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In the past,Alexander McQueen had taken the Indian churidar and come up with crisp churidar trousers,and Roberto Cavalli toyed with the saree and interpreted it in a unique drape of the saree gown.

Written by Paromita Chakrabarti |
April 16, 2009 2:46:39 am

est fashion collections by international luxury brands have a strong India influence

In the past,Alexander McQueen had taken the Indian churidar and come up with crisp churidar trousers,and Roberto Cavalli toyed with the saree and interpreted it in a unique drape of the saree gown. But if those had been stray excursions in highlighting oriental mystique,over the last two seasons in international fashion India seems to be the reigning flavour with everybody,from Hermes to Jimmy Choo coming up with themes and look-books that have a strong India leaning.

It was some photographs of the Himalayas that provided the impetus to Paul Smith of the eponymous British brand to launch into an Indian dialogue for his fall 2009 collection. The sense of transplanted “Englishness”,that has been a hallmark of his brand,blends perfectly with the colonial heritage of India and so everything from the clothes — the grey suits,frock coats and twill jackets — to the advertising campaign have a story to tell.

“Sir Paul Smith saw a friend’s pictures from a trip to Darjeeling. This inspired him to use an Indian touch for our latest collection,” says Sonal Bhatia,brand manager,Paul Smith.

London-based luxury footwear brand Jimmy Choo takes its inspiration for their spring-summer collection 2009 from Jaipur and Indian royalty,besides the cosmopolitan spirit of Mumbai. The brand has named two pairs from their latest collection,“Bombay” and “Night” (inspired by Jaipur). Cartier’s “Inde Mysterieuse” collection too draws from jewellery of Indian royalties,with particular emphasis on the traditional Jaipur style.

To coincide with their India launch last season,Parisian brand Hermes had an India theme for their collection,replete with a perfume inspired by Kerala and even their famous Birkin had an Indian makeover. This time though they have come up with “Beloved India” scarves,a tribute to Indian fresco artists and enamel bracelets,meant to be worn like bangles with characteristic Indian designs.

When leading Italian menswear brand Ermenegildo Zegna were working on their spring-summer collection 2009,the locale they settled upon for their publicity campaign was Jaipur in Rajasthan. 

“Long summer journeys in India provided the backdrop for design and for the campaign,” says Anna Zegna,image director with the family run business,which has over 500 stores worldwide.

Of course,not all of it is just a matter of inspiration. Given the recession in the West, there has been a shift of focus,with Asia becoming the new consumer hotspot for the luxury industry. So deriving influences from the East serves more than just mere creative purposes.

“The reasons are more developed than just the inspiration. We also wanted to recognise India’s growing influence on the luxury and fashion industry,” says Zegna.

Elisabetta Canali,global communications director of the Italian brand Canali,echoes her statement. “India is a very important market for us in the future,which is why we have opened five boutiques in less than two years and plan to open two more in the near future,” she says,while explaining how their autumn-winter 2008-09 draws from the theme of a journey into the heart of India. “It’s a journey into one of the most important and growing markets,as well as a tribute to a very evocative world,rich of culture,” she says. 

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