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Chic Couture
Text by Sona Bahadur and Photograph by Kartik Rao
Published: Volume 15, Issue 5, May, 2007
"If I had to recreate James Bond, I'd call her Jane Bond," declared Alber Elbaz, Lanvin's creative director in a natty AV film of the French label presented by managing director Paul Deneve. Representing the legendary couture house at FICCI's recent luxury conference on lifestyle in New Delhi, Deneve was also in India to explore the luxury market. Dapper in a black suit, the soft-spoken envoy of the French fashion brand shared Lanvin's philosophy, their launch plans for India and his impressions of the country with Sona Bahadur

Lanvin is très feminine...
The brand stands for elegance and Parisian chic. It's about ultra femininity as opposed to sexiness. The accent is on desirability. We realise the dreams of women rather than making them look like the stuff of men's dreams. That's our vision.

We straddle heritage with modernity...
Lanvin is one of the oldest couture houses in the world. Yet some of the biggest magazines in Europe have called us the most creative fashion house in Paris. Because when it comes to fashion we are reborn all the time. In that sense, Lanvin is really young.

Our approach to the Indian market is gradual...
We already have a high concentration of Indian customers buying Lanvin products from our stores in Paris, London and Dubai. Like the rest of the world, we also think there is potential in India. But there are several challenges as well, including high import duties. So we are taking a more cautious and gradual approach. I see our entry here in the form of a partnership with a local retail Indian company. Our first store will be in a hotel. Today 25 per cent of Lanvin's sales come from emerging markets - China, Korea, Russia and the Middle East. We have opened four stores in China in the last couple of years through partnership. So when we get the critical mass and the infrastructure in India, we will launch.
In the last couple of years, we have been talking to two local Indian companies that are working with high-end luxury brands. I am here to further the conversation. Another team from Lanvin will also return to India in the next six months. We are looking at both the men's and women's market. I see women's clothes coming to India, be it dresses or suits and also some accessories.

Kings, presidents and millionaires shop with us...
Lanvin is a leader in cutting fabric. We have a very high-end made-to-measure range that is created in Paris. In fact, our made-to-measure workshops are among the few left in the world. Kings, presidents and millionaires buy suits anywhere between 5000 and 80,000 Euros from us. But we also have beautiful suits starting at 1300 Euros going to 3000. Dresses range between 1000 to 2000 Euros. The fabric and craftsmanship are of high quality so they justify their prices. Dresses, tops and skirts form an important part of our business and sell well independent of the market. Our shoes for women are among the most highly priced and creative in the industry. We offer both ballerina flats as well as high heels. We also have a range of fragrances including our iconic perfume, Aperge.