Elle Style Awards 2017: Gaurav Gupta on how his couture has evolved
Wearable works of art
It has been a bumper year for some of fashion’s biggest and most interesting players — from star-studded collaborations to breakneck expansion and serendipitous discoveries. Meet the candidates who made 2017 well and truly their own.
ELLE: How would you describe your most recent collection, Moondust?
Gaurav Gupta: For me, Moondust is a pure couture collection; very refined, very poetic. It is a celebration of the developing signature of the brand—of our journey with indigenous crafts and techniques, and our understanding of shapes and textures that led to these wearable sculptures. When the title Moondust occurred to me, it inspired me to create these spectacular evening gowns and pantsuits. When stylist Gautam Kalra, one of our frequent collaborators, came in and called it too commercial, it pushed me even further. So, I collaborated with lighting design studio Klove, whose aesthetic blended really well with the clothes I was creating.
ELLE: How did the collaboration with Klove begin?
GG: I’ve been friends with Prateek [Jain] and Gautam [Seth] since I returned to India after my studies in London. There’s always been resonance in our design philosophies, which are celebratory and abstract. We had been eager to collaborate for a long time and soon after the idea of Moondust was born, we were together one evening and talked about how it would be beautiful to see their lights and our sculpting come together. It wasn’t a collaboration just for showcasing, either; we are taking it up commercially too.
“I love the thought that goes into every outfit of his. The structure highlights a woman’s curves in a sexy yet classy way, making it look like a piece of art.” — Pooja Hedge, actor.
ELLE: What was the casting process like for this show?
GG: My entire team is obsessed with Lakshmi [Rana], who closed the show. There are models and then there are couture models, who bring magic to the ramp. Rachel Bayros, Sony Kaur, Dayana Erappa, Sanea Sheikh, Aishwarya Sushmita, Archana Akil Kumar, Kanishtha Dhankhar—all these girls bring an endlessness to the garment. They really play with it; they make it longer and seemingly infinite.
ELLE: Have your silhouettes changed drastically since you started out?
GG: I don’t think they have. Some still remind me of the sketches I made when I was at Central Saint Martins [in 2003]. There’s just more of a confidence in the signature now.
ELLE: Why does the shoulder recur as a focal point in your collections?
GG: I think the shoulder is a very beautiful part of the body on which the whole mechanism rests. I like the drama of a heightened shoulder and the sensuality that the absence of one brings. Also, when drawing, you start a garment with the shoulder.
ELLE: The music you choose for your shows tends to be melancholic. Why?
GG: I find it quite chirpy! Gaurav Raina and I have been working very closely on the music for the past few shows. It has become an emotional, intense process. He feels very seriously about what we can and cannot use. I give specialists who are able to see me and the brand — and truly feel part of it — a free hand. That has been a very important journey for me.
From left, on Gupta: Cotton shirt, cotton pants; both Gupta’s own.
ELLE: You believe strongly in collaboration, don’t you?
GG: I see a lot of good in it. Collaborating takes you out of your own mundane cycle. You peep into another creative person’s way of life, which is always very liberating.
ELLE: You just launched your perfume, Again, in November. How has this new phase been for you?
GG: It’s been very exciting to launch one of the country’s first serious designer fragrances, and to take up the challenge of pioneering an unexplored segment. The perfume has more than 90 natural ingredients and embodies my forever inspiration of a dark fantasy forest.
ELLE: What do you think of red-carpet dressing in India? You’re clearly a star favourite.
GG: It’s definitely evolving. The culture of stylists and individual style is developing, and though most of it is still generic, it’s exciting to see stars who dare to explore.
ELLE: Sum up 2017.
GG: An extremely high-power year, full of intense collaborations and developments: Moondust, our fragrance, Again; creating India’s first cognitive garment with IBM, the launch of Gaurav Gupta Man. It’s been a defining year.
On Hegde: Organza dress, Rs 1,50,000, Gaurav Gupta Couture. Diamond earring, price on request, Nirav Modi
Photographs: Errikos Andreou and Jatin Kampani
Styling: Divyak D’Souza
Art direction: Prashish More
Hair And Make-Up: Tenzin Kyizom/Inega Model Management
Production: Aditi Productions
Assisted By: Riddhi Vartak, Keyuri Sangoi And Zenia Daruvala (Styling)