For 20 years Ashish Gupta has created joyously ironic garments that are highly compatible with pleasure. And by developing his pieces in sequins via Indian handcraft rather than pixels via code, these garments command real-life attention on multiple levels. For autumn-winter 2022, Ashish is offering what appears to be uncomplicatedly oomphy womenswear. Halston-reminiscent bias cut slip and halter dresses, the Edith Head–evocative goddess gown shot by the fireplace, and the vaguely-Valentino ruffle mini are as exacting to craft as they are apparently enchanting to wear. Sprinkled around these conventionally glamorous shapes worn unconventionally were denim, separates, and swimwear, plus a powerful fringe bomber jacket that lent this collection enough versatility be worn anywhere from evening reception to all-night rave. With Ashish, the real decoding lies in the pattern. This season he went back to one of his most enduring inspirations, the intersection of modes of dress he observed on the street in Delhi before he set off for London and Central Saint Martins. “In winter you will see Indian ladies in their silk saris, and then putting over a little Fair Isle cardigan – saris meet Scotland.” This became the launchpad for a seasonal in-sequin-remix of ikats, stripes, argyles, and houndstooth (some cherry-strewn) that spoke directly to the spirit of cross-cultural relish that is central to Ashish. That fireplace dress was cut to evoke the sari as much as it was to conjure mid-century glamour. A sequin cricket jumper spoke of another shared language, and a Chanel-template jacket and mini dress were emphatically anti-monochromatic. While Ashish talked about these elements “clashing together,” that clashing was anything but antagonistic; instead it proved the source for some sparklingly fresh and fun fashion harmonies.
This holiday season is going to feel extra-special for many after last year – and getting dressed up is all part of the joy. This gift guide is for those who love to sparkle – and are planning to shine bright the entire 2022! A pair of golden Manolos will please any Carrie fan (hello, And Just Like That premieres on the 9th of December!), while the sequinned, faux-tie-dye pants from Ashish will be the best present for a glamorous home-stayer. Paco Rabanne’s metallic chain-mail skirt will elevate any New Year’s Eve to a Studio 54 event. And how about a camp-y Judith Leiber poodle clutch? Checked. Still, the award for the most glistening and over-the-top present goes to Prada’s bucket hat that went full-on Christmas tree. Discover my first festive guide below – and stay tuned for the others that are coming in the next couple of days!
Brands and designers throw around the ‘stay-at-home-glam’ term for a year now, but most of the time it just feels forced and like a desperate attempt to sell eveningwear. However in case of Ashish‘ autumn-winter 2021, this notion of glamour in times of global pandemy is honest and at last makes sense. Ashish Gupta has the solution to fashion’s sweatpant-mania: simply offer garments that enable the consolatory comfort that we’ve grown fond of in isolation, combined with the communal joyfulness we’re aching to emanate. This collection fabulously demonstrates that comfort and joy can be mutually inclusive and mutually enhancing. When he was a student at Central Saint Martins, Gupta said he picked up this excellent line: “An evening gown should feel as comfortable as a T-shirt, and a T-shirt should feel as special as an evening gown.” And while he can’t recall where the line came from, he explained, “I’ve always carried it with me. So I always design my clothes to not be physically restrictive in any way. Even things that look body-con are cut on the bias and are super soft. Everything has pockets and zips, and there is never any corsetry; I think you should wear clothes you can slip out of very quickly and easily.” Shot in glamorous Finchley here in London, and impressively intricate to consider on the rail in Gupta’s house, this specific collection also seemed deeply easy to quickly get into, both as wearer and watcher. Gupta said the formula of its creation was to consider patterns and visible textures that have, through their history, the power to generate positive and comforting associations – “like when I think of tie-dye, I always think of beaches and holidays” – and then go to town on them via the sequin sequencer. The joyful result is the product of intense labor: a tie-dye long sleeve, for instance, took two Ashish employees two weeks to embroider by hand, once the exact order of sequins had been drawn and sorted. This collection also ran riotous gamut across the spectrum of so-called formalwear and so-called casualwear, two other categories whose perceived opposition seems increasingly anachronistic and redundant. Happily enhanced by these fantastic Sam McKnight wigs, this was a collection in which every piece of every look was made to enable joy and comfort in most conceivable circumstances. If these ’20s really are going to roar, Ashish is bringing the noise.