layers and delicate feathers, adorned with intricate hand-embroidered floral motifs which are a testament to the fusion of traditional and avant-garde styles, paired effortlessly with pants. The collection also features a kaftan, reimagined with a one-shoulder design, adorned with zardozi patchwork and captivating mandala art. We took risks and experimented with styles like crafting a skirt with a cape and a sari paired with a waistcoat. These pieces are a reflection of our commitment to blending Western silhouettes with the time-honored craftsmanship of India."

The pieces in the collection weave a vivid tapestry of colors, with an exuberant palette of red, black, rama green, magenta, royal blue, hot pink, and orange. The colors highlight the intricate and opulent embroidery work that lies at the core of Hastkala.

Mrunalini explains, "We understand that colors have the power to evoke emotions, memories, and a sense of wonder. Hence, our palette is carefully curated to be not just visually appealing but emotionally resonant. Each shade is selected to complement the hand embroideries of resham, badla, pearl, and zardozi to enhance their beauty."

Mrunalini Rao is one of the few designers whose values are firmly rooted in avoiding repetition. Over the years, she has ventured into a diverse array of design elements, from vibrant floral prints, intricate patchwork, and traditional tie-dye techniques to Rajasthani aesthetics.

She shares, "For me, reinventing and improvising are ongoing learning processes. I aim to push the boundaries of design placement and silhouettes while remaining rooted in our craft. Our creations are tailored for those who seek the unconventional, and those who crave experimentation over monotonous fashion. We stand firmly against the fast fashion tide, opting instead for timeless silhouettes that celebrate the essence of Indian fashion."

This spirit of experimentation and dedication to craft has made Mrunalini Rao one of the most sought-after and celebrity-approved designers.

Her creations have been spotted on divas like Kiara Advani, Vidya Balan, Genelia Deshmukh, Kajol, Neha Dhupia, Neena Gupta, Ramya Krishnan, and many others.

For those who appreciate the artistry of clothing, Hastkala is a celebration of the human touch and a journey through the ages of Indian fashion. Don't miss the opportunity to experience it. Price on request. Available in-store in Jubilee Hills and online.

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