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The Story Of Shunya : As Told By Rahul Gupta

The end of January marked the arrival of France’s most prestigious runway show, presenting only the most breath-taking, luxury apparel, crafted by the best hands in the business. Only few can boast the honour of showcasing their runway collections on the highly esteemed Paris Haute Couture runway, and designer Gaurav Gupta has officially made it to this exclusive list. Following Rahul Mishra and Vaishali Shadangule, he is officially the third Indian designer to ever present his collection at Paris Haute Couture week. This year hosted at the Palais de Tokyo; Gupta’s 2023 Spring/Summer collection simply left us in awe. He gave us everything we could have hoped for and more: cobalt blue, shimmer and sparkle, intricately handcrafted sculptures, and a gateway into his mystical, fantasy world.

Palais de Tokyo

Entry into fashion

Back home in India, Gupta is already a prominent name in the fashion industry. He reckons that his work is best defined as ‘future primitive’, combing elements of surrealism and fantasy. Future primitive sounds somewhat contradictory, but this idea is perfectly encapsulated through the striking, almost theatrical formation of his garments coupled with the more traditional techniques used for construction; the combination of the two bring his designs to life. His larger-than-life pieces defy conventions and are unforgivably bold.

That being said, how did Gupta venture into the industry and become among India’s most accomplished designers?   

After graduating from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, he founded his brand Gupta in 2005 with the support of his brother. However, breaking into the industry and catering to a traditional Indian clientele when your speciality is non-conventional, highly stylised pieces, is no easy feat. He had to subdue his artistic vision and produce items which were more commercialised, and thus befitting for his clientele. Over the course of the next 18 years, the duo successfully made their mark on the fashion world and expanded their business across New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. Gupta is highly appraised amongst his elite clientele comprising of Indian socialites, the finest actors Bollywood has to offer, and many other high profile celebrities.

In fact, perhaps, Gupta’s pieces look familiar to you ? After all this isn’t the first time that his designs have been featured on an international platform. Many A-list Hollywood celebrities such as Jennifer Hudson, Sharon Stone, and even Megan the Stallion have been seen dressed in his fantastical pieces.

Megan Thee Stallion Oscar Look

Shunya: Limitless Possibilities 

Gupta’s spring/summer collection tells the story of Shunya. Shunya originates from Sanskrit and refers to the mathematical zero, first clearly defined by acclaimed Indian mathematician Brahmagupta in 7th century India. Gupta’s collection seeks to convey the limitless possibilities between 0 and infinity through movement and sculpture. He incorporates elements of surrealism and fantasy, in his quintessential style, which is evoked through his choice of colour palette (silver, gold, yellow, electric blue) but more importantly the intricacy of his sculpture with no real beginning or end. The motif, Shunya is subtly present in each one of his 35 pieces. Every colour and sculpture has a distinct meaning, a purpose through which the onlooker begins to recognise the boundless nature of Shunya.

Show Time

After 6 painstakingly long months of rigorous seemingly endless work, Gupta made his debut on the couture fashion runway, and it was a sight to behold. In true Gupta Fashion, the silhouettes were bold, sensual yet truly magical. At first glance, we may question the representation of Indian heritage in his designs because they do seem conventionally western - but look more closely and the representation is everywhere! Truly everywhere! From the techniques, the processes, the fabrics ( banarasi brocade, organza, silk satins, and crepes), and even the concept itself, everything is an ode to his Indian heritage. One could argue that in its most authentic form, this collection represents a melange of new and old - traditional and western. His designs speak for themselves; they don’t need any accessories or added embellishments – the outfit is the star of the show and so, it makes perfect sense to not use any jewelry. The choice of graphic eyeliner coupled with the slicked-back hair further evokes Gupta’s notion of futurism. It complements each garment beautifully. This is a man who truly understands what a women wants in a dress, and he delivers.

He opens the show with these majestic beige silhouettes, carefully constructed with traditional Indian handloom tissue. These are strategically sculpted into a hooded wing-like shape and intertwined effortlessly into the dress creating a sense of continuum. He follows on with a much needed bold pop of color. Electric blue garments, some formed in the same exaggerated silhouette, appear on the runway, and are paired with these stunning legging boots. And let’s not forget the infamous nude-illusion dresses otherwise referred to as the naked dress which are made of tulle and carefully adorned with black embellishments to enhance the look. These iconic pieces were followed by some eye-catching silver and yellow options, and finally the show ended with a sequence of black garments with silver and gold lining creating the illusion of erosion; capturing movements in nature to encapsulate the idea of moving time and evolution.

SS 2023

Paving the way ….

Gaurav Gupta’s collection certainly left a lasting impression on everyone. His work shows the capabilities of International designers, and what they can offer to the western market. Fashion is constantly evolving and as Gupta paves the way for many young Indian designers to come, we can only hope to see more of his magical fantasy world in the coming months and years.

Images Credited to : artizimozo, Jordan Strauss and WWD 

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Tags: #obsessed #FutureofFashion #GauravGupta #HauteCouture


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