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    The American retail giant creates a buzz with its first Indian store in South Delhi

    Leading a slew of international high street names such as H&M, Uniqlo and Topshop’s entry into the country (scheduled to take place over the course of the year), is quintessential casual American clothing retailer Gap, also known for chic kids and baby products. Much has been said about the crowds that actor Kangana Ranaut attracted at the launch at New Delhi’s Select Citywalk Mall. A self-confessed Gap fan, her ensemble of distressed jeans, baseball tee and light denim coat was a good indication of the brand’s USP: a relaxed urban style. Set up in 1969 by Donald and wife, Doris Fisher, Gap started as a little shop on San Francisco’s Ocean Avenue, stocking Levi’s and LP records. With the Fishers still actively involved in its business, the brand now retails out of over 3,000 locations worldwide.
    Spread across a sprawling 10,000 sq feet in the capital, the retailer, in partnership with Arvind Lifestyle Brands, has played up its denim line. The store currently stocks its Summer 2015 line, focussing on linen and cotton, which are ideal for the Indian weather. The colour palette shifts from bright yellow to cool minty green and crimson red on dresses, skirts, tops, shorts, beach wear, accessories and trousers for both men and women. They also have a lot of whites and off-whites, which is a given for Gap and tropical prints that make their way on to men’s shorts too. Though the products are uniform across stores globally and prices are more or less the same, Oliver Kaye, the business head of Gap India, says the Indian consignment will be climate appropriate. “The adult section is a mix of wood and metal finishes, whileGap Kids is done up with bright pinks and blues. The Baby section sees a lot of toned down shades,” explains Kaye.
    Market experts have commented on Gap’s entry in India being a bit late but Kaye believes otherwise. “With Uniqlo and H&M yet to enter India, I think we’ve timed it perfectly. What we offer is different, from what’s out there. We do classic and casual American garments that are also trendy. And the kids and baby wear we offer is unmatched,” he  says.0506BuyLead11
    Expert opinion
    Fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar, Krishna Mukhi echoes his thoughts. “I think the brands similar to Gap are Bossini and United Colors of Benetton, and as we all know, they don’t really have a huge presence. I do think that we have a need for what they offer, right from their resort wear to nightwear,” she says.  While Gap’s other brands like Banana Republic and Old Navy will not be entering India just yet, we’re hoping it happens soon.
    There are no plans for an online store as of now, but word on the street is that it is set to open in metros like Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai by 2016. Kaye however, shies away from giving out an exact date. “We’re in talks with a few people, but nothing is certain yet,” he signs off.
    Rs 799 upwards. At Saket, New Delhi. Details: 011 42114211

    —Rashmi Rajagopal

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