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    Featherweight jackets, tech smart stores and an Italian designer— here’s why everybody loves Raymond

    WOOLLEn jackets as flexible as a shirt or waterproof suits made with antibacterial fabric— this is courtesy our very own Raymond, a household name for decades and favoured by everyone and their grandfather. Be it ties, suits, pocket squares, fabrics and everything in between, it appears the brand is upping its game. Once simply a textile store, its partnerships with the Belgian denim brand, UCO NV, the Italian textile major, Gruppo Zambaiti, and woollen fabric producer Lanifico Fedora, has seen the focus shift to well-crafted premium apparel. Perhaps creative head Vito Dell’Erba, an Italian designer with experience at Helmut Lang, Ricardo Tisci and Givenchy, has something to do with the update. “Comfort is the new luxury and I see Raymond’s designs becoming increasingly European with more attention to craftsmanship and fabrics,” he begins, hinting at their popular flexi jacket. “It’s a deconstructed jacket made with wool. What this means is that it has minimal lining and no shoulder pads. It’s almost like a shirt,” he tells us.

    The Italian jobBuyLead 1

    Currently working on their winter collection, Dell’Erba says that he is including a host of new garments like chambray trousers, wool shirts—so light, you’ll mistake them for cotton — and contemporary tweeds with suede patches and piping, besides the waterproof suits. The fresco jackets, crafted from a textile that absorbs odours, is a great option for the Indian weather. ‘‘And it being practical and functional doesn’t take away from the premium look of the fabric,’’ explains Dell’Erba. This focus on luxe is echoed by their acquisition of the Super 250 count Merino wool at an auction held in Australia. They are said to have outbid 10 mills from China, Italy and India. “We are the only brand in the world in possession of this wool, which is of the highest quality,” says Kishor Bhatia, general manager, while an article in The Indian Express says pricing for a suit from this count starts from Rs 8 lakh.

    Tech smart
    Select stores have been pulling out all the stops to go high-tech. A Made to Measure store in Khader Nawaz Khan Road offers the bespoke experience. And a Mumbai store at Viviana Mall explores technological integration, designed by Gensler, a San Francisco-based architectural firm. Its success has prompted them to create a similar concept in Bengaluru with a 4,000 square feet store in Indiranagar’s 100 Feet Road, set to launch today. An inspiration wall will screen videos of international fashion trends. While another part of the same wall will have a diorama of seasonal looks.

    Rs 2,499 upwards. Details: 28331677

    Rashmi Rajagopal

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