Fabric to Finish

From stitching to fittings,Somya Lakhani followed the making of designer Gaurav Gupta's couture collection,which he will showcase tonight at an off-site show.

Written by Somya Lakhani | Published: August 9, 2012 1:30:16 am

On Tuesday evening,at the Taj Palace Hotel in Delhi,as models gear up for final fittings,designer Gaurav Gupta mutters a subtle apology about starting work late on the collection he will showcase tonight. The 33-year-old Delhi-based designer,who is best known for his edgy couture and his interpretation of the lehenga-gown,talks to himself as he hands out the pieces — a model’s height is the deciding factor behind what she gets to wear. Gupta holds parallel discussions on hair and make-up,shoes,choreography,music and the show’s staging,even as he and veteran choreographer Vidyun Singh debate the line-up of models and garments.

Couture on the ramp may have become a familiar story but long before the first row preens,there’s the less glamorous story of the making of couture.

A week before Gupta’s show,the scene in his Noida office-cum-workshop appeared a bit deceptive,untouched by any flurry. But as the designer entered the building and got engrossed in animated discussions with his staff,the collection began to take shape. “The collection is an amalgamation of different cultures and art movements across the world. For instance,Rococo,an 18th century art movement that took place in Europe. There are also Mughal art influences,” he said. The range comprises draped,grand and opulent gowns with intricate embroidery,flowy lehenga-gowns and saris with heavy embellishments.

The office was messy — one wall displayed 30-32 rough sketches,while another had swatches of fabric in tonic pink,watermelon,yellow and saffron. “I may eventually not use yellow at all. Preparations go on till the very last minute,” he warned us. Wasn’t he right? Because even during the fittings on Tuesday,he had to tell the models to wear their own heels as shoes for this collection hadn’t yet arrived. And even as the clothes went from fabric to fabrication,Gupta was busy figuring out the guest list and choosing models.

A shaky staircase from inside his office leads to the workshop where darzis and masterjis were hard at work. “Ek hi use karte hain,it looks so Bollywood otherwise,” he quipped,while assessing silver patches on a neon pink ensemble. That was seven days before the show and we found Gupta so under-prepared. Will he make it in time?

But on Tuesday,unending yards of the fabric had miraculously mutated into an almost-ready collection. Sure,one tube blouse was loose,one sari-gown was tight,a jacket needed to be fitted and the shoes were much awaited. Yet,as a model said when she came out of the trial room wearing a white ensemble,“I love it,Gaurav.”

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