A fashion brand management graduate from the University of Central Lancashire, UK, Shilpi Gupta launches her label, Surkhab, with her first exhibit at Bikaner House with the aim of reviving and reclaiming age-old craft techniques unique to India.
Originally form Dehradun, Uttarakhand, Shilpi shifted to New Delhi in 1996 after her marriage. Partnering with her husband, the industrialist Rajeev Gupta, she set up the Institute of Management Studies in 1998 and the IMS Law College in 2004, both in NOIDA. Shilpi also set up the Design and Innovation Academy in 2005, and initiated a tie up with the University of Huddersfield, UK, for exchange programs in 2007. Once these institutes were up and running, she went to study in the UK in 2009.
Though this event marks the formal launch of Surkhab in India, the label has been creating artisanal, bespoke pieces for discerning clients across the world since 2016. Recognized for her work in fashion capitals like Milan, London, and Dubai, Shilpi Gupta has also showcased at the Dubai International Fashion Show and exhibited her designs at La Villa.
With her Spring 2018 Haute Couture collection, Shilpi delves into her extensive travels through Rajasthan. From her experiences through the Desert State, she picks up signature elements like temple pichhwais, Rajasthani architecture, glass inlay, traditional costumes, the peacock and lotus motifs, and the bright colours worn by the women of Rajasthan—queens and commoners alike.
Here, a proud peacock fans out its tail feathers across a sweeping expanse of blush georgette, there the arches of a palace form the panels of a draped sari. A lake of floating lotuses envelops the hand-painted panels of a cape, while a bejeweled top traces the outlines of an ancient fort. All of these are accomplished in painstaking detail in hand-embroideries highlighted with block-, khari-, and even digital-print mediums. The colours—ranging from pastels blues and pinks to bright reds and emeralds, wine purples to electric teals—capture the riot of hues that truly symbolize Rajasthani royalty and exuberance.