Jewelry and clothing designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee has arrived in New York. His Calcutta, India-based brand, Sabyasachi, opened its first U.S. flagship last week in NYC’s West Village neighborhood.
“I’ve spent the last two decades in India creating a luxury brand rooted in Indian heritage and craftsmanship, so when it was time to introduce Sabyasachi to the rest of the world, I knew I wanted to start in New York,” Mukherjee tells The Zing Report. “It’s the sort of city that is almost a microcosm of the world as we know it.”
The designer and retailer knew the right retail space was vital to delivering what he calls “the undiluted Sabyasachi experience” to the Big Apple. Eventually, he found his perfect spot in the iconic Archive building at 160 Christopher Street. “Be it Stonewall or Christopher Street, I knew the neighborhood through headlines and history,” he says. “When I walked into this magnificent Romanesque Revival building, strong in its legacy, I knew this was it.”
The 5,800 square-foot multi-level space boasts, which is on the National Register of Landmarked Buildings, features 16-foot-high ceilings and is now swathed in incredible Indian artifacts mixed with Western art and ephemera.
Antique Dutch pottery, tiles from Utah, and antique mirrors complement glass vitrines, leather books, vintage photographs, handwoven textiles and rugs, and brass sculptures from Calcutta. Wall art takes inspiration from the Persian dynasty Qajar paintings, centuries-old Mughal miniatures, and 19th-century paintings. It all exudes an 180os souk-slash-curio cabinet vibe, which will surely delight shoppers.
The carries the universe of Sabyasachi, which includes clothing and accessories. But the brand’s jewelry is a big part of the brand and what most U.S. fan of the company have discovered, initially through a brand partnership with Bergdorf Goodman.
“It’s time for Indian jewelry to get back into the global spotlight. Not just as museum pieces or as part of inspiration boards for designer brands, but as a rich, thriving living legacy with its unique and distinct point of view,” the designer asserts. The brand’s customers include the Indian diaspora—jewelry lovers seeking a connection to their heritage.
The most recent jewelry collection, Bengal Byzantine Broadway, is according to Mukherjee, “an exuberant and rebellious celebration grounded in India’s heritage, art and craft, and maximalism.” He explains, “I love working with a hedonistic mix of gemstones. I like breaking the hierarchy of precious stones by mixing tourmalines and diamonds with dalmatians and turquoise. An artist is needed for jewelry that can stand the test of time.”
Mukherjee also views himself as a ferryman between the past and the future. “India is such a reservoir of history, art, and culture—and I believe that for heritage to be relevant, it needs to be dynamic. My job is to make it dynamic for today’s consumer.” —Roxanne Robinson