“Boutique Bollywood Actor, Dapper Dandy, OG Instagram Sensation”
Well, if you are a true Instagram connoisseur, you would know that the above description is suited for the one and only Rahul Khanna. Known for serving a classic sense of style with a side of comfort and charm, Rahul Khanna has earned the badge of being one of India’s well-dressed men and would pop up in the ‘top searches’ section of your mind the second you hear made-to-measure suits or linen shirts on the beach. So a fashion collaboration was only a matter of time and that time is now. Mr Khanna has made his fashion debut by curating an exclusive men’s accessories collection for Chokore – titled RKXC. A reflection of his personal style, the collection features a mix of silk neckties, self-tie bow ties, and pocket squares in a mix of classic and eccentric designs.
To celebrate his much-anticipated collaboration, we caught up with Rahul Khanna to learn about the inspiration and aesthetics behind RKXC, accompanied by a glimpse into his signature sartorial brand of ‘classic suave’.
Runway Square: What’s your signature outfit recipe? And has the pandemic caused any changes to it?
Rahul Khanna: My personal style is understated and un-fussy. I like classic menswear and muted colours. And my favourite outfit is probably a lightweight unstructured navy suit with a white shirt, some smart sneakers, and, of course, a pristine white linen pocket square to finish it off. During the lockdown, I spent most of my time in gym clothes—tees, tanks, running shorts, and joggers. And now that there are more opportunities to dress up, I’m looking forward to bringing out my suits again.
RSQ: Which are the designers/brands that you love going back to?
RK: There are so many I love. I’m mostly drawn to brands that offer classic, high-quality, well-priced pieces that have longevity and can be worn year after year without going out of style. And that’s what we’ve tried to offer with RKXC, too.
RSQ: And what are the five absolute style essentials for every dapper man?
RK: 1. An elegant, solid navy silk necktie (we have a few exquisite ones to choose from in the RKXC collection, and if you take good care of the one you pick, it could be the last navy tie you will ever need to buy!)
2. A pristine white pocket square (we have beautiful options in fine linen and eri silk.)
3. A black self-tie bow tie (ours is a self-tie design that can also be used as a pre-tied bow tie, once you achieve a knot you’re particularly satisfied with!)
4. A black silk necktie (our “Caviar” knitted silk tie is as delicious as its namesake! And FYI, all our ties are handcrafted in Italy by a renowned fabricator that manufactures for some of the world’s most coveted luxury brands.)
5. A festive silk pocket square to wear for traditional Indian celebrations (we have several options and colours for you to choose from.)
RSQ: While the RKXC collaboration exemplifies all things bon chic bon genre, how does your personal style transpire into the collection?
RK: The inspiration for RKXC was my own accessories collection! And my experiences sourcing items for it. I believe every person’s closet should contain a few staples that never go out of style, will last a lifetime, and be of a quality that could, realistically, be passed down to the next generation.
However, when I wanted to add a particular new item, I discovered that it was easy to find flashy accessories that were embellished or patterned—but that wasn’t the case when it came to classic, high-calibre, foundational pieces. If they happened to be easily available, they were either of low-quality or came at ultra-luxury price points. So, I set about assembling, what I consider to be, the foundation blocks on which a modern Indian person can build a world-class accessories collection.
At the heart of the RKXC collection are the “investment pieces” – like the solid navy and black ties and the classic white linen and silk pocket squares. Around these “foundation stones”, I’ve chosen other items in more creative designs and colours to help express specific facets of your personality, for specific occasions, or when you need a specific colour. India was an important factor because this collection is specifically for the modern Indian person, and I wanted the colours and patterns to reflect that. Wherever possible, I tried to incorporate references to India and Indian design, while still keeping the collection restrained and refined.
RSQ: And well, what’s your favourite design from this capsule collection?
RK: That’s like choosing a favourite from your children! If I had to pick one, it would probably be the “Concrete” grey silk knitted necktie! Though if you ask me tomorrow, it might be a different answer!
RSQ: Post this thrilling foray into the world of fashion, do you plan to work on many more style-focused collaborations?
RK: I would love to, but currently, there are none in the works.
RSQ: Have you mastered the balance between the art of dressing up for yourself and for Instagram? And how?
RK: My social media is a pretty authentic representation of who I am. So, there’s no difference between what you see me wear on it and in real life.
RSQ: Beach, mountains, or cities – Which do you connect with the most in terms of style and aesthetics?
RK: I’m a beach bum, through and through! When I’m at the beach, I pretty much spend all day in my swimsuit. Thin cotton or linen button-down shirts are great to wear over your swimsuit to make yourself presentable when you go to lunch. I carry linen trousers for when I go to dinner (and to protect my ankles from the sunset mosquito sorties). I also carry a lightweight, linen jacket to wear when I want to look extra sharp or it gets a bit chilly. An unstructured jacket with shorts is also a really cool tropical look. And I always pack a couple of pocket square options – either to wear the traditional way or as a neck scarf!
RSQ: If you had to give Runway Square readers a few tips on evolving one’s style, what would those be?
RK: Style is an expression of your personality. It’s the way you present yourself to the world and say something about yourself without talking. And everyone’s style should be unique because everyone is unique. So, you got to have a point of view and figure out what makes you feel and look your best. Be open to inspiration (I get mine from old family albums, movies, and travel) and, most importantly, be yourself!
Image Courtesy: Rahul Khanna & Chokore
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