Remember Victoria Beckham's complimentary tweets about Priyanka Chopra and Sonam Kapoor recently? Posh did not discover newfound love for our desi beauties without a reason. In a carefully crafted marketing strategy, international designer labels are aggressively tapping the booming Indian market by approaching celebs to wear their outfits, in return for a compliment on Twitter. So, when Beckham, with over 38 lakh followers, tweets about Priyanka Chopra, and when Chopra, with 25 lakh followers of her own, responds with a gushing thank-you, it's a deal well worth it for both.
Insiders reveal that in the gloom-ridden economy, international design houses are far too eager to tap new markets by dangling the social media carrot in front of local celebs. "It's not just the A-listers, even if Neha Dhupia wears a Beckham gown on the red carpet, we can get Victoria to tweet about it. Just that media should cover it prominently," says a representative of the label, choosing to stay anonymous.
"When a celeb wears a designer label, a photo or remark tweeted by the design house turns out to be a better publicity tool than any press releases," says Gauri Kohli from public relations agency, PR Pundit. "The Indian market is huge and tweeting is the quickest, cost-free and easiest way to get the attention," says designer Ritu Beri. While international labels promise publicity to desi celebs, for Indian designers, it's the wearer's Twitter following that acts as a virtual payment for the outfits. "Bollywood actors ask for red-carpet dresses all the time in exchange for a tweet with the designers' name," says a Bollywood publicist.
Celebrities with lakhs of followers do not mind it either. "Ready for IIFA rocks in a Shivan & Narresh outfit! Looking fwd to an eve of fashion n music!," tweeted Bipasha Basu during the recent IIFA awards red carpet in Singapore. "Twitter is such a cost-effective way to reach out to so many fans and followers. What's the harm?" asks Narresh Kukreja of the designer duo Shivan & Narresh.
Gloom elsewhere, boom here
Despite the global recession, India has become one of the hottest destinations for foreign fashion brands. The Indian fashion industry is expected to increase from its net worth of Rs 200 crore to Rs 1,000 crore in the next five years. Spanish brand Zara's annual forecast projects India as the most vital market out of the 74 countries that the brand is present in. Other global fashion brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Marks & Spencer and Ralph Lauren Polo have become household names. New entrants include LVMH, Roberto Cavalli and Elle.
Mutual admiration society
VB tweets: Beautiful actress @sonamakapoor wearing #victoriabeckham SS12 x.
Sonam's response: Your dress makes me beautiful! Thank you! @victoriabeckham
VB tweets: Priyanka Chopra looks lovely in white in VB SS12.
Priyanka's response: Thank you @victoriabeckham, love your stuff.