Sabyasachi Mukherjee, the young designer from Kolkata, has emerged from the backwaters of fashion to become India's most promising new star, the New York Times said as it took note of his collection being displayed at the Fashion Week in New York.
When Mukherjee showed his first collections in Mumbai and New Delhi, he was branded an outrageous upstart for his cavalier treatment of traditional colours and of khadi, the Indian hand-spun cotton cloth, damaging vintage saris with acid sprays, re-embroidering and reimagining them as Western sportswear.
"My mother thought I needed to see a shrink immediately, and my father thought I was becoming a pervert," Mukherjee, who is displaying his collection at a Fashion Week in New York, told the influential daily.
But buyers from Browns in London and Saks Fifth Avenue in New York saw something that could translate into international appeal. Their validation raised Mukherjee's profile, and he was soon sought out by Indian socialites and Bollywood actors, the paper said.
His designs for the movie Black won a National Film Award this year.
"I thought the best way was to start by doing something Indian," Mukherjee said. "It is no longer perceived as exotic. I see the whole global market like a spice rack. If the pepper is missing, you've got to give them pepper."
By showing his collection in New York, Mukherjee, 30, said he hopes to take Indian fashion to a wider audience. Tracey Ross will carry his fall collection in Los Angeles.
His spring clothes incorporate panels of silk and cotton weaves with cotton velvet, lightly embroidered khadi and heavily embroidered floral fabrics, inspired, albeit unrecognisably, by old tin teapots and Egon Schiele. There are no saris.
Even if Mukherjee does not make it in New York, he will be comforted by gaining the support of his family. His father, who once threw him out of the house, is now his business manager, the Times noted.