It's a transition from celluloid imagery to deconstruction of nature's laws of proportion. Designer Gaurav Jai Gupta of studio Akaaro, in his debut ramp show at the Spring/Summer 2011 edition of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) last October, borrowed visual ideas from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's film 21 Grams.
Now, his Autumn/ Winter 2011 line, which showcases at WIFW, called :1.6, takes as its base what's referred to as the ‘golden ratio'. A Greek concept, the golden ratio has been proven to be the basis of several works and concepts in the fields of mathematics, art, architecture and music — from Fibonacci's numerical series to Leonardo da Vinci's ‘Vitruvian Man' to the pyramids — as a point of reference for achieving balance and proportion.
“If you look at your face, if you look at your body… everything has a ratio. The shells in the sea have a ratio, the waves have a ratio,” says Gupta.
As Gupta explains, chiefly two aspects of the golden ratio have been applied to his collection here. “One is the oldest application of golden ratio in Greek architecture. There are three orders of Greek architecture — Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. We've looked into the first order.”
The Parthenon building, especially, manifests itself in design elements incorporated into the clothes. Other architectural specimens too that are based on the golden ratio. “If there are any contemporary applications of the same at this time.”
The second reference comes from things like shells, leaves and the golden spiral (a mathematical series that also derives from the golden ratio). “It's a mix of all of this,” says Gupta.
For the textile designer who graduated from the Chelsea College of Art & Design, London, the fabric, obviously, is a strong storyteller. “The textiles have been very interesting because the fabrics are completely based on this,” says Gupta.
While in terms of colour story, the last line was very “controlled”, now the boundaries have been extended. “This time we've left it a bit more open because what we're working on has a huge surface to touch upon in terms of research. The scope was huge,” explains the designer. “It's a warm colour palette, unlike last time; last time was very pale.” So now there are hot oranges, olives, greens and a bit of browns, with a “good transition of colour throughout”.
The use of steel in fabric has been a signature. This time, too, it's retained, but mixed with cotton and wool, considering this is an Autumn/ Winter line. Silk and wool have also been woven together. “Very three-dimensional again,” Gupta adds.
Silhouettes are long, drawing from the Parthenon pillars. The pillars are also interpreted through the use of box pleats.
For someone who branched into garments from textiles, silhouettes have gained importance, he admits.
“We started pretty early (on this collection). We've done more work this time, done a little bit more work on silhouettes,” says Gupta. “Then there's a lot of draping again because we always do a mix of drapes with pattern-making. But we leave the last half of the collection for drapes because that's how fabrics would respond. The first half is always a little bit more structured.”