Delhi’s proverbial sartorial destination – Mehrauli — bustling with flagship stores of the likes of Anita Dongre, Tarun Tahiliani and others, now has a new neighbour — couturier Gaurav Gupta, who has opened a cavernous 5,000 square feet store, housing his label’s couture and demi-couture line. Simple letters in gold against a white backdrop are the only indicators to the store, in which, upon entry, one is greeted by a tree encased in a glass prism, allowing lot of natural light into the area. “We wanted the prism to be feminine and blend with the store. The natural light gives a sense of lightness of being,” says Gupta, a few hours before the big opening last week.
A mammoth metallic slate-grey water fountain also has its place of pride in the centre of the store and has separate alcoves branching out, sectioning off menswear, demi couture and womenswear. The store evokes a sense of a Graece-roman ruin, in the middle of restoration. There are small sculptures — of cupids and their ilk, engraved on the white-grey walls. The furniture blends animal figurines with a minimalist aesthetic. Marble-topped side tables with serpentine legs and a seating arrangement with the beaks of a heron as armrests are placed around the store along with blush grey pouffes. “Our aesthetic itself, be it the brand’s sense of design is future primitive. The overarching feeling that you get is that of a restored ruin of a palace, but what are we restoring is actually a fantasy. This is my fantasy, my brand’s fantasy. I think I have started seeing the brand as a separate person, maybe like an imaginary friend,” says Gupta, who adds, “I wanted this flagship space to be much more luxurious than our other stores. The table tops are not wood, but marble, the metal used is not antique but silver and gold, and the floor is marble as well. We wanted to create a sense of surrealism in an old-world setting,” adds the designer.
The store has also given ample space to menswear. For these ensembles, Gupta has used his trademark boning technique to create structured lapels for jackets, and has used Banarsi brocade to create a snakeskin pattern for a formal suit. There are also shoes, which have sequined motifs of planets on them. The same are being sported by Karan Johar these days.
Gupta has always manifested his fascination with structure, shape, and space in his designs. The same vision can be seen in the store as well. There also plans to retail Gupta’s furniture and accessories line, which will be launched soon from the store. “I want to design entire cities. If someone could approach me. I am heavily inspired by Antoni Gaudi, (Spanish architect), whom I even rate better than Dali. So similarly, I wish to design empires. Who knows,” says Gupta with a smile.