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    Chennai is not new to the complex world of luxury brands. While accessory biggies like Louis Vuitton and Jimmy Choo set up shop only to withdraw later, automobile makers like Mercedes, BMW and Harley-Davidson continue to thrive since they launched in the city. But even as debate rages on about why some luxury brands are unable to sustain here (lack of the right infrastructure is what most fingers point towards), a team of two entrepreneurs from Hyderabad are bringing top luxury brands to the city, even if for just a couple of days. The Indian Luxury Expo, set to take place this weekend at ITC Grand Chola, will feature nearly 60 luxury brands varying from jewellery houses to automobile manufacturers and apparel giants to cigar makers. And brands like Mont Blanc and Ourosa watches are part of the list.

    buy lead armentarosConceptualised by Karan Bhangay in 2012, The Indian Luxury Expo was originally Bhangay’s means of tackling the dwindling readership of his magazine Avant-Garde Life. “By 2012, people started looking at digital media for content, so I made my magazine’s content come to life — my advertisers became clients, my readers became visitors and the magazine became a luxury event,” says Bhangay, 28, whose The Indian Luxury Expo, that targets a luxury market worth $14 billion (according to The Associated Chambers of Commerce of India) now travels between seven cities on a regular basis. Bhangay, however, dismisses the notion that the event is also about conversions. “Sales is not our primary motive. Our last event in Hyderabad saw an overall sale of `72 crore, but this event is more about being a platform where brands converge, network and interact,” he insists.

    Bhangay and co-founder Vishal Reddy, will be taking this expo to Bengaluru and Hyderabad (for the second time) later this year. And they promise that Chennai will see at least one expo every year from now on. But why did it take three years before this duo set their eyes on Chennai? “The time was not right. Brands were pulling out of here, because they realised this was a market where consumers preferred to invest stylishly and not just flash brands. Only recently did they start enquiring about Chennai again and we realised the time was right to bring them here,” is Bhangay’s reply.

    Talking about his collaboration with the magazine Wedding Vows for this event, Bhangay says, “Since the wedding industry in Chennai is huge, we also wanted to have a wedding connect,” he says about his collaboration with DakshnaMoorthy Naidu’s magazine. So besides making the event bigger and grander, what kind of evolution can we expect from The Indian Luxury Expo? “We are planning to take it online next year. You will be able to buy and sell exclusive luxury goods on the site,” says Bhangay, pointing out that it will be like any other e-commerce site, only with a different league of products.

    This duo also launched a mobile app called Wowsome, that enables the audience to view the entire exhibition in augmented reality. The app, currently available on Google and iOS platform, will be downloadable only on invite, featuring products like MF Husain’s work, cars, jewellery and more.

    The Indian Luxury Expo will be held on August 8 and 9, at ITC Grand Chola. From 12 pm to 12 am. Entry fee `500. Details: theindianluxuryexpo.com, eventjini.com

    — Team Indulge

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