Luxury in India | Not just a cut-and-paste

While China may have the unyielding focus of many Western luxury brands today, many players are already beginning to set their sights on India for the next wave of expansion. But, as global luxury players begin to tentatively test these Indian waters, they are finding that India, which has its own vibrant indigenous cultural scene, may require a different expansion strategy altogether. With Bollywood stars and local Cricket legends that get more attention in India than their Western cultural equivalents, there is no blank canvas in India upon which to paint Western tastes. Locals on the streets of Shanghai and Beijing have, by and large, adopted Western dress, but those in Delhi and Mumbai  are more likely to fuse East…

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Stella McCartney | Taking Asia by storm

Bolstered by a string of well-received collections in recent seasons, positive feedback from the sales floor, and her newly profitable status, Stella McCartney is setting her sights on Asia.  In 2007, the brand signed an exclusive distribution deal with the Lane Crawford Joyce Group to open 10 freestanding stores in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia by 2012. And yesterday, McCartney announced a partnership with TSG International Marketing Pvt to open 6 stores across India, including two stores by the end of this year. Boy have things changed for the upstart brands in Gucci's portfolio. After years of operating in the red, there was much hoopla in 2007 when Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen finally broke-even,…

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Q&A: Is the Asian Luxury explosion on the rocks?

This month's Monocle magazine plays "Spot the Shopper" at one of China's cavernous new luxury malls. Have a look -- there's barely a shopper in sight. We've been hearing similar reports about luxury malls and stores in Russia, and the (admittedly anecdotal) fashion grapevine says that luxury stores in India are struggling as well. Add this to the economic uncertainty sweeping through the global economy and it's enough to step back  and wonder: is this whole Asian luxury explosion overstated? Not according to Radha Chadha, a leading expert on Asia's luxury boom and co-author of the book The Cult of the Luxury Brand: Inside Asia's Love Affair With Luxury. Turns out that some companies and luxury projects are just not…

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Vogue: India has arrived

I wanted to share with the BoF community an exciting step in the evolution of Indian fashion that marks the official arrival of India on the global fashion scene. For years, Western designers and global brands have  used Indian craftsmanship, culture and history as  an inspiration for fashion. From intricate embroidery this season on Marchesa's "Raj and in Charge" dresses for Spring/Summer 2008 to khaki's from Gap, Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie and Fitch that have outfitted generations of Americans, India's influence on global fashion goes all the way from the high-street to the high-end. Today, my good friend Bandana Tewari, Fashion Features Editor of Vogue India , graciously sent me an image of the first cover for the newest magazine…

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New York Fashion Week: Sabyasachi’s talking bout a revolution

Sabyasachi showed his S/S 2008 collection in New York last night to a crowd mixed with New York City-based Indian socialites, important fashion journalists like Laird Borrelli-Persson of Style.com and Meredith Melling-Burke of Vogue, and other curious onlookers eager to see what the "Hermes of India" would come up with this season. As Laird told me before the show after she had taken a quick pre-show sneak peek backstage, it was "classic Sabya". He sent out rich Indian fabrics in a deep "revolutionary" colour palette of burnt orange, forest green and indian khaki, cut in classic (sometimes very voluminous) Western silhouettes. Revolutionary symbols from Russia, Cuba and elsewhere accented the clothes, which strummed along to Tracy Chapman and perhaps a…

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L’Officiel India: London Bound

L'Officiel India held a glitzy party in London last night to celebrate the distribution of its magazine in the UK, the first official deal of its kind for the magazine outside of India. Hosted by Bollywood director and talk-show host Karan Johar, and attended by the now infamous Shilpa Shetty (who literally sashayed into the club with an entourage who were running to keep up with her), the party was a sleek affair, mixing London fashion personalities, Bollywood star wattage, and high-net worth Indians with money to spend. Up until now, Indians in the UK have had to use the old "suitcase" import technique to stay up to date on new hotspots in Mumbai, fashion week in Delhi, and Bollywood…

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Bandana Tewari: Featuring Vogue India’s Guru

No sooner had posted my own thoughts on the future of Indian fashion, that I began seeing other interesting perspectives which have emerged in other online fashion media over the past week on India's luxury goods and fashion industry. Clearly, Indian fashion is on fire. Much of the content is infused with the intelligent musings of Bandana Tewari, who is also the newly named Fashion Features Editor of Vogue India and has become a good friend since we met back at London Fashion Week in February 2006. The most recent JC Report focuses on India, covering Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in Delhi and Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai. The highlight for me was an insightful interview conducted by global…

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Gallery Sumukha: Indian Fashion, Art and Design, London

There has been much talk of India's increasing appetite for Luxury Goods due its rapidly growing upper and middle classes and on-fire economy spitting out growth at 8% per year. New millionaires, it seems, are born in India everyday. Usually, when people discuss how the fashion industry will serve these new customers, the conversation focuses on the Gucci's, Prada's and Chanel's of the world and how they plan to conquer the Indian market. However, anyone who has done business in India will know that navigating the the notoriously challenging Indian business world is not easy. In Indian fashion, it is even more challenging. Darwinian forces and age old Indian cultural patterns  collide with the already flaky and frenetic fashion world.…

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