Gaurav Gupta: ‘I wanted to come up with a new aesthetic in jewellery’
4 min read.Updated: 10 Aug 2019, 09:20 AM ISTSohini Dey
Couturier Gaurav Gupta has launched a fine jewellery brand in association with Ahmedabad-based Occasions Fine Jewellery
Gupta is also set to open two new stores in Hyderabad and Kolkata
We have very ambitious goals—I think we are one of the strongest voices of Indian fashion, and we (can) be one of the strongest businesses as well," says designer Gaurav Gupta, during a 4pm lunch. It’s Monday, and Gupta has been far too busy for a timely meal at his flagship store in Delhi, a sprawling space behind Qutub Minar, attending to clients and overseeing the arrival of Undercurrent, his new couture collection. The biggest spotlight, however, is on the sparkling diamond jewellery displayed in the atelier, designs from the new jewellery brand he has created in partnership with Ahmedabad-based Occasions Fine Jewellery.
Gupta extends his distinctive sensibility to 50 pieces spread across three collections, Feather, Infinity and Forest, each recreating an aspect of the sculptural couture he has come to be known for. Marking 15 years of Gupta’s eponymous brand, this new venture is part of the designer’s expansion plans into new categories— apart from jewellery, he also mentions GG Groom, his menswear label which accounts for about 25% of his business. The designer is also preparing to open new stores in Hyderabad and Kolkata.
Gupta spoke to Lounge about the inspirations and techniques behind his jewellery, using a franchisee model for expansion and what it takes for Indian fashion brands to go global. Edited excerpts:
How did the new jewellery brand come about ?
I have wanted to do it for a long time. I have this obsessive need to design everything around me—like I designed this store myself.
When I see our brides and clients wearing our couture gowns and lehngas, I find the (traditional) jewellery they wear is very mismatched. Also, a lot of precious jewellery in India is sourced. That’s the reality—brands can keep saying they have designed it but we know they are being manufactured somewhere in Mumbai, Ahmedabad or other places. There’s a lot of copying from Pinterest and international brands. I don’t like that borrowed aesthetic. I wanted to come up with a new aesthetic in jewellery.
How is creating jewellery different from designing clothes, and what was the process like?
After I graduated from Central Saint Martins (London), I did jewellery design projects for Italian companies in Vicenza. So I do have exposure to jewellery design. Authentic design language can lend itself to different things, but, obviously, jewellery has a technical side—for instance, how does gold mould?
I have to say that our partners, Occasions Fine Jewellery, have literally been able to translate our aesthetic into reality. Some of the moulds have been broken up to seven times just to get the correct design. It’s the kind of obsession and detailing we put in our clothes. In our Liberation necklace, every link is polished and made separately and then the diamonds are studded. The processes are very intense—it’s difficult to copy as well (laughs).
We have also taken diamonds and cut them in our own shapes—this is the first time diamond jewellery (in India) has been designed and made in a way that can be called couture.
What are some of the inspirations and techniques behind the pieces?
I love the Liberation necklace—it is one of our star pieces. It has 8,000 diamonds in different cuts and sizes, in layers of rose gold and white gold. Every link had a different mould and was made specially—it’s also bendable. I can imagine Khaleesi or Cleopatra wearing it. The Kaleidoscope ear-cuffs are almost elf-like in their structure while the dangling part resembles a kaleidoscope. I also love the Artemis necklace, which has leaves inspired by art noveau. It also has a cosmic quality—that’s why I named it Artemis, after the goddess.
You also have new stores coming up in Hyderabad and Kolkata. What made you choose those locations?
Hyderabad has been a huge market for us for about five years. (Businesswoman and GVK Projects board member) Pinky Reddy’s daughter wore us for her sangeet and so did Pinky. A lot of families wear us in Hyderabad—it is the third biggest fashion market in the country, after Delhi and Mumbai. In Kolkata, we have a promising partnership with entrepreneur Aditya Poddar (of Wellside Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd)—his belief in our brand and the franchise promise was very attractive.
These stores are based on a franchisee model—we have local partners investing in the brand and working with us as partners.
What kind of clientele do you have beyond the metropolitan cities?
I just had a client here from Indore and my client this morning was from Bengaluru. We get clients from Nagpur, Raipur, Kochi, even Lucknow sometimes—it is all over the country now.
We also have clients from London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore—wherever there are Indians. And many people from the Middle East fly in for appointments. They usually get gowns from us.
What would it take for an Indian brand to go global, especially in terms of design?
It’s not just design—it’s also strategy, business, planning, investment and infrastructure. We ask why Indian fashion isn’t going global but it is only 30 years old. European fashion is 250 years old. Even global Japanese brands don’t have the same scale as a French or Italian brand.
Design-wise, it is important to be original—a brand needs to offer something that hasn’t been done before. You have to have a brand ethos and need to be able to do both couture and ready-to-wear.