Designer of the moment, Gaurav Gupta, talks to us about dressing up Aishwarya for Cannes Film Festival, his jet-setting clients, his globally appealing design aesthetic, and his own trips around the world. By Chirag Mohanty Samal
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan looked ethereal as she walked down the red carpet on day 3 of the Cannes Film Festival. The sculpted gown in a pastel pink hue that she wore stood out for its impeccable form, construction and detailing. And Delhi-based couturier, Gaurav Gupta, who designed this custom look, managed to create another spectacle on an international red carpet. The gown made with thousands of glass beads and crystals and adorned with intricate embroidery all over is inspired from Italian artist Botticelli’s famous painting. Gupta beautifully fused fashion with art to create what he calls The Venus Sculpture. “We live for art. We wanted to create magic, and Aishwarya’s timeless beauty has an almost other worldly charm, she inspires stories, says Gupta who presented Aishwarya as “the new-concept Venus”.
Gupta’s love for spectacle and sculpture is well known. In his 17 years in the industry, he has blended futuristic designs and cutting-edge techniques to create a unique body of work. So, when Cardi B appeared in the music video remix of the song, No Love, the singer wanted an ensemble that represented elements of nature and chose a translucent, sculpted gown by Gupta. Likewise, Meghan Thee Stallion turned to a metallic mermaid gown designed by Gupta for the Oscars red carpet. The designer spoke to us about dressing these modern-day icons, among other things.
EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW:
T+L India: Tell us about the idea behind the outfits of Cardi B and Meghan Thee Stallion?
Gaurav Gupta: We were approached for Meghan Thee Stallion’s gown just 10 days before the event. She wanted an extraordinary piece that would make a statement for her Oscars debut. We drew inspiration from underwater creatures, and we [also] wanted to represent our brand’s signature sculpting. We did a few sketches, zeroed down on a look, and one of our team members flew to LA with the biomorphic gown. It was a magical moment for us, as it was the first time our outfit was on the Oscars red carpet. For Cardi B’s outfit, we got the request through an international press agency in LA. Cardi B’s stylist, Kollin Carter, spotted one of our sculpting dresses in the showroom and fell in love with the technique and form. He wanted something ground- breaking for a music video. Since the video was about elements of nature, Cardi is representing wind and air with the translucent garment we crafted for her.
T+L India: We often see a blend of fashion and architecture in your creations. Do you get influenced by the places you visit on your travels?
Gaurav Gupta: Yes, I often get inspired. I remember experiences like visiting Sequoia National Forest in California to witness trees larger than life and islands in Indonesia where I went diving. In terms of architecture, Antoni Gaudí’s work in Spain, Zaha Hadid’s architecture, and Gothic buildings in Prague are inspiring. I think architecture, culture, fashion, form, and art run together.
T+L India: What are your tips for creating a travel wardrobe that works in any part of the world?
Gaurav Gupta: A dressy linen jacket works anywhere. I always carry mine, although it’s a bit deconstructed. One must carry their swimming trunks even if they are travelling for a day. One’s wardrobe should speak of their personal style. One should consider layering during travel. They can be paired with different kinds of bags for different days and travels.
T+L India: Which has been your most jet-setting holiday?
Gaurav Gupta: I visited the Andamans and gifted myself an experience on my birthday. I had planned a week’s stay but extended it by a couple of weeks. I accomplished 20 dives in 21 days and became an advanced diver. Now, I look forward to diving all over the world.
T+L India: Which is your favourite city for shopping?
Gaurav Gupta: I don’t have a particular city in mind for shopping. I like to discover flea markets and young brands. But I do like London.
T+L India: Which is your favourite restaurant and cuisine?
T+L India: Which places are on your travel bucket-list?
Gaurav Gupta: I want to visit the Arctic belts, see the Northern Lights, travel to Egypt, Greece, and Africa.
T+L India: What is your happiest travel memory?
Gaurav Gupta: Back in Indonesia, our boat was parked and several bats flew out of the meadows. That was an exhilarating moment.
T+L India: Do you like laid-back holidays or are you an active explorer?
Gaurav Gupta: I’m a bit of both; it depends on my mood. My schedules run busy, hence my travels are mixed with a friend’s wedding or an event that I turn into a holiday. I prefer local experiences, historic monuments, getting lost amid nature—deep in the woods or trekking on desert mountains or diving into an ocean.
T+L India: What are your must-have travel essentials?
Gaurav Gupta: Skincare is important while travelling, because it’s difficult to find the brands we usually use in different parts of the world. Various types of credit cards, sunglasses, [and] comfortable walking and training shoes are important too.
T+L India: At T+L, we believe that people make places. Any places that you felt connected to?
Gaurav Gupta: I feel connected to most parts of the world, but especially Rome, Los Angeles, Ooty, Ladakh, Prague, and Tokyo.
T+L India: Any destination that had a lasting impact on you?
Gaurav Gupta: It’s Finland, I went to the Hitis island there. It was an interesting trip as they (the locals) had a starkly different culture. The island was scarcely populated, and just the amount of space and quietness was unnerving. But it helps you connect with another part of yourself.