Beyoncé: Meet the designer who made her sparkle on tour

Beyoncé: Meet the designer who made her sparkle on tour

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.