#Designermusing: Raghavendra Rathore- The man who revived classic Bandhgala


Talk of Bandhgalas and the first brand that comes to our mind is Raghavendra Rathore Jodhpur. Coming from a royal lineage, designer Raghavendra Rathore carried forward the history and heritage of his clan in the form of clothing and completely revolutionized the classic Bandhgala with his modern aesthetic. He started off his label in the year 1994, with a small store in New Delhi, and gradually made a mark with his signature Bandhgalas that has been worn by royalties from around the globe.

In a special for The Times of India, India’s leading designers share their favourite designs over the years, the collection that is closest to their heart and what inspires them every day. This week’s designer in focus is Raghavendra Rathore who shares his sartorial sojourn through pictures that are etched in his heart.

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The designer shares his finest memories of being a part of the trio that started the fashion week in India with Tarun Tahiliani and late designer Wendell Rodricks. It was in the year 2000 that the first fashion week was launched in India.

Pic 2 Classic Raghavendra Rathore Bandhgala for women

The inherent power of the Bandhgala seen here in one of Raghavendra’s earliest incarnations on a runway in Hong Kong. The fashion scene had just started bustling in India and it was an honour for the designer to represent the country at the HKTDC. The appreciation received for the Bandhgala reiterated his confidence in this iconic ensemble and brought it to the forefront from India to across the globe. In the process, he found his inspiration for the signature product that now has become synonymous with the brand, the only twist is that it is for men now.

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With time the designer observed that the support in the fashion industry comes from people who understand the delicacy of good taste and owns a sense of style. For him, actor Saif Ali Khan is someone, who truly understands the stately yet elegant style and that is what resonates beautifully with the brand’s ethos. A classic style steeped in heritage is effortlessly captured here.

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One of India’s finest luxury hotels, Suryagarh in Jaisalmer has its reception area designed by Raghavendra Rathore. This happens to be another milestone for the designer and he always talks very fondly of it.” Occasionally I feel it is important for a creative individual to unleash the potential of imagination on interior and lifestyle projects,” he says.

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“This image captures the multitude of emotions after a show, the elegance with which Mr Kapoor walked back after taking a bow … amongst other aficionados from Bollywood, he has been one of the strongest patrons behind the brand, his magnanimous nature is not only an inspiration for me but allows me to freely move in Bollywood through the classic lens,” adds Rathore.

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A candid shot backstage that he treasures greatly as it reminds him of the classic opulence of a womenswear bandhgala need to reintroduce the world to. Seen in the picture is model Deepti Gujral.

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Raghavendra fondly remembers his experience of working with Bollywood director Vidhu Vinod Chopra on his movie Eklavya in 2007. It is one of those memories that will stay with him for the rest of his life. The sheer investment in culture that the production house was willing to do with him for the costumes and looks of the characters, was such an important lesson. It really was an ode to our heritage, somethings that the brand ethos revolves around and strives him to do better season after season.

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Effortlessly stylish through this image Sonam Kapoor is able to capture the essence of the bandhgala and the importance of the tailored look for women.

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Everyone has a go-to place to soak in the new inspiration, to cultivate the creative spirit. For Raghavendra Rathore, it is the step-wall in Narlai, near Ranakpur. To him, this is the oasis where he finds spirituality and tender inspiration. He believes that this place helps in keeping his mind focused on the abyss of nothingness and he is able to create new silhouettes season after season.

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A significant image that has found itself a permanent space on the atelier’s mood board, constantly reminds him of the interplay between design and lifestyle products. From designing jewellery to interiors, Raghavendra Rathore Jodhpur brand today can be recognized as the true lifestyle brand and not just one that caters to the classic wardrobe space.



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