Luxury trade takes its first baby steps in India

Luxury trade takes its first baby steps in India

Tuesday, 03 April 2007, 05:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: Often it's the most obvious plan that is hard to crack or the most simple business models that are easy to script yet difficult to follow. The same rules apply to the maverick luxury trade as well, which is taking its first baby steps in India.

The HT Luxury Mint Conference concluded over the weekend on a similar note for India as Concetta Lanciaux, special advisor to French businessman Bernard Arnault, stated candidly: "To transfer skills simply look at your successful Indian IT model and apply it to create an Indian luxury house or indigenous brand - sourcing, attracting, educating, retaining and developing as in France."

Suggesting that Indian fashion brands, like global brands, have latent potential of creating an ideal marriage of the right design talent with an aggressively passionate manager, Lanciaux seemed to have spelt out the doubt that lingered on in the audience.

Lanciaux urged the Indian design counterparts to retain their DNA and the French to re-think India as "a luxury market with a soul".

Day one at Taj Palace Hotel with the luxury aficionados started on a brilliant camaraderie between Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath and his French counterpart Christine Lagard.

The Indian minister toasted Indian whisky while promising to reduce duties on French wines, while the French charm was turned on full measure by Madame Lagard from morning till late evening at the French embassy.

Quoting designer Coco Chanel, she called upon India to be "a superb exhibition of the grand heritage - another fantastic way for India to display its vitality and success".

This indeed was a great icebreaker between the French and Indian counterparts and lack of correct accents to pronounce French brands did not inhibit the Indian brands to appreciate the French traditions of Coco Chanel, Hermes and Louis Vuitton - super brands that retain their DNA till date.

Day two at the conference could have easily been a Bollywood pot-boiler with all the trappings of Christian Louboutin buying reams of ribbon from India to create fantasy shoes for his clients.

India's stunning crafts and skills such as ayurveda, Benaras weaves and luxury palace hotels brought Loubotin back to India several times. In designer speak, he gave the 'Indian craftsman hand cult status'.

So who will bell the cat? Will it be private equity, designer-manager marriage, craftsmanship cartels like comite Colbert a la Inde, sourcing talent, retail investment funds or plain simple speak and clear action for Brand India with a combination of all the ingredients was the question looming large as the curtains drew close to a week of talking luxury in India.

The Indian luxury story was retold and urged to wear its new retail avatar at the Paris runway, just as its Indian enfant terrible designer Manish Arora gets ready to pull the right strings, or hems shall we say, at the forthcoming Paris fashion Week in April. India captivating the world was a case of the "right place at the right time".
Source: IANS
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