Every Sabyasachi moment is dripping with romanticism and a sense of understated grandeur, no matter how much of a paradox that might see. The romance comes from his use of embroidery and embellishment techniques from a time gone by and the understated splendour from his use of very subtle dusky colours. It doesn’t slap you in the face with its shimmer. It offers you that ease of knowing that at any given moment, you wouldd always be the most elegant one in the room.
I sat down with the maverick himself as we discussed his heritage, where he draws his inspiration from, and how this collaboration with Forevermark came to be.
To really understand the phenomenon that is Sabyasachi, there’s so much we need to know about the man himself. He speaks fondly of his childhood and the two driving forces in it. The first, his paternal grandmother, who he credits with shaping his sense of self. The other, his maternal grandfather who taught him the exuberance which is a Sabyasachi patent. His grandfather travelled a lot and brought back gifts for his four children, one of whom is Sabyasachi’s mother. He admits his grandfather was a man of good taste, who took great pride in showing the designer and his sister, then only children, saris, jewellery and art that he had collected over the years. If you’re wondering whether the aesthetic runs in the family, here’s your answer. “Being in Bengal, you could not disassociate good textile and good jewellery because it was and is a part of Bengali DNA,” he says. Colonial raj saw Calcutta (now Kolkata) as a refined centre where the art and culture movement really took shape. That same refinement transcended into the beauty that we have come to know in the work of Sabyasachi Mukherji. So, it was a natural source of influence for the Zanyah collection for Forevermark.
After his collaboration with famed shoe designer Christian Louboutin and that special edition collection of wallpapers he did for Asian Paints, Sabyasachi says the marriage of his art with Forevermark was meant to be. Why, you ask? A little-known fact about him is that he actually started his career as a jewellery designer and his clothing label was a mere accident. One he’s very happy about. Now it’s only natural that Sabyasachi took on collaborative work with Forevermark, a jewellery house known for its artful creations.
“Diamond jewellery in India is made to look very sterile because everything is just about the rock and nothing else around it,” he says. And undoubtedly this was the perfect meeting ground of fine rock and fine art, on which they have come together to make what we’ve come to know as the Zanyah collection. “Think of a woman who is dressed to the nines every single day, it’s boring,” he compares it to a woman who “wears gowns with flats or a formal dress with trainers, it tells a story with a certain sense of whimsy”. It was a conscious decision to imbibe the same into this range.
“While a girl would want to wear a simple solitaire, a lady of age would want to wear a single line necklace. They don’t want to wear anything ‘bohemian or romantic’ because they don’t believe diamonds can be more engaging than that”. Is this true, though? The longer I ponder over that sweeping statement I realized how much truth there really is. Through observations, perhaps, but I began understanding what he was referring to. But then, this is precisely the way in which the Zanyah collection is different. It is driven by personality. It is an ode to those jewellery stores on Old Bond Street in London, or even the flea markets in Paris. Sabyasachi drew his inspiration for character from there. I suppose the girls who wear such jewellery also wear their personalities with equal pride. But who is this woman? To begin with, she’s a woman of the past. Inspired by the ‘20s, the jewellery is for the woman who dances, laughs, she even flirts. She also smokes cigarettes placed in a holder delicately positioned between two fingers. Since Forevermark doesn’t work with coloured stones, the designer brought colours to the pieces in the form of enameling on drop earrings and vintage-style rings. Thanks to his designs, diamonds have the coloured contrast which only dresses them further.
With this capsule collection, the couturier has come full circle. We will wait and see where he takes his brilliance from here.