The Telegraph
Wednesday , November 7 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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You can’t drive down Hyderabad’s Road No. 10, Banjara Hills, without being blinded by the Sabyasachi store signboard. It’s new. It’s shiny. It’s unmissable. Inside the store, things are quite different. It’s vintage. It’s sepia. But it’s still just as unmissable. High ceilings that make a towering reception, covered inch-by-inch with those precious finds you will spot only at a Sabyasachi flagship store, those clocks and chor bazaar photos, dotted with lamps, stained glass bottles, everything so decadent and dreamy (including an old Nizami pedicure set). His fifth and latest store is across two levels, spanning an easy 5,000sqft with many viewing galleries — both on the racks and off. Latest collections of Chotu Sabya, limited edition pieces of Sabyasachi by Sabyasachi, and menswear and womenswear hang bright and beautiful. “It’s my labour of love. I have lots of fond memories of Hyderabad. It is culturally inspiring, so the pink cement retail space with zillions of artefacts was my tribute to the city,” says Sabya. Take a look and in his romantic element immerse...

The legendary 101 Table at Taj Falaknuma Palace was decked out in its full glory, with floral centrepieces and candles and pearls strewn for good measure on October 30. Sabyasachi had a lunch date with 100 ladies from Hyderabad, co-hosted by the lovely Pinky Reddy. As the ladies trooped in, the lunch looked nothing short of a Sabyasachi show, a retrospective at that, since there was something from most collections, old or new! If the saris/suits weren’t Sabyasachi, the sensibility most certainly was. The opulent lunch began with Potli Tamatar Ka Shorba and went on to delicate tikkas and kebabs, leading to the curries and of course the famed Hyderabadi Kacchi Biryani, served with Mirch ka Salan and raita and finally a selection of desserts. The only way to survive it was to deal with the meal with a tasting, not feasting, approach! Lunch gave way to an intimate concert by Shubha Mudgal who performed her most popular compositions. And on this rare afternoon, Sabyasachi was seen doing what he does worst — socialising. His survival strategy? “What made it easy was that out of the 95, I only knew five!”

(From far left to right) The breathtaking 101 Table where the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad used to host legendary lunches and dinners; the hosts Sabyasachi and Pinky Reddy; model Indrani Dasgupta; Shiva actress Amala Akkineni (also known as Nagarjuna’s wife)

While staying in 51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites & Residences (in St James’s) for the Sotheby’s event in London this summer, Sabyasachi was given an opportunity he couldn’t resist — a chance to design their Cinema Suite, to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema. Having been very keen to do an interior project — and what’s a better showcase! — the designer readily agreed. “I wanted to follow the art-and-craft movement and create a suite that looks like the home of someone well-travelled rather than a sterile cookie-cutter hotel room,” says Sabya. He takes t2 through three special spots of this very special suite…

The hallway was inspired by the films of Wong Kar-wai who used beautiful colours and narrow spaces to create a sense of surrealism.

The study is inspired by brooding masters Francis Ford Coppola, Ingrid Bergman and Satyajit Ray. It has 18th century winged chair and partners desk, leather and wooden panel walls, a host of taxidermy, rare film posters that are meticulously hand embroidered and framed, and Turkish, Iranian and Mongolian rugs.

The living room is inspired by visions of Pedro Almodovar and Majid Majidi. It has a mix of everything. Whether porcelain plates from China, rugs from Iran and Turkey, French wallpaper, British leather Chesterfield and Agra-inspired zardozi lampshades. You can also see a Flemish painting of Jan Van Eyck.


Sabyasachi and The Taj are collaborating for high-end bespoke weddings at all their Palace hotels. “The properties being so fabulous by themselves, I would like to bring together conceptual cultural weddings that enhance the experience of getting married at such ambiences without taking the trashy route that some wedding planners resort to of overdoing and overkill,” said Sabya. Everything from food, lighting, decor, ambience, even the invites and performances of the artistes — bride’s lehnga notwithstanding — will have the Sabyasachi touch!

Text: Shradha Agarwal
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