Masaba Gupta Image Credit: Masaba

For some, she’s a maverick whose name is synonymous with the avant-garde tapestry of modern Indian fashion; for others, a fun, inspiring, no-holds-barred actress—. With her trademark prints and the boldness of her designs, Masaba Gupta isn’t just another designer today; for a growing legion of avid followers, she represents an era in the making, the perfect disruptor and advocate for an age that screams unapologetically for fashion to live and breathe as an extension of a universally relevant lifestyle identity.

From her formative years, lighting up the corridors of SNDT Women’s University, and onwards to bringing about some of the most notable and lucrative international ‘star-power’ collaborations into and out of India, touting “In life, you don’t get what you deserve; you get what you negotiate,” Masaba’s journey has been nothing short of sensational as she continues to build her fashion and beauty empire and adds to an ever-growing list of accolades as the star and namesake of her hit Netflix show ‘Masaba Masaba’ and Amazon Original Series ‘Modern Love: Mumbai’.

Masaba’s ascent in the fashion world has been marked by a grounded perspective on fame. She shares, “As people in the public eye, you need to be very humble, almost position yourself as an underdog. A lot of people don’t give themselves credit for having grown and evolved. When you reach this level, it’s important to be even humbler because people expect you to be arrogant, but the idea is to always prove them wrong. The third phase is when you’ve accomplished something and you are sought after.” This honest philosophy has guided her through the ebbs and flows of celebrity and has been a cornerstone of her success.

Just as Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning masterpiece Slumdog Millionaire cast a powerful spotlight on Bollywood, beckoning Western eyes to take note of the vibrancy and depth of India’s cinematic universe, Masaba Gupta has similarly helped to mainstream India’s fashion industry as a pioneer of its global -awakening. Her brand serves as a bridge between the traditions of Indian artistry and the craftsmanship and -fashion-forward demands of the global tastemakers, whom she invites to celebrate India’s sartorial heritage through her trademark Indian, Indo-western, womenswear, menswear, jewellery, and bridalwear, which she launched with superstar Kareena Kapoor as its face.

The Masaba Bride, starring Kareena Kapoor Khan
The Masaba Bride, starring Kareena Kapoor Khan. Image Credit: Masaba

The daughter of two famous figures, cricketing legend Sir Viv Richards and the multi-award-winning Indian actress, television writer, and director Neena Gupta, Masaba carved out a niche to become a household name in her own right. Her lineage is a sensational prologue, but the story is unmistakably her own, penned through her relentless pursuit of excellence as a fashion designer and more recently a bankable actress with close to two million followers on Instagram and 1.3 million on X (formerly Twitter), her growing personal brand transcending borders and cultures.

Growing up, Masaba was often bullied for being a ‘lovechild’, the term etched into her destiny since birth. Her maverick spirit shining through, she set this negative connotation free as the positive she knows it can be, through her successful beauty brand Lovechild which includes cosmetics, fragrances, wellness, and skincare. It’s a masterclass in adaptability and a showcase in itself of her unique ability to rethink design. Her work resonates with a modern ethos while rooted in cultural authenticity, a gift-laden gateway to modern India that welcomed this larger-than-life genie who most certainly will not go back into the bottle. Through her many creative endeavours, Masaba has become one of India’s fastest-rising stars, shining a spotlight on her beloved India in the process, not just in appreciation of its creative talent but as a burgeoning powerhouse of contemporary fashion influence.

It began at the tender age of 19, when most people with her celebrity upbringing would have been more than happy to soak up the good life and bask in its glory. Masaba had other, bigger ideas, bolstered by an unwavering work ethic. The success of her brand, House of Masaba, is a testament to this and her creative genius, which pairs her unconventional spirit with sophisticated silhouettes to jaw-dropping effect. As her friends will already know, Masaba is a label that “doesn’t limit itself to dressing bodies but aspires to adorn beautiful souls.”

Masaba’s journey is not just a tale of a public figure but also of a private individual with a rich inner life. She confesses, “I do believe that I have two personalities: there’s one that I bring to work every day, and then there’s one that my friends, family, and loved ones get to see. Even though all these years it’s not been a conscious choice to have these two personalities, I’ve discovered over time, maybe in the last three years, especially during the pandemic, that it’s possibly a good thing to nurture both as they fulfill different parts of my life.” Masaba’s aggression, drive, and passion come from the commercial need to adapt and present a professional face at work. She adds, “In my personal space, I’m a lot softer, a lot more sensitive, a lot more naïve perhaps, and I don’t think that either of these personalities would be proud of the other.” This duality is evident in her approach to design—fierce and assertive in the professional persona, yet sensitive and nuanced in her personal expressions.

Defying conventional methods, Masaba loves the creative process behind her craft: “I never sketch, though I’m a designer and it’s something that we’re taught extensively in fashion school, I find it a waste of time. I’m an ideas person who likes to just put ideas and thoughts on the table and then see what magic happens. I can’t sketch as fast as I think, and there’s a disconnect between paper, pen, and my thoughts.”

With 48 House of Masaba and partner stores in India, 18 partner stores across the world, and a thriving online store, anyone working with her knows that her businesses aren’t just commercial ventures; they are a manifestation of her creative vision and personality that draws in a coterie of high-profile friends, from Bollywood stars to international style icons. Her designs, now a regular feature on red carpets and exclusive events, further cement her status as a designer to the stars. Whether it’s her collaboration with global beauty giants like Clinique or her iconic fashion statements, flaunted by A-list celebrities worldwide, Masaba has the Midas touch. Every year, she adds to her who’s who list of game-changing collaborations, such as her collaboration with Levi’s for a denim jacket designed to represent India; each one has been a stepping stone in a glittering success story and a time-stamped narrative of India’s evolving fashion expression—a tale where ethnic meets eclectic, where tradition courts modernity, and where the world had no choice but to turn to meet the remarkable Masaba.

For so many, Masaba’s vision of connecting India’s rich heritage in textiles with the sophisticated, ever-changing aesthetic of global trends; more than a designer, her holistic creative aesthetic offers an inspired voice that speaks of power, of freedom, of being unapologetically oneself, a personality that naturally permeates through her bold, beautiful prints and cleverly crafted unconventional designs. It’s this vision that has made her an unwitting ambassador of Brand India.

Behind the scenes, Masaba values the collective effort: “Companies are not built by just ideas; they’re built by people and processes. It’s easy to have a great idea, but if you don’t have the right people or processes that can execute it in the most optimum way, there’s never going to be real success. So, it’s important to nurture people and build a tribe of your own, one that supports you and will carry you to the next level. It’s important to acknowledge these people because they are the unsung heroes, and they deserve acknowledgment and appreciation.” This sentiment reflects the spirit that fuels her growing empire.

The story of Masaba’s is the saga of a self-made muse who inspires as much as she creates. As we chronicle her evolution, we find ourselves not merely observers, but participants in a legacy unfolding in real-time as she weaves a future as vibrant and enduring as her signature style.