Beyoncé: Meet the designer who made her sparkle on tour

Beyoncé wearing Gaurav's design on her Renaissance world tour. The dress is neon green and has a flowing hood and a knotted design on one shoulder. Beyoncé matches the dress with green eye shadow and has curled ombre blonde hair. She stands in front of a chrome microphone and looks at the camera
Image caption,Beyoncé wore a design by Gaurav Gupta at her show in Atlanta, Georgia

By Bertin Huynh

BBC Asian Network

Beyoncé’s Renaissance world tour was full of fashion moments, with her three-hour sets featuring numerous dazzling looks.

For her Atlanta show, that came in the form of a flowing neon green sari – a traditional South Asian outfit.

It was the work of Indian fashion designer Gaurav Gupta and took hundreds of hours to finesse.

“My purpose in life is for people to think differently,” he tells BBC Asian Network.

Gaurav designed three looks for the Renaissance world tour. As well as the neon green sculpted sari he also made Beyoncé a gem-encrusted gown and a crystal body suit.

Beyoncé' wearing Gaurav's design. The dress is neon green and has a flowing hood and a knotted design on one shoulder. Pictured from the back, the sheer dress is floor length with a train and the singer holds some material in her left hand.
Image caption,Gaurav says saris and Indian culture are central to his designs

Both the sari and the gown came from his runway shows at Paris Fashion Week and took painstaking work to design and create.

Gaurav has previously said the sari took more than 200 hours to create, and he and his team spent more than 700 hours hand stitching 50,000 individual crystals, sequins and beads into the gown.

The crystal body suit was an original design for Beyoncé which took Gaurav and his team over 500 hours to make from start to finish.

Indian culture and saris were central to his looks for the Cuff It singer but when he returned to Delhi after fashion school, Gaurav didn’t initially include saris in his collection.

“I relooked at the sari,” he says.

“This is one of the most ancient costumes alive in the whole world… it’s really cool. Not just from an Indian perspective but from a global perspective.”

Gaurav Gupta at the opening of his multi-storied flagship store in Kala Ghoda on March 03, 2023 in Mumbai, India
Image caption,Gaurav believes he was destined to bring Indian culture to the fashion world

At the heart of Gaurav’s designs is the ancient Hindu concept of the golden womb – the Hiraṇyagarbha – from which the whole universe was born.

He feels his inspiration knows no bounds – literally.

Gaurav says he has a fascination with all things abstract, taking ideas from across the universe down to “patterns in clouds, stars and comets” and combining them with Indian culture and myth.

“India’s becoming a vibe,” he says.

Gaurav aims to take his country’s traditional ideas and combine them with a “sexier, younger, cooler” flair.

He calls this concept “future primitive” and it’s become a core part of his brand’s aesthetic.

Cardi B and Gaurav Gupta attend the Gaurav Gupta Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023/2024 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 06, 2023 in Paris, France
Image caption,Gaurav, pictured with Cardi B at Paris Fashion Week, is only the second Indian designer to be invited to show his collection there

But Beyoncé isn’t Gaurav’s first A-list client, with the last two years in particular being significant for him.

In 2022, he dressed Megan Thee Stallion for the Oscars, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan for Cannes and Cardi B for the No Love music video.

And this year, he created another look for Cardi, this time for the Grammys in a gown many considered one of the best of the night.

“I had to literally make Cardi’s dress in two days,” he says.

“Multiple people made it overnight – day and night – and then it was flown to Los Angeles.”

Gaurav doesn’t mind the pressure though.

“I live for it. I think it’s so exciting,” he says.

“It’s always a gamble, right? Even after you put in all this effort, it still might not fit her and she still might wear something else.”

While he’s worked for some of the world’s biggest artists, he doesn’t see them as stars and celebrities.

“I feel like I’m meeting like-minded people who are on a certain volume in life,” he says.

Cardi B attends the 65th GRAMMY Awards in LA. Cardi wears one of Gaurav's designs, a swirling royal blue dress with exaggerated shoulders and a hood partially covering her face. She has her black hair tied back and wears dangling silver earrings. Cardi is pictured on the red carpet in front of a black and gold backdrop
Image caption,Gaurav’s look for Cardi B at this years Grammy Awards was singled out as a red carpet favourite
Megan Thee Stallion attends the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood wearing one of Gaurav's designs. The dress has a pale blue bustier cascading down into a swirling train. It is embellished with silver gems and exposes Megan's side just above her hip as well as her left leg. The singer has one hand on her hip and has her black hair tied back in a low bun. Megan is pictured on the red carpet with a white and gold backdrop.
Image caption,Gaurav also designed a red carpet look for Megan Thee Stallion at the 2022 Oscars

Gaurav believes he was born to bring Indian culture to an international stage.

This year he became only the second Indian designer to be invited to Paris Fashion Week in a show called Shunya – Sanskrit for zero – a number and philosophical concept first discovered in India.

“There is a moment happening for India and Indians globally right now,” he says.

The past two years, he adds, have been “extremely magical”.

Looking ahead, he has a long list of stars he’d love to work with. He names Harry Styles, Adele, Zendaya, Deepika Padukone and Lady Gaga as just a few.

“I’m not really realising how lucky I am right now because I’m just inside it,” he says.

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