The youngest jury member at Mittlemoda, a maverick designer and an art geek, Gaurav Gupta is all this and more. With imagination drawn from architecture around him and a manner of thinking that elevates him to stretch the limits further, his dresses are a dream. Over the years, he has also found inspiration in surrealism. At the opening of his flagship store in Mehrauli, we caught hold of him. He spoke about his store, his take on sustainable clothing and social media.
Excerpts from the interview...
Tell us something about your store. What vision did you have for it? Who designed it?
Finding inspiration in surrealism, it is my interpretation of fantasy palace ruins, complete with mystical references and magical creatures. We envisaged our entire store around an age-old Siris tree, which we encased beautifully in a pristine glass prism, with a carefully shaped moon-roof, balancing the geometric with the poetic.
Architecturally, we envisioned bringing together the old and the new in a harmonious contrast — a Romanesque oval fountain in the centre of the store, which is outlined with curvilinear walls, beveled mirror edges are interspersed in the space to create a feeling of endlessness. The store is a deep-design collaboration with Studio Lotus.
Was designing something that you always wished to take up?
Yes, I was always interested in arts. There is no one in my family who was interested in fashion, arts, or any other similar field. My father has a business that specialises in iron and steel and he wished that I too followed, but I chose fashion. In school, I was always interested in trying my hand at sculpture, and liked to dance. Eventually, NIFT Delhi and Central Saint Martins, London happened.
How did the thought of creating something sculptural, something from drapes come about?
I believe in rhythm and sense of sensitivity, which I think is very beautiful and spiritual. That’s why these sculptures come naturally to me.
Tell us about the design and crafting process behind your sculpted garments? What techniques do you make use of? What are the key fabrics you use?
I use crepes, georgette and organza. We take up homogenous techniques of sculpting and boning, using clean lines and embroideries. We bon the fabrics with the technique of corsetry so that the fabric becomes malleable and can be sculpted into different shapes. It’s like playing around with fabric manipulation, embroidery manipulation, sculpted fabrics, and sculpted embroideries. It’s an abstract, playful process of turning something into very sophisticated and truly couture.
Does architecture inspire you?
Yes, definitely architecture inspires me. I get inspired from something like Zaha Hadid’s architecture, and Aneesh Kapoor’s art. There is no direct inspiration but it stays in my subconscious and I think what inspires me somewhere is the experience as I visit a place.
What are your views on sustainable fashion?
I think it is the need of the hour and everyone should be working towards sustainable fashion. The way I do it is, I don’t use pure fabrics such as cotton and silks for most of the collections. The anti-pollution campaign that I did last year, thinking of the extreme situation that we are in today, we put oxygen exhaling plants all around our factory and the plastic that we use in the packaging is biodegradable fruit plastic.
How do you think social media impacts you and your brand?
Social media is the primary focus of communication for any brand. It allows direct communication with the clients or with media, and with public to make them understand the philosophy of the brand and things that are happening in the brand. Today, we can put something on Instagram, and the next day there might be 20 orders of the same. It does impactour brand hugely.
Walk us through your collection, Descend?
Descend embodies all things futuristic, crystalline and wavy. The collection is inspired by the alignment of stars in a galaxy. We have employed experimental, textured elements and structures, drawing from the shape of a prism, and this construction is weaved in a way to make the woman wearing it seem more powerful. Curvilinear in form, the collection boasts of sharp details along with liberating as well as constrained silhouettes. Birds, wings, feathers and waves, and the journey of being one with nature are explored through multi-dimensional composition and forms, adding an eclectic vibe to sophisticated couture. Indigenous boning and sculpting techniques of the brand developed in-house all combine to enhance the plural dimensions of the pieces.
We have witnessed a shift in your garments, from iconic Lightfall gown to illusion gown and to recent sculpted gown seen on Anjali Lama. So, what’s in pipeline?
Currently, our focus is on menswear with GG man. We are looking at some exciting design collaborations in the coming months.