Dressing up like a royal is one thing, but a royal dressing up another is a different story altogether. A descendant of the royal family of Jodhpur and designer par excellence, Raghavendra Rathore has played both the roles. The pioneer of the classic bandhgala gives us an insight into the royal aesthetic, the connection between his travels and his design elements, the task of styling Maharaja Padmanabh Singh for his coronation, and more. By Rashima Nagpal
What do you keep in mind while styling royalty?
When it comes to the royals, their style is inherent. They have grown up with it. Raghavendra Rathore (RR) is a bespoke brand. When designing for someone with a rich lineage, it is imperative to understand his lifestyle and personal sense of style.
What went into styling the young Maharaja Padmanabh Singh?
Owing to the rich history of the Jaipur royal family, it becomes the duty of a brand like ours to remain true to the family story, and not do something out of nature. A personality like his [Pacho’s] can be moulded into an old-world style, and works equally well in a modern, sporty, and new-age appeal. His sense of style is classic and timeless, and he carries off any look with natural aplomb. Even during the photo shoot with T+L India, he was naturally able to transform from the regal space into an Italian chic [style]. His inherent style trickles down into everything.
A destination you love visiting for creative energy?
Inspiration to add and create value, season after season, in heritage clothes, must come from somewhere. I mostly attribute this energy that empowers my creativity to Narlai,
a small village midway between Jodhpur and Udaipur that I find myself visiting more often than any other place in the world. This place has its own rustic charm—it is surrounded by a forest, where one’s mind is free to roam.
Which elements of a destination inspire you the most?
Any form of inspiration [is welcome]—be it through nature, architecture, or people. Even what’s happening on the streets is a major source of inspiration. Small artifacts, tribal jewellery, textures on walls—all connect to create new interpretations of fashion, which are much more exciting than the ones from the last season, and cater to the modern times. Recently, an outdoor waistcoat and jacket collection we created was inspired by the outdoor lifestyle of Rawla Narlai, a major leopard-spotting site.
Where are you heading next?
For trunk shows in Europe, the Middle East, and other nations for the RR brand; and to Thailand, Italy, and Switzerland for Gurukul School of Design, Jaipur. It’s quite a packed year ahead. Global icons who wear RR creations. His Highness of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani; the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson; and Hollywood celebrity Matthew McConaughey are a few of them.
An underrated men’s fashion accessory?
A trend you think is too bizarre to have existed?
People trying to imitate Bollywood movie costume styles, literally.