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Gucci sarees for the wardrobe!

By Surajeet Das Gupta & Archana Jahagirdar in New Delhi
Last updated on: March 31, 2008 11:29 IST
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Tennis player Jelena Jankovich of Serbia strikes a pose while wearing a traditional Indian SareeAfter Banarsi, Kota and Kanjeevaram, women will soon be able to add Gucci sarees to their wardrobes. The Italian luxury brand is open to working on traditional Indian clothing and creating a limited domestic collection using local tradition and design.

"We are open to the idea of working with Indian designers and traditional Indian clothing and creating a limited edition India collection, though I cannot say when. It will depend on how the Indian market for Gucci grows," Gucci chief executive officer Mark Lee said, adding that the company was open to the idea of hiring Indian designers in its design centre in Italy.

Gucci, which has a turnover of 2,175 million Euros, has already launched a similar experiment in China where it has 18 stores. Apart from red bags, it has come out with a stuffed panda toy and a bicycle using traditional Chinese colours.

At the moment, Gucci has two stores in Mumbai and Delhi and is planning to open two more, one of which will be in Bangalore. Gucci offers a range of products including bags, footwear, ready-to-wear, perfumes and watches.

Lee, who joined the company as the CEO in 2005 after his stint in Yves Saint Laurent (another luxury brand and a part of Gucci Group NV), said that high rentals for retail outlets in the country were a key issue for expansion of luxury brands. Still, Lee said Gucci (unlike many other international brands) will go into smaller cities beyond the metros.

The Gucci group has a range of brands under its fold. Apart from Gucci, its other brands include YSL, Sergio Rossi, Stella McCartney, Bottega Veneta, watch brand Bedat & Co and perfume brands like Roger & Gallet.

However, according to Lee, most of these brands do not compete with each other. "All the brand heads meet four times a year and openly share strategies. The aim is not to compete with each other, but with other luxury brands," he said.

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Photograph: STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images

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Surajeet Das Gupta & Archana Jahagirdar in New Delhi
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