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'The sari is so hot'

Yves Carcelle, CEO, Louis Vuitton, doesn't trust their attire, when it comes to comparing western wear with the Indian sari.
Hindustan Times | By Jaydeep Ghosh, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 23, 2008 01:04 PM IST

India’s most famous export after curry — the sari — has got such a big stamp of approval from the man who leads the world’s biggest luxury brand that he is holding off on introducing his own line of apparel.

Yves Carcelle, CEO and chairman of the Louis Vuitton Group, in Delhi this week to launch the second of his luxury stores, said while the brand is taking on the Indian market with accessories, it is not quite ready to “thrust our attire when you have such gorgeous attire".

While Indian desi fashion designers focus all their energies on designing western wear, the traditional Indian sari has found a surprise fan in Carcelle. “I love India and this country has a special place in my heart,” said Carcelle who was in the capital this week with a battery of deputies at the launch at DLF Emporio. The vast new store has accessories, watches, luggage and footwear but no apparel.

Bollywood calling
“It will take time. (He points at Pia Singh of DLF, dressed in a sari and carrying one of his bags): Look how lovely she looks in the sari and the bag complements it so well. We don’t want to thrust our attire when you have such gorgeous attire. They will happen in their own time.”

Carcelle is also aware of Bollywood and its potential to grow his brand in India. “The movies are no longer the clichéd Bollywood cinema of 70s and 80s. Today’s Bollywood is modern and [we] love to associate with it, as much as we do with Hollywood.” Carcelle credited Tikka Shatrujit Singh for their association with Bollywood stars.

“We don’t use brand ambassadors. Vidya (Balan) is a loyalist and we consider her a part of the LV family and at joyous occasions like this, the family comes together.” The actress was present at the store opening.

Indian art abroad
Carcelle said he was also proud that LV had provided a major platform to popularise contemporary Indian art. He says, “Contemporary Indian art was presented at the Espace Louis Vuitton by us and there the connoisseurs discovered the immense potential of Indian Art.”

He feels the excitement about Subodh Gupta’s work was sparked at the exhibition at the elite Champs-Elysees House of Vuitton. The impeccably dressed Carcelle confessed that there was one item on his body that did not bear his brand. “Let me see…shoes, watch, suit…are all LV.

Oh yes, underwear is mine. LV doesn’t make underwear. You can’t take my underwear away from me!”

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