A wedding may not be perfect, but the wedding trousseau has to be. People go the whole nine yards to make that happen.
The crowded district of Kolkata in West Bengal is a shopping paradise for Bangladeshi families shopping for special occasions. Several Kolkata-based designer labels have carved a niche in the market for wedding trousseau, in India and abroad.
But no one is bigger or more sought-after in that space than Sabyasachi Mukherjee, whose namesake luxury label resonates with both brides and grooms worldwide.
His collections include elaborate anarkalis, sarees, suits and a mix of traditional and contemporary gowns. Sabyasachi's wedding attires have given a new meaning to bridal wear by adding glamour to traditional attires.
For more than two decades, Sabyasachi has tried to bring about a new form of beauty and aesthetics in dark shades, dull gold embroidery, mismatched patchwork, and tea-stained hues.
The designer's in-depth knowledge of textiles is revealed through the modern representation of classical methods such as bandhani, gota work, block printing, hand dyeing, etc.
In recent times, B-town weddings have become synonymous with the Sabyasachi's brand. From Priyanka Chopra to Anushka Sharma, from Deepika Padukone to Katrina Kaif, this bridal couturier has been everyone's go-to brand for their special day.
The Sabyasachi fever has created a wave in our country as well judging by the viral wedding pictures of Dhallywood actress Bidya Sinha Mim.
TBS spoke to three Bangladeshi brides who wore Sabyasachi outfits at their weddings about their experience.
Fariha Tasnim, a fresh graduate from Dhaka University, always wanted to wear a red Benarasi Sabyasachi saree at her wedding. Even though she wore an expensive Sabyasachi lehenga at her engagement ceremony, it did not stop her from purchasing another piece from the same designer.
"If you ask me why Sabyasachi, my only answer is because it's Sabyasachi. I have always imagined my wedding day graced in a Sabyasachi outfit," she added.
On the other hand, Mehtaj Reza, the Business Intelligence Manager at Praava Health, went to Kolkata to shop for her wedding without preconceived notions. She wanted to pick what suited her the best.
"To be very honest, Sabyasachi was not my first priority. In fact, I wanted a gown from some other designer. But, since I am a little bulky, conventional fitting does not suit me well. And I did not have enough time to order a customised gown as it would take months," she said.
Hence, the next best option for Mehtaj was to go for Sabyasachi, as they always have a large inventory of readymade outfits. She eventually opted for a Sabyasachi saree instead of a gown.
The Sabyasachi label has four stores in India and three overseas. Both Fariha and Mehtaj got their outfits from their flagship store in Kolkata, while Sayma Islam, a Dhaka-based entrepreneur, got a red lehenga for her wedding from the Delhi store.
"To me, wedding means red, and I wanted to have that perfect bright red lehenga, which is not overpowered with heavy work but speaks for itself. Sabyasachi is one of those labels that does wonders through minimalism," she added.
Is the toil worth it?
Fariha got married in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic spread around the world, and international travel was restricted for tourists.
Hence, she had to wait a long time to get the visa to go to India. A similar thing happened to Mehtaj too.
Looking back, both of them mark the troubles taken as absolutely worth it, given the fact that the end results were picture-perfect.
"My wedding shopping at Kolkata was a whole different experience. I loved every bit of it," said Mehtaj.
She also described the service she received there as priceless. The store manager counselled her for hours to choose the right piece. The Sabyasachi team also follows up with the brides even after their wedding day.
Is the price justified?
The Sabyasachi collection is considered quite expensive. The base price of a Sabyasachi lehenga starts from Tk450,000. The price of sarees with minimal embellishment starts from Tk50,000.
The brand justifies the price on the designer's creativity, unique patterns, and the personal touch he provides to each piece. Also, Sabyasachi sources the craftsmen and fabrics from their place of origin.
"The colour and fabric I chose for my reception were far different than a conventional bridal attire. It was an off-white saree in a velvety texture with almost no embellishment on the body. I do not think anybody other than Sabyasachi can do justice to that specific combo," she added.
Mehtaj's saree cost her around Tk280,000, and she finds it absolutely worth the money.
Sayma got her lehenga for around Tk550,000 and had it ordered eight months prior to her wedding day. She believes her bridal outfit is something very special to her, and she cannot really weigh it in monetary terms.
"I loved my wedding look. Everything was perfect," she added.
"Given the fact that the outfits are designer collections, handmade, and meticulously detailed, I think the price is justified. After all, you are paying for intellectual property," opined Fariha.
Fariha bought her red Benarasi for Tk189,000, and the veil cost her Tk91,000.
How to place an order
The purchasing process is quite simple. You have to order at least three to four months prior to your wedding (50 percent advance is required). Some dresses may require more time, depending on the level of customisation and intricacy of the design work.
Also, they have a huge readymade stock, from which you can just pick and buy. Besides the flagship stores, Sabyasachi retails out of multi-ensemble stores in seven cities in India.
These outlets mostly have the latest collection, but you might not find as much variety and choice of outfits and accessories in comparison to the flagship stores. However, you are guaranteed to find the best-selling designs.
Orders can be placed online too, but in-person presence is required for fitting and trial.
"Even though I visited the store myself and selected my lehenga, I had to revisit for the trial, just a few days before my wedding," shared Sayma.