Read on and beam with pride.12
1. THE CROWN JEWELS
Three of the most noted luxury jewelery labels in the world share one thing in common in their historic archives. Their most grand pieces that occupy places of pride in their history have been made on order for Indian royalty.
BOUCHERON: A landmark in the historic journey of Maison Boucheron is when in 1928, the house created 149 designs for the Maharaja of Patiala. One day, he arrived at Boucheron from the Ritz with a casket full of stones — an astonishing 566 carats of diamonds and 7,800 carats of emeralds — and ordered them all turned into jewelry for himself.
CARTIER: In 1926, Cartier received a trunk full of precious stones and jewellery belonging to Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, who wanted his stones remounted in Parisian style. The creation that emerged is famous the world over: the Patiala necklace. The necklace comprising five magnificent platinum chains, a cascade of seven large diamonds, the celebrated yellow De Beers diamond of 234.69 carat, a tobacco-coloured diamond and two rubies, remains one of the grandest pieces ever made by Cartier, perhaps even by any other jeweler. Read more here
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS: The “Baroda Set” ordered by the Maharani of Baroda, wife of the Maharaja of Baroda. This impressive suite of jewellery was designed by Jacques Arpels for Sita Devi, the second wife of Maharaja Pratapsinh Gaekwad of Baroda. It consists of 13 pear-shaped Colombian emeralds – 154 carats in total – suspended from diamonds set in the shape of a lotus flower. All the gems were all supplied by the Maharani and belonged to the Baroda Crown Jewels.
2. FRAGRANCE FATALE
India’s association with luxury houses has not just been based on royal extravaganzas. Case in point -Maison Boucheron’s romance with the Court of Rajasthan led to yet another icon – the fragrance Boucheron Jaipur. Launched in 1998, Jaïpur takes inspiration from the marvelous gardens of the Maharadjas. Guerlain’s Shalimar – an icon and the flagship fragrance from the house – is an ode to the enchanting royal garden in Kashmir that was built by Shah Jahan for princess Mumtaz Mahal.
On a different note, the third fragrance in the Hermes Jardin series -Un Jardin Apres la Mousson – is an ode to the magic of monsoons in God’s own country Kerala. The bouquet explores unexpected aspects of India, when the monsoon gives back what the sun has taken from the earth, and drives away the scorching breath of drought. In this novella, ginger, cardamom, coriander, pepper and vetiver tell the story of nature’s rebirth, captured in Kerala. Read more here
3. POSITIONS OF POWER
While Silicon Valley’s power executives from Satya Nadella to Sundar Pichai are widely-known names in India, little is known about the Indian movers and shakers in the world of western luxury. Moynat – the historic French Malettier (suitcase maker) older than Louis Vuitton and Goyard – has NIFT graduate Ramesh Nair for its creative director. Ramesh Nair comes from an illustrious pedigree – having worked for 13 years at the prestigious luxury maison Hermès. Bernard Arnault was instrumental in hiring Ramesh Nair & entrusting in him the responsibility of refurbishing this heritage French luxury label to it’s former glory.
Another prestigious appointment was that of Tikka Shatrujit Singh as the head representative of LVMH in Asia. He’s is a key figure in the company’s development and positioning strategy on the Indian sub-continent. Well connected globally and highly-respected locally, Singh (who graduated from Doon School before attending Delhi University) is one of the most visible figures in India’s budding fashion and luxury industry.
4. TALES OF TRAVEL
The other royal excess that always gets thrown up with regard to India’s historic connection with prominent luxury houses is travel. Louis Vuitton and Rolls-Royce again have been royal favorites and their orders led the luxury brands to create legendary pieces that occupy a place of pride in their archives.
Sayajirao Gaewak III from Baroda had become one of Vuitton’s important and faithful clients in the 1920s, and his second wife remained a client until 1956. Among his purchases was a Torino suitcase with toiletry accessories in vermeil and ivory, a shoe trunk and a tea case, as elegant as practical, in particular for tiger hunts. The Vuitton Company took pride in filling the special orders of Jagatjit Singh, the Maharaja of Kapurthala in Punjab, who was an avid traveller. He owned over 60 large Louis Vuitton trunks that would hold his clothes, paraphernalia, swords, turbans, suits, shoes and elaborate traditional dresses. In particular, in 1925, Hari Singh, a polo fanatic, ordered several special trunks from Louis Vuitton for his sports clothes and equipment, including one specially designed for his mallets. He, in fact, placed 38 orders between June and December 1928 alone! These included a special box for polo outfits, twelve boxes for drying cigarettes and three suitcases one of which was a shoe-maintenance kit; and another superimposed a toiletries kit on a tea set. The toiletries kit consisted of more than 50 items in silver and had two uses: it held everything required for personal hygiene (brushes, bottles, soap boxes, razors and so on) and was also a jewellery box. The whole ensemble seemed a curious mixture for the time, but in fact, was in tradition of the elegant toiletries kits of 19th century English travellers.
Luxury cars were given as gifts in trousseau and many were custom-designed! The Maharaja of Mysore had no less than 24 Bentley and Rolls-Royce. 800 Rolls-Royces were delivered to India between 1903 and 1945, and some were gilded in fine gold! One legend that’s also very famous with regard to Rolls Royce is that of Maharaja of Alwar who was insulted at the Rolls Royce showroom during his travel abroad. As a revenge he bought 7 Rolls-Royce and used them in India to transport his city’s municipal waste!
5. INDIAN BRANDS THAT GOT ACQUIRED
Did you know that Louis Vuitton has invested in the ubiquitous leather label seen in every Indian mall Hidesign! Yes! Even the premium beauty label Forest Essentials roused the interest of beauty conglomerate Estee Lauder so much so that back in 2008 they picked up 15% stake in the Indian beauty label.
6. INDIA-BASED ARTISAN CENTER OF LUXE LABELS
In 2014, Chanel acquired an Chennai-based Indian Atelier Vastrakala. Via a 70% stake in Indian based Jean-François Lesage SAS the company’s name will be changed into Lesage Intérieurs. And in case you did not know, Jean-François Lesage SAS, an Indian outpost of French atelier house Lesage, are reputed for their high-quality embroidery and have worked with the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, Vionnet, Christian Dior, and Christian Lacroix.
7. AND IN OTHER NEWS
In an honor to recognize globalization, Prada’s “Made In …” project in 2010 featured collections from around the world marked by the special tag specifying the country’s name. The “Made In India” collection featured handmade garments featuring chikan work as well as bags and footwear with traditional weaving technique.
Image: Jenifer Garner in Prada’s Chikankari dress…source
FERRAGAMO’S BOLLYWOOD ODES
Back in 2010, Priyanka Chopra became the second Indian to cast her foot impression at the famous Salvatore Ferragamo museum in Florence, Italy. (The first Indian was the Maharani of Cooch Behar, Indira Devi, received the same honour in 1938.)