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Mumbai Attacks Prompt IHT to Postpone Luxury Conference

Event had been scheduled for Dec. 3-4 in New Delhi, as India reels from terrorist strikes.

The luxury Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai after terrorist attacks Wednesday night.

PARIS– With at least 100 reported dead from terrorist attacks in Mumbai and luxury hotels in flames, the International Herald Tribune said it has postponed its annual luxury conference, which had been scheduled to take place Dec. 3 and 4 in New Delhi’s Imperial Hotel.

The Paris-based newspaper said it planned to bring the summit to New Delhi early next year.

The annual event, hosted by the IHT’s fashion editor Suzy Menkes and attended by hundreds of industry professionals, was themed “Sustainable Luxury,” with addresses expected from PPR chief Francois-Henri Pinault and Richemont director Alain Dominique Perrin, along with the designers Nicolas Ghesquiere, Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli, Tomas Maier, Dries Van Noten and the Dutch duo Viktor & Rolf.

Menkes and Jessica Michault, online style editor, were due to fly out tonight to India to prepare for the event.

The coordinated attacks Wednesday night in central Mumbai targeted two luxury hotels, the Taj Mahal Palace and Trident Oberoi. News reports said attackers had taken Americans and Britons as hostages, with the number of injured people estimated at 300.

The terrorist attacks are sure to have a sobering effect on one of the world’s future growth markets for luxury goods. In recent weeks alone, Hermes and Christian Dior hosted glittering parties to fete their latest retail outposts.
 
Armed gunmen brought India’s largest city to a virtual halt late Wednesday night, embarking on a killing spree at the hotels, a large railway station and a hospital.
 
Television stations carried footage of flames and smoke coming out of the roof of the 105-year-old Taj, just across the Gateway of India monument. The heritage building is a major luxury retail hub hosting stores like Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Bulgari, Ermenegildo Zegna and Burberry.

One wire photo showed hotel employees and guests awaiting rescuers on a ledge of the building just above a Vuitton store sign. The nearby Oberoi houses boutiques including Salvatore Ferragamo.

Ferragamo said the director of its boutique was injured Wednesday night on the street and is in hospital.
 
With the city under siege, the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchanges and commodity exchanges did not open, a rarity in a city that has fueled the economy of one of the world’s fastest growing countries.
 
Indian executives reacted to the attacks with outrage, demanding tougher laws and firm leadership to tackle recurrent terrorism. According to major media outlets, a previously unknown group called Deccan Mujahedeen claimed responsibility for the attacks.
 
According to PTI reports, Deepak Parekh, chairman of the Housing Development
Finance Corp., said the blasts were bad for investor confidence while K.V. Kamath, CEO and managing director of ICICI Bank, said the attacks “clearly showed that our institutions could be vulnerable.”