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Ahead of his show today at Lakme Fashion Week Winter-Festive 2018, the ace designer and a proud advocate of Indian handloom heritage, Gaurang tells us about his inspiration behind his latest collection. He also shares his views on what youth can learn from the country's glorious past and the trends they should follow. Adding to that, Gaurang also reveals to us the current actresses, whose fashion sense he really likes.
Tell us something about your collection that you are going to present at the Lakme Fashion Week Winter-Festive 2018.
At this year's Lakme Fashion Week, I am presenting a collection titled 'ANUPAMA', which is a homage to the golden era of film, fashion, beauty, and grace of the 50's. It is a tribute to the era of cinema screen goddesses Meena Kumari, Madhubala, Nutan, Waheeda Rehman, Sadhana, Nargis, and Vyjayanthimala's fashion sensibilities. The 50's actresses' presence both on and off screen has always enamoured me. To me, the 50's actresses are great fashion inspiration, like sandalwood spreading fragrance all around - they were camphor glowing even in the darkness. The divas of that era not only struggled to reach their glory, but they etched a sense of style which resonates to date.
Has there been a particular inspiration behind the collection?
My inspiration for this collection sprung when I was working on the biopic 'Mahanati' of Telugu superstar Savitri, an actress par excellence. I had recreated 100 hand-woven looks for the biopic dating back to the 50s, in order to depict the actress' fashion grandeur. The presentation of 40 ensembles includes exquisite handwoven sarees and outfits from pastel tones to dark tones.
What are the fabrics that are used in your collection? Which one is the most prominent material?
We have used silks, organza, and chiffon. All are equally prominent as they reflect the beauty of the 50's era and have their own distinctive appeal.
Do you think when it comes to fashion, there is something to be learnt from the glorious past? If yes, what are those things?
Every inspiration, what we see today in handlooms emanate from the glorious Indian heritage, art, and architecture. My design inspirations are drawn from nature, history, heritage, and tales from tiny Indian villages.
There is so much to learn from the past - the weaves and techniques from West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Our heritage includes Mughal motifs and geometric patterns on khadi, chikankari embroidery, Parsi gara and patti ka kaam embroidery which involves stitching a patchwork on fabric... all of these are used on organza, muslin, khadi, and kota weaves.
On the other side, our heritage and history offer you majestic things like The Taj Mahal, temple architecture, Panchatantra stories. Take for instance my collection Samyukta, it was a collection inspired by the epic and dramatic love story of the 12th-century king Prithviraj Chauhan. The Calico collection gowns followed the silhouettes of the Belle Epoch period and Kalpavriksha, the wish-fulfilling divine tree in Hindu mythology was the inspiration. The 'Chitravali collection we presented were - (painted panoramas) an anthology of 40 handcrafted ensembles, inspired by 30 frescos from caves of Ajanta.
Speaking of youth, what are the fashion trends that they should follow?
I would love the youth to experiment with handlooms. Sarees, outfits that are handwoven. These are not only inventive, they are timeless too. The innovation in jamdani weaving what we have done have made them fashion friendly across all ages. Especially, silks, cotton, khadi, organza, and chiffons - every fabric has got a makeover and they are as trendy as one would love to be. Besides, the choice of clothing must be driven by what appeals to your personality. It must exude confidence and make way for setting an individual fashion statement. While you have the right to get inspired by the trends, what is important is to delve into whether that fits your personality.
Do you think it is disadvantageous to have a huge number of fashion weeks?
Fashion weeks do help to showcase your vision to a 'fashion-aware' audience. Yet, it is also important for fashion week to focus and help promote Indian textiles. Shows like Lakme Fashion Week have matured over the years and offer a tremendous opportunity to young emerging designers to showcase their work to a global audience. More than number, the quality of fashion shows matter. The possibilities are never-ending.
Who are the ladies from the Hindi Film Industry, whose fashion sense you really like?
I admire, Rekha, Sonam Kapoor, Kirron Kher, Vidya Balan, Deepika Padukone, Taapsee Pannu, and Keerthy Suresh. They are strong ambassadors of the Indian handlooms.
What personality of a woman do you like to bring out through your ensembles?
Confidence and the ability to garner applause whenever they wear Indian handlooms as a bride, groom, office goer or like being just casual. My clothes are functional and incorporate fashion aspirations of all age groups.