A sneak peek at designer Manish Gupta's new line “Sunshine”

“Sunshine” is here and the good vibes get a lot stronger. But New Delhi-based design whiz Manish Gupta doesn't take it easy. He captures the joie de vivre of summer in a painstakingly crafted line that celebrates colour and revels in the lightness of lace-like embroidery.

Ahead of his show in Chennai, at Collage, Gupta speaks about “Sunshine” and the rays of creativity. Excerpts:

TURN ON THE SUN I'm on a different track this time. Though you have the Manish staple shade — ivory — there are plenty of vibrant, smile-inducing colours. Chrome yellow and orange, geranium and peach. Summer is a time to explore — and this line travels around unusual textures too.

INTRICATE CRAFTSMANSHIP Like all my collections, “Sunshine” too is technically sound. I keep my silhouettes simple and streamlined and let the workmanship and textures do the talking. There are layers of fabrics, twisted laces and tapes, moulded velvet yarns and jersey appliqué on soft fabrics. A highlight of the line is the lace-like embroidery I've used. It's a delicate work of art. Besides floral motifs, I've played around with circles and rays to reflect my theme.

ARCHITECTURE AND ME Yes, if not a designer, I would have been an architect. My designs are about well-defined forms. I perceive a dress just the way an architect visualises a building. Naturally, there are many dimensions to my work. The embroidery and handwork usually lend a 3D effect to my creations. But it is wearable art — not created for over-the-top ramp moments.

FUSION NOTES My USP is fusion. Though the silhouettes are Western, I always incorporate exquisite embroidery into my work. Most of my motifs too are ethnic. There's a Western simplicity and a touch of Indian exotica.

EARLY YEARS After winning awards as a student at the Pearl Academy of Fashion (I interned with Ritu Beri), I enjoyed my stint at Rohit Bal's studio, where I learnt the importance of exploring newer realms of fashion. Later, I picked up the nuances of pattern-making, finish and merchandising from Abhishek Gupta and Nandita Basu.

DESIGN DETOUR As I said, architecture has always fascinated me. Now, I'm involved with designing homes. I've already worked on a couple of projects — including my own home. I will soon take the plunge and do more work.

LUXURY SEGMENT Yes, my clothes are on the expensive side. But there's a price to pay for classy handwork that's not easy to be replicated. I don't see competition from foreign brands making forays into India. The aesthetics might match, but surely, they can't offer the craftsmanship that Indian designers offer. I did try a market-driven line for Westside, but I had to make compromises on fabric and embellishment to cut costs.

IT'S NOT A BREEZE Design doesn't come easy. Every new line is a lot of hard work. It involves months of R&D, sampling, etc. I'm just back from the Hong Kong Fashion Week. Behind the glamour, there are frenetic schedules. I've already started work on my next line for Fashion Week. Holidays can wait. The grind continues…

(Sunshine featuring dresses, tunics and ensembles will be showcased at Collage, Greams Road, today)

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