Trendsetting Sabyasachi puts his heart on the ramp

Updated on May 01, 2004 11:19 PM IST

A magnificent menagerie of soul, romance and tragedy, Sabyasachi's non-conformist collection should send fellow designers back to school, writes Sunanda Kumar.

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HT Image
PTI | BySunanda Kumar, New Delhi

A magnificent menagerie of romance, tragedy and soul, Sabyasachi Mukherjee's non-conformist collection should send fellow designers scurrying back to school.

Perhaps the greatest discovery of the India Fashion Week till date, the Kolkata designer redefined fashion with his dreamy and "intellectual girlie" clothes. "My clothes are for women who believe in themselves and don't want to conform to society as it is. It's not about being anti-establishment, rather, it's about knowing who you are and having the ability to combine a pair of D&G jeans with a flea market bag," says Mukherjee while talking about his mind-blowing mélange of gorgeous grungy separates.

Often criticised for being good at styling but not designing, Mukherjee has come up with a collection that should silence his detractors once for and all. "My last show was the worst one so far. I sort of succumbed to outside pressures. This time I didn't give a damn and did what I felt like," insists the young couturier.

The collection is no doubt very close to Sabyasachi's heart. According to him the inspiration for the line came from his sister who used to model and then fell victim to an eating disorder. "She was too caught up trying to look as society wants young women to be portrayed. I on the other hand wanted to celebrate self-confidence and have designed clothes for people from size 8 to size 14," he says.

The sensitive designer decided to chuck his typical brocades and patchwork for this collection, exchanging them for softer fabrics, dreamier silhouettes and an artistic approach. Layers of stained and re-stained organza, lace, wool and cotton in subtle colours like taupe, castor, lagune and aubusson form beautiful a-line skirts, comfortable corset tops, patiala pants, feminine sarees and floaty dresses. Worn together or separately, the garments evoke a dreamy feel and whisk you away to the streets of Paris dotted by hopeful artists.

Clusters of beads around the neck, distressed denim bags, leg warmers over rose coloured tights give an extremely understated vintage look. Unlike other designers who associate vintage with binging on laces and pinks, Mukherjee has added a distressed/grunge element to vintage that gives it a subtle and artistic feel.

"I have used entirely new techniques this time like beading, quilting, staining and vegetable dyeing which give a very second-hand feel to the garment," Mukherjee said. The new techniques create a very "global hippie" look that one would associate with Charlize Theron's character in 'Sweet November' with a little more romance and imagination.

And with prices ranging between Rs 600-12,000 this soulful collection from one of India's most talented designers appears to be a bestseller all the way.

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