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From showing at Paris Haute Couture early this year to outfitting Beyoncé three times during her recent Renaissance tour, Gaurav Gupta has been reshaping perceptions of Indian designers. Now, his debut ready-to-wear collection has landed on its new international e-commerce site as well as in Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Moda Operandi, alongside stores in Turkey and Kuwait, as he expands his eponymous brand.
Indian designers have landed in the spotlight as recognition of the country’s craftsmanship grows. Local brand Falguni Shane Peacock made its return to New York Fashion Week this season, while Sabyasachi Mukherjee opened a flagship store in New York’s West Village last year. In September, Indian designer Rahul Mishra launched his new contemporary label AFEW Rahul Mishra during Paris Fashion Week, with the backing of the country’s largest luxury goods retailer, Reliance Brands Limited (RBL), ambitions to take it international persist. In the past two years, RBL’s parent company, as well as rival conglomerate Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, have acquired stakes in several homegrown labels.
Renowned for his sculptural, architectural and often fantastical aesthetic, Gupta embraces traditional Indian embroidery forms like zardozi, involving the use of metallic threads. This gives him a point of difference, he says. “We draw inspiration from ancient Indian philosophies but present it in a futuristic, modern avatar. It’s dramatic yet sophisticated. Our aim is to create a new fantasy — a universal language around the brand pillars of surrealism, architecture, art and Indian mythology,” he tells Vogue Business. The ready-to-wear collection spans from dresses to skirts to jackets. Dresses range in price from £910 for an asymmetric draped cocktail style to £5,060 for the Gilded Flight Tuxedo Dress, featuring antique silver embroidery.
An alumnus of London’s Central Saint Martins, Gupta made his runway debut in 2006 at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, sparking immediate interest. “It was things we had never seen before, from his architectural cuts and draping — which is, of course, part of Indian tradition — but in a cool way, as he married it with boning,” recalls stylist Gautam Kalra, who worked with the designer on his early shows. “He knows how to sculpt and flatter any body and type.”