Gaurav Gupta creates sculpture-like garments inspired by infinity for his Paris Haute Couture debut
Indian designer Gaurav Gupta's first show on the official Paris Haute Couture Week calendar, on its fourth and final day, was imbued with his lavish sculpture-like designs that combine his country's ancestral techniques with his futuristic vision of fashion. An elaborate display of glamour worthy of the most prestigious red carpets.
An industrial style room at the Palais de Tokyo, Europe's largest contemporary art centre, welcomed 280 guests on Thursday to view 35 looks from his stunning Spring/Summer 2023 collection entitled "Shunya", which means zero in Sanskrit. Zero was discovered in India centuries ago, and for Gupta, this discovery "expanded our vision of time, space, science and everything".
"The whole universe opened up in that moment. I'm discovering subliminal inspiration about zero and infinity and that's what I'm representing in different ways throughout this collection," Gupta told FashionNetwork.com after the show.
The first part of his show was devoted to short and long silver dresses that danced in the wind, as if "frozen in time", as the designer put it himself. The models seemed to command the giant waves of organza that rose stiffly above their heads and enveloped their figures in billowing shapes and crystal beads, revealing various parts of their bodies. A dramatic silver cape with large satin pleats and a long train made its way down the catwalk to accompany a long gown with a thigh-high slit and V-neckline.
Another part of the show was marked by electric blue in "futuristic" sculptural pieces, as Gupta described them, in chiffon, satin and organza. There were cut-out dresses over shimmering tights, skirts with trains that trailed nonchalantly across the floor and sleek, midriff-baring tops.
Then came the black 'naked dresses' that played with transparencies and embroidery emulating lava and waves that expertly covered up private areas. One of the looks was covered with 'kundalini' snake embroidery, the Sanskrit word for serpent, which represents feminine energy, happiness and balance. These snakes were entangled and hung over a long asymmetrical dress with a deep neckline, a slit at the groin and an almost bare back.
The snake was also seen in a bright yellow colour on silver dresses that coiled around the snake. Bright yellow was also seen on crystal beaded dresses and on a sophisticated pantsuit.
"The finale was about Egypt and time, the gold, the black, the metal," Gupta said of the runway show.
By this time, a black dress with gold metallic accents that resembled sunbeams appeared. It had a plunging neckline and straps that rested on the shoulders, plus a pleated veil in a champagne shade that fell down on either side, resembling a trompe l'oeil. The dress also had a thigh-high slit that revealed a mesh fabric with the same motif as the dress, further elongating the silhouette.
Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha closed the show wearing a glittering crystal-studded gold gown with a voluminous matching cape and, like the other models, she sported vertiginous heels and graphic eyeliner.
When asked by FashionNetwork.com which Indian handicraft technique he would like to preserve and show to the world, Gupta said: "Handloom brocade. The one Coco was wearing was a handloom brocade.... I love handloom weaving, but then I like to put my own spin on it."
After this first venture in Paris, Gupta, who founded his eponymous label in 2005 and has a 200-person atelier in New Delhi, has his sights set on developing more projects in the City of Light. According to the designer, his brand has already set up "a gradual and sensible global expansion plan", which means that he is planning to open a flagship store in the French capital within the next "2 to 3 years". A fact that will surely delight his international clientele.
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