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Candid chat with designer Gaurav Gupta

Gaurav Gupta, synonymous with edgy garments, opened his flagship store in the city recently. He speaks to Nikshubha Garg about his fashion aesthetics, evolving as a designer and what sets his garments apart

Gaurav Gupta, who is known to imbibe elements of fantasy, flight and mythology in his garments, extends his signature style to his Mumbai flagship store, which opened on November 14, at Kala Ghoda.

Gaurav Gupta with Shraddha Kapoor at a fashion show
Gaurav Gupta with Shraddha Kapoor at a fashion show

The store is both fantastical and futuristic in concept. So while wrought-iron angels are stationed at the entrance door of the store, once inside, thick, grey, motion-sensored curtains — which are draped around racks where Gupta’s silhouettes hang - divide the store into prêt, couture and menswear. Each curtain swings open the moment it detects the sound of a footstep, and closes shut as you leave. And at the couture section, a large cement figure of Nyx, the Greek goddess of the night, welcomes you as you enter.

collection at his recently-launched store at Kala Ghoda
Collection at his recently-launched store at Kala Ghoda

Three mannequins — one out of which dons the much-talked-about shimmery gold dress actress Deepika Padukone wore at an award ceremony this year — greet visitors as they enter the store. Walk ahead and a fluid wall leads you into the couture section which houses heavily embroidered gowns, lehengas and long jackets in bright hues. The next stop is the prêt section, comprising jackets and blingy tops, perfect for a night out. At the fag end of the store is the menswear section, which constitutes menswear for various occasions such as weddings and formal evenings.

After taking a tour of the store, we settle down for a chat with Gaurav Gupta. Excerpts from the interview:

Q. What did you keep in mind while designing the store?
A. At the outset, I was very clear that I wanted the space to showcase elements of magic realism, surrealism and fantasy — something that my brand represents. The curtains in the store give you a sense of mystery and theatre. You don’t know what’s behind them. The angels and figure of Nix lend the place an element of fantasy. To sum it up, art concepts such as magic realism and surrealism really influenced my store, my collections and me.

Q. Your eponymous label completed 10 years this year. How have you and your collections evolved over time?
A. I think over time, I ventured into red carpet fashion with my garments. I try to do something different every year. You will find me explore shape in one season and drape in the next. I believe that my garments celebrate feminism as a concept. Over time, Gaurav Gupta as a brand changed the way we looked at sarees, lehengas and anarkalis forever. We took these Indian silhouettes and made them extremely global. For instance, the saree and the lehenga gowns have become very popular with clients in India. Fashion in India has evolved for the better and I am glad to be a part of the cultural shift.

Q. What textures, silhouettes and fabrics have you used in the current collection?

A. Currently, the linear silhouette is very important to me. All silhouettes are longer than usual which makes everyone look two sizes smaller. You will find a lot of lace, amorphous fabrics such as silks, georgettes and nets, a few brocades and indigenous techniques of embroidery in the present collection.

Q. What is the USP of your designs?
A. The detailing sets my garments apart. The way we do our drapes, structure our embroideries, flatter a woman’s body. Also, all my designs are unique which makes it hard for customers to find it anywhere else.

Q. Do you feel that when you focus on expressive and bold clothes, elegance and subtlety get compromised on?
A. Concepts like subtlety and drama are very relative. For instance, a heavily embroidered gold gown can be subtle in the Middle East but cannot be imagined in Scandinavia. There are different kinds of people in the world and I make clothes for everyone. You will find a bright-coloured ‘blingy’ saree and a light-coloured simple saree with equal ease in my collection. But I feel a dramatic outfit can also look elegant on a person. It depends on how you carry it.

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