Versace entered India with a franchise agreement with Sehgal Brothers. But the marriage did not last long and in November 2012 Versace terminated its contract with Sehgal Brothers. The arrangement soured because Sehgals couldn’t live-up to the terms of their agreement with Versace. In fact the finances of Sehgal brothers were so mismanaged that they defaulted in paying rent to DLF Emporio. What could have been more embarassing for a luxury brand that the store’s electricity supply is cut-off?
Since Versace terminated its contract with Sehgal Brothers, speculations were on that they will sign-up with Genesis Luxury or come in as a 100% subsidiary. But now through reliable sources we have discovered that Versace has finally inked the deal with Infinite Luxury.
Infinite Luxury owned by Sahiba Narang, Manav Gangwani and Rahul Kapoor is rapidly acquiring brands and growing to be a strong player in the luxury retail business. The group kicked off with introducing Roberto Cavalli and Cavalli Caffe into India. This was followed with tie-up with Italian knitwear giants – Missoni and and the brand known for its eclectic prints – Emilio Pucci. Add to that Versace and that makes Infinite Luxury holding licenses of five uber-luxe brands for India.
I was shocked out of my wits when while browsing through the stores at the DLF Emporio I found the Versace and the Corneliani stores in absolute darkness. No the stores weren’t closed. They were open and sales staff were around. Since Blues Clothing Company, the franchisee of Versace and Corneliani in India haven’t paid the rentals, their electricity has been cut-off by DLF Emporio.
The fact that Versace and Corneliani, both are all set to part ways from Dinesh Sehgal headed Blues Clothing Company(BCC) is common news, I was still shocked to see BCC in such dire straits. Come on, they should have shut down the stores as Emporio cut-off power supply from the 1st of May for rental defaults. The stores were open and staff were there but there wasn’t even a battery operated lamp or a simple candle lit in either stores. What business do the Sehgals wish to do in pitch darkness? In fact it is harming whatever goodwill or reputation they are left with.
Lot of people have burnt their hands by jumping in to Luxury Retail Business. There are endless failure stories. Giants like DLF Group found it tough so wonder how modest retailers like Sehgal Brothers thought of pulling it off. Luxury Business has a long gestation period and it is only after 5-6 years that the franchisee can expect returns.
I think even these mammoth brands are at fault. Most of the tie-ups have been done without any due-diligence and market investigation of the prospective franchisees. Luxury Retail is totally a different game and if Dinesh Sehgal thought that by selling Versace, Corneliani and Cadini suit-lengths he has mastered the business of handling luxury retail in India, he was wrong. The Luxury Houses and their high-nosed arrogance is also responsible for the gloom in Luxury Retail. To send a Memo the franchisees need approvals from the Headquarters so you can understand the (dis)trust factor among licensor and licensee and the resultant red-tapism.
Alexander McQueen killed himself with an overdose of drugs and now it seems that the other famous, or should I say infamous Brit designer, John Galliano’s outburst at the Paris cafe was fueled by drugs. Yves Saint Laurent died fighting his drug problem, Gianni Versace met his killer at one of his coke binges and Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein accept their drug problem. Drugs seem to be the biggest scourge of the fashion world. Yet fashion courts drugs! Remember the era of Heroin Chic & Rehab Chic? Dior better consider Heidi Slimane’s drug problem before signing him on as his name is doing the rounds.
Galliano’s friends; rather experienced substance-abusing friends, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell have advised him to check-in to the high-profile rehab – The Meadows! Kate Moss managed to resurrect her career post getting caught sniffing cocaine on camera and I think Galliano too will bounce back surely because of his immense talent.
Hope our desi fashion fraternity realises the peril of substance abuse. However more than Indian Fashion, I feel it is Bollywood that would sooner or later crumble because of rampant drug abuse. I can count names on my fingers of stars who DON”T sniff cocaine. Most do, and when you spill the beans they go ballistic screaming from TV Channels and sending legal notices to poor scribes about us trying to taint their image. I too got a legal notice and mouth full of abuses from one such Bollywood’s (fading) Star. But then I care a Damn!