Padma Lakshmi, Bobbi Brown, Alison Roman & Christene Barberich play muse to Sabyasachi


Padma Lakshmi, Bobbi Brown, Alison Roman and Christene Barberich play muse to Sabyasachi Mukherjee

Join Sabyasachi Mukherjee in celebrating four exceptional women

Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, who recently launched his ethereal collection of jewellery at the iconic luxury store Bergdorf Goodman in New York celebrates the spirit of four exceptional women, Bobbi Brown, Padma Lakshmi, Alison Roman and Christene Barberich. These icons have survived their struggles with deep conviction and passion to pave the way for a new generation of empowered, confident women. ELLE applauds their unwavering spirit and humility that have made them game changers in their own right.

Scroll through the gallery below:

PADMA LAKSHMI, TELEVISION HOST, AUTHOR, MODEL

By Barkha Dutt

Before I knew her and began to count her among my dearest friends, my impressions of Padma were probably what most of you still think from afar. A stunning, beautiful and poised presenter with a glamorous and luxurious American life. Padma is all that. But she is so much more. She has depth and gumption and passion—and above all—authenticity and courage. I do not know another woman (or man) who’d have the courage to bare their innermost conflicts like Padma did in her memoir (Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir). Or open herself to the possible wrath of her influential former husband, Salman Rushdie, by writing about her marriage. Rushdie stopped speaking to me once Padma became a friend so I have some sense of what she took on. She has worn her tumultuous personal life on her sleeve with a rare equanimity and confidence. She is aware perhaps that women and men may both judge her and she doesn’t give a damn if they do. It is this comfort in her own skin that makes her a truly empowered feminist. Not just because she has always stood up for women, gone public about her own experience of being raped as a 16–year–old and spoken searingly about her battle with endometriosis; but because women are scrutinised and evaluated and morally reprimanded—and Padma has a Zen like strength that simply rises above all that noise. She is a celebrity but in so many ways she is still that young girl who lay under her grandparents’ cot in a modest home in Chennai dreaming of being able to buy the next cone of ice–cream. That simplicity of sentiment and pureness of affection  is what defines her when you strip away everything else.

Featured image: Chiffon blouse, price on request, Sabyasachi. Earrings and necklaces; all prices on request,Sabyasachi Heritage Jewelry Collection exclusively for Bergdorf Goodman, New York. Rings, stylist’s own

 Watch Padma Lakshmi on your favourite reality show, Top Chef only on AXN in India.

ALISON ROMAN, AUTHOR OF NEW YORK TIMES-BESTSELLER, NOTHING FANCY

By Padma Lakshmi 

Alison Roman is not the regular cookbook author your mother would read. She doesn’t write recipes to intimidate you or make videos to show you how much better she is in the kitchen than you are. She is by design a cook’s best friend. She will encourage and cajole, and give you reasons to not stress about the food you make. She is warm, friendly and makes you feel like “you got this”. She is the millennial embodiment of the phantom chef Gustav in Ratatouille, whose ethos is simply “anyone can cook”. And indeed, if there’s anyone who can teach a country mouse how to cook, it is surely Ms Roman.
Her whole demeanour relaxes you the way a good chat with a best friend on a rainy night would. She doesn’t play by traditional rules and understands implicitly that food is for enjoyment and coming together. Who can forget her video on the New York Times web page where she refuses to make the traditional Thanksgiving staple dish of sweet potatoes, because she just “doesn’t like them”? My dinner, My choice. In one sentence, she liberated her audience from feeling like they needed to play by the old rules. She has an uncanny knack for knowing just what intimidates folks about cooking and swiftly dispels those fears.
She is all too aware that cooking can lose its magic and she is determined to make food fun again. She is that friend who makes us want to get into the kitchen and dazzle with ease and simplicity.
She is impressively smart, and smart enough to know she doesn’t need to impress. That’s her charm, her secret weapon—to be okay with just being her culinary self. And that’s how you’ll feel, after thumbing through her book and getting to know her. 

Viscose blend tank top, INR 10,675, GOLDSIGN. Jeans, INR 17,881, J Brand x Elsa Hosk. Cotton trench coat, INR 90,168, Johanna Ortiz. Leather belt, INR 65,376, Valentino Garavani. Earrings and necklaces; all prices on request, Sabyasachi Heritage Jewelry Collection exclusively for Bergdorf Goodman, New York. Bracelets, Roman’s own

CHRISTENE BARBERICH, GLOBAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, REFINERY29

By Supriya Dravid

Christene Barberich is the good energy everyone needs right now. To me, refinery29.com, is as important as that chamomile tea you need on a day when your brain is absolutely fried beyond redemption. In common parlance, it is GOAT. What is extraordinary is its democratic colloquial appeal, its freshness, and persistent fierceness in tackling subjects that can make some squeamish—from finance to fertility issues and everything in between. Christene founded the website back in 2005 (along with her partners Piera Gelardi, Philippe von Borries, and  Justin Stefano) originally out of a Brooklyn kitchen. The idea back then was to create a destination that would deliver curated city guides with a smart fashion focus. Today, Refinery29 is a digital behemoth that draws more than 31mn unique US visitors and has branched out to the UK, Germany, Canada and France. Now, as part of Vice Media Group, it has a combined global audience reach of 350 million uniques monthly.
A large part of that success can be credited to the quiet determination of Christene. “When you make that commitment to yourself that failure is not an option, things start to shift, and you begin to see openings and offerings where before there were none,” she says. “We are so much more powerful than we think we are. I have to remind myself of this daily.
”Honesty is one of the major reasons for Refinery29’s cult following. In 2015, Christene wrote a soul-crushing story about her numerous miscarriages and unique fertility journey. That essay launched a much bigger conversation where other women could finally find a sacred community and reprieve from their pain and loss, something rarely talked about in public. As it turns out, Christene never gave up. “Emily Dickinson reminding me always, to ‘dwell in possibility’” she says.At 49, she finally gave birth to her daughter Raffi. “Being with my daughter can at moments feel like a deep, almost spiritual meditation on joy, and love, and forgiveness. It’s definitely exhausting, and I feel inadequate in ways I never have before. But it’s expanded my heart and my capacity for love in ways I never expected. I had a lot of fear about becoming a mother… I still do, if I’m being honest. I think because it was such a struggle to get here,” she says. 
Perhaps, why I love Christene immensely is because she is so damn kind. Her infinite love for vintage is also rather endearing. (She credits her Italian grandmother, Angela, from whom she inherited a collection of hats, for this.)
There is an aura that permeates the space she is in, a sense of lightness, and a rare camaraderie, which is genuine. “I just interviewed Jane Fonda for the podcast I produce/host called UnStyled, and she talked about her lifelong curiosity and how important it is to be ‘interested’ as opposed to ‘interesting’. That energised me, because it’s active rather than passive,” she says. That’s the best thing about Christene, she never stops learning, and never stops sharing. That’s what makes her rare.

Wool blazer, price on request, Hermès. Necklace, price on request, Sabyasachi Heritage Jewelry Collection exclusively for Bergdorf Goodman, New York. Earrings, toggle chain necklace and heart pendant, Barberich’s own

 

BOBBI BROWN, MAKE–UP ARTIST AND ENTREPRENEUR

By Anjali Kumar 

Having spent 25 years building a billion dollar company, one might think your next act would consist of simply enjoying the (significant) fruits of your (significant) labour. But Bobbi Brown doesn’t subscribe to conventional wisdom. After acting as chief creative officer of her eponymous make–up brand (which was sold to Estee Lauder nearly 25 years ago) for 22 years, in 2016, Brown decided it was time to step down and think about what was next. “When I left the brand, I turned 60. Who in a million years would have told me I would have started a new company at 60?
“When I left [Bobbi Brown Cosmetics], things were changing. Retail was changing. The cosmetics industry was changing. I left [the company] because I really wanted to be the boss again. So things changed and it was time for me to change. Food, beauty and wellness were just coming into the mainstream.” So Brown decided to follow her interest in these evolving spaces—and dive into all of them.
What followed was the launch of four new companies in just a few short years: JustBobbi (a digital space for “All Things Bobbi”), Evolution 18 (a line of supplements focusing on “beauty from the inside out”), The George (a boutique hotel in Montclair, New Jersey), lifestyle brand Bobbi (created with her husband), and a TV and film studio. Not to mention the launch of two podcasts, speaking gigs around the world, a recent stint as the lead make–up instructor for the India Makeup Show, and being the mother to three sons (including planning at least one upcoming wedding—“and hopefully another one soon, to an Indian daughter–in–law!”).
How does she find the time and energy for it all? Brown replies simply, “I find what I do really interesting. I assume I just started Act Two.” 

All clothing , Brown's own. Earrings and necklaces; all prices on request, Sabyasachi Heritage Jewelry collection exclusively for Bergdorf Goodman, New York

Photographs: Victor Demarcherlier; Stylist: Malini Banerji; Hair: Jeanie Syfu/Atelier Management; Make-up: Bobbi Brown;  Manicurist: Rita Remark/ Bryan Bantry; Production: Alexey Galetskiy and Ryan Fahey at AGPNYC; Assisted By: Rupangi Grover, Aparna Phogat (Styling), Ryan Liu, Margaret Gibbons, Mattias Satterstrom (Photography)

On Padma Lakshmi (featured image): Silk dress, Maison de Papillon. Lamé cardigan, Missoni. Viscose and cotton hat, Valentino Garavani. Necklaces, Sabyasachi Heritage Jewelry Collection exclusively for Bergdorf Goodman, New York. Rings and bangles, stylist’s own