Fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s almost year-old Mumbai flagship store at Kala Ghoda, is more gallery than couture retail space. The 8,500-square-foot boutique is up to the rafters with collectibles such as 52 antique rugs, 22 vintage hand-painted chandeliers, and 400 ittar bottles from markets in Hyderabad and Lucknow. He attributes these magpie tendencies to growing up in Bengal where homes are showcases of all things gathered. Here he talks about his envious rug collection that includes a seventh-generation Iranian carpet.
What is it about antique rugs that draw you to them?
For me, old rugs represent beauty with dignity, and in some convoluted way they represent stability; probably also the iconography of resilient good taste.
Across what regions does the collection span?
The collection spans across the whole of Central Asia. A little bit of Tibet, the North-West Frontier Provinces and Northern Africa.
What was the acquiring process like?
I don’t keep a timetable of things that I acquire in my life. All I can say is that a good collection cannot be bought overnight. It has to be built organically, fuelled by instinct and greed.
Do you have a personal favourite within the collection?
I must have had a torrid affair with every piece that I put on my wall, while buying it. There is however a gigantic carpet from Iran that I literally stole from a collector and occupies pride of place at my store. The good thing about buying it was that I realised possessed the art of manipulation within me.
We’d imagine there’s a fair bit of globetrotting involved while building the collection. Is there a particular travel experience that stands out?
When you let a wish out into the universe, the funny thing is that you don’t need to go somewhere; the world travels to you. So unfortunately, most of the antiques I bought came to me through faithful dealers and good friends who understand my taste in rugs.