Sabyasachi Believes He Has Reinvented Boobs

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Sep 7, 2018

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Listen up everyone, because Sabyasachi — one of the most influential designers in India, selling bridal wear that costs more than the average person’s car — thinks he has stumbled onto the next new fashion trend. Spoiler: It’s boobs.

In a recent interview with Architectural Digest, he talks about how he’s a minimalist at heart, but his outward expression “is that of a maximalist,” and it seems like he believes women’s bodies are now an extension of his aesthetic. It’s unfortunate that we have to put this in writing, but Sabya ji, you haven’t reinvented anything. You cannot dictate when our bodies are in and out of vogue.

“I also spy a new direction in the imagery, with dusky models and, difficult to miss, a lot more bosom,” he explains in the interview. “In fashion, you have to reinvent yourself every three to five years. You need to be fresh. Right now, I’ve become tired of gaunt faces and stick-thin models. I’m obsessed by boobs!”

The idea that women with bigger breasts and/or “dusky” skin tones are fashion trends that go in and out of season puts women with these physical traits in direct contrast to the unstated norm in fashion, i.e., women who fit the default standards of beauty (fair-skinned and skinny). Supermodel icon Tyra Banks recently spoke to New York Magazine about how women of color are also used as exotic trends, where one season Brazilian models were the ‘it girls,’ and the next, African women were a trend. There was never a ‘white model’ season, that was just the default. “Race is not a trend. My skin is not a trend. My body, my booty — not a fashion trend,” she said.

The Architectural Digest piece, a look inside Sabyasachi’s 7,250-square-foot mansion in Calcutta, doesn’t necessarily have the space for push-back over his throwaway comment, but social media definitely does. Strangely enough, though, Twitter has been largely silent about this, with only a few users voicing their outrage. Maybe we’re all a bit slow on the uptake today, or maybe our options to protest are slim, as Tammana Wahi points out, “Umm wtf? Going to boycott Sabyasachi. Oh wait…i can’t afford one!”  

While the sounds of crickets are heard from the online peanut gallery, media outlets are lauding Sabyasachi’s “keen eye,” and his open-mindedness in talking about his latest obsession. Yup, let’s paint him as the feminist patron saint, who’s suddenly all for curves. The irony of a fashion designer ‘inventing’ a new ideal of women’s bodies, when the fashion industry itself has perpetuated the current standards of beauty (including the stick-thin models Sabyasachi is so tired of seeing), seems to be lost on them.

This isn’t the first time Sabyasachi’s made sexist comments about women. In February this year, he found himself in the middle of a Twitter storm after his comment at the Harvard India Conference, where he stated, “I think, if you tell me that you do not know how to wear a sari, I would say shame on you. It’s a part of your culture, [you] need stand up for it.” His opinions on Indian men who can’t wear a dhoti remain to be seen.

“Maybe fewer young women are not [sic] wearing sarees because you’re selling em for 80K bro,” reads one of the tweets in reply to his comment. Rebuked by women and men across the country for thinking that he could dictate some standard of an ideal Indian woman and shaming people who didn’t live up to this, Sabyasachi had to make a public apology.

It would appear Sabya hasn’t learned his lesson yet.

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Written By Nadia Nooreyezdan

Nadia Nooreyezdan is The Swaddle’s culture editor. Since graduating from Columbia Journalism School, she spends her time thinking about aliens, cyborgs, and social justice sci-fi. She’s also working on a memoir about her family’s journey from Iran to India.

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