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ON CLOUD NINE Sabyasachi
ON CLOUD NINE Sabyasachi

Sabyasachi Mukherjee on his "Black" experience, which got him the Best Costume Designer award in New York

After bagging all the major awards in most categories, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black has won the best costume designer award at the just-concluded Bollywood Awards in New York. Not the ultimate recognition in the field, still the film's costume designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee is ecstatic. "I waited for long, but I didn't even get many nominations in India." He reasons, "A lady told me in New York that we never noticed what the characters were wearing. I think it is the ultimate compliment. I believe costumes are meant to blend with the character. But in Bollywood, everything has to be larger than life. Perhaps that was the reason nobody noticed my work." He was also awarded the Designer of the Year award at the event. In love with the film, the designer says, "The greatest achievement of the film is that it worked without any of the mainstream formula associated with a box office success." This, he says, proves people are receptive to change. "This reflects in the fashion world too. Gone are the days when people wanted to look like sore thumbs in a crowd. That `era of shock' is over. These are times of decorative simplicity."Come September and Sabya will fly again to New York to participate in the New York Fashion Week. "The collection is inspired by Russian circus, the paintings of Frida Kahlo and the works of Leonardo Cohen." Won't it be too much for New York, known for its black and white ways? "The idea is not to mould yourself according to what they want. They have Donna Karans to take care of that. The plan is to give them something unexpected. They expect colour and embellishments from India... I am trying to strike a balance between the two extremes." The definitive element, says Sabya, is introducing masculine elements in feminine outfits. "Shirts have been transformed into dresses. The emphasis is on oversized structures making the outfits wearable from size 8 to14. There is European influence in the collection as well. The U.S. customer always falls for it." The New York sojourn means Sabya will give the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week a miss. "I will be doing the finale at the Lakme Fashion Week."Talking of trends, Sabya says, "The 1980s look is back on the ramp. Morbid colours are giving way to raspberry reds and corals. Messy prints are on their way out giving space to simple ones. Colour blocking is also getting big. The 1980s' fashion is not considered very aesthetic, so I am working to give it an artistic twist. Like making large sleeves without using pads on the shoulders."As for Bollywood, Sabya reveals he is designing for Rani Mukherjee in Babul. "After the Black experiment, it is as commercial as it can get. I am looking forward to a historical; otherwise, Bollywood is not worth my time."ANUJ KUMAR

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