“It’s like the ’80s — they’re serving Dom Perignon.”
That was how Amy Fine Collins surmised Thursday night’s cocktail party for Sabyasachi Mukherjee at Bergdorf Goodman. As waiters dressed in Indian attire served flutes of Champagne and tiny Indian delicacies on silver trays, guests jostled around the jewelry display counters. Some momentarily swooped in to sample the caviar amidst the elaborate assortment of hors d’oeuvres and mounds of delicate confections that rested on scarlet tablecloths. The party marked the unveiling of the designer’s latest high jewelry collection at the luxury boutique and the start of a pop-up.
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The occasion “was a great validation” for Mukherjee, he said. “When you are a fashion student, you always think about how you want to be at Bergdorf Goodman and at Saks [Fifth Avenue] and Harrods.”
When Fern Mallis first brought him to New York for fashion week in 2006, Mukherjee said he couldn’t land distribution in a “single store.”
“I don’t think I was prepared. But I told myself that once I had a little position, power and more in control of who I am, I will come back to New York again,” he said.
Mallis was among the guests, along with Padma Lakshmi, John Demsey, Prosper and Martine Assouline, Peter Som, Nell Rebowe, Elizabeth Kurpis, Meghan Klopp, Marcus Teo and Amanda Khan. Bergdorf’s brass was also out in force including Neiman Marcus Group chief executive officer Geoffroy van Raemdonck (who waved off any media interviews in the wake of the retailer severing commercial ties to Farfetch), Bergdorf Goodman president Darcy Penick, fashion director Linda Fargo and vice president and divisional merchandise manager for decorative home and jewelry Andrew Mandell, among others.
Fargo welcomed the opportunity to work with the Kolkata-based designer again and praised his dedication to craftsmanship and preserving artisans’ skills in India. As a major celebrity in India due partially to being a TV personality, Sabyasachi has helped attract new customers to the New York store.
Murkherjee met Fargo at his 20th anniversary show, which led to having the first several pop-ups at the 57th Street flagship. His presence in the city has increased considerably due largely to the fall 2022 opening of 5,800-square-foot palatial boutique on Christopher Street with 31 chandeliers and 22-foot ceilings. Interest in the jewelry has extended beyond his own customers to mainstream America, he said. “I feel that cultural boundaries, which at one point in time could have been prohibitive, are slowly, slowly breaking down. The world is getting more accepting of newer designers from other parts of the world. So this feels lovely.”
Sabyasachi jewelry trunk shows typically generate $2 million to $3 million, the designer said. “We started our first day with $1 million. Jewelry can do that, so we will see what happens.” Although he will return to India Sunday, the trunk show will continue until mid-April.
Another jewelry designer, Renna Brown-Taher, welcomed the chance to meet him, as did several others in the crowd. She is gearing up for her first trunk show at Bergdorf’s next month. Collins, meanwhile, speculated that Sabyasachi may give the Estée Lauder Cos. “the boost that they need right now” through his cosmetics deal with the company. Estée Lauder announced plans to reduce its workforce by 3 to 5 percent earlier this week. “It just made me sad, when all these people had to leave in these last few days. Maybe they will be hired back. He’s got a magic spell,” Collins said.
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