Donning a Sabyasachi lehenga is every bride’s dream. The designer’s ethereal collections always leave the viewers in awe hoping they can adorn it on their special day. While the regal sarees, lehenga cholis, and kurtis are stunning statement pieces, Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s creative campaigns have been facing the brunt of immense criticism over the last few months. 

The ace designer launched his Bridal Heritage Collection last month and netizens were quick to comment on the most striking element of the visuals – the models’ severely dismal, expressionless faces. X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram were filled with comments like the bride being sad because perhaps she’s marrying against her will, or how wearing a Sabyasachi lehenga is clearly not enough to be happy on your wedding day. Netizens have roasted the ad like anything.

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Every time India’s top designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee releases a new collection, there are two staple responses from the Indian public. The majority is in awe of the designer’s creative genius and his beautiful take on traditional Indian wear. And then, there’s a section of online trollers who are grumpy about the “unhappy” or “sad” models in the ad campaigns. It was no different this time. So, what does this entail? 

A designer has a vision for their creations which they wish to bring to life by showcasing the real product in the best way possible. In this scenario, the focus seems to completely shift from the newly launched collection to the models’ expressions. This random hate does seem bizarre as it isn’t uncommon for models to have a straight face while posing or walking the ramp. In fact, models are frequently instructed to keep a ‘poker face’ so as to not take away focus from the outfit or jewellery piece they are supposed to highlight.

A Designer’s Vision Vs. Audience’s Perception

This ends up turning into a situation where the audience either misinterprets the designers vision or doesn’t resonate with it. People have ended up calling this a funeral collection. That could seem like a stretch, right? Is it absolutely necessary for brides to be joyous-looking throughout that the models acting as a bride need to have a wide smile plastered on their face while posing? Can they not have a sombre expression and still highlight the outfit worn by them with grace?

The Brutal Trolling

The hate that the collection is receiving is also taking a turn to the age-old casual sexism with one X user posting about how he did not like looking at the Sabyasachi model’s face first thing in the morning.

Another user wrote felt that the model herself hated wearing the designer’s outfit.

A third user wrote, “I spent all my life in advertising but can’t understand why most models are made to look so sad and morose? Are they pro-melancholy or anti-smile?? Can someone please enlighten?

The Instagram comments were also brutal with one user saying, “What exactly is their problem, constipation, piles, hernia ….?” Someone even called it “The MATAM Collection.” Another joked “When your product launch gets delayed from Halloween to Deepavali..” The hate only keeps getting harsher.

sabyasachi new collection trolled hate comments

The More Problematic Side Of It

And just as any other fashion designer would, Sabyasachi is known to go for a specific look and demeanour. Besides, people who want women to smile should know that their comments reek of sexism and misogyny. This expectation for women to appear happy, nurturing and approachable is linked to age-old gender stereotypes that objectify women. Compromising, hiding their real emotions and putting up a face are some of the deeply problematic expectations often laid out for just women.

Some even came out in support to defend the designer. A woman wrote, “Sabyasachi gets it everytime One shoot and one post, free advertisement and circulation for days and guess what, whoever has the money to buy it, wants to wear a Sabyasachi for their special days irrespective of how the models look. Win-Win to the bank.” Another user backed the ‘modern woman can look however she wants to’ ideology in his post on X.

We feel regardless of all this meaningless criticism, those who can appreciate the designer’s craft will do it irrespective of the model’s expression. What do you think of this controversy? Let us know in the comments.