“While living in the middle of a pandemic the only emotion that drives us is love” Gaurav Gupta’s press note states at the beginning. While love may be the only emotion driving us, the main sentiment running across fashion of late has been inclusivity. Gupta’s previous couture show ‘Name Is Love’ started the moment that perfectly encapsulates the two sensibilities; and now with ‘Universal Love’ for Couture 2021/22, the New-Delhi based couturier has pushed love beyond definitions and identities through the cosmos.
Gaurav Gupta is known for his deftly sculpted masterpieces that amalgamate couture with architectural precision. And his inherent design language grounded in fluid expression is visible throughout ‘Universal Love’. The collection seemingly echoes the dialogue surrounding sexualities and gender fluidity that it is centred around with the array of silhouettes and patterns extending the inclusivity conversation to all genders, body types, and identities.
While love may be the collection’s driving force, Gupta draws inspiration from the expansiveness and grandeur of the cosmos. The brilliance of a million stars, the movement of planets, glittering meteor showers and comets are all embedded into the fabric itself taking the form of abstract galactic embroidered and rhythmic structures. A Neptune blue gown exhibits flying comets with measured embroidery strokes while a ball gown with a multi-layered skirt features a rain shower patterned embroidery. A violet gown with fan-like constructions across the torso adds fluidity to the sleek, modern silhouette while a hybrid sari features carefully pleated waves. Crafted in silk crepe, organza, silk dupion, silk georgettes, and tulle, the collection glitters in a celestial palette of space greys, midnight blues, brilliant violets, soft pinks, and gleaming golds.
For Gaurav Gupta Man, also featured in the film, the collection takes a starker but sultrier turn with tuxedos, bandhgalas, jackets, and flared trousers. The cosmos inspiration is evident in the linear details running across jackets forming constellations and the velvet tuxedos edged with sharp metallic accents.
The film was shot at the ‘Mirror of the Sky’- Taj Falaknuma which mirrors the coalescence of the modern with ancient heritage reflected in Gupta’s couture. Featuring a diverse cast, the film wove an inclusive narrative that manifested the undercurrent of Gupta’s collection that there is always a reason to keep celebrating love in all its forms, ages, sizes, shapes and colours.