Sunday, 7 March 2010

Lakme Fashion Week, Mumbai: Sabyasachi

Sabyasachi is not a designer well known in Europe or America, and yet his was far and away the best and most coherent design statement of day one here in Mumbai. It was entirely individual and even understated compared to all the colourful exuberance of the rest of the day; it was wintry in feel and it included some jackets. So, we can say that he is facing West. And so is his aesthetic. As I watched this beautifully judged collection unfold I was taken back to the early work of Dies van Noten, Romeo Gigli and even Bill Gibb and early Laura Ashley. It was soft, gentle and understated. It was about dressing women so that it is not the dress but the person that makes the statement. It had a pleasantly nostalgic feel whilst being totally of today.

Small floral prints, rich combinations of pattern, subdued colour, a narrow silhouette: there was a real aesthetic at work here, and it was based on the possibility of real women wearing real clothes for real lives. You won't find the blockbuster show-stopper on the runway of Sabyasachi. What you will find is a wardrobe for an attitude of mind and a way of life.

And this designer scores because he has learned that hardest of all four-letter words for a designer to learn. It begins with an e and ends with a t. Editing a collection is second in importance only to designing it, in my opinion, and yet very few designers realise that on a runway less is always more. The shorter and sharper the statement, the greater its impact. That is why Sabyasachi's runway presented such a clear and concise statement of his thinking and had those who know about fashion, rather than blingy dresses, all saying, 'Yes. That was it.'

Sabyasachi's aesthetic appeals to the individual because it has the confidence of a creator who has, at the risk of sounding pretentious, a design philosophy – a very different thing from just sending a few commercial looks down your catwalk. This designer deserves a wide audience.

1 comment:

  1. Sabyasachi was a groundbreaker in Indian fashion, IMO because he was one of the first designers who made clothes that were a little less precious in feel than what most designers in Indian were doing when he showed his first collection.
    It's still something he does very well, the women he designs for just seem a little bit more real than the glossy, perfect dolls most Indian designers seem to want as muses. Maybe it's a result of being from a more laid-back place than most other people working in the market, but whatever it is, he has his own creative vision and I hope he keeps on with it.