That’s Paris Hilton, and the American heiress-tabloid fodder and now designer drew crowds during a visit her to launch her accessories collection in India.
Two Paris Hilton stores were launched in Mumbai Sept. 26 as Hilton played the visiting heiress to perfection: she smiled, posed and spoke with the media about how she “loved India” and found it “inspiring.”
“India is one of the largest markets for accessories in Asia and is fast becoming a resource for revenue in the luxury market globally,” Hilton said, sounding like a pro. “India has given an overwhelming response to my collection and I am confident that my range will soon become a craze in the country.”
One of the reasons for accessories growing fast in India is the age demographic. “Given the size of the youth audience at Shoppers Stop, we are sure this new brand will be well received,” said Vinay Bhatia, customer care associate and senior vice president of marketing, customer care and loyalty at the retailer. The department store chain already has lines such as Elliza Donatein and Hidesign.
“We plan to invest more than $4 million over the next two years in opening Paris Hilton stores, and estimate to have 50 stand-alone stores by then, along with other points of sale,” said Prateek Maheshwari, director of Brand Concepts, the licensee for Paris Hilton in India. “There is a complete gap in this segment with no other significant brand available.”
Maheshwari, who lived and studied in the U.S. for some years, studied the market and came up with a business proposition for accessories, first launching designer Rocky S accessories in India. “I thought we would be lucky to sell 500 pieces in the first year,” he said. “but we sold more than 17,000. It gave me the sense that there was strength in the idea, and we find that our faith in the Paris Hilton brand is absolutely upheld by the reaction to her visit in India.”
Brand Concepts is also the distributor for Tommy Hilfiger’s travel accessories in India.
Michael Faurholdt Friis, president and chief executive officer of Retouch Brands Ltd., based in Spain and who licenses Paris Hilton bags in different countries, said the Middle East and Asia have been strong areas of growth for the accessory line, which has plans to be launched in a bigger way in the U.S. in 2012. He added that the next collection will also be more premium and will be in leather. Since India has a strength in leather, he said that the possibility of manufacturing in India has not been ruled out.
Despite high customs duties and real estate costs that often means consumers pay more for their purchases than when traveling abroad, he is optimistic the Hilton line will do well in India.
“Nine out of 10 brands in India are not making money, and there is a reason for that,” admitted Faurholdt Friis. “You don’t just look at the market of a billion people and say that is the number who are going to buy. You have to look very carefully at the statistics. We’ve done our homework in India over two years and are very confident about the choices we have made.”
Branded goods account for 12 to 15 percent of the woman’s fashion accessories market, which is estimated to be worth $1.2 to $1.3 billion a year by consultancy firm Technopak. The accessory market is growing by about 35 percent a year.
Wearing a red sari dress for the press event and later dressed in an outfit by Indian designer Rocky S, who also styled her during the visit to India, Hilton partied in Mumbai with celebrities and Bollywood actresses before launching her stores and donning her business hat.
“I mean to be back in India soon, the business is going to grow here,” she said.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye