Recently, I attended the wedding reception of Dr Dhiva Thangavel and Dr Sean Heinz at the Dalton House in Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia. In the grand room, decorated with chandeliers, flowers and ceiling high glass windows overlooking the Hyde Park, guests ( mostly healthcare professionals who were interns,dentists, doctors and specialists from various Australian hospitals) gathered in smartly dressed Western attires, while I wore, an ethnic heritage menswear collection by Kolkata based Indian designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee.
Sabyasachi Mukherjee is the Indian designer in demand who represents fashionable modern India (the country that exercises soft power on global textile and fashion industry). He graduated from NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Textile) and was awarded Femina British Council’s award. Making his debut at India Fashion Week 2002, he showcased his collections at the Will’s Lifestyle Fashion Week, Lakme Fashion Week (conducted by Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI)), Spring Summer collection’07 at New York Fashion Week and Autumn Winter 2015 collection at Amazon India Couture Week (AICW). As India’s most iconic designer, he also collaborates with global brands such as Bergdorf Goodman New York for handcrafted pieces of fine and bohemian men’s jewellery, French luxury footwear Christain Louboutin for men’s shoes and H&M for comfortable men’s clothing.
Why to wear Sabyasachi Mukherjee Menswear Collection ?
There are several reasons for me to wear Sabyasachi. Firstly, I was invited to a multicultural wedding which involved two gynaecologists of Indian Australian and American Australia backgrounds. I wanted to celebrated this multicultural union with the very best of Indian heritage ethnic wear and Bengali ‘refined taste’.
Few years back, I read a book ‘Colonial Cousins’ by Joyce Westrip and Peggy Holroyde, I learnt about Banarji Bonarji. The book talked about Michael Page and his book Aussie Battlers. In Aussie Battlers, the author wrote about a “refined cultural background” man named Banarji Bonarji who took a ship from Calcutta and landed in Warrnambool in regional Victoria, lived between 1839 to 1911 and sold draper and clothiers from India in his horse drawn van. It highlighted the ‘refined taste’ of a Bengali man and the Indian textile in Australian society.
In Indian society, men often associate smartness with suit and tie and not so much ethnic heritage menswear except in the upper crust. Also, we grew up with the idea earning money is more important than looking smart. Nowadays that idea is less acceptable in the broader Indian society.
Indian origin men with the rest of the world are more fashionable today and are part of global menswear and retail luxury goods markets. The menswear industry is worth hundreds of billions of dollars and includes both established and new brands.
Some of the established global menswear brands are Dior, Fendi and Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH). Currently LVMH is a French luxury conglomerate (the largest fashion company worldwide) with an annual revenues of over 40 billion euros. In the same year, another US-based lifestyle brand Nike (second largest fashion company worldwide) generated revenues worth over 30 billion dollars. Historically in the Indian subcontinent nothing like these established brands existed except Raymonds( established in 1925). Even though India sold exquisite fabrics such as muslin to rest of the world for many thousands of years, never before was Indian ethnic heritage menswear been celebrated for a flamboyant confidence of style.
I believe Sabyasachi Mukherjee, is the first such Indian brand to do so. It has strong connections to India’s culture, art and traditional yarn’s use. This makes Sabyasachi menswear collection extraordinary. Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s designs include attractive implication of fabric, intricate embroidered and flair of style. His use of block print, Sangner Chintz or Murshidabad silk for menswear is fascinating. Over the years, Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s menswear collection has included bandhgala jacket/ sherwani /kurta pyjama with lightweight shawls or stoles,safas (traditional Indian turbans), Royal Bengal Tiger head jutis (shoes), men’s accessories such as Alipore Sling or the Bengal Trophy belt and men’s jewellery.
In Sydney, 2022 was definitely the year for me to celebrate a multicultural wedding in sartorial splendour, simplicity and style. My Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s menswear was right choice I made in the Southern Hemisphere to increase awareness about rich Indian textiles and designs. Appreciated by many. Julia Booth who commented on my Facebook update, stated,”How glamorous you look , elegance and panache”. All I can say is Sabyasachi Mukherjee menswear collection definitely celebrates Indian heritage menswear with flamboyant confidence of style.