Fifteen years ago, when the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) Chairman Sunil Sethi initiated the idea of the India Couture Week (ICW), he knew he was on a winning ticket, as Delhi loves luxury like no other city! It is the highest spender on luxury goods, after a more discreet Mumbai and even quieter South.
“The India Couture Week 2022 is a testimony to the fact that Delhi is undisputedly the fashion capital. All the legendary designers have the biggest stores here, no matter which city they reside in. Delhi customers are also unrelenting in their choice of finest luxury and love to celebrate each occasion with the choicest ensembles, carefully crafted with memorable techniques”, says Sethi, who is organizing the ICW in association with Lotus Make-Up in the capital from 22 July to 31 July.
He would have it at no other place, he says, as the historic city reverberates with a longing for heritage techniques and imbues a subtle understanding of adornment.
Legendary designer Tarun Tahiliani adds that even though Mumbai’s pockets run the deepest, it is much more low-key. “Delhi is flash for cash, and they live better, have beautiful homes, entertain graciously, flaunt beautiful clothes, and have exquisite taste. Delhiites have the space to live with grace and that changes everything. Delhi records the highest sales for everything”, he says.
He adds that Mumbai is restrictive unless you go out to a destination. Delhi has been the biggest spender on luxury and it is not because it has more money per capita than Mumbai, it is just the lifestyle, he comments.
“But a lot of super chic families, with five generations of wealth, don’t show off in Mumbai. I know someone who drives a Rs 12 lakh car but will buy a one crore music system in Mumbai, and you won’t find that ideology in Delhi”, says Tarun with a chuckle.
Delhi-based designers Shantanu and Nikhil agree that Delhi has always been known for its big spirit and love for celebrations. The wedding season is celebrated in its full glory, so consequently, the industry has an alarming demand to cater to. The city hosts multiple exclusive retail avenues, which host the country’s finest designers in arenas like DLF Emporio, One Style mile, and so on.
“The patrons themselves get an immersive experience while browsing through limitless options. They have the opportunity to get personal appointments along with individual showcasing. Due to such vast expanse of options, Delhi attracts people from tier 2 cities as well, considering it provides easy accessibility to all”, says Shantanu.
Delhi has emerged as a shopping hotspot because of its endless retail avenues and luxury marketplaces. People plan their day trips from pan India to shop their wishlist.
“As a brand, we have regular patrons who visit the city just for a day to browse and shop their ensembles. It’s not just about luxury shopping, but also the fact that people are becoming more aware and discovering their personal styles. Delhi provides everyone with a platform to explore that”, Shantanu adds.
In India, the wedding season is treated no less than a full-fledged festival. It symbolizes the love our country holds for traditions, culture and celebrations. The wedding season is a busy time for all enterprises, especially the design industry. Irrespective of the city the bride and groom come from, they have their retail experiences planned out.
Veteran designer Anjana Bhargav, who has been in the industry for more than 30 years, adds that she sees people come in to shop for weddings or family occasions from other countries too. “Delhi buyers are more luxurious in their choices. It is a city where people live life on many levels. From daily routine to afternoon lunches to golf sessions to intimate gourmet dinners – there is an occasion every day. There is scope to indulge in various choices related to both clothes and other home and lifestyle-related options”, she explains.
A regular buyer of luxury, Anju Munjal, Senior Vice President at Usha International, who is a fan of Kiran Uttam Ghosh and Raw Mango, says that Delhi isn’t just the capital of India, but also home to well-travelled Indians, global citizens and HNIs who are aware of fashion and trends.
“Their lifestyles are super luxe and they understand and appreciate couture. I don’t know if ‘more luxurious’ is the right term to use. As all discerning global fashion-conscious people, personal choices are what finally influence which designer label they choose to buy. It’s about what their personal style statement is, and this is something cultivated over years of proximity and exposure to the fashion world. Going by trends, I would say there is a surge during the wedding season. Today, it’s not just the groom and bride who choose designer labels, but also the immediate and extended family. And it’s not just clothes, it’s the entire ensemble from jewellery to clothes, shoes, and other accessories – everything that conveys bespoke fashion”, says Anju.
Kolkata-based Viraj, son of award-winning designer Anamika Khanna, believes Delhi being the center that connects the North, and bringing into play the buying power from surrounding areas, makes it a hub for luxury shopping. “People are much more brand conscious in Delhi as compared to Kolkata, Mumbai and other cities. I think the fashion community was located mostly in Delhi in the past, which had its trickle-down influences on the customers there. Delhi is always the highest selling for most of the luxury designers, there is no doubt about that”, concludes Viraj.
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