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Lecoanet Hemant to launch in India

December 31, 2003 10:10 IST

They have dressed up Texan millionaires, Arab princesses, French aristocrats and international film stars. That is not all.

The designer duo Hemant Sagar and his French partner Didier Lecoanet, have also dressed up Mattel's Barbie doll in three different outfits in three years (including in a mink bordered gown in collaboration with Mikimoto). And now they are here to clothe Delhi's glitterati.

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The internationally acclaimed designers, who've been selling under the Lecoanet Hemant label for the last 24 years, have finally decided to set up shop in the city, their first in the country.

"The idea germinated from the tremendous response to our first ever pre-Christmas sale in India held simultaneously with six other international cities including Chicago, Athens, Osaka and Paris," informs Hemant Sagar, the half-Indian, half-German designer.

Sagar was trained in Germany and at Paris' Ecoles de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, the only school in the world that is said to teach the unique craft of haute couture, which, literally translated, means "high sewing". It is here that he met his design partner Lecoanet.

Back in Delhi, Sagar's French designs were lapped up by the city's fashion-conscious swish set and nearly 40 garments were sold in less than two days at the design studio Carma.

"We were testing the market so there was no mark-up on the prices either," says Sagar referring to the quick sale. The price of their pret line ranged between Rs 5,000 and Rs 25,000.

For the design label that does all its business internationally, the new store will be its first step in entering the Indian market.

But three years back, Sagar shifted his production base to Delhi to cater to his international business.

More recently, the duo has bought space -- 100,000 sq ft -- at Info City in Haryana where they will set up a factory (employing 1,000 people), a design studio, a place for fashion shows and a fashion museum that will showcase 25 years of designs created by Lecoanet Hemant.

Sagar says there is no plan to localise their designs. "We will, for instance, never do ethnic wear. Besides, we believe in evolution in fashion and not historical reproductions," he adds.

Sagar also teaches at the Neufchatel, Switzerland School of fashion (Ecole N'Mode) and collaborates with the Pearl Academy in Delhi.

Both the designers are on the board of the new IFA-Shanghai Fashion Institute. More recently, they have started making uniforms for luxury hotels, The Ananda Resort near Rishikesh, being their first assignment.

BS Bureau