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Lack of luxe

india Updated: Jan 03, 2009 18:30 IST
Vinod Nair

When I walked into a luxe store recently at the Emporio, in a fleeting glance, I found that the red gown hanging on the rack had its armhole torn. The lapel and part of the jacket that the headless mannequin was sporting, was wrinkled. The wall behind the rack had dirty marks. The cheap glass that covered the window had dirty glue marks on the edges. And, like I said, the store name on top at the entrance had only been half lit (wiring fault, I presume? Or was it a sasta wala kaam?).

This certainly isn’t the luxury that we know. The stores that we have seen abroad are impeccably done (well, if there are flaws, there aren’t noticeable ones), well maintained and kept spic and span. So when the same label comes here, I wonder what goes wrong when it comes to the store appeal. Abroad the merchandise is from the current season. And the counter staff knows what they are talking about. Barring a few stores, here the case seems to be different. Everything seems to be revolving around the theme ‘cheap’ and typical ‘third world’ type.

Over the last several years that I have spent with a number of luxury top honchos, I have realised that they are so particular about doing things that everything works as per set plans. Things are segmented and each department does things like clockwork.

I wonder where this mentality of the brands goes when it comes to overseeing the construction of their retail outlets and the merchandise that these stores stock. India may be seen as the hot spot for luxury brand retailing, but what is being done here by some of the brands or their caretakers is something these brands should keep tabs on.

Else an unsuspecting customer, probably a first timer, will walk right in, look at the offerings and end up buying something what the rest of the world bought a few seasons back. Or, a wealthy foreigner can walk in and walk out in disgust seeing the store and its merchandise.

In the past I have seen these brands end up choosing the wrong partner and winding up later. I see people who did nothing in their lives before running some of the brands in India. Perhaps this is why we see the damaged merchandise, stain on the wall, etc. When qualified people run these brands, I do see the difference… not just in the stores, but in their demeanour as well!