I grew up hearing the names of Indian designers much more than I heard of the brands we see in the West. In place of Vuitton and Dior, I was, quite early-on, in awe of Manish Malhotra and Sabyasachi Mukherjee. As I grew older, my knowledge of fashion grew, and with it, the worlds of the West and East began to blend. And as designers in both parts of the world gain recognition on the opposite end, this blur became more familiar – and I realised that the designers are equally influential in their own right. Despite this, I have always been partial to Indian fashion, particularly bridal wear. Bridal-wear is a pinnacle of the fashion world in India, where wedding season seems to be year-round. Indian traditional wear has become increasingly original; while fabrics and the basis of bridal wear is retained, designers are finding modern, and often Western, ways to approach this branch of clothing. For many, like Sabysachi Mukherjee, the traditional textures and characteristics of bridal-wear is a way to transition into the modern. His 'Heritage' collection is one such example.
For Summer 2016, Mukherjee created a collection in a range of striking hues – from raw gold to eggshell blue to the midnight tone I chose to display above. The designer, like me, is from Kolkata, and chooses to focus on the city as his point of inspiration. This is evident in much of his clothing, featured in these photographs for Harper's Bazaar India and shot by photographer Tarun Khiwal. For this collection, however, the Banarsi sari was where he wove his own sartorial story from. This sari is known for its inherent opulence, shown through brocade and thick gold embroidery. Glittering gold motifs, such as paisleys, characterize such saris and other forms of Indian clothing. In his collection, Mukherjee concocted stunning silhouettes which were covered in such patterns. Such clothes are considered timeless, which is probably the reasoning behind the 'Heritage' title they were given. I was floored by the blue and gold combination, which I think can rarely go wrong. As far as Indian fashion goes, less is never considered more, as the photographs above show so beautifully. An abundance of jewelry, created by Kishandas and Co. exclusively for Sabysachi, range from large necklaces to headpieces. The wonderful aspect of said jewelry is that it somehow never overpowers the clothes at hand; this often creates an effect that is magical. Perhaps this is why I was more fascinated by the fashion of my home country as a child – and even now, I find the lack of simplicity to be a paradox. Indian fashion can be overwhelming to look at, to put on, and to create. But the beauty that comes along with it isn't dizzying. Its beauty is simple to understand and it's understandably covetable.