Design Maven: Gaurang Shah

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His saris are worn by the likes of Vidya Balan and Sonam Kapoor. His shows are bestsellers and women across the length and breadth of the country can’t get enough of his drapes. We spoke to Gaurang Shah, celebrity designer and handloom lover, about his new collection, design aesthetic and muses.

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The New Collection Samyukta is inspired by the strong-willed Rajput princess, and her ethereal beauty. I wanted the designs to be fierce, yet rooted and subtle, and infused with a modern vibe. Working with 700 weavers and artisans, it took us months to realize our concept. Samyukta also means union, and I used the idea to create a narrative of weaves that would resonate with modern brides who want their ensembles to reflect their personality with their heritage.

The Gaurang Woman In the world of fast food and ‘modern dressing’, she is an independent and strong woman who values her heritage. Trends aren’t important for her—she is proud of her roots and embraces its nuances.

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Love Notes to Handlooms I fell in love with the loom at eight, when I used to visit my father’s fabric store. I realised that many women desired undiscovered, exquisite textiles that are glamorous too. Showcased in its distinctive appeal, a hand-woven Jamdani has the capacity to overshadow any powerloom chiffons and nets.

I love Khadi—it’s versatile, eco-friendly and ageless. But each textile has its own incomparable characteristics; we simply need to weave them to suit contemporary tastes.

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The Sari For me it will always be the most graceful of attires, moulding itself to a woman’s personality and lending an understated sensuality. I experiment with textures and designs, fusion, and art. I created an organza texture for one my collections on a Kanchipuram loom. In another, I used the Jamdani technique to weave a Paithani motif in Khadi.

Every sari is a dream comes true for me. It’s deeply satisfying to see customers wear my saris with pride and confidence.

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Creative Influences I love reading and travelling to historic sites that reflect our heritage, ancient crafts and art. Nature remains an important inspiration—I always refer to it in my design.

What’s Next ‘New’ is constant on my mind. Currently, I am working with my weavers on a limited-edition collection which is planned for a global showcase. After covering Berlin, Singapore, Nairobi, Dubai and Sri Lanka, I want to reach out to the US. One of my goals is to reach out to the global fashion audience and show them the way in which our age-old textile traditions are being revived and reinvented. l

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