RIP Satya Paul: ELLE Traces The Legacy Left Behind By The Iconic Designer
End of an era
Legendary Indian designer, who revolutionised the sari, died at the age of 79. He suffered a stroke last month and was recovering at the hospital. His son, Puneet Nanda shared a detailed Facebook post, which said, “His only wish was to get all the things he was being monitored and poked with removed so he could fly away. We finally got clearance from doctors to take him back to Isha Yoga Centre, his home since 2015. As per his wish, he gently passed on with blessings of the Master.”
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Born in a small town of Pakistan, in 1942, Satya Paul moved to India during the partition, where he entered the fashion industry and reinvented the traditional sari silhouette. His steady growth lead to his expansion into the export of Indian handloom products to high-end retail stores in Europe and America. L’Affaire, the first-ever sari boutique in India was launched in 1980 by him. It was later in 1985 when Paul launched his eponymous designer label with his son. Satya Paul became a premiere brand in India, headed by the designer himself until 2000. His son, Puneet Nanda, then took the chair and controlled the operations until 2010, after which, the family exited the brand. Popular designer Masaba Gupta was Paul’s protégé when she entered the industry. She eventually became the youngest fashion director at Satya Paul.
In September 2018, Reliance Brands Ltd (RBL) acquired its first stake in Genesis Colors Ltd that owns Satya Paul. Later in June 2019, the brand announced that veteran designer Rajesh Pratap Singh, who is known for his minimalistic aesthetic will be helming the label as its creative director.
The brand is recognised worldwide for its authentic identity and re-imagination of the six yards. Over the years, many labels came at par, but Satya Paul’s popularity remained unfazed. Leading Bollywood ladies like Karisma Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Madhuri Dixit, and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja have all played muse in his exquisite, bold-printed, signature saris. He was also awarded at the International Asian Fashion Awards 2010 in London under the category of Outstanding Contribution to the Fashion Industry. Fashion lost a legend today, but his legacy will continue through his incomparable body of work.
Here’s a throwback to some of the best Satya Paul sari looks over the years.