What will the luxury consumer seek in a world that’s on a standstill? People have argued on a series of theories, although with many moving elements it’s hard to predict that want. Items with an appreciating value seem prudent for those making discretionary spends, and jewellery, in particular, offers both—design and investment.
Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s special collection of jewellery has been on display by way of a curated pop-up at Bergdorf Goodman in New York since January 30 and was scheduled to run through till March 31. Much changed over the last couple of months, but a client’s desire to acquire some of these pieces didn’t. The shopper in question had been in touch with the luxury department store throughout the lockdown to buy a present for his fiancée—a multi gemstone encrusted necklace and charm bracelets.
Late one evening, the designer received a surprising call from Beth Armata, manager - fine and designer jewellery at Bergdorf Goodman, about the client’s interest. A virtual appointment was set up for the viewing of the pieces. “They immediately asked to see the jewellery in person as the client lives close to the store. It was our first day of launching one of our contactless services, kerbside pick-up, so we met him at one of our entrances to personally show the jewellery. While the client was viewing the pieces, our fine jewellery manager reached out to Sabyasachi, knowing that our client was an extraordinary fan. It was 12am in India and he kindly agreed to FaceTime with our clients. Our client and his fiancée were completely surprised and overjoyed in meeting Sabyasachi. The couple purchased two pieces from the collection,” says Darcy Penick, president, Bergdorf Goodman, sharing details about the unique sale.
“I was sitting in a torn T-shirt at home, not expecting what was coming next,” Mukherjee talks about the incident. “Anyone, who was everyone shopped at Bergdorf’s, it was my dream to someday be represented by them,” he says. “Sabyasachi came to Bergdorf Goodman through our SVP fashion director and store presentation, Linda Fargo. She was introduced to Sabyasachi during a trip to India, and upon seeing the collection at his Calcutta Studio, she felt passionately about the brand, and that it would be loved by our clients. The specially designed pop-up atelier debuted in-store on January 30, with a 65-piece Haute Joaillerie collection. Clients fell in love with the collection, with many waiting outside just to visit the atelier, and some flying into New York especially to view the collection and meet Sabyasachi. The partnership has been one of our most successful to date this year,” Penick speaks of the association. Linda Fargo cut a striking figure at Mukherjee’s Kashgar Bazaar presentation—a culmination of his 20 years in the industry and a display of his highly anticipated jewellery line. The multi colour gem-encrusted choker she wore that evening against a backdrop of snowy-whites was her own seal of approval in the ingenuity of his design. The virtual sale of USD 37,500 is another marker of the success of the collaboration.
While rooted in traditional craftsmanship and an old-worldly aesthetic, Mukherjee’s operation is ahead in many ways. From being in charge of his own calendar of launching collections—mostly on Instagram to creating a geography-agnostic appeal for his brand, the designer understood the power of promoting authenticity long before it became popular.Also read:
Becoming Sabyasachi Mukherjee: A 20 year journey