Fashion designer Masaba Gupta’s authentic collections are a glorious reflection of her unique heritage


“Inspiration is everywhere. It could be a book you’ve read or a person you’ve met. It keeps changing because so many things keep happening to you,” says Masaba Gupta. And she’s certainly had the world’s most trying experiences. The daughter of Indian actress Neena Gupta and legendary West Indian batsman Sir Vivian Richards, Masaba’s been raised in the spotlight. She’s taken that attention and pointed it towards her many creative avatars: as a dancer and singer first. “Dance taught me to channelise my emotions. Music was a lot more about discipline and focus and research,” she says.

She was destined to flourish as a fashion designer. You’ll often find the energy of a dance performance at Masaba’s fashion shows. And the music that goes with her collections often comes to her before a single piece of cloth is cut. Masaba is convinced that her creative skills flow from her mother, who always had a unique sense of style. Her personality is more like her father’s. Both merge to give birth to offbeat designs that reflect the artists’ simple life. She shares the inspirations behind four of her favourite collections.

Palm print saree

Your most emotional memories are always tucked away in the years spent growing up. Think about your best friends in college, for instance. Masaba took the most vivid souvenir from her childhood for her first inspired moment of design. “My mother used to take impressions of my feet and palm from the time I was born and frame it on the wall as I kept growing up,” she says. “Years later, I revisited them and thought they would be nice to print on clothing, especially a saree.”

Pocket saree

The world’s most sensuous garment is notoriously difficult to navigate as you breeze through your day. The modern woman has a multitude of accessories at her disposal, none are comfortable to manage with a drape. Masaba’s pocket sarees are a genuine nod to fixing this dilemma. “Whenever I wore them myself, I couldn't handle it, and it’s problem a lot of youngsters face with the sari,” she says. “Now, It makes them easy to wear and stick a lipstick or a phone in the pocket.” Masaba’s style is all about the details.

Candy collection

There’s a part of our brain that transports us to the time our parents bought us candy. Or when our grandparents kept it tucked away, secretly. For us to gorge on, when no-one else was looking. Masaba’s candy collections dips into this storehouse of visions to create silhouettes with pop prints. She imagined cotton candy clouds and tailored them to perfection. The designer’s imagination translates into a tactile sensory adventure: you can feel the softness of candy in the cut of the fabric - all breezy, comfortable and fun.

Gorgeous creations from Masaba (L-R): the Palm Print saree, the Pocket Saree, an outfit from the Candy Collection and one from the Horse Collection. Picture Courtsey: House of Masaba

Horse collection

When you wear a Masaba collection, it’s poetry in motion. And this one in particular, she says “are inspired by brush strokes of magnificent art-inspired pieces.” The clothes have clean, flowing patterns reflecting the animals rich coat of skin and its almost celestial gait. The dynamism in the cut is an ode to everything about horses that women love - their character, their attitude and the romance in their eyes.

“I’ve blended in a classic palette of red, white and black with aesthetically Indian yet modern silhouettes,” says Masaba. “There are intricate details with elegant drapes. Brush strokes, watercolour splatter and chalk moves have all come together just right for this collection.”

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