My wedding lehenga hunt has been no less than a highly efficiently conducted research project, you know the kind done by professionals that are dedicated researchers. I wanted to see EVERY SINGLE BRIDAL LEHENGA out there, scrutinize it and visualise my look for the big day. Yes, I know I sound a tad bit crazy, but well, the term ‘bridezilla’ was coined with good reason. Now, if I were to ask you who your dream designer is, about seven out of ten of you would say Sabyasachi Mukherjee. Before you roll your eyes at me and judge me for sounding typical/unexperimental, I want to point out that I wasn’t a big fan myself. For no real reason though - I felt everyone drools over his designs, and so I won’t. However, his store was the first one I landed up in when I started my search for the all-important wedding lehenga. I’m highlighting here that this was my first trip ever to the Sabya store in Mehrauli, Delhi, and I walked in with no expectations or preconceived notions regarding the designs, prices, etc.
I’m putting it as bluntly as this - the store had me at hello. The grand entrance - white pillars with the brand’s logo, the black Bengal tiger mounted atop, big (and also very heavy) wooden doors, the massive space that’s divided into two stores - one that has all things pretty for brides-to-be, and the other has sarees, other outfits, and menswear - I was more than impressed. A sweet floral aroma (that some might find too strong) welcomes you, and all you see as you walk through the dimly lit entry corridor is high walls decorated with painted tiles, a large cluster of 8-10 glass chandeliers hanging from the high ceiling, and floral printed drapes. It really is every bit royal as I’m making it seem.
Old Bengali music playing softly is a great background sound for Sabya’s works displayed in window-like cabinets, on some mannequins and hanging rods too.
The calm in the store, that is replete with antique vases, Tanjore paintings and beautiful Persian carpets is also reflected in the demeanour of the sales staff who greet you with a pleasant smile and slight nod. They then leave you to see the ensembles by yourself which I have to say, is a refreshing change from salespersons at other stores running to you and trying hard to sell outfits to meet their personal work targets.
As I picked out a few lehengas to try on, the staff was more than organised in having the heavy outfits placed in the spacious try rooms before I reached there. Just before walking in I was asked to leave my phone outside because they have a strict no pictures policy. All you’re allowed to do is FaceTime or a video call with someone to show them your look in the Sabyasachi outfit. Also, they have one lady in the trial room to help you try on all those heavy clothes. Trust me, they’re so well trained for this, that it doesn’t feel awkward in the slightest to be dressing up and down in front of them. They’re there just to make the process easier and more comfortable for you.
It’s not news that if you walk into a Sabyasachi store looking to buy a bridal lehenga you’ve got to have a considerable amount of moolah on you. While the lighter, pre-wedding lehengas start from 3-4 lakhs, the bridal ones range from 5-6 lakhs and upwards.
Steep, innit? However, Sabyasachi is among the few designers who doesn’t charge you anything to sit with him face-to-face (by appointment, of course) and plan your entire look. I loved the idea of that - to sit with the man himself and discuss what suits you best!
Source: Luxury Launches
One major challenge I faced in this store was how rigid they can be with their designs and styles. While I understand that the designer has a certain vision and wants every piece to look ideal as per his taste, every client has a different requirement and therefore a certain amount of flexibility is imperative. While I loved one of his lehengas (an ivory one from his latest collection), I would’ve preferred a heavier dupatta on my head - something I was denied instantly.
However, this didn’t dampen my excitement for the styles and handwork I saw on all of his pieces - they looked stunning, and I can without a shadow of a doubt say that choosing something else over a Sabya lehenga for my wedding is going to be a tough thing to do.
While my search for the perfect bridal lehenga is still on, I think I may have left my heart in Mehrauli somewhere… Mom-dad, are you listening? *Wink*
Images: Sabyasachi Official
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