Why he matters: This couturier’s remarkable rise to global stardom is marked by showcases at Paris Haute Couture Week and becoming the go-to designer for world-renowned personalities with his signature sculptural gowns. Radhika Bhalla delves deep into his ambitions, creative vision and the painstaking attention to detail each fitting requires.
First it was rapper Saweetie in 2019 for the pre-Grammys party, then former Miss Universe and actor Olivia Culpo at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant, and Wyclef Jean at the 2020 Grammys. The past few years have been couturier Gaurav Gupta’s oyster, and his recent Paris Couture Week showcases have only catapulted him to the peak of success. However, this is just the beginning, he says.
In an exclusive with HELLO!, Gupta talks about his international outings, dressing and fitting for global stars, and how the dream all began. But before we discuss these, I’m curious—has GG (as he is fondly known) always been ambitious, or has success and fame called upon him unexpectedly?
“Yes, of course I’ve been ambitious!” he pronounces. “Taking the brand international was always the plan, from the very beginning. While studying at Central Saint Martins (from 2001 to 2003), I began to attend Paris Fashion Week. I attended Issey Miyake’s show and even worked backstage with Hussein Chalayan. That’s where it all started, somehow.”
In January 2023, Gupta made his debut at the Spring/Summer Haute Couture Week in Paris, with his collection, ‘Shunya.’ The sculptural gowns in vivid indigo, green, beige, silver, gold and black put him in the higher echelons of global fashion.
“I was on a plane, about to take off for a work meeting, when I got a phone call informing me that I was going to showcase at PFW. It was all very sudden and poetic,” he recounts.
Ever since the debut, the internet has been abuzz with celebrity sightings of the collection—rapper Cardi B made a statement in a custom creation at the 2023 Grammys; actor Sharon Stone wore a piece for Sam Smith’s performance of ‘Gloria’ at Saturday Night Live; Chinese actor Bingbing Fan was photographed twice in his pieces at the 2023 Berlin International Film Festival; and Jenna Ortega of Wednesday fame and Ashley Park from Emily In Paris sealed the stamp of approval when both wore his blue dresses in March this year.
Speaking about how Cardi B selected the blue gown to wear to the 2023 Grammys, Gupta shares, “Cardi’s stylist, Kollin Carter, had attended our showcase in Paris. That’s where he selected the blue sculptural dress. After the show, we aligned our creative vision to add a satin silk skirt at the bottom.”
But putting a look together for an international artist takes a lot of attention to detail to ensure it’s delivered in time.
“It happened so quickly,” Gupta reveals, “We had to ship the dress from India to LA for fittings. There are many rounds of fittings, which were all aced by Hema of Maison Bose. She takes care of all VIP dressing for us internationally.”
In fact, Hema Bose, who founded Maison Bose, was instrumental in helping Gupta style Megan Thee Stallion at the 2022 Oscars, as well.
“We had just started working with Maison Bose, and it was our very first project together. Megan’s stylist is Hema’s good friend, like a mentor, and it all happened very organically. We sketched a few artworks and then made this garment inspired by a mystical sea creature that transported the red carpet into a fantasy realm,” Gupta shares.
The same year, Gupta had created a gown for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s Cannes appearance, considered one of her finest fashion moments at the film festival. Given that this was for her 20th year at the French Riviera, it had to be all the more special.
“We wanted to create something that denoted hope, birth, and beauty. This was right after what the world had gone through in the past few years due to Covid-19, and we wanted to celebrate life and art,” Gupta states, philosophically. The sketch, he informs, was inspired from Sandro Botticelli’s famous painting, ‘The Birth of Venus’ (1485-86), with the shell-like structure behind the shoulder symbolising Venus’s rise from the scalloped shell.
“It took 20 days and over 100 craftspeople to create the outfit. It was kind of nonstop work, with sleep breaks in the middle…” Gupta shares.
With all these wins in quick succession, one would assume that Gupta would rest on his laurels. But there’s no stopping him. In July, the couturier presented his Autumn/Winter 2024 collection at Paris Haute Couture Week, where Cardi B showed up in another GG creation—this time, a dramatic green gown.
“She was actually planning to leave a day before our show, but God had special plans for us. In the midst of the show’s hustle and bustle, we conducted a fitting with her around 1pm, followed by a complicated round of alterations that we somehow managed by stalling the show for an hour!” Gupta exclaims.
Along with his phenomenal rise, Gupta has also been on an inward journey, one that’s given him a deeper perspective on success.
“It feels beautiful. And I feel content,” he says with a smile, which has us thinking… What could be a truer mark of good fortune?
To see who else is on the list, grab the copy of HELLO! India’s August 2023 issue right here!