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Guest Article: A designer’s impression of the Mint Luxury Conference

30-March-2012
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Guest Article: A designer’s impression of the Mint Luxury Conference

On the morning of March 23, 2012, I sat on my couch thinking about what luxury meant to me that morning…did it mean eight hours of sleep at a stretch or perhaps my one year-old daughter's habit of oversleeping by half an hour? With this thought probing my mind, I got dressed, slipped into my Fendi shoes and went to the fifth Mint Luxury Conference.

With a line-up of eminent speakers, the day began with a talk by Diane von Furstenberg – a name to reckon with in the design industry. The designer who made a simple wrap dress iconic spoke about her early struggles and how luxury to her today was “to be able to be the woman you want to be”.

This was followed by some great insights by Ashwini Kumar, Minister of State, Parliamentary Affairs and Planning; Angelo Missoni, Creative Director, Missoni; Michael Ward, MD, Harrods; and Christian Louboutin.

Today, the Indian luxury market is seeing a 20 per cent annual growth, with almost every brand worth its money wanting to make an entry in one of the world’s largest consumer markets. Luxury brands from various industries came to the conference. It saw participation from fashion, hospitality, automobiles, art and real estate. Does this mean that the rules of the luxury game have changed?

Today, luxury needs to be retailed not necessary via flamboyance but with aesthetic appeal and the experience of shopping. Luxury brands that once took pride in the experience they provided by simply having people visit their store space, are now making it available at our doorstep. They are even introducing apps for mobiles that take service and branding to the next level.

From family run Italian fashion houses to corporate funded French fashion labels, trademarked red sole of Louboutin to luxury wheels on display, the conference made me long for more.

To close, after selling one of the world’s most expensive yachts, a crystal bath tub and shoes studded with rubies, Michael Ward of Harrods was asked what he would offer if Sir Richard Branson walked into the store. He simply said ‘A razor’. Luxury of time perhaps…

The author is an independent designer and stylist

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