Despite the terror attacks at the Taj and Oberoi-Trident hotel in Mumbai, high-end Italian designer brand Versace plans to go ahead with its launch of Gianni Versace at the Trident later this month. The only change in the plans is a seven to 10 day delay in the launch of the luxury apparel and accessories store's operations at Trident.
"We will open the first Gianni Versace store at Trident by December-end instead of mid-December as was previously planned. This will be followed by the launch of the flagship Gianni Versace store spread across 4,000 square feet in Emporio Mall, Delhi, in February 2009," said Abhay Gupta, executive director, Blues Clothing Company, which entered into an exclusive franchisee agreement with Versace mainline and Versace Jeans Couture (VJC) by Versace in 2007.
Incidentally, Versace officials from Italy were caught in the terror attacks at the Oberoi-Trident on Wednesday. This, however, has not deterred the group's India plans. In fact, senior Italian officials like Giancarlo Di Risi, chief executive officer of Versace would be in India for the launch of the flagship Gianni Versace store in Delhi.
Others like Donatella Versace (sister of the late Gianni Versace and is currently the vice-president of the Versace Group and Chief Designer of the fashion line) are also expected to be present for the launch in Delhi.
However, Gupta said: "We can't confirm whether Donatella Versace will visit in February 2009 as this would require security clearances and other formalities need to be completed."
Earlier this year, the company had opened Versace Collection and VJC exclusive stores in Delhi and the group now plans to launch the Gianni Versace stores in India. "We are bullish on the premium retail destination of south Mumbai and the luxury market in India," said Dinesh Sehgal, managing director, BCC. The company also retails and markets licensed brands like Corneliani, Trussardi, Cadini, besides Versace Collections, Gianni Versace and VJC in India.
South Mumbai has become a high-end luxury retail destination and a growing source of revenue for luxury brand retailers over the last couple of years. While the Taj houses luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Burberry and Fendi. the Galleria at the Oberoi is home to other high-end brands like Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Bottega Veneta to name a few.
"The Trident, Mumbai will reopen to guests on December 21," said a press statement from the hotel. However, the reopening dates for the Oberoi and Taj have not yet been decided.
The stores at the Taj are still awaiting official intimation on hotel's reopening plans or partially opening to make their business plans. "Once we know about the Taj's plan, we can make our plans accordingly," said Kamal Bharucha, retail director, Entrack International Trading, the sole distributors for Montblanc in India and exclusive owners of the Montblanc boutiques across India including the one at the Taj, Mumbai.