WWD India: The Surrealist Artist And Designer, Gaurav Gupta Is Larger Than His Fashion - Gaurav Gupta Studio
Gaurav Gupta

A Gaurav Gupta outfit is distinctly recognisable in its sculptural style, one he has been practising since junior school, and successfully selling since 2004. In an exclusive interview, Gaurav talks about his new collection ‘The Celestial Sunset’ which is all about the mystical sun, and also his relevance and futuristic approach towards the brand. He talks elaborates about the craftspeople in particular, about how the pandemic crisis will make designers focus on local ecosystems. He stresses that fashion houses will now be more conscious in their approach and truthful in their dialogue about sustainability.

For Spring Summer Couture 2021, they take inspiration from Greek mythology and the mystical sunset. The play of dusk and dawn, where the sun rises and sets—an endless circle of life. A phenomenon that is infinite, eternal and boundless—pushing narrow boundaries of shape and form far and wide.  The ensembles are envisaged as pieces of wearable art engineered with surreal designs and harmonized with a neoteric aesthetic.

The enchanting story of Hesperides and the mystical sunset for this specific collection seems to be more captivating and takes us to a world of imagination. Couture is envisaged as pieces of wearable art engineered with surreal designs and harmonized with a modern aesthetic. It all seems extremely thoughtful and the inspiration reflects well in the pieces as well as the campaign.

Read along the edited excerpts from the interview.

What drives you to design today? What inspires you season after season?

Life inspires me. The innate need to explore, experiment and the extreme high I get from creating something new.

What will be the biggest fashion trends in the next couple of years? Any prediction?

There is going to be a multiplicity in trends. I see a splurge on maximalism when people come out of the pandemic. And on the other hand, there will be a wave of sustainability and minimalism. The real dialogue is going to between sustainability and maximalism.

What are the biggest fashion mistakes Indian women generally make?

One of the biggest mistakes Indian women make is with hair and makeup. And sometimes even over-accessorising. When they are wearing a statement garment which is slightly more stylised, they should try and keep the hair and makeup more classic and minimal.

Why buying local is more essential now than ever before?

Buying local is important especially in India where we have many independent crafts sectors. Some of whose livelihood depends on international trade, which has been stagnant for a while now. It’s imperative to support them at this time.

Craftsperson have been hugely hit by Coronavirus, what can be done for them to bounce back?

When the pandemic hit, all our artisans went back to their respective villages and hometowns. Luckily, after three months, we were able to call them back. As a brand we are now trying to employ more and more crafts people outside the company as well, doing as much as we can. Giving craftsperson sustained work throughout the year is the best possible way to help them bounce back.

Has Coronavirus made us question the relevance of fashion weeks? Do we need to rethink the format?

Fashion shows will always be relevant. It is a trade necessity in the industry. Since we are living in a digital age, the format has been experimented with, especially in 2020. When we opened the first-ever digital couture week last year, we were able to narrate a brand story through our inclusive show ‘Name Is Love’.  And reflect on a cultural revolution in the country in a very interesting way. Even with a physical show hosting an audience of 500-600, there is a sense of magic, but it reaches out to millions digitally. The importance of a digital show is as much as a physical show, both support each other.

You’ve been at the forefront of developing and upcycling new textiles. Is surface the future of fashion? Is fashion done with silhouettes?

Fashion is a blank canvas, it’s art. Something could be more surface forward, something more silhouette forward and/or a balanced mix of both. The most important thing is the thought behind design.

What are the new approaches after pandemic that you have undertaken for your brand?

I see a collective consciousness rising towards the environment; a rise in environmental friendly weddings with less wastage and more conscious choices.  There’ll be real dialogue and understanding around sustainability. I, for instance, intend on using sustainable fabrics for all my couture garments and have incorporated the same values in my packaging. We have recycled landfill and ocean plastic, through a specialised process, this plastic waste is crushed and recycled into fine yarn which forms the fabric for our garment covers.The fashion industry is one of the biggest pollutants in the world, it is now the industry’s responsibility to reflect upon it and this has been a great year to not only reflect but act upon sustainability. That is the way forward for the world.

How big of an impact has e-commerce or online shopping made in high fashion?

We launched our e-commerce site last year in September where we wanted our customer to experience a luxury couture store online, see each detail and make their shortlists. A unique WhatsApp feature on our site allowsour in-house fashion stylist to have real-time consultations with the clients. We noticedthat, since travel is limited, e-commerce has become a huge supporting element in couturewhere clients are able to shortlist and consult with our stylists. And have a seamless shopping experience.

How has pandemic changed the wedding industry and the fashion trends?

I don’t think the ‘grandeur’ of weddings is discounted because they want to remember this special day all their lives. Even if the situation demands a change in the scale of the celebration, the bride still wants it to be a moment etched in time. I have had multiple virtual consultations where I have sketched and customized outfits for brides who want to go the extra mile and be dramatic and experimental.

You lay heavy focus on how the Indian craftsmanship and the industry needs to evolve. Your new collection is also a part of this vision. What do you have to say about it? Tell us about your new collection and your favourite piece out of them?

For Spring Summer Couture 2021, they take inspiration from Greek mythology and the mystical sunset. The play of dusk and dawn, where the sun rises and sets—an endless circle of life. Aphenomenon that is infinite, eternal and boundless—pushing narrow boundaries of shape and form far and wide.  The ensembles are envisaged as pieces of wearable art engineered with surreal designs and harmonized with a neoteric aesthetic.

The enchanting story of Hesperides and the mystical sunset for this specific collection seems to be more captivating and takes us to a world of imagination. Couture is envisaged as pieces of wearable art engineered with surreal designs and harmonized with a modern aesthetic. It all seems extremely thoughtful and the inspiration reflects well in the pieces as well as the campaign.

Th best part about the collection is the sunset colour palettein our amorphous forms, techniques and silhouettes make for a new couture language.

What advice would you give Gen Next designers?

My only advice is to be original, authentic and have a five year business plan to begin with.

Tell us about your digital approach towards the brand?

We have always been a digital forward brand and have been very active across all our social channels. Every campaign is planned in keeping with a detailed digital roll-out. Just recently we launched our Spring/Summer’21 collection where the digital and physical store launch worked hand-in-hand. The digital space makes the experience more immersive and the reach is limitless, it has become the biggest marketing tool for us.

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