By Erin Moonyeen Haley
When Cardi B hit her mark on the red carpet at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards, she did so with an innate understanding of what she was wearing and how to make it work. Wearing an electric blue Gaurav Gupta gown, the singer looked destined for an intergalactic operetta - think cult classic Fifth Element - all thanks to an architectural dress with sweeping orbits of turbulent indigo fabric. The silhouette was offset by a cinched peacock-blue satin bodice that gave some peekaboo effects of skin, sequins, and fluid lines that defied gravity.
It wasn't the first time that Cardi B. wore a Gupta original to make a statement. In her extended version of "No Love", she wears a nude organza confection with a Renaissance-Era-meets-sea-siren collar that arches from the back of the neck in a queenly prop that signifies regal excellence. Paired with the diaphanous skirt, the ensemble gives her a leggy mermaid effect even as she stands in a field of crimson poppies.
As a designer, Gupta likes to turn the world into a phantasmagoric playground, with shows that are pioneering infusions of "light design, larger than life sculptures, immersive theater and experimental poetry." His list of celebrity devotees is growing. In addition to being invited to showcase his style and elaborate headdresses at London's Animal Ball in 2019 (hosted by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall),
his looks have been embraced by such superstars as Meghan Thee Stallion who stunned at Oscars '22 in what was hailed as a fantasy biomorphic gown with froths of crystal-encrusted fabric engineered to spill in blue-gray tiers. A true craftsman, Gupta spent roughly 1,500 hours constructing the gown.
At the Cannes Festival 2022, Italian actress Catrinel Marion stunned in an Emerald Shell Sculpture gown with a thigh-high slit and a bodice that fanned out just above the décollage in a synthetic palm frond arraignment.
At the HelloBeautiful Interludes live cover in 2022, Ashanti was another Gupta siren, this time in an asymmetrical miniskirt with a waist sash that would almost be reminiscent of 1980s party girl glamour, except for the signature sculpted bodice where the wave crests in a metallic, pearlized gray upsweep at the chin. Appropriately, the dress is called the Anthracite Coral Sculpture gown.
Priyanka Chopra Jones might have been among the first celebs to wear Gupta's gowns, a testament to the fact that he always has been and will always be popular in his native India, even as the rest of the fashion world awakens to his brilliance.
At Paris Fashion Week 2023, Gupta professed that his outlandish creations come from the fact that he lives "in a different universe. I live in a fantasy world in my mind all the time." This delightful dismissal of reality was evident in copious looks, such as his licorice-black snug skirts and snake-like accouterments that seemingly hinting at a future villain in a hybrid fantasy-sci-fi epic. Then there was his flare for using chartreuse in abundance, an indication of his rule-breaking mentality. Like his Cardi B Grammy '23 dress, the runway saw a playful approach with cobalt blue and a seductive glamour with champagne-colored dresses that were as transfixing as disco balls.
Either way, the future is most certainly going to be full of daredevil fashionistas and starlets who will be embracing Gupta's iconic styles.