“Love is what’s kept everyone going. Simple. Pure. Powerful. Love and Hope. It’s what’s ruled my mindspace,” Gaurav Gupta says to me about how he’s coped during the past few months. A few minutes ago, the Delhi-based, Central Saint Martins trained designer, opened India Couture Week’s digital edition. His showing—a film titled Name is Love, is an ode to the most primal human emotion.
50 womenswear looks. 20 menswear looks. And 50 pieces of jewellery were all created in an incredibly tight time frame, with Gupta and his team working feverishly till the last moment. “I was confused for the first few months during the lockdown. I kept asking myself, what the rest of the year would bring but my brides and clients were looking to me for a new collection? And that gave me the renewed energy to create.”
For a designer who is known for his sculptural, sometimes subversive take on fashion, the collection has notes of classicism. He concurs. “I wanted to make it very Gaurav Gupta, everything I love, but I always wanted to discover new palettes and details. There’s this cerise pink, a bright emerald, a sunset orange gown that I just love. The black and whites, are really prompting me to explore doing an entire monochrome collection. We’ve played with organza, voluminous ruffles, our trademark bugle beading, fabric manipulation… it’s a fine balance between couture forms and detailing.”
But back to the film, his medium to showcase his narrative. What came first, the clothing or the casting? “The concept of love came first, and we really wanted to explore and celebrate all kinds of love. The casting, really came organically,” he says about the diversity in stories that include a young lesbian couple, Anjali and Manauti; an 18 year old trans-male; model Anjali Lama; jewellery designer Nitya Arora and more. Poet Navkirat Sodhi, who also makes an appearance, provided the musical poetry that serves as the soundtrack.
As he charts the next few months ahead, he says that this collection gave him a renewed sense of purpose. “It’s full of hope, glamour, drama. Quintessential GG. It’s been the most emotional time, getting back to the studio. Getting back our team, our craftsman, and realising that we could hold on to their talent. It just really reiterates the belief that the power of creativity really comes together, even during the most challenging times.”