Mumbai: Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli SPA will open its first flagship store in India later this year. The 400 sq. ft boutique, which will open in the DLF Emporio Mall in New Delhi, will be at par with the brand’s stores in cities such as London, Paris, Tokyo and New York. The Indian operations are part of the brand’s expansion plans in the Asia-Pacific region.

Gianluca Brozzetti, chief executive of Roberto Cavalli Group, spoke in an interview about the company’s plans for India. Brozzetti was a speaker at the Mint Luxury Conference (23-24 March) in Mumbai. Edited excerpts:

Custom fit: Brozzetti says like in all its major stores across the world, Roberto Cavalli will offer bespoke services in India as well. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

We’ve taken the decision to come into India after many years of deliberation. Our first flagship store and Cavalli café will open in New Delhi in the summer of 2012 at the DLF Emporio Mall. A few months after that, towards the end of 2012, we’ll open our Mumbai store—the location is still being finalized. For the moment, we’re going to focus on these two cities. And Roberto Cavalli will himself travel to India in October to visit the stores.

You’ve been in the luxury industry for close to 20 years and were also responsible for setting up Louis Vuitton’s first store in India in 1999-2000. What are the lessons you’ve carried forward from that?

One major takeaway—have local partners. This time, we’re partnering with Infinite Luxury Brands Pvt. Ltd and the Indian designer Manav Gangwani will be our marketing and sales director.

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Gianluca Brozzetti reveals his company’s plans for India and says the versatility of the Roberto Cavalli brand is its greatest strength.

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Which of the brand’s lines will be available in India?

The plan is to represent the brand with all the product lines.

The Indian boutiques will house women’s and men’s prêt-a-porter collections, as well as accessories, eyewear, timewear and kidswear, starting at 5,000 (fragrances) and going up to 5 lakh.

Later, we’re going to present our home collection as well.

Since Roberto Cavalli was founded 40 years ago, the company has focused on Europe, north America and the Middle East. Asia Pacific has been eclipsed entirely and we’re trying to play catch up. This is the part of the world where the luxury business is growing very fast. We started with opening our first store in Asia with Tokyo last year, China will be next month and then the two stores in India.

Cavalli had already entered the Indian market with its entry-level line Just Cavalli a few years ago. Why did that shut down?

That has nothing to do with India specifically. Just Cavalli, our line with lower price points, was undergoing financial troubles globally and we had problems with our licensing partner. Now the line is in good hands with the Diesel group. Just Cavalli might re-enter India in the future but that will have its distinct retail identity.

Will Roberto Cavalli also provide bespoke services in India?

Like in all our major stores across the world, we will offer bespoke services in India as well. If a client wants something to be tailored, we can take a briefing here and have it made by our designers in Florence.

Roberto Cavalli has a signature style—the “animalier prints". Are there any particular prints and lines that the brand will push in India?

It’s a fact: Cavalli has been much influenced by India in the recent past. Thirty one out of the 45 looks in our show last month (for Fall 2012) had Indian embroidery work. There’s a lot of India in our collections already and we’re going to bring down all of it.

anindita.g@livemint.com

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