Masaba Gupta: Not your everyday wedding designer

Vishnupriya Sengupta | Updated on December 30, 2018

Resident glam: Masaba Gupta believes that a bride should be comfortably clad

Up, close and personal with Masaba Gupta on wedding outfits and life choices

If it’s an Indian bride, she has to be loaded — in jewellery and attire. This is the perception that fashion designer Masaba Gupta is seeking to alter. The 30-year-old premiered her bridal collection under her designer label, House of Masaba, at JW Marriott in Kolkata recently. This was woven into the gala extravaganza organised by the hotel to showcase the concept of a Big Fat Indian Luxury wedding wherein the hotel happily takes care of end-to-end arrangements — right from the run-up to the finale — for those rich in lucre but short on time.

“In India, brides and bridal wear are a big deal, and the obvious notion is complicated and over-the-top,” says Masaba who forayed into the fashion world more by accident than by choice. “I believe a bride should be a creature of comfort; rather than be weighed down by an eight kilo lehenga. She should be able to move around freely and feel comfortable in the clothes she sports under the spotlight. More importantly, she should be able to mix-and-match and wear those outfits later either separately or paired with maybe trousers or a long lovely skirt.”

The wedding brigade: “In India, brides and bridal wear are a big deal, and the obvious notion is complicated and over-the-top”


Masaba’s bridal collection, true to her words, is vibrant and classy. It is segmented into parts rather than being a seamless whole. Corset, blouses, shrugs, silhouettes, bustiers, smart dupattas and scarves in bright shades of pink, yellow, red — that can easily be teamed with palazzos or dungarees — are all part of the chic collection. In line with her signature style, the clothes accentuate the free spirit of the millennial woman with a mind of her own.

“My mother (actress Neena Gupta) would always tell me I’d never make a good actress as I didn’t have a commercial, saleable Indian face. So I wouldn’t fit into any of those glamorous roles, and she was right,” recalls Masaba who doesn’t have many airs about herself. Music and dance were her forte, and also sports — not so much cricket like her father Viv Richards but tennis and handball. Eventually she discovered it was fashion that was her true calling.

“Fashion just happened to me one morning,” she recalls chirpily. My mother and I were headed to Anupam Kher’s school Actor Prepares. That was adjacent to SNDT Women’s University that had a display board advertising its fashion course. “My mother immediately told me — you enrol for this. Before I knew it, we had taken a U-turn and were walking into SNDT. We found out that 80 per cent was the qualifying marks for admission. Fortunately I had secured 85 per cent, so I got through.”

The first year was tough, Masaba says candidly, admitting she hated SNDT. “In most government colleges they go by the book. They make you do things you can’t apply in practice — knit a sweater, do crochet and rather than boost the morale of a creative individual, they tend to pull you down.” Things fortunately changed in the second year when designing came into the picture, and that is when Masaba started enjoying the creative process.

“My father is quite a fashionista, in fact more so than my mom,” she says reflectively. “He buys clothes but has the ability to make them his own by imparting a subtle twist. I think I inherited my sense of fashion from him.”

Masaba debuted by showcasing pret on the runway, and using prints of telephone booths, lipsticks, even animals such as cows to make silhouettes. Wendell Rodricks was an influence in her formative years.

Talking of her father, her mind seems to wander to the beach. “I am at core an island girl and my heart lies in the Caribbean. I like the lack of ambition in people there, the slow village life, the blue sea and all the vibrant colours.” That vibrant yet subtle elegance also surfaces through her clothes.

Masaba feels it is imperative for women to come into their own. Currently on a trial separation from her husband of four years, she continues to be good friends with him, and on good terms with his family. “They have been very supportive, and my husband gave me all the freedom I wanted. He is quite ideal but now may be it is time to move on,” she says unabashedly.

A woman who speaks her mind, perhaps typical of the millennial generation, this bold and bright fashionista underlines, “Women should stop thinking that the end goal is marriage. In our society, there is always this pressure to settlle down, of judging a woman by the kind of man she is with. But it is important to judge a woman independent of that. We are equal too, not better than, men, and I believe marriages too are meant to be equal.”

Women, she holds, still set their universe around a man. “That has to change. There should be something that fills your life other than a man, family and children. It is important to seek validation outside the family, to grow for one’s own self and not always be driven by peer pressure,” she says.

Masaba lives by her words, she practises what she preaches, and creates as she imagines. That is what lends her substance. Today she may be better known for her popularity than her label. But she is working to change that — place her label before herself. By the looks of it, she is slowly inching towards it — from a house for Masaba to House of Masaba.

Vishnupriya Sengupta is a Kolkata-based freelance writer

Published on December 28, 2018

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