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Fashion
April 24, 2017

The Sabyasachi X Forevermark Collection Is All About Old World Charm

Text by Wyanet Vaz

Couturier Sabyasachi Mukherjee tames the toughest rocks with dreamy lines and exquisite techniques

Those following his work will know that Sabyasachi Mukherjee doesn’t believe in trends that switch every season. His artistry is meant to evoke an emotional response — always remarkable, always from the heart. The ethos of producing timeless classics by revering tradition is the foundation for each of his collections. So, when you experience Sabyasachi X Forevermark’s new collaboration titled Zanyah, its striking resemblance to his silhouettes and antique palette doesn’t go unnoticed. The intricate workmanship, gem-like tones and references to the 1920s will transport you to bygone ateliers where baubles were meticulously crafted. In celebration of old-world glamour, Mukherjee brings together enamelling and filigree work — rarely seen with diamonds ­— and talks about his first tryst with jewellery and his affinity for the stone….

Backstory
“I was a jeweller before I got into clothing, and I used to retail out of a tiffin box to hawkers in Kolkata. I like anything that has a strong sense of artistry and in India, jewellery epitomises craftsmanship. So for me, designing it was like going back home.”

Romancing the stone
“When you look at diamond jewellery, in more cases than not, the diamonds make up 90 per cent of the cost. When people get tired of a piece, they take out the stones, melt the gold and make another one. I wanted to challenge that notion by creating something so beautiful and timeless that the periphery becomes as important as the diamond.”

Missing link
“Diamonds are a billion years older than mankind. So when you’re holding one, you’re also holding on to time. I saw a little gap in the market when I looked at diamond jewellery in India produced till now. The designs were either too contemporary, or they were too European or too bright — which didn’t go with Indian skin. So I said, ‘Let’s do something that has a very strong handcrafted feel.’ If you look at some of the pieces that Cartier or Bucherer have made for the maharajas of Kapurthala and Patiala, they used beautiful diamonds which also displayed a very strong sense of competence and Indian design.”

Vintage appeal
“The 1920s have always been my favourite era because I have been very inspired by Amrita Sher-Gil, Frida Kahlo, Parisian art salons and flappers. I love the contrast between living in violent times and beautiful clothing, and also the fact that it was a time when mystery, sensuality and beauty coexisted with glamour. I wanted to create something that was very dramatic; maximalist yet minimal at the same time. And as far as the rings are concerned, I want them to have a classic Renaissance quality.”

Of craft and carats
“When I met Federica Imperiali (Forevermark’s head of new product development) in Milan, I took her to some antique shops in Florence (near this beautiful bridge called Ponte Vecchio which sells handcrafted diamond jewellery). To make the diamonds look softer, we mixed yellow with white diamonds; a lot of yellow gold with rose and brown gold. We used enamelling and filigree which are very old techniques. So the idea was to make diamond jewellery that looked like it came out of artisanal factories in India or Europe and had been around for centuries. That kind of a vintage ‘craftsy’ quality is something that the modern millennial is looking for. It’s not just an investment, but also experience.”

Talk to the hand
“Nobody really puts enamel and filigree together with diamond jewellery. So sometimes, when the world is taking a generic approach through technology, taking a handmade route is a couture-forward way. Innovation is about what is new. So, if the machine is what is ubiquitous, the hand is what is new.”

Treasured possession
“My mother owns a piece of Hamilton and Co jewellery that my great-grandfather had given to her — diamonds and emeralds in an art deco design, set in platinum. In fact when my sister got married, I made my mother give her everything, except for my grandmother’s four-poster bed and jewels, which will come to me. I don’t have to wear it but I value it and will keep it as art.”

Dear diamond
“I think many things change but a diamond doesn’t. You don’t buy one in risky times; you buy when you have reached a certain level of well-being.  For me, it signifies stability.”

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