We’ve seen his activism against UK going to war with Iraq. We’ve witnessed his angst regarding pollution. We’ve also heard him actively campaigning for women’s rights. But today is his moment to shine. Designs fuelled by fantasy and a vision catapulted by enigma, fashion designer Gaurav Gupta launches a couture flagship store that has been sculpted as a creative nest for his abundant aspirations. He lets us into his sacred space where we chat about what keeps him so sharp and receptive.
How have you kept your mind alive, Gaurav? What does it thrive on?
My mind never takes time off. It is either restless or overactive. There are a lot of ideas and thoughts layered over each other and I believe that I don’t even utilise a tenth of my brain’s thought stream yet. Living in the moment helps me keep centre, whether it is time spent travelling, being with friends, dreaming or just learning, I am always preoccupied.
We see a lot of glamour,
glitz and gloss in this new store. But what is it that doesn’t meet the eye?
The fact that all this has taken sleepless nights and anxious moments for almost a year while we were planning it, and six months during its construction. Everything is custom made, whether it’s the murals, carved furniture, marble tessellations or the grill outside. And putting together each thing tested us mentally.
How does the physical store epitomise your spiritual consciousness?
You see it in the cosmic quality of the store. It’s like taking a walk through my mind. A lot of my work finds its foundations in surrealism and magic realism, abstraction and magic. Whichever part of the store you’re standing in, there is a feeling of endlessness.
Where is one most likely to find you in your store?
Right at the entrance, under the age-old Siris tree that we carefully encased in a pristine glass prism with a moon roof. There is a juxtaposition of the old and new in this room, with this geometric prism bringing in natural light that reflects onto the Romanesque oval fountain in the centre.
How is Descend, your new collection, an echo of your maturing sensibility?
Futuristic, crystalline and wavy, there is something kaleidoscopic about it. We have explored various experimental, textured elements and structures, drawing from the shape of a prism. Descend is an appeal to embrace less explored feelings such as melancholia and desire, and find light in the dark. Adorned with beautiful Swarovski crystals, there is almost an obsessive trance to the lines and rhythm of the embroideries, the flow of fabric and each innovative silhouette. The embroideries reveal a mapping akin to the alignment of stars, making the garments crystalline and almost mythological. Inspired by ocean waves, there is a serenity and rhythm to each artfully set couture garment.
When you reminisce, what do you see?
At the time that I graduated from Central St. Martins, I had a radical thought process and was envisioning a ready-to-wear focus. However, things have now come full circle where our collections are even closer to my original aesthetic but are far more glamorous and refined.
When will fashion become inclusive of the diversity of body types? Majority garments still conform to unrealistic standards?
There are younger Indian designers who have championed the anti-fit concept and helped it become mainstream.
When it comes to our couture, it is a misconception that only slender women are able to carry it. Most of my clientele have beautiful, curvaceous bodies and we construct our gowns in a way that help further accentuate their shape. In our store, medium and large options are available on the main shop floor, not at the back of the stock room.
In a nutshell
Spread over 5000 sq. ft., designer Gaurav Gupta’s new couture flagship store includes an haute couture and customisation atelier, a bridal salon and a demi couture section for women. The centre-piece of the store is the beautiful Siris tree that has been encased in a glass prism with a moon roof. Gupta’s new abode houses Descend, a new line of garments with Swarovski crystals and embroideries. This new store comes in addition to the one at DLF Emporio, and Kala Ghoda in Mumbai.