Business Standard

Business Standard Manthan 2024: 'Next Chanel will be from India'

Panelists agree that Indian luxury brands will expand footprints across globe

Alexis de Ducla, Pushpa Bector, Kapil Chopra,  Abheek Singhi, Nikhil Sethi

(From left) Alexis de Ducla, director of Mathieu Lustrerie; Pushpa Bector, senior executive director & business head of DLF Retail; Kapil Chopra, founder & CEO of The Postcard Hotel; Abheek Singhi, MD & senior partner of Boston Consulting Group; and

BS Reporter New Delhi
“The next Chanel will be from India.” Alexis de Ducla, the director of Mathieu Lustrerie, a luxury lighting company and the world’s leading chandelier maker, said this on Thursday at Business Standard’s Manthan summit here.

The Indian luxury market has evolved over the last two decades. India is currently one of the fastest-growing luxury markets in the world and Bain & Company has pegged that India’s luxury market could reach $200 billion by 2030.

“Luxury is about artisanship… it’s about time spend… It's about art. And India always had that, it’s inherent, it’s part of the culture. What was lacking was investment and vision, but that too has developed in the last few years. In my opinion, the next Chanel will be from India, and within the next five years,” Ducla said during the panel discussion on the topic: Ramp to resorts to retail: How can luxury in 2047 redefine a Developed India.

“I feel the Indian market has evolved rapidly over the last 20 years. The customer’s self-confidence has changed and they now don’t want brands just because they are French or Italian. They want quality and to enjoy something they like,” Ducla added.

Mathieu Lustrerie has designed for Tarun Tahiliani, the Piramals and the Ambanis. Its chandeliers recently added to the glitz at the pre-wedding celebrations of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant.

Pushpa Bector, senior executive director and business head, DLF Retail, offered some historical context.

“An interesting trend started during the pandemic, where corporate houses started understanding the power of Indian luxury brands and started providing financial support, while also providing a certain structure and order to the businesses and helping them expand globally,” Bector said.

During the pandemic, corporate houses like Reliance Retail and Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail started buying significant stakes in Indian luxury designers. These bets in luxury were taken at a time when stores were shut due to lockdown restrictions, impacting sales across the board.

Both the conglomerates invested in designers from Sabyasachi, Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahiliani, Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla among others.

Post the stake buy, both Sabyasachi and Manish Malhotra opened stores outside of the country.

“This is a trend that is going to stand in good stead for us. These are all indicators that Indian brands now have the right kind of funding to go global,” Bector added.

Another panellist, Abheek Singhi, managing director and senior partner, Boston Consulting Group was of the opinion that the Indian economy is going through an aspirational phase which will continue for the next couple of decades.

“Adam Smith talked about land, labour, and capital as the three factors of production. There are no constraints on capital and land too, is available. Labour, and skilled craftsmanship from the country can become a competitive advantage for Indian luxury to grow,” Singhi said.

Talking about global luxury brands adapting to the Indian markets, Ducla said, “I think it is more proof that the brands are very much interested in India. However, it is also important for them to look at these as collaborations and for them to also showcase the Indian artisan in these collections.”

Global brands too are increasingly tapping into the wealthy Indian customer. The proof of the pudding is also in French luxury brand Dior showcasing its Fall 2023 collection at the Gateway of India in Mumbai, its first in the country, putting the artisans from The Chanakya School of Craft at the centrestage of global luxury.

“For luxury to drive growth, it is imperative that luxury products make their way into the daily lives of people, much like in the developed countries. A sustained investment or maintaining premium price points, which are not necessarily on par with global price points, will also help in making Indian brands bigger and register their presence on a global scale,” said Nikhil Sethi, partner, national head, FMCG, KPMG India.

The Indian hospitality industry, on the other hand, is not new to luxury and has always been at the pinnacle.

“If you really think about it, whether in terms of goods, whether in terms of travel or anything, even if you go back ten years, India was already winning the best hotels in the world. We have had some absolutely exceptional hotels, which have kept the flag going high for a long time,” said Kapil Chopra, founder and CEO of Postcard Hotels.

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First Published: Mar 28 2024 | 11:32 PM IST

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