It is almost a ritual for textile revivalist Gautam Gupta to read two to three hours a day. It was while indulging in this passion that he stumbled on the story of Nur Jahan, the wife of Mughal emperor Jahangir.
The fascination was such that it inspired the 37-year-old designer to work on a collection titled Nur Jahan.
“Nur Jahan was a really strong figure but not discussed much. As I read further, I discovered that she was not only a great human being but a well-educated woman who loved art and culture.
After her marriage to Jahangir, she is known to have held the reigns in the affairs of the state as Jahangir got addicted to alcohol,” shares Gupta, adding, “while today we hear stories of strong successful women but centuries ago, Nur Jahan was one such personality.
So, this collection is inspired and reflects her personality, preferences and her love for Jahangir and the kind-heartedness she was known for.”
As Gupta researched about Mehr-un-Nissa who was later bestowed with the title of Nur Jahan (Light of the World) by Jahangir, he met historians and read poems written on her and started focussing on the positive aspects of her personality.
“In this collection, we haven’t focussed on the aspect of royalty, something that is oversold in India. I made sure not to make it too ornamental and heavy. Rather her strong character has been interpreted through the weaves,” says Gupta who believes that weaves are the most responsible luxurious elements in the world and thus uses them to pay tribute to Nur Jahan.
To give the collection a luxurious image, he has used fabrics like paithani, bandhani, Banarasi silk, tissue, kota, organza and patola.
The motifs used in the collection represent occasions like the marriage ceremony of Nur Jahan woven on a Banarasi fabric and bandhani saris with her image on the pallu.
Staying true to the era he was depicting, Gupta has used vintage embroideries like zardozi with pearls, ari and resham.
But that’s not all. Every colour palette of the collection reflects the personality of Nur Jahan. “Gold and silver has been used to highlight her boldness while we chose bright rose, tomato red, radiant yellow and garden green to depict element of happiness,” concludes Gupta.