My parents wanted me to study medicine: Sabyasachi

My parents wanted me to study medicine: Sabyasachi

Sabyasachi Mukherjee

Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee is one of the most celebrated designers in the Indian fashion industry and his name is synonymous with bridal fashion.

Having been in the industry for over 16 years, the traditional extravagance in his creations have not just made him a celebrity favourite but also a go-to designer for new brides around the world.

Sabyasachi recently collaborated with L’Oréal Paris for a limited-edition festive makeup collection with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as the face of the campaign.

In an interview with Surupasree Sarmmah, the designer talks about his journey as a designer, the collaboration and more.

How did your journey as a fashion designer begin?

My parents wanted me to study medicine but I wanted to do something related to art and craft, where I could be independent. NIFT had opened in Kolkata then. I applied there and got through. That’s how my journey started. Even in college, I was the one who helped with clothes and makeup in theatre productions. I had a knack for that but I never thought I will become a designer. It all happened organically.

Tell us about your collaboration with L’Oreal?

Over the years, I have been thinking about a collaboration like this. Our brand has set a lot of definitive beauty ideas in the country, whether it is the bridal look with ‘matha patti’ and kohled eyes, straight hair with steel-rimmed sunglasses or the Hollywood’s old glamour with big red mouth. Our brand is not accessible by many and they end up buying copies. When Raagjeet Garg, the head of L’Oréal in India called me and said that L’Oréal Paris wanted to do a collaboration in India. I thought it would be a good opportunity. The brand has only done two large collaborations till now and that’s with Isabel Marant and Balmain.

Have you ever, before this collaboration, thought of starting a beauty product range?

Yes, I had. This is not something that happened overnight. Many of my friends would go to beauty parlours and send me pictures of my campaigns on their walls. In fact, many parlours still attract a lot of clients by saying that they are going to give them the Sabyasachi wedding look and I know that there is a strong demand for our kind of beauty in the market. However, we needed to work with someone who was a strong player and had a big distribution. So L’Oréal, for me, was the right fit because it is the perfect amalgamation of east meets west.

Today, everyone is opening boutiques and calling themselves a designer. Do you think this is diminishing the true meaning of a designer?

I feel that there is room for everybody today. Everyone wants to wear something out-of-the-box. So obviously, when you have such a huge market, it is going to let other brands grow but in the end it is about the survival of the fittest. Having said that, this makes everyone work harder, ultimately making the industry grow as a whole in general.

Most young designers look up to you for inspiration. Who do you look up to?

I look at many things for inspiration. It could be a place, cinema or books. I believe that one can find inspiration anywhere and everywhere, one just needs to be receptive towards it.

If not a designer...

I would have been a landscape architect, an interior designer or a filmmaker for sure.

Who is your muse?

Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist, Amrita Sher-Gil, the Indian artist and Edith Piaf, the French singer are my three muses. These women were legendary because they celebrated themselves. They have such a unique sense of self and that makes them different from everyone else.

Your future plan?

I have my spring-summer collection to be launched. I am also looking forward to opening a few more stores in the coming days.