Sabyasachi Mukherjee is a dream designer for most Indian brides on their Big Day. Starting September 10, the Kolkata couturier will bring his colourful and glamorous vision of Indian chic beyond occasionwear and straight to the masses, thanks to a designer collaboration with H&M.
Originally scheduled for release last April, the launch date had to be postponed in light of the pandemic. Titled Wanderlust, the 67-piece collection encompasses womenswear and menswear pieces – with several gender-fluid items like jeans, jackets and accessories in the mix. The items will be available solely for purchase on hm.com.
While this is not Mukherjee’s first brush at collaborations – he has worked on partnerships with luxury shoemaker Christian Louboutin and furnishings retailer Pottery Barn in the past – this is the first time the couturier is bringing his sought-after designs to the high street.
Mukherjee describes the sari as “the biggest payback” of his H&M collection.
Shoppers will find wearable separates such as wide-legged pants, shorts and flowy dresses made with printed textiles produced by the Sabyasachi Art Foundation which champions the works of local artists who are impoverished.
The prints take inspiration from Sanganeri, Kalamkari and Coromandel chintz techniques which the designer described in an interview with Telegraph India as “lush, bohemian, romantic, almost sensual but at the same time very Indian.” He added: “If the world has to know India, let it know India through its printed textiles.”
A masterclass in accessorising.
Indeed, Mukherjee’s role in promoting Indian fashion to the world is something he takes seriously for this project (90 per cent of the production also happened in Indian, FYI). The traditional salwar kameez, for instance, has been interpreted as a tunic and pyjama pants as versatile additions to the wardrobe.
In another interview with The Hindu, he said: “Everyone looks great in a salwar kameez. You can be hippy, you can be elegant, you can be Studio 54, you can be Halston in it.”
The sari, however, is perhaps the soul of this collection. According to Mukherjee, having a sari in the mix is one of the conditions he set out before venturing into the collaboration. The terracotta-hued viscose sari comes stamped with a print inspired by his hometown and is styled with a T-shirt and belt bag in the lookbook to show its timeless appeal.
In The Hindu interview, he said: “I wanted the sari to reach a certain kind of democracy with the young consumers and for me that was the biggest payback of this collection, that while the collection is very international, it has so many roots in India, especially very rooted in Calcutta.”