‘I am ready to host a reality show’
Sabyasachi Mukherjee talks about his foray into TV and designing for Oprah Winfrey!
Sabyasachi Mukherjee is on cloud nine. And why shouldn’t he considering that his new store launched recently in Mumbai and his first customer was none other than talk show queen Oprah Winfrey! Sabya dressed Oprah for the Jaipur Literary Fest as well as for her royal visit with the Maharaja of Jaipur and his wife.
The designer who will be in Dubai in the next few days for a trunk show at the Raffles Hotel spoke exclusively to Masala.com.
Who are your style icons?
Frida Kahlo and Coco Chanel
What do you foresee as the hottest and the worst trend in Indian fashion this year?
Hottest trend – definitely monotones! There was too much contrast and too many busy patterns last year. I think people are ready to go back to simple monotone styles. The worst trend was definitely gota and Swarovski or a combination of both. Bling will be too much this year. Even the Anarkali will be revamped to a simple rustic organic look.
What are projects and things you would like to work on but just don’t have the time to do?
Describe a typical day in your life.
Yoga, newspapers and a hot cup of tea in the morning and then designing at my workshop all day – provided there are no shoots, events, store launches happening!
What do you do to de-stress and unwind?
Reading, listening to music and travelling whenever I feel like it. The latter is the window for the mind. Fortunately, in my trade, it is a great investment.
Which international designers inspire you?
I really like Dries Von Norton because I don’t think of him as a commercial designer but as an ideal artiste. He creates in his own way rather than flowing with the tide which is remarkable considering the commercial pressures of the ever-changing and demanding world.
Tell us all about your new and exciting collection ‘Peeli Kothi’.
‘Peeli Kothi’ which is the heart of the Benarasi weave revival belt, brings forth the portrait of the frugal Indian family. So you have vintage brocade saris worn with high-neck Tagore blouses, ornate sherwanis thick with silver embroidery worn with gherawala angarkha for men, luxurious velvet saris for women and children in austere black khadi dresses worn with salwars and khadi dupattas. These frames of almost royal opulence and frugality highlight the inspiration from ‘pre-Partition India’ of princely states and poor people.
Which Bollywood/Hollywood celeb would you like to style?
What do you think about Dubai as a fashion hub?
Dubai is such a cosmopolitan city. It has a great mix of local, European, American and Asian cultures. It’s reflected in the fashion; everything from American sportswear brands to Indian high-end couture is available here. If I had to describe Dubai from a fashion perspective in one word, ‘glamourous’ comes to mind.
What do you love most about Dubai and what are your must-visit places when you are in town?
I love the food and shopping here. My favourite places are Souk al Bahar and definitely Souk Madinat. I love Marina Furniture, and all the restaurants dotted around the Souk. They have a great vibe and really authentic feel.
What is your design philosophy?
What gets reflected in my designs is my passion for textiles and colours and everything handmade. I have always believed in the power of the hand over machine. Though technology can make production bigger and faster, it cannot really touch you. That is why modernism gets outdated very fast. On the other hand, anything crafted manually might be slow and have irregularities yet it lends a characteristic to every product that makes it the ultimate state of luxury.
What style elements did you keep in mind when styling Aishwarya in ‘Guzaarish’?
When Sanjay gave me the brief for Aishwarya’s role, I was told she was a lonely women with a colourless life. I imagined that a women such as her with a dull life and a difficult role as a caregiver would fill her time by stitching and embroidering. Sometimes when women are unhappy they tend to overdress or undress to fill the void. I imagined that she would constantly try and bring colour to her life through her clothing and make up – which is what I kept in mind. I had mixed reviews for ‘Guzaarish’ but in general most people loved Ash’s look and more specifically the jewellery.
Are there any other Bollywood movies you plan to or would like to work on in the near future?
I have designed for Vidya Balan in ‘Kahani’ which will release soon.
What is it about your collection that makes it appealing to women of all generations?
I design timeless Indian clothing. My style is more tradition and less fashion, hence it is very appealing to all women.
What’s one fashion investment a woman should make this season?
Vintage gold and a hand embroidered shawl or dupatta.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to start an Indian inspired kidswear brand which can be globally aspirational. Since I hail from an art background, I am very keen to curate and commission art. I have already started the process through my Design Studio in Kolkata.
If you weren’t a fashion designer, what career path would you have chosen?
I would have been a horticulturist or a restauranteur specialising in Bengali food.
Tell us one thing that people don’t know about you.
I’m about to host my very first Indian reality TV show. We will give brides a makeover and an opportunity to wear a Sabyasachi Bridal creation.
Tell us more about your directorial debut. Where does the project stand as of now?
My plans are currently on hold for another one or two years. I feel that with my business growing and the new stores in Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi, I haven’t had a chance to focus on it. I have a script ready though! In fact I just launched my new store in Mumbai a few days ago and my first customer was Oprah Winfrey!