With the luxe jewellery brand getting its first address in the country, CEO Jean-Christophe Babin talks about shopping and unwinding wisely
Bulgari is back in India. While the 130-year-old Italian luxury brand (part of the LVMH conglomerate) was here three years ago, through a franchisee partner, the new business joint venture allows for a complete Bulgari brand experience. At the plush store in DLF Emporio in the capital, the oak parquet with Veneziana inserts, an impressive Murano chandelier, vintage advertising campaigns and celebrity endorsements—Elizabeth Taylor kissing Richard Burton—form the setting for iconic jewels and watches, the most recognisable being the coiled Serpenti. CEO Jean-Christophe Babin refers to Bulgari’s mastery over coloured gemstones and access to rare gems, a clear advantage during the wedding season. His earlier stint as head of TAG Heuer makes him an expert on luxury retail in India and the impact of Bollywood endorsements, and he is upbeat about Bulgari’s future here. “We are inspired by art and architecture, with an unmistakable sense of volume and proportions. Most importantly, our jewels are incredibly wearable as a second skin,” says Babin.
Map the mall
Since India is the second highest consumer of gold in the world, it has the potential to become one of the largest markets for branded jewellery, Babin observes. “However, there are not enough luxury malls in India to allow luxury to expand as fast as it has done in China or Indonesia,” he says, admitting that expansion to 10 other cities in the next five years is dependent on real estate projects. “Luxury expands hand in hand with malls,” he says, pragmatically. The store in Delhi is expected to stock the entire bridal collection and the Spiga Design line, dedicated to Asia, where the ancient wheat motif is predominant. The store has its share of coveted timepieces, too, like the Octo collection with the bezel design inspired by Gerald Genta. There is an attention to detail that is seen across the board, with their perfumes and hospitality services. Babin’s personal favourite from the latter, happens to be the Bulgari Hotel in Bali. “What I value most is the amazing mix of tranquil location and traditional Balinese style with dramatic contemporary Italian design,” he concludes.
From Rs.2,00,000 for the watches and `10,00,000 for the jewellery. Details: 011 40538623