Couturier Sayantan Sarkar's Spring-Summer '20 collection is a dreamy affair to remember
A self-confessed daydreamer and avowed optimist, couturier Sayantan Sarkar offers collections that unfailingly reflect his nature, with all of them having an unmistakably dreamy feel and look about the clothes. Last year, his experimental ensemble Oblivion Dream earned him a lot of attention and praise for the collection’s translucent mismatches and starkly androgynous fits. This year, the designer is back with yet another dreamy collection, aptly named Midsummer Night’s Dream. Much - acclaimed for his unique approach to cotton and jamdani weaves, the 43-year-old savvy designer sat down with us for a chat about his spring-summer collection. Excerpts:
Tell us about the Midsummer Night’s Dream collection.
There’s a lot of essence of dreams in my collection, which is all about romanticism. There’s a lot of layers and use of flimsy fabrics like cotton and jamdani weaves, and miniature motifs like triangles and dots. The structures of my clothes are very fluid this year, with a little bit of anti-fit yet shapely feminine contours. In short, it’s fluid and off-whitish for me, a pale dream you might say. I have mainly worked with earthy shades, and there’s a brilliant balance with off-whites and pastels like mint green. Summers in tropical countries are always about comfortable loose dresses and light wear. I have incorporated a lot of nightwear silhouettes in my daywear, with comfort being the key criterion. The clothes have to be soft to the eyes, from the viewer’s point of view, and very breathable and soothing from the wearer’s point of view.
High-street is your signature style. Is that distinct in this collection too?
I consider myself practically as a designer of casual wear, and my muse is the everyday woman who can wear my clothes and go to work — be it a mother or a sister or whoever she wants to be. This time, the collection is not completely androgynous like last year, but it has hints of it. We have done a lot of structure and flow and layering with the incorporation of asymmetric hemlines too.
You have always worked around jamdani weaves very differently...
I have never used jamdani the way it is generally perceived, and that’s a quality I have been both credited and criticised for. A few years back, when we started working on a collection called Live And Let Fly, we did dolls in jamdani and a lot of people said we distorted traditional craft, but a couple of years later, the same people praised me for being the only designer to present traditional craft in a globally contemporary way. We consequently signed an MoU with the Ministry of Textiles, and I was appointed as a consultant. Even this collection has an interplay of interesting motifs and silhouettes in jamdani that are simple.
What does sustainable fashion mean, for you?
Our brand not only believes in handlooms, but also in localisation and empowering rural areas. Sustainability is not only about weaving fabrics, but it’s also about reducing carbon footprints on the global map. We work with local people, so there’s virtually no transport required. We weave and stitch in Bengal, everything is purchased within Bengal, and every craft that I use is within Bengal, thereby generating employment in rural areas. We have blocks and batiks and kantha hand-embroidery from districts like Midnapore, Bankura and Birbhum. There are also several clusters where women work for us.
What’s your tip for summer fashion this year?
Even though anti-fit is not really trending this year, it’s advisable to stick to that, given the sweltering climate. Flowy, comfortable separates and dresses are in. If you want to go with vibrant wear yellows, greens and oranges, and if you want to play safe, stick to the earthy shades. And if it’s the classics for you, then opt for off-whites and whites. Go for cotton all the way — it’s smart, crisp and subtle. Try blingy fabrics instead of shiny embroideries.
Model: Diti Saha / Clothes: Sayantan Sarkar / Hair and makeup: Abhijit Paul / Styling: Poulami Gupta / Accessories: Zaza by Soumya / Shoes: Teal Shoes / Pictures: Debarshi Sarkar