Armani may pick up Reliance for India foray

Armani may pick up Reliance for India foray

Author | Source: The Economic Times | Saturday, Apr 22,2006 7:58 AM

Armani may pick up Reliance for India foray

Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Retail may be the local partner Giorgio Armani is looking for in India. The iconic fashion brand - which clothes half of Hollywood - has been scouting for a franchisee, after it publicly announced plans of setting up shops in India.

It has been holding regular meetings with senior Reliance Industry officials. In fact, commercial director, Francesco Tombolini who is in town had a long meeting with a senior Reliance official on Thursday.

Sources say that Reliance will be the local franchisee for the Armani range to be sold through exclusive boutique-like outlets. In fact, Armani is only one of the international brands in Reliance Retail's little known luxury brands strategy.

Former Titan COO, Bijou Kurien, is likely to lead Reliance's luxury business. Sources say that Reliance is also in talks with another marquee name, Manolo Blahnik.

Spanish-born Blahnik, whose stylish handcrafted shoes were once described by pop-diva Madonna as being ''as good as sex'' have been enjoying a dream run since they were featured in popular TV series - Sex and the City. When contacted Reliance officials declined to comment.

Best known for its clean cut designs and exclusive fabrics, Armani, headquartered in Milan, is today a billion dollar plus global fashion empire straddling clothes, perfumes, watches and myriad accessories.

Initially, only two of its most popular fashion lines - the flagship Giorgio Armani and the peppy Emporio Armani - which targets young professionals, will be launched in India.

In addition to these there are sub-brands like Collezioni, A/X Armani exchange, Armani Junior, Giorgio Armani Accessori and Armani Casa spread over 37 different countries.

Armani is not the only premium luxury brand lured by the potential India's aspiring consumers hold. Recently the Murjanis, tied up with shoemaker Jimmy Choo, Calvin Klein, Gucci.

Tommy Hilfiger, FCUK and luggage brand Tumi. Murjani is also said to be talking to luxury brand Yves Saint Laurent and Top Shop, UK.

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