Sabyasachi returns to LFW with a regal yet contemporary collection

Regal is a word that usually describes a Sabyasachi Mukherjee creation. The saris and lehengas are worthy of dressing up a princess. He’s designing another royal collection, this time for the grand finale of the Lakme Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2013 on August 27. As always, he has looked into the past, into forgotten techniques of embroidery and worked with a multitude of fabrics that the Maharajas used.

Sabyasachi wants this collection to meet the requirements of a contemporary princess, someone he describes as “wealthy enough to live in a palace but chooses to live in an apartment for convenience. She is regal yet contemporary, someone like Kate Middleton,” says the designer. There’s plenty of work to be done: “My staff is getting the momentum back after the Eid break. Some of my men are trying to cope with hectic work after siestas,” he quips.

The designer might talk about his staff in a lighter vein, but this is a man who has a commendable team that meticulously executes his ideas, collection after collection. His recent opium-inspired line for Delhi Couture Week was a blend of opulence and sensuality.

Now, the team is working on saris, lehengas and ensembles that use old Banarasi silks, Mangalagiri, khadi and velvet. “We’ve done zardosi, chikan work and the old Kashmiri technique ‘ek tar ka kham’. The palette will be dark and deep; think wine reds and chocolate browns,” says Sabyasachi.

His fascination for royalty comes from poring over history texts, travelling and meeting descendants of royal families. From nawabs in Lucknow to Nizams in Hyderabad, Sabyasachi has drawn inspiration from different lifestyles. “The personal jewellery, locomotives, architecture, food and décor of the Maharajas are all my sources of inspiration. I’m going to put these things in a modern context for a contemporary princess. The anarkalis will be hipper and the lehengas lighter. The ensembles can be worn for high profile social gatherings and not only for weddings,” he explains. At the event, he will be showcasing collections that depict different moods. “We are looking at 35 to 40 garments in all, including a few for men,” he adds. Saris will also be a part of the collection: “I can never do a collection without saris.”

If the well-heeled are buying his creations primarily for weddings, Sabyasachi is happy. Not for monetary reasons, but because some of these ensembles will be part of a family’s heirloom. “Some clients buy outfits from each of my collection and have told me that they want to have a good trousseau that will be handed down to the next generation. I am lucky to have a mature clientele that’s not buoyed by fashion trends,” he says.