When he’s not dressing up every iconic Bollywood celebrity bride, designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee is announcing exciting collaborations that are as fabulous as they are unexpected.
After partnering with Starbucks, H&M, Pottery Barn, and Christina Louboutin, the designer is set to collaborate with New York-based luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman for the third time.
Mukherjee’s Bengal Byzantine Broadway collection will be presented exclusively at Bergdorf from 24th of August to 2nd September 2022. This exclusive collection of jewellery is another step in the designer’s quest to highlight and preserve dying ancient Indian handicraft and art forms.
“In a world of lab-grown diamonds and synthetic stones the way we value jewellery will change. If the value comes from rarity, what is rarer than the finest of heritage crafts? I believe craftsmanship is the true marker of the value of the jewellery. And while India’s legacy of craftsmanship is beyond spectacular, over the years it has become diluted and endangered and we need to strive toward conserving the finest of our crafts. This is what is going to make jewellery priceless in the years to come,” said the designer, on the importance of recognising and appreciating traditional Indian handicrafts.
The collection is the coming together of three titular elements: the master craftsmanship of Bengal, gilded Byzantine magnificence, and Broadway’s theatrical power.
On the face of it, these wildly distinct elements have no way of coming together to create something cohesive and beautiful, but Mukherjee’s collection will prove that wrong. “Inspiration is so abstract, it’s never one thing it’s more a rush of thoughts. Be it Georgian refinement or the rustic craftsmanship of the Harappans. This was quite really a journey from Calcutta to New York and all the cross-cultural exuberance of the past and future between the two. It may be distinct but it came together seamlessly in my mind.”
The collection presents a rich and vibrant display of cultures melding beautifully, with deconstructed Maharani necklaces being paired with fine hand-painted velvets, and enamelled Grecian medallions presented along with charms from the mangroves of the Sunderbans. When asked to pick his favourites from the stunning collection, the designer said, “I think my personal favourite is the Deconstructed Maharani Necklace, which pays tribute to the historic jadau necklaces but updates it with a printed velvet sash instead of the traditional sarafa. And the unusual mix of stones and construction of the main frame itself. I also love the new totems and charms that bring in the fauna of the Sundarbans from the endangered ghariyal to the common frog.”
The maximalist collection is connecting East and West in a way that has almost become a trademark of the designer, highlighted with each cross-cultural collaboration. “I think it’s time for Indian jewellery to get back into the global spotlight. Not just as museum pieces but as a rich thriving living legacy,” said the designer, “Our annual presentation at Bergdorf is a great platform to bring our craftsmanship and design to a global audience.”
Mukherjee adds that these collaborations are carefully thought out and planned to highlight Indian craft first and foremost, “Every collaboration is different, each one establishes its own cross-cultural dialogue. Some highlight traditional Indian crafts and craft forms, while others are a way of giving back and some help put Indian design on the global map. Each one is as strategic as it is a celebration of what we do.”