Eyes that gaze into mine, a smile that is lost on his lips,
that is the untouched portrait of the man to whom I belong.
When he takes me in his arms and speaks to me softly, I see life in rosy hues..... (La vie en rose).
LA VIE EN ROSE is one of my favorite songs and every time I listen to this signature song by Edith Piaf, it evokes a gamut of emotions in me. I experience the same love and passion in Edith's seductive voice as in every Sabyasachi outfit I wear. With "La Vie En Rose" playing in the background, I can close my eyes and visualize an opulent stage resembling the glamorous French era from the 1940s and me walking the ramp in my gorgeous Sabyasachi . Just when I began to feel an unknown equation between La Vie En Rose, Sabya and I, I discovered that "LA VIE EN ROSE" is Sabya's favorite song too. I was pleasantly surprised!
So through this final post of the trilogy, I reminisce about my favorite Sabyasachi moments and madness with you all. It is a tribute to my belief in him, his artistic vision, his creative pursuits and his lust worthy clothes.
Photography Credits: Vandana Rao.
I have people telling me all the time that they are either heavy or short to wear a Sabyasachi or they cannot carry off some of his styles & color. But I have always maintained that to wear a Sabyasachi you don't need a right body but a right attitude!
A block printed Jhoomar top with embroidered army lapels on the shoulder paired with a Khadi dhoti pant.
This is my definition of sexy, covered from head to toe & breathing elegance!
Georgette polka dotted tail kurti churidar paired with a French lace, hand embroidered dupatta and D&G sunglasses.
As many of you know, the music and setting play a very large role in his fashion shows. His shows are not just about clothes, they are a spectacle - a real tribute to his whimsical themes.
1. THE ABSOLUTE ROYAL: 2013, Lakme Finale:
From the darkness emerged a strong voice resembling that of popular singer Nina Simone. As the chandelier lights slowly brightened, one could see a tall singer dressed in an outfit from Sabyasachi’s latest "Absolute city Royal" collection crooning the famous song " It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a
new life for me....I am feeling good". As soon as the song came to an end, the models started strutting on the runway in their gorgeous ensembles - each piece more elegant, classic, royal and chic than the other. Beige, black and the color sindoori red dominated the ramp and the audio- visual aspects of this show transported you to a different era... the rich, regal Indian era!!
My favorite model Indrani Dasgupta in a luxurious velvet/net lehenga saree from the collection.
Another classic saree with an understated bling!
A "Sabyasachi by Sabyasachi" fad, the most popular one from the collection. I was told that there is already a bee line to place an order on this one. The striped sweater tops are paired with Satin crepe/ net saree.
Easily my favorite look from the collection because of the " role reversal" aspect. Loved men in short Kurta, Jhodpuris & kolapuri chappals and women in masculine bandh galas.
2. "OPIUM" - 2013, Delhi Couture week opening.
The set resembled that of an old haveli and the inspiration came from the 1920's era. "OPIUM" showcased a collection that was very evening wear and glamorous, yet very Indian. The fabrics ranged from khadi to tulle, from velvet to lace and the silhouettes included flapper jackets, coats, peplum tops, lehenga sarees and ghararas paired with vintage jewelry from 1800s. The collection included tilla sequin work, ari- tari embroidery and applique work. The opening evening by the designer at the Delhi couture week gave the audience a big high befitting the name of the the collection.
Parvathy Omanakuttan in a classic beige saree with applique work. A hot favorite!
Supermodel Nayanika Chatterjee.....
The peplum top, vintage rose prints and subtle bling, my favorite pick from the show.
3. "NEW MOON" - 2012.
This collection emerged as a result of his travels and the inspiration came from some of his favorite cities like London, Barcelona, Kolkata and Paris. Models walked on a vintage set/ ramp to Madonna's song " You must love me" from Evita. The collection had a very global and retro feel to it. Black, beige, red and emerald green filled the color palette and the fabrics were mainly nets with french dots, parsi gara embroidery and lehenga sarees paired with printed underskirts.
A fabulous collectors peice, a net lehenga saree in sindoori red paired with a high neck blouse. The saree has "Gara Parsi" embroidery all over and looks stunning in person.
Model: Nethra Raghuraman.
Model Diva John is seen here in a lehenga saree with printed underskirt, which is an interesting concept.
Model Jessie Randhawa in a stunning emerald green lehenga saree.
4. SAVE THE TIGER: 2011:
This has been one of my favorite Sabyasachi collections so far for its fun, stylish and quirky elements. The concept was woven around the campaign "Save the tiger" and Sunderbans. Florals, tiger prints on the hem and striped dresses dominated the collection in tones of hot yellow, black and beige. The
collection was mainly western but had an interesting mix of Indian textiles and prints. It captured the fun element from the 20s, freedom from the 30s and 70s’ boho chic. The models walked the ramp to a jazz medley ( Love the way, models catwalk for Peggy Lee's song...give me some money too) showcasing dresses with flutter sleeves, daring bras and Chotu sarees.
5. Autumn/ Winter: LFW: 2011:
I clearly remember waiting for this show with baited breath and then watching it live online. The show opened with a Kathak dancer performing and singing. There were no elaborate sets or bold silhouettes like in the past but a quieter sort of drama in this one. The freedom fighter hats, waistcoats, velvet and net combo sarees, floral tissues and the most gorgeous silver embroidered long sleeve blouses were the highlights. Most of the pieces shown in this collection will be heirloom pieces for sure.
It was such a well put together show...
Vintage floral print tissue sarees paired with maharani blouses, the headbands added the right pizzazz!
The most popular one from the collection, a play of velvet/net and elegance. Seen here are models Nayanika & Nethra.
6. SANCTURY: 2008:
When the designer believes that life is more beautiful with a little bit of everything including noise, crowds and contradictions, the outcome is a collection called Sanctuary.
Gigantic clotheslines were hung high up on the ramp with miniature lights woven into them depicting a pretty home in the French countryside. Models walked to Anne Lennox's "No more I love you" and Coldplay's "Yellow". Mini skirts and scaled dresses were shown with colored leggings and platform shoes. Well, there were Sabyasachi signature sarees too.
Model Carol Gracias in an old floral print blouse and satin wide leg pants.
Model Monikangana Dutta in a scaled short dress, bindi, colored legging and platforms.
Minimal makeup, head bands, a little black bindi, tinted sunglasses, vintage purses and geeky glasses have become the staple in most of his shows and there is an inspiration behind each one of them. He finds a woman beautiful when she is pretty but unaware of it. Being geeky is okay, boys do get attracted to geeky girls, he asserts and that's why he uses glasses on each one of his models.
Red roses make recurring appearances in his shows and when asked what ideas a rose brings to him, this is what he had to say - "Red roses are extremely decadent and romantic. You can't replace a rose with an orchid. A rose is a rose. I think for me a rose is almost perverse and that's what I love about it". It's a known fact that Sabya's designs and styling ( the way rose headbands came into the picture) are strongly influenced by his idol Frieda Kahlo. To him she is the definition of beauty and there has been no one quite like her. With her limp, amputation and unibrow, he finds her a bundle of energy, wit and enthusiasm.
I love the styling here, done by Sabyasachi himself.
One of the rare photographs of Sabya's sister Shinjini Mukherjee ( Payal) from the "frog princess" collection styled by Sabyasachi and brilliantly shot by ace photographer Swaroop Dutta.
Out of the many pictures of Vidya Balan that is floating around this one takes the cake. Brillinatly styled by Sabyasachi, I love everything about this picture. Love the interplay of clothes, lighting. make up & jewelry. Vidya looks divine!
Straight out of a Satyajit Ray movie - tribute to womanhood, styled by the king himself!
Back in 2005, When Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Black" was released, people loved this landmark movie for different reasons. Many for Rani and Amitabh's towering performances, some for Sanjay's directorial skills and visual brilliance, some for the Hellen Keller inspired story line and a few for Sabyasachi's stunning outfits that matched the mood and feel of the movie. I am sure only a minor percentage of the crowd who watched the movie might have noticed and appreciated Mr. Sabyasachi's work in the movie and I was one of them.
Be it the Peter pan collared blouses shown with long monochromatic skirts or the print on print maxis and lace tops, I felt there was something more to his clothes and styling than them being just costumes. And this was the time I fell in love with this man and his vision. I was very happy when he won the National award for the same movie and let the whole world know that he had arrived. Though he is clear about the fact that movies are not his forte (unlike many other Indian designers), he is open to working with directors who understand his sensibilities. Black was followed by many other movies like Babul, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Guzaarish, Ravan, Paa and lately English Vinglish.
And finally, MY MADNESS:
My love for everything vintage, beautiful and Indian got me closer to Sabyasachi's work, I guess. His design aesthetics suited my sensibilities and even before I could realize, I was in love with this man and his work. After years of following his work closely and owning many of his couture pieces, I now think of myself as one of Sabyasachi’s biggest fans in the U.S.
I still remember that day in 2008 when the FEDEX guy delivered my first Sabyasachi . I made sure that my husband was right in front of me when I opened the package as I wanted him to be a part of my madness. I was like a kid in the candy store, jumping with joy and feeling my dream weaves again and again and draping it all around me. Having tried many Indian designers, I have realized that HE is the one for me. I have found my designer- one whose clothes I can relate to and whose clothes make me feel special and very feminine!
Right after Sundari’s birth in 2009, I was going through a low phase creativity wise and this was the time I decided to do a couple of fun Sabyasachi fashion shows here in the U.S just to spread the awareness. Alongside good friends like Vandana, Nirmala and Poorna , I decided to have some of my other friends model for the shows which took place at some special events here in Chicago.
Dear friend Poorna opened the show....
And she nailed the look !!
Seen here in a Sabyasachi flecther with Banarasi brocade pleats & Kasab border.
Seen here in a Sabyasachi flecther with Banarasi brocade pleats & Kasab border.
My good friends in Sabyasachi, just before the show. Vandana Rao ( second left) is seen in an off white flecther with tapestry embroidered border.
Good friend Shailaja modeling my first Sabyasachi saree, an offwhite flecther with a hand embroidered border.
Dear friend Nirmala Mohan in a Chanderi Sabyasachi with pearl embroidered border.
My 6 ft showstopper in a Sabyasachi Vasanthalakshmi kanjeevaram.
A backstage Sabyasachi moment with all my Kannada friends, just before the show.
On a flight to Delhi, Sabya sketched Ms.World. Kanishtha Dhankar's outfit for Cannes 2011 on a piece of paper napkin. He then wrote my name on it, signed his name and asked me to preserve it.
With Kanishtha Dhankar...
Though things went slightly wrong in Cannes 2013, I am so glad that the king is back with a winsome collection called "OPIUM" and I would like to quote Femina editor Satya Saran here: "A finale brings out the best in a good designer and for a good designer, every show is a finale".
As I sign off, I repeat - more power to you Mr. Sabyasachi, may you shine the brightest!!