Gaurav Gupta’s Debut Paris Couture Week Presentation Was All Guts & Glory


Breaking free from the traditionally conditioned couture in India, designer Gaurav Gupta found his ground zero (quite literally) at the Paris Haute Couture Week—where he showcased his debut collection, ‘Shunya’. Invited by the prestigious Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, Gaurav is the second Indian designer to have received this honour.

This moment for Gaurav was 25 years in the making, even before he became a student at Central Saint Martin. The curious couturier was enamoured by the bustling backstage, almost certain he’d make his way to the front. Cut to 2023, still reeling from the euphoria of his first-ever Paris Couture Week show, Gaurav takes a moment to pause and talks to ELLE about this rollercoaster journey and what it took.

While it was a decade and a half in the making for Gaurav, 2022 catapulted him into a whole different league. When Meghan Thee Stallion arrived at last year’s Oscar red carpet and topped most of the best-dressed lists in a custom-made sculpted GG number, he positioned himself amongst the heavy-weights of Hollywood by dressing a body-positive celebrity in a form-flattering number that accentuated her curves, as opposed to wrapping her in drapes. “Last year was a fantastic year for the brand, we weren’t just dressing celebrities because they were stars, they are also some of the most people influential people in society. People who stand for the right thing—like global superstars Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion who have done so much for the body positivity movement. Paris was always on our manifestation chart and you can surely say that this timing is just perfect,” shared Gaurav.

As fairytale-esque, as it may seem for Gaurav, the road to Paris Couture week, was intense and time-consuming. Making it to the federation’s list is no mean feat, not many Indian designers have passed the litmus test. But if it means coming toe-to-toe with legends like Daniel Roseberry of Schiaparelli and Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino, the ringer is definitely worth it. “It takes a long time and multiple processes to get in when applying to all these places. With a different set of verification to make it to the list. I mean, they get everything checked to get a new person on the list. We have been really fortunate and blessed to make it to the final calendar and represent our country. What’s more prestigious than showcasing at the Paris Haute Couture week, is making it to the calendar with such icons on the side.”


Back home, Gaurav’s clientele boasts of the experimental bride who doesn’t want to wear a conventional lehenga but still wants to retain certain elements. Enters Gaurav, whose monumental structures on contemporary silhouettes have carved a hybrid niche of its own. Known for his engineered sculptures and for adding fluidity to form—Gaurav’s creativity at Paris Couture Week came without a clause. The designer sheds light on the method to his madness, “My design process begins with a return to the brand’s core elements—structural draping in a much-elevated form. This is the first time we have used Indian handwoven tissues and brocade to form our shapes and signature sculpting. We have experimented with melting crystal embroidery, Almost every garment has something new to offer.”


Presented at the Palais De Tokyo in Paris, Gaurav’s line of ambitious couture was inspired by the humbling Sanskrit word ‘Shunya.’ Discovered in India many centuries ago, The contrasting ability of ‘Shunya’ to be still and nothing while also embodying infinite possibilities in studies of space and time is what Gaurav tried to capture through this collection. “For our first showcase on the official calendar, I wanted to delve deeper into the mindscape and come up with a concept which is subliminal in thought and original in form,” explained Gaurav on his unusual choice of influence.


Frozen strokes of dancing wind in infinite forms are sculpted in gold and silver handwoven tissue – the set of twin dresses in silver is an embodiment of this.

Exaggerated sculptural draping in electric blue satins, chiffons and organzas first caught our eye. This out of the ‘blue’ choice of hue worked in Gaurav’s favour, as it took him out of his gold and ivory comfort palette, adding a sense of futurism. Having said that, frozen ornate strokes dancing on sculpted gold and silver handwoven tissue, carved into a set of twin dresses, bore the imprint of Gaurav’s trademark.


To run wild and free with his imagination, Gaurav brought his A-team to lean on. While designing art-like structures was his department, binding his whole show together took an army of experts he is thankful for. “Working with such beautiful teams has been really exciting for me. First and foremost, my internal team which has become a close-knit family, a large family though. Because we’ve all been working till late at night and travelling to other countries together, we’ve become closer to each other and to me. Secondly, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with some of the most reputed names in the industry here, such as Georgia, my stylist and Laila, the casting director. Not to forget the hair and makeup team and PR team making it all possible for me. The level of professionalism and depth with which these people go into their own part of the skillset has been incredible and a lot to learn from.”

For any other designer, the question ‘what next?’ may have been too soon after executing a gigantic show of this stature—but for Gaurav, it only fuels the fire further. “Many exciting things are in the pipeline. You will definitely see some massive projects and collaborations come to life this year. As a brand, we are also focusing on a robust international retail and distribution expansion plan,” Gaurav excitedly concludes as he returns to celebrate the first milestone of a year that has many waiting for him.

For more on couture week, read here.









- Junior Digital Editor


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