The state billed as God’s own country has become the new face of luxury for the world. “In Europe, there are few things more luxurious than an ayurvedic treatment,” said a London-based entrepreneur, who came here to explore the new definition of luxury — Kerala. The house of Hermès has declared India as its theme for 2008, and Kerala has stolen the show with Un Jardin Apres la Mousson (A Garden after the Monsoon), which captures the scents of the state.
“The perfume is made with vetiver, kahli ginger, tuberose and gardenia,” said Jean-Claude Ellen, the developer, in an interview earlier. His notes romanticised Kerala: “In coastal Kerala, spices have been trafficked since the Romans rode in on the winds of the monsoons, seeking cardamom and pepper black gold.”
Kerala has inspired Hermès silk scarves that are vivid with raw pinks and fleshy mangoes, elephants and tigers. Laxmi Menon, the supermodel of Keralite origin, has also been the face of the Hermès print campaign. Ayurveda has become synonymous with Kerala, with foreign tourists flocking to the state’s flourishing ayurvedic treatment centres. Enrico Marinelli, president, Edmund Frette Sarl, the holding company of the luxury group Frette, once said, “After experiencing it [ayurveda], you know the true feeling of luxury.”
Top fashion label Chloe, too, has got a Kerala bag, which is available on net-a-porter.com and is considered an ‘it’ bag. The bag uses chunky brass hardware and stud accents to great effect. The shopping site promotes the bag’s “Luella-ish feel” — a reference to British designer Luella Bartley — and describes it as “a really hot item in the line-up of must have bags”. Taking pride in your own country has seldom been this chic.