The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Calcutta boy floors Milan with 'new flavour'
- I knew it would go well. The war is over: Sabyasachi

Milan, Sept. 25: Milano Moda Donna threw its arms open, wide open, for Sabyasachi Mukherjee today. The fashion week ramp in Milan ' widely considered the pr't capital of the world ' exploded with the Calcutta designer's understated expression of India, shocking an audience expecting saris and bright colours with a vintage collection bursting at the seams with colour and texture.

'Ah, a new flavour!' was the cry of delight from the press corps after the afternoon show. They had watched for just under 20 minutes, with visible delight, chic heads bobbing up and down in approval as models walked the ramp to familiar tunes of the violin, interspersed with the less familiar (to this room, at least) sounds of 'chai-coffee' at the train station, taxi horns on Howrah bridge and the jingle of handcart bells.

The look ' 'English Mary Jane meets French Lolita in Madarpur station' is how the designer describes it ' hit the sweet spot. A troupe of reporters from Italian fashion magazines made a beeline backstage to find out where they could buy his clothes from.

'You were really the top, we would like to buy everything,' gushed Emmanuela Beretta from La Seta, a fashion magazine.

While one fashion journalist felt that the collection could be a little difficult for the average Milan buyer to accept easily ' 'but only because it is different' ' the city, she added, is always on the lookout for a new look. 'It is completely novel, the colours and textures are simply amazing!' she said.

If the media were won over, the real judges ' the buyers ' also appeared enthused. 'One of the biggest head-hunters for Italian fashion houses was asking where he could meet you. He was talking about distribution,' an Asia Week official told Sabyasachi backstage.

After the enthusiastic reception from world buyers at the India Fashion Week this year, which won him space in Browns in London, the Milan conquest may not have come as a surprise for everyone, the designer included.

'I knew it would go well,' said an exhausted, drained and happy Sabyasachi minutes after the show. 'The war is over,' he smiled.

Months of slog that had gone into the 31 ensembles hitting the ramp was over in a heartbeat, but the effect could last a long, long time.

'My name is up there,' the nervous designer had pointed out while walking into the sprawling venue before the 3.30 pm show. He had been calm all morning, strolling around the sun-kissed city, finishing some last-minute shopping for the girls' accessories, which apart from the jewellery, also involved fresh baguettes, chocolate and flowers.

Minutes before the big show, the excitement had got to him at last. But as it turned out, the jitters were unwarranted. Milan simply loved him.

Sabyasachi ' or Pepsi or Sabya ' will be exhibiting his clothes at a trade show organised as part of the Asia Week here. With the number of enquiries coming in, that may prove crucial ground for real business to be conducted.

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