If there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that both Kala Ghoda—South Mumbai’s cultural and design hotspot—and couturier Gaurav Gupta are having a moment. The former has seen a recent surge of new flagship stores by star designers such as Anita Dongre and Shantnu & Nikhil, and the latter is fresh off his debut at Paris Fashion Week where he presented his latest collection, titled Shunya, in January. Over the last year, Gupta’s distinctive sculptural silhouettes have been spotted on several international red carpets on celebrities such as Megan Thee Stallion, Sharon Stone, and—most memorably—rapper Cardi B who stunned in a figure-hugging electric blue gown from the designer’s latest haute couture collection at the 2023 Grammys.
Since first opening in Kala Ghoda eight years ago, the label has grown to include menswear and an atelier for bespoke couture, and expanded its bridal wear collection. And so Gupta felt it was time to move to a larger space in the historic neighbourhood to accommodate its growing ambitions. Part gallery and part museum, the 5,500-square-foot, three-storey flagship is proof that he does nothing in half measures. Designed by artist-architect Vishal K. Dar, the interiors are an extension of the couturier’s signature style, which is at the convergence of fashion, art, and architecture.
Stepping over its threshold is akin to entering a spaceship or a futuristic cave— “It feels like entering a portal; it’s future-primitive,” Gupta explains. The white interior shell is crafted from Corian as a larger-than-life sculpture with curves, twists, and convex and concave shapes. It’s an extension of the concept of shunya, an interpretation of the duality between zero and infinity, the idea of limitless possibilities, which also informs Gupta’s newest collection. “I wanted to create a neutral space that could perform gallery-like functions,” says Dar.
Minimalist brass racks are deliberately positioned and generously spaced out— some peeking out from behind shells— ensuring each display does double duty as a piece of art. At the atelier on the second level, mannequins dressed in high-concept couture wear are elevated on pedestals and arranged like museum exhibits. “The surfaces change with the passing light through the day. I want visitors to feel a sense of calm and a hint of wonder,” says Dar. Gupta agrees, gently suggesting that you skip the elevator and take the stairs instead, where when the sun hits just right, you’ll find yourself ascending into a peaceful, otherworldly space.