Luxury in India - The Has Been of 2012

While everyone has their own personal experience with 2012, we think it was a mixed bag of delights and heartbreaks. Here's our experience of what it bought to us!

By: Karishma Suri & Soumya Jain

Posted on: December 28, 2012

While everyone has their own personal experience with 2012, we think it was a mixed bag of delight and heartbreaks. Here’s our experience of what it bought to us!

There was a time when luxury seemed foreign and untouchable but that was then. With the luxury  market taking steps that are as self-assured as a lady in Louboutin shoes, the year gone by is just an inkling of the ‘luxe storm’ that is yet to take over India and shower its million fans with love and of course, style.

The Good
Talking about shoes, French luxury shoemaker Christian Louboutin opened its first mono-brand store in India, in the capital city of Delhi, at DLF Emporio mall. Practically a milestone for Indian shoe lovers who are smitten by the red sole, the 80 sq m store is a reflection of the designers’ French, Middle Eastern and American inspirations and influences. The store has a colourful collection as Indians’ love for colour is obvious and black shoes will have to compete with its more vibrant cousins. The Bollywoody shoe is, of course, our favourite!

Joining Louboutin, Italian designer Roberto Cavalli too launched his first ever flagship store here. Cavalli has forayed into the India market through a partnership with start-up firm Infinite Luxury Brands Pvt. Ltd., jointly set up by Indian fashion designer Manav Gangwani, Dubai-based entrepreneur Sahiba Narang and finance expert Rahul Kapoor. Lucky for most, world-known Cavalli Caffe has also opened shop in the country and if all goes well, he might even bring his Cavalli Club to India soon and redefine Indian nightlife much to the glee of many. The store resonates with the brand's trademarks - bold patterns and exotic animal prints. “I love women,” Mr Cavalli said charmingly, in a heavy Italian accent. Even though we couldn’t understand much of what he said, his happiness was apparent from his behaviour. “I am so proud of my new baby, the Cavalli Caffe,” he said, literally bubbling and gargling with laughter!

And it’s not just fashion brands that are fuelling the consumerist society of India, but restaurants too. International dining stars like Serafina and b-bar (from the famed Buddha Bar house) have made it their aim to feed the chow loving nation of India. And of course, the highly sophisticated Le Cirque and Megu at The Leela Palace New Delhi have been our most favourite in any case.

The Bad
Although finalized in December 2011, the full force of the now government approved 100% FDI in single brand retail really hit us in 2012 only. Though this ought to have made us whoop up in joy, a very carefully placed rider played a little dampener. Any brand coming in through more than 51% FDI, will have to source 30% from local SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in India. So while international brands are enthusiastic about the Indian market, going through a joint venture or a franchisee is the most preferred mode of entry still.
2012 also caused us to sigh as DLF Brands shut their luxury business with Giorgio Armani thus going to Genesis Luxury. DLF Brands in May said that it is exiting the luxury business because it found it difficult to scale up luxury brands in its portfolio. After ending its joint venture with Armani, DLF is in the process of exiting its venture with Salvatore Ferragamo. India's luxury retail story has encountered a few bumps in recent months. Alfred Dunhill, more than a hundred-year-old British luxury menswear and accessories brand wound up its India operations and shut down its store at DLF Emporio in July this year. Unfortunately, even Blues Clothing Company fell into a sticky situation and watched as Corneliani went to OSL Luxury.

And the Beautiful!
The LuxuryFacts offices have been as busy as the outside luxury world. Starting from revamping the portal, making it easier to browse through, to visiting Germany, Indonesia, Sula Vineyards in Nashik and Pune, we have tried to make sure that you get to know luxury from every corner of the world, and from every aspect, whether its watches or travel or wine.

Giving our utmost support to the Indian luxury industry, brands and consumers here, we partnered with two events, each of which tried to cover a very important gap here. The India Luxury Summit 2012, organized by ASSOCHAM and Yes Bank, invited industry stakeholders to dissect, analyse and discuss the Indian luxury industry. Problems were talked about and solutions were pout forth by some. On the other hand, The Indian Luxury Expo 2012, hosted in Hyderabad – a booming luxury market we assure you – aimed to bring luxury brands and consumers together. LuxuryFacts was the online media partner of both the events.

And very excitedly, we launched the book, The Luxury Market in India: Maharajas to Masses’, co-edited by our Chief Editor Soumya Jain, and published by Palgrave Macmillan. Sensing the need of collective literature on how to tame this complex Indian luxury market, the book was devised where industry colleagues have contributed their experience and expertise to guide luxury managers in the country. Receiving positive reviews, we are sure the book is arming brands with powerful knowledge and insights.

As we bid adieu to this mixed, yet exciting 2012, we hope that 2013 will bring more luxuries, growth, happiness and success to all you dear readers. Sante!

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