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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Sabya: 'Frog Princess', reinvented

'In order to change the system, you have to stay within the system.' These words from Madhur Bhandarkar's Page 3 aptly describe the genius of Sabyasachi. A New York librarian goes to disco. That sums up Sabya's new collection. Gimmicky? Yes. Predictable? No, writes Sunanda Kumar.

india Updated: Apr 26, 2005 12:03 IST
Sunanda Kumar
Sunanda Kumar

'In order to change the system, you have to stay within the system.' These words from Madhur Bhandarkar's Page 3 seem quite appropriate for designer genius, Sabyasachi.

A New York librarian goes to a disco. That pretty much sums up Sabyasachi's Spring/Summer 06 collection. Gimmicky? Yes. Predictable? No.

While the concept itself sounds a bit wannabe-ish like Malini Ramani's bad girls go looking for God or Rocky S' naach girls go clubbing, the similarity ends there.

Sabyasachi is his brilliant self from the concept itself. The intended dichotomy of models (considered brainless) wearing librarian glasses and carrying books is sheer genius. Their delicious curves hidden under oversized man shirts and layers of fabric again are truly unique. "A woman is best expressed in a man's clothes. I think there is something very sexy about women wearing an oversized masculine shirt," the Bengali lad says.

Even the name of his collection, "The Nair Sisters" (inspired by three sisters in his neighborhood), evokes images of frumpy matrons with oily hair and thick glasses. The hair is sleek but fashionably so. The glasses are visible but are chic like the ones worn by Preity Zinta in Kal Ho Na Ho or lately tennis sensation Sania Mirza.

Old rose pink printed chiffon slip dresses over knit pants with satin sashes, hand printed culottes under block printed smock dresses with double layered chiffon sleeves. Sounds familiar? That's because his collection last year, "The Frog Princess" had similar prints and fabrics.

This year's collection definitely had a taste of last year, but Sabyasachi glamourises this hangover, "Just like Prada reinvents its Vintage mood each year - but keeps the basic concept the same, I too have last year's influence in this year's collection," he said.

He wants to retain the basic look for 2-3 years and ultimately dissolve it into something new. However, the difference this year is that there is a lot less layering and the clothes are more practical. "Last year's collection was a lot more creative I feel. I put a lot of emphasis on layering and it was more a concept collection. I had a lot of problems in selling that so this year I focused on garments that are easier to make and sell," he candidly said.

Also this year, he had several structured jackets with intricate embroidery and some zari work. A dash of sequins and gold threadwork stood out - especially on the borders of his block-printed saris.

Mostly comprising of chiffon dresses and long skirts, the garments work great as separates - paired even with a simple pair of jeans.  "I think real fashion is all about layering when you are able to mix and match things rather than rely on what the designer tells you to wear," he said. Indeed, his collection was possibly the most expertly layered line yet.

Sabyasachi has had his hands full this last year. Apart from showcasing last year's collection at the Milan Fashion Week 2004 and Singapore Mercedes Asia Fashion Week, Sabya designed the clothes Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black. "There is a huge difference between costume designing and fashion designing. With costume designing you are restricted to the demands of the character and the story while with fashion design you are free to do what you like," he said. So will we see more of his talent in Bollywood? "I'm much more comfortable being just a fashion designer," he smiled.

So there's the verdict, no more Bollywood for the Bengali the only way you can get a dekko at his delicious ensembles is to visit his retail outlets: Carma in Delhi; Ensemble in Bombay; Estee in Kolkata; Also in Hyderabad; Evoluzioni in Bangalore; or the high-end store Browns in London. If the 6,500 to 25,00 price tag is too high for you, pull some strings and get the coveted pass for his next show!

First Published: Apr 26, 2005 12:03 IST

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