It cast a magical spell that lasted what seemed like an eternity. For as long as designer Rajdeep Ranawat remained bewitched by the beauty of Istanbul, this mesmerising heart and soul of Turkey called out to him in more ways than one. The most potent pull came from the city’s distinctly imagined architecture, the charm of which he carried back home to Delhi. He then began recreating it on the medium best known to him— clothes—bringing glorious features of Byzantine and Ottoman empires such as their domes, ornamentations, stained glass, calligraphy and mosaics through his garments, as part of his latest summer resort collection.
Ranawat visited Istanbul in May 2018 and that was enough, he says, to inspire him to work on a new seasonal line. Additionally, he has plenty others interpretations in his style bag to create more ranges with what he experienced there. “The first thing that struck me about the place was coming to life of all the fairy tales we had grown up hearing—the magic carpets and lanterns, the Ottoman costumes, the ornate jewels.
All this brought two of my discerning interests together which are art and clothing,” he says. Ranawat has segregated this summer resort collection into six segments, each marked by individuality. This was a strategic move to sustain buyers by offering one theme but various sub-categories within it to keep the shopping experience fresh.
His Istanbul line includes Surdurmek, a collection inspired by the various textures of the motifs in a sustainable form with hues of mauve, oyster, fog, greige and shell; Talar, a line inspired by the vintage drawings and nautical maps of Istanbul with references within the historical books of the city with hues of teal, opal, desert and sand; Sanat, inspired by the architectural illustrations of the city’s landscape in colours such as apricot, honey, mallard and straw; Seramik, wherein garments take after textures and motifs within the Topkapi palace in hues of cinnamon, stone, maize, papaya and indigo; Doga, inspired by the vintage painted florals within the Ottoman palaces and motifs of the Iznik tiles in shades of nugget, slate, almond and marzipan; and finally, he says, Baski, a beautiful collection inspired by the textiles of the Ottoman empire fused with the evergreen Bandhani motifs of India further highlighted in Istanbullian Iznik motifs in hues of phantom, fennel, salsa and chilli pepper.
Ranawat was able to reproduce accurately what he saw in Istanbul courtesy the loyal camera that he carried everywhere. “A good camera with a good lens and loads of memory to capture everything in high resolution is what I always require to come back and recreate the illustrations, artworks, digital renderings and mood board,” he says, adding, “The replication of these 2D artworks onto the 3D dimensional garments is always a challenge, especially when you have to decide upon the silhouettes, the fabrics, embellishment and the placements of the motifs to create a work of art in itself.
It is a process that I envision and enjoy creating every single day.” Amid all this artistic clarity, there was the dilemma of its practical application too. Choosing the right fabric for the right collection and how the prints and artworks would come together was something he couldn’t predict. Finally, it all fell into place for Ranawat. This meant that he could resume his cathartic evening walks, a way of unwinding and relinquishing stress from his elaborate creative process.