Royal Bengal Mangalsutra: Sabyasachi’s new ‘intimate fine jewellery’ line has outraged many by hurting their religious sentiments. They did not like that the models were wearing the newly launched Royal Bengal Mangalsutra with little clothes on their bodies. But is that all that is wrong with it?
In a campaign featuring a plus-size model, Sabyasachi showed heterosexual couples and same-sex couples posing with the ‘intimate jewellery’ with pieces of lingerie on their bodies. But let’s be honest, the skin show is hardly the problematic thing about the overpriced mangalsutra.
When most modern women have already rejected the idea of a piece of jewellery defining their love and commitment for their husbands, when a marriage is between two people then why should the wife bear the burden of the commitment necklace? Yes, there is a big section of society where women are compelled to wear jewellery as a mark of matrimony but I doubt even they will buy a mangalsutra that costs lakhs!
Let’s recall that the brand is not new to courting controversies. Whether it was the Rs 9,999 cotton saree for H&M or when the designer’s “shame on you” comment boomeranged. (“I think, if you tell me that you do not know how to wear a saree, I would say shame on you.” Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee said this while addressing Indian students at the Harvard Conference). Even before that he caught the ire of the netizens for saying that that “overdressed” women are wounded inside. It is important to mention that the designer has promptly apologised for “hurting” people’s sentiments every time. Wondering whether an apology is on its way this time too?
Before Sabhyasachi, BVLGARI came up with a similar idea – selling a mangalsutra worth Rs 3,49,000 to women as statement jewellery. My question is, what is the statement? Who even asked for such a thing? For women who choose to wear mangalsutra consider it sacred for what it represents. It is hard to imagine an Indian woman carrying out her daily activities wearing a mangalsutra that is possibly costlier than one of her organs!
A Western brand trying to appropriate traditional jewellery which has heavy cultural significance attached to it is bizarre on its own. In the Sabhyasachi launch, we see an Indian brand trying to sell the same regressive idea. The brand perhaps needs to introspect will the idea even appeal to those who can afford it?
The views are the author’s own.
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