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Gaurav Gupta Couture debuts in Paris at Fashion Week 2023

Gaurav Gupta Couture debuts in Paris at Fashion Week 2023

Few runways invoke an out-of-body experience for me; however, Gaurav Gupta Couture did precisely that in his debut at Paris Couture Fashion Week 2023. It was mystical and ethereal, and for a moment, I questioned if I deserved to witness something so otherworldly. The show was titled ‘Shunya’, a Sanskrit word that denotes the concept of zero and nothingness. This precept concurs with it an infinite number of possibilities in creating something. Gupta demonstrated this endless possibility by conceptualising fluidity, shape, and structure.

The large showroom at Palais de Tokyo was void and covered in concrete and limewash. Almost like an abandoned warehouse. Though once the models appeared, the enchanting music elucidated the motif of the runway. Handloom sculptures swirled around the model’s faces and framed their bodies in ripples and waves. Here, the avant-garde was raw and honest. And it was different without being gimmicky.  

Homage to Heritage

The Indian designer has always channelled his heritage into his work, and in this international showcase, he did so more abstractly and conceptually. As a long-time admirer of India and Hindu mythology, I thought the constructions were surreal. I observed couture fashioned in a way that reflected the enigmatic country and its history. It was sublime and a country home to ancient temples, astrology, and the Vedas (one of the oldest sacred texts in the world).

In this collection, Gupta utilised a natural and elemental palette of simple colours such as beige, blue, black and yellow. The colours were plain; the designs only used two colours at most. None of which were obnoxiously colour-blocked to catch your attention. No, Gaurav Gupta didn’t need to do that. And he didn’t need a blazing set of colours to capture the spirit of spring when every garment that graced your sight revived the dead winter.

The kundalini snake dress that meandered and intertwined with Sofija Alex Tsalei’s body emulated the magnificence within all of us as divine creations. It was hypnotic and empowering.

Gaurav Gupta

Future Primitive

Gupta described the brand’s aesthetic as ‘future primitive’. The oxymoron ironically encapsulates everything we saw at this show. With the unrefined setting, organic colours and methodical constructions, the designer fabricated the infinite beauties afforded by the universe. All the models shared a uniform look. The eye makeup used graphic liner corresponding to their apparel, and their hair slicked back high to resemble a crown. No jewellery took me a while to even realise — not that it needed any. The structures captured movement so fantastically through sculpting, draping and pleating. Unsurprisingly, you become enraptured by the realisation of his genius.

The models were extraterrestrial-like. They slithered down the catwalk with their arms swaying closely to their hips, and their blank stares penetrated your every being. Shunya. Gaurav used reflective colours like gold and silver for the last few looks. They were reminiscent of explosions, flames, shooting stars and black holes. That may be the intention. Each model is an agent of the Gaurav Gupta couture universe. Devout to delivering you a piece of the cosmos as you shrunk into your corner of humility in the face of the sublime.  

Something is Amiss

Gaurav Gupta is the third Indian designer to have ever graced fashion week. The first was Rahul Mishra back in 2020. Deemed ‘Future of Couture’ in 2003, and since the establishment of his label in 2005, it is bizarre how long his invite to Paris is considering the likes of similar couturiers like Iris Van Herpen and Issey Miyake.

Eighteen years and thirteen awards *cricket sounds*

He has dressed celebrities such as Mary J. Blige, Aishwarya Rai, and Megan Thee Stallion. I am very interested to see what other stars will be styled in this collection as the garments strive to work in tandem with the human frame to create an embodiment of art. Nevertheless, Gaurav is a one-to-watch as he contests haute couture internationally.

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