It’s probably the first time Mumbai fashion followers will be jealous of Pune. Luxury fashion house Hermès has chosen to open their first store on the west coast in the student city, giving Mumbai a miss.
Ask Bertrand Michaud, managing director, Hermès India, why the brand picked their unlikely location and he says, “Hermès does not follow a specific pattern, nor does it focus on market trends. Pune is a city that reflects the brand’s goals – to explore, surprise and offer exclusive items. We are happy to be in Pune.”
Michaud’s cryptic response aside, previous scouting had revealed that Hermès was looking for space in Mumbai’s heritage district, Kala Ghoda-Fort, but was unable to secure the required permissions in time. But Michaud does assure loyal customers from the city that they wont have to wait much longer, saying, “The Mumbai store opening has been targeted for May 2011, you’ll hear about it soon.”
The brand’s popularity is reflected in the fact that many of its products are preceded by a month-long waiting list. With the brand’s iconic and most sought-after bags, the Birkin and the Kelly, being favourites of Bollywood circles, will the stores focus primarily on accessories? “The whole range of accessories will be presented exactly the same as in Paris, London and New York,” responds Michaud.
“Also, Hermès is usually working on permanent collections. All the products available in India are first choice products, which have gone through strict quality control.” But like all luxury goods entering the Indian market, expect your Birkin to cost you quite a packet over what you would have paid in a store on Rodeo Drive. “Our prices are the same all over the world,” insists Michaud, adding, “If there is a difference, it is due to government regulations of each market. Of course, local taxes and duties will apply on top.”