Embodying the shades of earth, sky, and fire, designer Gaurang Shah’s Sindoor is an explosion of colour that unabashedly celebrates the versatility of Indian artisans.
Widely regarded for invigorating the weaving traditions of India, textile revivalist and fashion designer Gaurang Shah continues to enthral us with his design aesthetics and creative spins on traditional weaves every season. The latest offering — Sindoor, by his eponymous label GAURANG, once again captures the timeless allure of heritage weaves that have become synonymous with the brand since its inception.
Embodying the shades of earth, sky, and fire, Sindoor is an explosion of colour that unabashedly celebrates the versatility of Indian artisans. Speaking to Darpan about his latest edit, the ace designer informs, “Sindoor is a unique fusion of traditional and modern techniques, the result is a dynamic and sustainable collection that has never been seen before. I spent months conducting research for this collection, drawing inspiration from the colours of earth, sky, and fire.”
A confluence of various ancient crafts blended with modern techniques, Gaurang Shah’s Sindoor features a line-up of 40 handwoven dresses adorned with time-honoured weaves such as Kanjeevaram, Paithan, Banaras, Kota, Uppada, Khadi, and Muslin, which have been fused with complex gara, kasuti, aari, chikan, and Kutch embroidery. The pieces are additionally embellished with surface textures of bandhani, shibori, patachitra, kalamkari, and cheriyal paintings. What further adds drama and splendour to this edit is its vibrant colour palette.
“The colour palette of the collection includes various shades of vermilion or sindoor, from ochre to crimson, ruby to burgundy. These reds of various tones chosen to create this ensemble add the perfect sparkle to the line-up. The collection also features gold and other neutral shades to complement the vermilion hues,” describes Gaurang before enlightening us about the material used to curate the collection. “In terms of fabrics, the collection primarily features handloom fabrics such as silk, cotton, and chiffon, which were chosen for their durability, comfort, and luxurious feel. The fabrics were carefully selected and are of the highest quality to ensure that the garments are comfortable to wear and will stand the test of time.”
The mesmerizing edit is essentially conceptualized for modern-day brides who wish to strike a balance between culture and fashionable aesthetics. “I believe that the collection will be loved by contemporary brides who have an eye for revivalist handcraft and appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of handwoven textiles. The collection is perfect for all occasions, whether it's a wedding, an engagement, or any other special occasion,” says the textile expert, whose journey as a designer began at a young age when he would sit in his father's small sari store and envision a future for long-forgotten handlooms.
Reminiscing the days of yore, Gaurang says, “I spent my college years travelling the length and breadth of the country, convincing weaver families that there was still potential for their craft if they were willing to change. I have now built a team of over 800+ weavers and my label "GAURANG" personifies the elegance and captivating beauty of traditional handlooms, and weaves, created using the Jamdani technique with pure zari on cotton and silks. I have been able to make a significant impact in the world of handloom fabrics, uplifting the weaver community, and bringing diversity into their weaving technique, particularly in the villages of Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Kolkata. I am the initiator of the Jamdani Weaves Wave in India and have done this by following my single-minded vision of making Indian weaves popular.”
Gaurang’s relentless effort to revive the fading weaving traditions of India has not only earned him national laurels but has also brought him global recognition. Today the designer proudly supports over 600 handlooms across India, specially engaged in the jamdani weaving technique.
A pinnacle of artistry and craftsmanship, each creation at Gaurang is a wearable art and the Sindoor collection is no different. Even the name of the collection resonates with Indian traditions.
“The name ‘Sindoor’ for my collection was chosen for a few specific reasons,” reveals Gaurang. He continues, “First and foremost, Sindoor is a traditional vermilion powder that is applied by married Hindu women in the parting of their hair, and it has been used in Hindu rituals for centuries. The collection is a celebration of the rich hues of vermilion that have been used in Hindu rituals for centuries and the versatility of handlooms, so it made perfect sense to name it Sindoor. Additionally, Sindoor is also symbolic of the sacred bond between a husband and wife, and it is a symbol of love, commitment, and devotion. I wanted my collection to embody these values and convey the message of love and commitment to tradition and the art of handloom. Furthermore, the collection is also a tribute to traditional Indian beauty and culture, so naming it Sindoor, which is a well-known traditional element in Indian culture, was a natural choice. All in all, the name Sindoor was chosen to reflect the collection's inspiration, the traditional Indian culture, and the values and emotions that it represents.”
Interestingly, the muse for the Sindoor edit had been none other than, the vivacious actress — Aditi Rao Hydari. “The inspiration for my Sindoor collection was actress Aditi Rao Hydari,” reveals the couturier, who is also loved by other Bollywood belles like Vidya Balan, Sonam Kapoor, Chitrangada Singh, and Sonali Bendre.
The designer, who has introduced many innovations in saree including the big border further mulls over his muse, “I was struck by her beauty and grace, and I wanted to capture that in the collection. She was the perfect muse for this collection, as she personifies the elegance and femininity that I wanted to convey through the designs. Aditi even walked the ramp for me at the Lakme Fashion Week. She was particularly stunning in a shimmering, gold brocade lehenga and matching choli, as well as a vermillion, sheer dupatta adorned with delicate, floral embroidery. These pieces served as the foundation for the collection, and I drew inspiration from the colours, textures, and patterns used in them to create the rest of the pieces. Overall, Aditi's natural beauty and poise, paired with the rich and eternal beauty of our Indian handcrafted fabrics and traditional motifs, became the perfect inspiration for the Sindoor collection. I am honoured to have her as my muse for this collection.”
Further elaborating on the collection, Gaurang says, “This unique blend of traditional and contemporary styles showcases the rich heritage of Indian handlooms and the combination of various crafts, making the collection stand out in the fashion industry. The collection is not only beautiful but also sustainable, which makes it more appealing. Additionally, the colour palette adds a distinctive vibrant touch to the collection.”
Sindoor can be purchased from the brand stores in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Or patrons can connect through Gaurang’s Instagram handle @gaurangofficial or their Facebook page.