Sabyasachi’s creations at New York’s most luxurious address have put Indian craftsmanship and jewellery on the global map. The success of his previous two lines with Bergdorf Goodman is a solid proof of it. With his firm belief in the power of authenticity, Sabyasachi returns for the third time to Bergdorf Goodman’s New York Stores with his glorious Bengal Byzantine Broadway Collection.
Speaking of his love and inspiration for this new collection, he said, “Bengal’s grand history of handcrafted jewellery almost faded away because of a lack of patronage. I want to bring this legacy back to the world.” Playing true to his vision, this collection is a blend of design and craft with influences from Bengal’s artisanal legacy to the gilded Byzantine magnificence and Broadway’s theatrical power. The designs further connect maximalist art, history and culture between the east and west.
To dig more into this exciting venture, Elle got in touch with none other than Sabyasachi Mukherjee, and here’s what he had to say:
Elle: After nearly two decades in design, how has your approach changed towards your craft and design in jewellery?
Sabyasachi: I launched Sabyasachi Jewellery in 2017. But years before as a very young adult I started by making jewellery, with stone, shell and faux feathers—all handmade in my apartment. Nothing precious but it had a perspective and point of view. I sold my jewellery through the street hawkers near my local market, until it was all shutdown when Operation Sunshine took over in Calcutta.
I started making high and fine jewellery to conserve the finest of Indian jewellery traditions, crafts and techniques. And to make it relevant again. My approach is the coming together of craftsmanship with a new perspective and point of view
Elle: Tell us more about the influences and mix of gemstones behind the Bengal Byzantine Broadway Collection.
Sabyasachi: I see this collection as a celebration of maximalism. I love working with an almost hedonistic mix of gemstones. I like breaking the hierarchy of precious stones, by mixing tourmalines, diamonds, emeralds and rubies with Dalmatians, pyrites, apatites and turquoise and so on and on. I think it’s my many years as a colourist that guides my eye with gemstones and jewellery-making. You need to be an artist to make jewellery that can stand the rest of time.
Elle: Bergdorf Goodman clearly loves to have you, tell us more about this collaboration…
Sabyasachi: I think it’s time for Indian jewellery to get back into the global spotlight. Not just as museum pieces but as a rich thriving living legacy. Our annual presentation at Bergdorf is a great platform to bring our craftsmanship and design to a global audience.
Elle: Now that heritage craft gets its due attention on a global scale, thanks to you! What do you expect out of it in the grand scheme of things for Sabyasachi Jewellery?
Sabyasachi: In a world of lab grown diamonds and synthetic stones the way we value jewellery will change. If value comes from rarity, what is more rare than the finest of heritage crafts? I believe craftsmanship is the true marker of the value of jewellery.
And while India’s legacy of craftsmanship is beyond spectacular, over the years it has become diluted and endangered and we need to strive towards conserving the finest of our crafts. This is what is going to make jewellery priceless in the years to come.
Elle: And finally, what is your favourite piece out of this collection, what makes it so special to you?
Sabyasachi: I think my personal favourite is the Deconstructed Maharani Necklace, which pays tribute to the historic jadau necklaces but updates it with a printed velvet sash instead of the traditional sarafa. And the unusual mix of stones and construction of the main frame itself. I also love the new totems and charms that brings in the fauna of the Sundarbans from the endangered ghariyal to the common frog.
“Bengal Byzantine Broadway celebrates the exuberant and rebellious, even as we remain grounded in India’s heritage, art, and craft. India is not just one story, and neither is Sabyasachi Jewellery” states Mukherjee.
The collection is a beautiful coming together of Sicilian baroque with the rustic finery of Harappa, medieval goldsmithing merged with sophisticated Georgian techniques, and brooding Moorish arches embedded into age-old Mughal crafts. It is a hedonistic cross-cultural dialogue where deconstructed Maharani necklaces are paired with fine hand-printed velvets, enamelled Grecian medallions meet tropical charms from the mangroves of the Sundarbans, and the finest of tourmalines are set beside modest turquoises.
This exclusive Bengal Byzantine Broadway Collection of Sabyasachi High Jewellery, will retail at Bergdorf Goodman Jewelry Salon in New York from 24th August to 22nd September 2022.