What is the future of Indian clothes? How should our indigenous silhouettes evolve and adapt to encompass the style requirements of the new breed of global Indians who want to explore their sartorial roots but without the heaviness of occasion-led embellishments and opulent textiles?
To answer these questions, Gaurav Gupta meditated on the elements that are unique to Indian design: embellishments and textiles. And to that, he added his love of fluid-structural construction for his Spring 2019 presentation, the (Un)folding.
Bringing together the delicacy of handwoven fabrics with the sharpness of Gaurav’s signature gravity-defying pattern making, this collection includes many firsts for the brand. Lucknawi Chikankari makes an appearance, draped into demi-couture dresses through careful origami folding. As does a particular tone of yellow that’s traditionally called ‘basanti’, literally the essence of sunlit Spring. Hints of Benaresi brocade underscore a light, almost dream-like collection of occasion wear, perfect for a destination wedding. In keeping with the lightness of Chikankari — an ideal technique for Spring-design — the colour palette features mostly pastel shades like candy yellow, space blue, lavender, sand pink, frost blue and coin grey.
True to his theatrical sensibilities, Gaurav created his own rendition of an opulent musical at the Royal Opera House. His eternal muse and best friend, poetess Navkirat Sodhi introduced the show with spoken prose, illustrating the designer’s creative spirit as he embarks on his 15th year in the industry this year. ‘Kill pain with couture’ she recited, as she performed mid-air in an embroidered bustier worn over an elongated sheer skirt.
A vision in shadow grey, actress Tabu opened the show in a gown fashioned of organza with a strapless boned bodice, gathered in an origami folded technique. Strategically placed all over her tulle skirt were handmade 3D flowers in organza and soft georgette, glammed up with a judicious scattering of crystals. What followed were an elegant yet progressive assortment of playful dresses, pantsuits, sari-gowns, and eveningwear for women, embellished with delicate pearl embroidery, bugle beads and the designer’s signature style of sculptural boning.
Even his menswear featured Chikankari in unexpected ways, juxtaposed with glamorous velvets and jacquards. Inspired by costume-like regalia, GG Man presented formal tuxedos, bandhgalas and sherwanis embellished with studs and spikes, with addition of pearl embroidery. The show was brought to a dramatic crescendo with the brand’s menswear muse and director-producer Karan Johar walking the ramp in a custom-made red velvet tuxedo, accented with contrast boning on the shoulder and broad lapels, carrying stud embroidery in a fluid manner. He wore this over a Gaurav Gupta’s signature, the Orion shirt, with a band collar and no buttons.
Elaborating on his vision for a powerful, glamorous Spring’19, Gaurav explained "My aim is to continuously innovate. This collection is an unfolding of a new chapter, unfolding of a new idea of demi-couture and unfolding of a new way of employing traditionally Indian textile. It’s a metaphor that fuels the need to venture into uncharted avenues for the brand and myself”.
The show also saw in attendance, some of Gaurav’s friends and muses through the years; Pooja Hegde, Diana Penty, Mandira Bedi, Antara and Mohit Marwah, Sabina and AD Singh and Ramona Narang amongst others.