Inside Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s new store in Mumbai

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Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s new store in Mumbai is a 25,000-square-foot-plus store. It was inaugurated with a grand party attended by 220 guests. The guestlist included Indian celebrities, clients, international retailers, press, brand partners, and friends of the brand. The party provided a sensory experience and showcased the brand’s next initiatives.

Sabyasachi acknowledges that the size of the store may seem audacious, but it was a pragmatic decision. He explained the growing categories of handbags and jewelry. He needed a bigger space, and he does not believe in doing things just for show. Sabyasachi is a strong believer that retail needs to improve and create a store experience that can entice people out of their homes and pajamas.

The three-story building where Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s new store in Mumbai is located used to be a bank with an Italianate revival style architecture. It is situated in Horniman Circle, near-luxury retail brands such as Hermès and Christian Louboutin. As guests walked up the marble stairs and entered the building, they were transported to a different world that is characteristic of the fusion of Indian and Western haute couture design. The hallway leading to the store was adorned with chandeliers, mirrors, and oversized vases, among other decor accents. Guests were treated to a music playlist that started with show tunes and jukebox classics and progressed to pop dance hits from the 90s and beyond.

The host of the event greeted guests with his customary modesty, while they explored a museum-like setting in the foyer showcasing past collaborations with Christian Louboutin. From there, guests circled down passageways on either side to reach two separate bridal salons, which were equally enticing as the main floor.

The designer has a preference for mixing Colonial-era and European-influenced antiques with traditional Indian motifs. This includes items like Tanjore paintings featuring Hindu gods, traditional textiles, Mughal miniatures, antique garments, Company Painting-style tigers and cats, porcelain dishes, gold-trimmed floor vases, and bronze statue faucets, as well as coffee tables and classic books housed in curio cabinets throughout the store.

The designer’s attention to detail extends beyond the products themselves and includes the store’s decor, as part of a merchandising and product strategy. The goal is to become a significant player in the home and hospitality space, with plans to launch categories such as dinnerware, ceramics, cutlery, fabrics, paintings, and carpets in the future. The designer also revealed plans for a gender-neutral fragrance, and the possibility of a complete beauty line.

As guests rode the elevator to the second floor, dedicated to the brand’s expanding jewelry categories, they were greeted by the house’s signature scent of rose and frankincense. The fine, heritage, and high jewelry offerings showcase a range of traditional Indian styles and contemporary interpretations, including statement pieces and delicate everyday styles, with the brand’s signature Indian tiger appearing on jewelry and accessories.

Arriving at the third floor, guests including Christian Louboutin, Linda Fargo, Fern Mallis, Jean-François Lesage, and Bollywood celebrities like Rani Mukerji, Ram and Gautami Kapoor, Simi Garewal, Roshni Chopra, Sobhita Dhulipala, and Diipa Büller-Khosla were treated to a feast fit for a Roman emperor. The international delicacies were conceptualized by Lovey and Puja Kapoor of Kookie Jar Kolkata. After touring the vast store and indulging in the smorgasbord accompanied by free-flowing Dom Pérignon and aged sipping whiskey, guests could rest on custom pattern velvet-covered antique settees and Venetian chairs.

Fargo, senior vice-president of Bergdorf Goodman’s fashion department, was present as the first U.S. retailer to carry the brand but also as an admirer of Mukherjee. She referred to him as a great and wise human being and spoke of the recent Dior show and the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Center fashion exhibit opening, noting that it feels like East and West are seeing each other for the first time. The retailer attended with her good friend jeweler Ranjana Khan, who had visited the design-rich country for the fourth time and simply loved Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s new store in Mumbai and the aesthetics.

She stated that she wanted to introduce the US to India’s talent, and Sabyasachi was the perfect person to do so. Along with the current jewelry offerings, she hinted that she would like to see the retailer carry other product lines. Helping the growth of the brand is Mukherjee’s partner, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd, a growing billion-dollar Indian luxury conglomerate that bought 51 percent of Sabyasachi in 2021. The Mumbai store makes four freestanding Sabyasachi locations, and the US store opened just last October.

Sabyasachi has considered future locations like London, followed by the Middle East, and opportunities in Indonesia and Singapore. Los Angeles is a definite target in the US due to its Hollywood-Bollywood connection. The designer’s clothes are not just for the red carpet. He wants to take India’s maximalist style to the world to show that Indian and Western influences can be broken apart to create a unique look. The brand’s aesthetic is emulated by stars and stylists alike. Mukherjee also hinted at two upcoming massive collaborations with American brands. Despite the brand’s expansion, Mukherjee also expressed some reservations and prefers word-of-mouth publicity from satisfied customers.

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