A Parisian state of mind

This designer has scoured the length and breadth of Paris to draw inspiration from and unveil a trove of exquisite designs
A piece from the collection.
A piece from the collection.

For years, couturier Seema Gujral has been committed to giving the Indian consumer wardrobe masterpieces all while showcasing creativity that is audacious. Apart from the postcard-esque landscape and heritage that Paris is associated with, Gujral has, for her latest collection Love Notes from Paris, scoured the length and breadth of the city to draw inspiration from its many alluring facets. The result: a trove of modern silhouettes that also celebrates traditional Indian sartorial techniques. Gujral speaks to us about her collection featuring 24 pieces, how she deftly blends traditional craft techniques with modern silhouettes, and more. Excerpts… 

Even though your production unit was launched in 1994, your first flagship store was unveiled in Noida in 2010. After so many years in the design business, tell us how the Indian couture landscape has transformed over the years from a consumer point of view.
Trends and styles evolve and transform with each season. Indian couture is classic in its foundation and tends to revolutionise with modernity, and so have my designs. As and when we look at creating a new collection, the inspiration of Indian silhouettes and structure is always kept in mind, while also looking to innovate the couture pieces. The outfits come to life as each ensemble is meticulously handcrafted, with prime focus on details and upholding the consistency of the craft.

Blending indigenous crafts with modern silhouettes is something the brand has incorporated in every collection. Has material innovation also been a part of your process? If so, how? 
As a brand our vision stems from a harmonious amalgamation of modern perspective and heritage craftsmanship for which we only use the finest of fabrics. And each garment is tailored to perfection for the wearer. My brand stands true to its commitment to revive, sustain, and empower the Indian forms of art and textiles, thereby demonstrating a brand with a conscience. 

Give us an insight into your current collection, Love Notes from Paris. Paris, as a city, has often inspired many couturiers. Tell us about drawing inspiration from this city, and how have you pushed the envelope—from a design perspective—in this collection?  
Love Notes from Paris has been inspired by the city of love for an occasion of love. Paris as a city is a perfect blend of grand architectural masterpieces and regal heritage, so every corner holds treasures of ideas that inspire a designer and absorb it in their collection. A completely contemporary collection in terms of colours and styles, I have tried to push the envelope with these ensembles... each piece is fresh, romantic and elevated.

Talk to us about silhouettes and techniques used in this collection. Also, neon is a colour of choice for you when it comes to couture—often unusual for many houses. Give us an idea of the colours used in this collection.
The collection has been diverged into four parts basis the looks that come with. The ‘Bridal’ look has all the signature elements of my designs, elevated with the glamour of crystals and sequins. Then there is ‘Neon’, which includes the neon colour chart of explosive and vibrant tones in yellow, peach, pink, and orange. It’s an unusual choice when it comes to couture but with brides and friends of brides always looking out for bolder and atypical ensembles, neon is an appropriate selection. This is followed by ‘Night’, [a sub-collection] that captures all the romance of a glittering Paris at night. These ensembles have modern silhouettes, a little less flair, and a lot more elegance—dramatic mid-thigh slits, eclectic Bolero jackets, all embellished with sequin and crystal embroidery. The fourth dimension of this collection is ‘Bright Sequin’, with my signature tone-on-tone embroideries in a fresh colour zone.

With your SS 2022 collection Tuscan Summer, you added menswear to your repertoire. You are also associated with Dash & Dot—a contemporary wear label. Is there a space—home or others—in which you plan to utilise your design sensibilities next?  
As of now, we are not looking at expanding in any other dimension but just focusing on the production lines for Seema Gujral and Dash & Dot, both separate brands with different visions and clientele. Seema Gujral is focused on luxury occasion wear whereas the latter is a contemporary luxury for everyday.

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