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    Why you need to know Suket Dhir, the bearded Delhi designer who can prove that wool is cool in summer

    SUKET DHIR has been in and out of the media eye for a while now, for his soft and deconstructed tailored forms and his flowing hair and beard, of course. But four years after he launched his eponymous label, the Delhi-based designer has been fielding interviews for something that deserves a big cheer – he has been shortlisted for the India and Middle East round of the International Woolmark Prize this year. While the results for this round will be out in July and the finals in Florence only next year, Dhir, 35, is slowly coming to terms with what it may mean for his brand. Recall the instant fame that came with the prize for designer Rahul Mishra in 2013. It will mean scaling up production and a strong design aesthetic to feed fashion’s ravenous appetite. ‘‘It’s not that we have chosen to be low profile, but I am happy doing what we do now,’’ insists the unflappable designer.DSC_3889
    Turns out, Dhir does have a game plan. Armed with a NIFT degree and backing from clients like sustainable home décor brand, Good Earth, he is clear about working with fabrics that breathe. Good design, he knows, is always ruined by poor quality fabrics. Plus, stints in commerce, multimedia, at a call centre and a corporate set up have taught him what he needs to know. With just a seven member team that includes his wife, Svetlana, and his 20-month-old son, our man from Banga (Punjab) has managed a striking look book (courtesy friend and famous Norwegian model Enok Groven). There is a growing demand for his ‘cool wool’ collections this season that feature a blend of merino wool and linen, courtesy suiting brand Raymond and Woolmark. His linen line, with androgynous clothes marketed as menswear, appeal to women too, and come in summer colours. And he has young, accomplished professionals approaching him for wedding wear, no less. That’s right, the bandhgalas and bundis, in linen and cool wool, are a must have. Signing off, Dhir reveals that his flowing mane and beard were inspired by a ‘‘smart 65-year-old Jat biker on a gleaming black Enfield’’ he met on the national highway four years ago! It may also explain why his shortlisted sketch for Woolmark features comfortable ‘‘grandpa pants’’ and a bespoke jacket (top left). Pricing from Rs 5,000. At MaalGaadi. Details: 42103242

    Rosella Stephen

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