Know Bharat Gupta, the man behind Harnaaz Sandhu’s iconic fashion at Miss Universe

Bharat Gupta with Harnaaz Sandhu during journey to Miss Universe pageant in Israel. Photo: courtesy Bharat Gupta

The man behind Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu’s iconic looks before and during Miss Universe is her Fashion Director, Bharat Gupta. Known in the fashion industry as one of the top stylists and fashion and creative consultant, Gupta is the only stylist to have styled all prestigious pageants this year.

He styled Liva Miss Diva Universe pageant that Sandhu won, and also got a spot to represent India at Miss Universe. This led to a packed one month of homecoming and press events leading up to the international pageant. “Miss Universe is as big as it gets. I wanted to take Indian designers on the global platform and selected an interesting mix of known couturiers to regional designers for the world, rather Universe, to see!” says Gupta.

He adds, “It started with the Femina Miss India pageant where we did a part-digital and part in-person pageant. This was followed by India’s first top five placements at Miss Universe earlier this year with Adline. The journey went on with placements at Mr. Supranational, Miss Supranational, and Miss Grand International to eventually the top spot at Miss Universe.”

While she was doing multiple appearances in Indian before going, Sandhu tried hundreds of outfits that included customized and curated looks, and traveled with gowns, sarees, lehengas, bodycon dresses, pantsuits, blazer dresses, resort-wear, layered looks, athleisure and more. “Every day Harnaaz would phone from Israel as a routine to shortlist her looks for the day. She found confidence as people were complimenting her outfits and she was garnering a lot of social media attention.”

One day before the finale, Sandhu posted a special video sharing her gratitude for the journey with Gupta on her Instagram handle and wrote, “I’ve received so many DMs from you all appreciating my wardrobe at Miss Universe 2021! Thank you @bharatg18 for making me look so good!”

The key outfits included the National Costume by Abhinav Mishra (outfit) and Reza (Prop). Reveals Gupta: “We wanted to showcase the role of a woman as a protector and interpreted that through mirror-work and umbrella in a royal and regal avatar. The finale gown by Saisha Shinde took days of planning. The finale night is where is all comes together. While we had multiple discussions, we mutually zeroed in on the color, silhouette and work. This year, we sent a different gown for the preliminary contest, which was by Paynkaj and Nidhi, which was very well-received by global audiences.”

The best part about styling Harnaaz, feels Gupta, has been her openness to trying different looks. “She adapts herself beautifully to different outfits and takes on each character that the outfit demands. Whether it is the grace in a saree, the poise in a gown, the strong body language in a pantsuit or the ethereal femininity in a dress, she carries each look effortlessly.”

Sandhu made heads turn as the global fashion followers were smitten by her looks. “We brought the east and the west together. Traditional fabrics in western silhouettes, contemporary drapes, modern cuts and a flavor of Indianness—all this is what set her apart and resonated with people.”

Bharat Gupta With Harnaaz the evening she won LIVA Miss Diva Universe Photo: courtesy Bharat Gupta

Before getting into fashion, Gupta was a celebrity manager and a professional dancer. “It’s a full circle. Did you know I was a part of Shiamak Davar’s Dance Company that performed at Miss India in 2015?”

From being a backup dancer at Miss India to making India win at Miss Universe, it has also been one memorable journey for Gupta. He posted a video chat selfie just after her win. “Harnaaz phoned us and wanted to show the crown and celebrate with us. She is the most humble person and this is what will give her the wings to fly. Her hard work and commitment has brought her the crown, and it is this energy that will take her to the top.”




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