Sounak Sen Barat is always impeccably dressed. The Bangalore resident who designed for premium brands like Peter England before venturing on his own to start the fashion label House of Three boasts an eclectic style aesthetic, flaunting artistic prints with the same panache as understated neutrals. In an afternoon of numerous photos and freewheeling chats, designer let us in his closet rules and personal style secrets.
What is your earliest fashion memory?
Growing up in Calcutta (as known then) my mother would buy or have clothes tailored for me during Durga Puja. She came up with interesting designs that suited my age but also had an edge to them. Every year I looked forward to what my mother had in store—I get my aesthetics from her.
How would you describe your personal style?
Easy, subtle, sharp, versatile, and classic with an eclectic twist. My style depends on my mood and the occasion. It’s important to wear things that are relevant to an occasion and graceful.
What makes an ensemble perfect for your closet?
If it’s a basic then the finishing, fit, construction, wash, trims and attention to detail is very important. If it’s high fashion, I also look for a point of view—how the designer employs an artistic vision created a piece that has his signature, while having delivered the basics.
What has been your most extravagant buy?
My home—I bought it with my wife at a time when I was 27. The first two years were very tough but we sailed through.
Which are your most prized possessions?
A Rolex watch from my father that is 40 years old, and my family gold ring.
What are your fashion favourites?
I’ve a weakness for white shirts. Crisp formals, dinner shirts, washed casuals, or eclectic kinds such as All Saints or La Chemise Trapezzionne. I also love prints.
Let us in on a secret—what is your fail-safe style?
A crisp white shirt with blue denims and a pair of leather loafers.
What has been your wildest fashion phase?
I’ve never been the wild kind. But during my days at NIFT, I had dyed beard and hair and wore only kurtas and shawls. There are stories of how several juniors (now established designers) would avoid me simply because my physical appearance scared them. A very funny and awkward memory.
What’s your go-to styling trick?
Stick to classics but break the monotony with an element of surprise in your ensemble. I rely on layering to make an impression.
If money was no object, what would you add to your closet?
Every single piece ever produced by Etro and All Saints. Also, I’d like to have a collection of every yard of heritage traditional textile ever made—even the old, tattered ones.
Photographs Vasanth Paul | Location courtesy The Black Rabbit, Bangalore