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The Sabyasachi x H&M Collection, The Bridal Couturier’s Debut as a Fashion Designer, Ready to Launch After Long Wait

April 16, 2020 was a day that all Indian fashion girls around the world had circled on the calendar. It was at this point that Sabyasachi x H&M, one of the most famous Indian couturiers collaborating with the world’s most beloved consumer brand, was to be launched. But then the world went on hiatus.

Magazine covers had been rotated, fashion editors had been previewed. If there’s one thing Sabyasachi Mukherjee is never wrong, it’s how to build a story around her work. He has previously worked with Asian Paints, French luxury shoemaker Christian Louboutin and American furniture chain Pottery Barn. H&M, who released sold-out capsules with big names in fashion such as Karl Lagerfeld, Comme des Garçons and Versace, had approached him right after he presented his 20th anniversary show in 2019. “The delay was disappointing because I told myself when the brand is 20 years old, I will do a collaboration and present it to a large audience, ”he said. The Hindu weekend.

Fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee

Fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee

Called “Wanderlust,” the collection will now be available on August 12 at 11 H&M stores in India and select stores in 17 other countries, including the United States, Great Britain and Japan. It will also be marketed online on Myntra and in 48 international markets at hm.com.

Prints and pleats

Mukherjee, 47, had three conditions for H&M: it had to be a proud collection from India, a sari had to be part of the capsule, and much of the production had to be done in India (90% was made here) . “Our collaboration with Sabyasachi is last in the list of successful global partnerships. We turn to renowned designers in order to offer the general public tailor-made, rare and expensive creations that are usually inaccessible ”, explains Maria Gemzell, Head of New Development, H&M. The Swedish multinational clothing retailer has diversified in its approach to collaborations. Last year he did a capsule with Beirut-based designer Sandra Mansour and just before the pandemic hit their capsule with Colombian designer Joanna Ortiz debuted in their stores.

An outfit from the Sabyasachi x H&M, Wanderlust collaboration

An outfit from the Sabyasachi x H&M collaboration, Wanderlust | Photo credit: Frida Marklund

“I was absolutely sure what I wanted to do with H&M,” says Mukherjee. It had to be something eternal, something that was easy on the pocket and yet didn’t fall into the fast fashion trap. So the pandemic, with its conversations about sustainability, actually made the collection more relevant. Sabyasachi x H&M includes 22 styles of clothing for women, 13 for men and 32 accessories. The viscose georgette saree, with a print inspired by her hometown Kolkata, is available at H&M stores in India only. “It was created for the Indian consumer who loves the Sabyasachi saree, but finds it unaffordable.” He suggests pairing it with pajamas and a t-shirt from the collection.

Play on its strengths

If you’ve read any of Mukherjee’s interviews, you’ll know that he loves to tell about his humble beginnings and often refers to his muse Madonna, who has yet to wear one of his outfits. (Others like Kim Kardashian and Naomi Campbell rocked his designs.) The Queen of Pop, who follows him on Instagram – “she only follows 368 people, so that’s a big deal,” the creator says – is the one celebrity he would most like to see in Wanderlust. He also sent her the collection.

Sabyasachi x H&M

Mukherjee is clear that his definition of sustainability is inspired by his middle class education. “With sustainability, there is a responsibility on production and on consumers. This collection is about classic and affordable wearable clothing, ”he says. This is also how the slow fashion lawyer justifies working with the fast fashion giant H&M.

The line refers to all of its couture brands, such as the Royal Bengal Tiger. It was its distinct style that prompted H&M to select it. “We chose Sabyasachi for a collaboration with a designer because he is the undisputed master of Indian couture,” explains Gemzell. But if you think classic means staid, think again. Wanderlust is a riot of color and prints that has an Indian soul but international appeal. Each print was hand painted to scale (and later digitally recreated by H&M), and it was inspired by the French canvases, kalamkari etc. Designed for the global citizen, it is also timely, as Sabyasachi has its eyes on the global market and the location of its flagship store in New York has already been found.

Resort meets street and chic travel

This is the most street-styled collection from the designer of the bride to date. “If you remember my first collection from 2004, Frog Princess, it was always bohemian,” he says. So, in many ways, Wanderlust is a throwback to its roots. The fact that it was delayed may have actually worked to the advantage of the designer.

Sabyasachi x H&M

A cheerful jet-set capsule that’s easy, timeless, and can be dressed from top to bottom, as travel restrictions begin to loosen – this collection is on point. The designer admits to having had many conversations with the young members of his design studio during its creation. But it’s also a collection made with its own approach to clothing in mind. “I like to buy very versatile clothes that can travel well,” he says.

Wanderlust, with its contrasting prints, breezy caftans and cool outfits, was designed to be gender and size independent. He therefore expects men to wear women’s pajamas and women to wear men’s tunics. “It’s a vacation spot that meets the street and chic travel. You could be at Kumbh Mela or Burning Man or Marrakech – just put on a backpack and sunglasses, grab your wallet and travel anywhere. It’s simple but very glamorous.

The cuts are all easy, and they are separate pieces that can be mixed and matched. It includes fashion jewelry bags and belts. Chintz is a strong inspiration for her prints, which may seem a bit obvious when designing a proud collection of India. “I like to celebrate clichés, that’s one of the reasons I use the Taj Mahal as a design on my handbags. Clichés are clichés because they are universally loved.

Collaboration Sabyasachi x H&M, Wanderlust

Collaboration Sabyasachi x H&M, Wanderlust

For the first time, he worked with denim and gave it a responsible twist by making it into pajamas, making sure it will fit you regardless of your waistline increase or decrease. The craftsman-conscious designer himself is known to live in his jeans. “There is something very beautiful about casual clothing, because then your mind can focus on things other than the hemming. He thinks comfortable clothes are here to stay, but there will be a return to the glamor in the way we dress.

the salwar kameez is her staple of the collection, sold as a tunic and pajama bottoms. “Everyone looks great in a salwar kameez. You can be hippie, you can be stylish, you can be Studio 54, you can be Halston in it. Jemima Goldsmith during her time as Mrs. Imran Khan had a definite influence on this play.

Wanderlust is bound to be sold and simply confirms that when it comes to understanding what the consumer wants, there is no such thing as an Indian designer like Sabyasachi Mukherjee.

Wanderlust costs between 799 and 9,999

“I like to celebrate clichés, that’s one of the reasons I use the Taj Mahal as a design on my handbags. Clichés are clichés because they are universally loved ”, said Sabyasachi Mukherjee

“Collaborating with an international brand is always a great experience because it helps regional brands and designers gain visibility and highlight emerging talents. It’s a great way to promote culturally rich fashion stories that amplify and nurture diversity and innovation ”, said Sandra mansour, the first Arab designer to collaborate with H&M


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Hazel J. Edmonds

The author Hazel J. Edmonds

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