When Delhi-born designer Ashish Gupta launched his eponymous label in 2001 he was quickly dubbed ‘The King of Sequins’ thanks to his irreverent use of the sparkling ornamentation. His slew of punchy pop-culture references, and multiple collaborations with Topshop and Nike have made him a street style favourite among London’s creative cohort becoming a fixture at fashion week. Now the reflective royalty is bringing his penchant for shining embellishment from the streets to the bedroom by teaming up with London lingerie brand Bluebella. Striking the perfect balance between boudoir glamour and the defiant exuberance of Gen Z, this capsule collection features lingerie, chemises, body jewellery and hoodies all adorned with the designer’s signature sparkle.
‘I have always loved the idea of mixing sparkles and lingerie so it felt like a really fun opportunity’, explains Ashish. Along with disco ball inspired undergarments, the collection also features the designer’s penchant for political slogans. Chemises and hoodies are bejewelled with statements like ‘world peace’ and ‘this is a protest’, embodying the unapologetic, spirited ethos of the brand. ‘It's a collection that is fun and easy to wear and also has some very relevant messaging for the world we live in right now’, says the designer.
When it comes to partnering up with Ashish, Bluebella founder Emily Bendall says, ‘I have long been a fan and working together felt like such a natural fit. Although our product categories could not be more different we share a strong interest in exploring and challenging the norms around sensuality and diversity’. This is most evident in the setting of the collection’s campaign. Shot in East London’s Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, the playful shoot reframes the gritty venue as a celebratory spot for unapologetic self-expression.
‘We thought it would be so nice to do something that was true to both brands but also said something meaningful,’ says Ashish. Of his first foray into the world of lingerie he explains ‘I learned a lot about the technicalities. From the weights of different fabrics to a whole new world of fastenings’. For him it was also an exercise in a new form of embellishment. ‘I’ve also never work much with diamante before so that was quite a learning curve’.
While Bluebella has already been recognised as a leader in lingerie – having been named the Lingerie Brand of the Year three times at the Drapers Awards – Bendall admits she had a lot to learn about sequins. ‘Working with embellishment is an art in itself. I never knew there were so many grades of sparkle!’ Well, who better than the king himself to give her the 101 on all things sparkle.
The Bluebella x Ashish capsule collection is available online here.