Sunday, July 31, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Hermès Ventures Onto India’s Streets
Luxury brand Hermès grabbed the spotlight this week in India thanks to Pakistan’s visiting foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, whose stylish outfits, including her Hermès Birkin bag, threatened to grab even more attention than the first-time talks she held with her Indian counterparts.
Columnist Seema Goswami gushed on Twitter: “One positive spin-off of the Hina Rabbani Khar visit: everyone knows what a Birkin is. Well done, Hermès. Perfect product placement!.”
The 34-year-old foreign minister’s visit couldn’t have come at a better time for Hermès, given that it has just opened its third store in India. The French company’s new store in Mumbai’s Horniman Circle area follows its others in Pune and Delhi, but the Mumbai outlet is the first to be opened directly on Indian streets. The Pune and Delhi stores are tucked away in luxury hotels Ista and The Oberoi, respectively.
Hermès has taken up residence in Mumbai in a grand two-storey building. The store has been designed by Parisian architecture agency Rena Dumas Architecture Interieure (RDAI). One side overlooks the Asiatic Society Library, whose origins date back to around 1804, while Horniman Circle Gardens sit on the other.
Horniman Circle may not match New York’s Fifth Avenue or London’s Bond Street, but it is prime Mumbai real estate, nestled in the Fort area at the historic heart of this enormous, heaving city.
Spread over two floors and featuring a series of large connecting rooms, the Hermès store houses a collection of scarves, jackets, jewelry and of course, the brand’s enviable bags. The imposing stone staircase on the ground floor, which coils around a transparent glass elevator, links the two levels and is done up with steel railings and glass balustrades.
The first room upon entering the store is devoted to silk, perfumes, jewelry and watches. Passageways from this white-walled room lend views of the ties and leather bags in adjoining rooms. Another smaller section at the back of the ground floor has ready-to-wear for men and women.
The staircase leading to the second floor reminds you there are more luxurious indulgences to come, but sadly there’s still no sign of that genie who will offer to get you at least one of those Hermès bags.
Upstairs, clear parquet floors and tall ceilings house Hermès’ Pippa furniture range, home décor pieces and its baby collection.
It’s a grand store that outshines the nearby office complexes and banks.
Speaking about the Mumbai store’s design, RDAI’s artistic and managing director Denis Montel said: “The choice of the location, the architectural quality of the environment is an essential vector to give to an Hermès shop is own distinctive quality.”
“We work, as often as possible, to valorise the existing site on which we build. We try to understand the context, to analyse and look at how we can integrate within this context,” Mr. Montel said in an email.
He added that in designing the store, regular contact with the local historic building authorities was required. He said his team had to ensure that the façade was free of air-conditioning units and other modern-day eyesores.
A statement by Hermès India also announced that the company plans to support the Asiatic Society of Mumbai by donating some of the proceeds of the sales of an exclusive edition of the silk scarf “La Danse du Cheval Marwari” (Marwari horse dance).
“The opening of the flagship store in Mumbai is the expression of Hermès ambition to take part in the pulsating and cosmopolitan life of a city, in which the past, present and future coexist in harmony,” Hermès India President Bertrand Michaud added in the statement.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Hina Rabbani Khar’s Birkin Bag in Spotlight
Twitter is buzzing about the Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbain Khar’s first visit to India this week. But it’s not the India-Pakistan peace talks that have hogged their attention: It’s her black Hermès Birkin bag.
As soon as Ms. Khar touched down on Tuesday evening, her ensemble and accessories became the talk of fashion and media circles on both sides of the border. The Birkin black bag that Ms. Khar was seen carrying as she touched down at the Air Force station in New Delhi, remained one of the top trending items on Twitter on Thursday, a day after Ms. Khar met with her Indian counterpart, S.M. Krishna.
Bollywood actress Gul Panag tweeted, “I like the way Hina Rabbani looks. With her movie star sunglasses, head covered, Birkin in tow. May be she is brilliant too. Wish her luck.”
Her domestic audience seemed impressed too. The Sunday supplement of the Lahore-based Daily Times tweeted, “Khar is all about tasteful accessories-Roberto Cavalli sunglasses, over sized Hermes Birkin bag & classic pearl jewelry. Gorgeous.”
The bag, named after 1960s icon Jane Birkin, an English actress and singer, is sought after because it is available only on a limited basis, through a waiting list, apart from being very expensive. The Daily Mail puts the starting price for a basic version at nearly $7,000.
Some on Twitter made broader comments about Ms. Khar’s looks. Seema Goswami, a columnist for Brunch, the Hindustan Times Sunday magazine, observed, “I think the new foreign minister of Pak, Hina Rabbani Khar, is their weapon of mass distraction”
The tabloid Mumbai Mirror’s headline, “Pak Bomb Lands in India” also grabbed the attention of many amused and admiring Indian Twitter users.
Fashion blogger Amara Javed tweeted, “Khar is more glamorous than Catherine Middleton. Take THAT world.”
But some weren’t so happy to see the bag. Sagarika Ghose, the deputy editor of CNN-IBN, said she thought the choice of accessories proved Ms. Khar was out of touch. She tweeted, “Hina Rabbani Khar is beautiful but obviously part of disconnected Pak elite.10 thou $ Hermes bag when country devastated? not the right note.”
It wasn’t just Ms. Khar’s bag that drew attention, though. From her blue tunic pants ensemble to her Roberto Cavalli shades, everything grabbed Indian eyeballs, with media coverage of her accessories practically overshadowing the India-Pakistan dialogue, and prompting some to note they found the reporting of Ms. Khar’s visit sexist.
“Hina Rabbani Khar story confirms belief women are great foreign ministers & reporting on female politicians is terrible,” tweeted Stephani Carvin, a London-based lecturer in international relations.
The temperature in New York has hit triple digits this week but Kelly Ripa found a stylish way to beat the heat yesterday.
The petite chat show host stood out from the crowd in tiny pair of bright pink hot pants as she strolled through Soho with her son.
The 40-year-old actress turned presenter flashed her lean legs and toned arms in the trendy but cool outfit. Kelly paired the colourful shorts with layered tanks, some wedge espadrille heels and a straw fedora. She also accessoried with a pair of gold aviator sunglasses, gold bracelets and a tan Hermes Birkin bag.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan's newest foreign minister - at 34, she also has the distinction of being the country's youngest- has landed in Delhi for meetings with Indian her Indian counterpart.
And she's made an impression - at least with style watchers.
Ms Rabbani Khar, who arrived in India on a Pakistan Air Force jet, stepped off the plane in great style. She accessoried her simple salwar-kameez with (presumeably heirloom) pearls and Roberto Cavali sunglasses. Hina also carried a black Hermes Birkin bag that is quickly becoming her trademark, even her Wikipeida page says so - she carried it to the ASEAN meet that concluded a few days ago as well as to France in May.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Doing a little in-state travel, Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian were all together in Burbank, California on Thursday afternoon (July 21). Kourtney carried her 35 CM Birkin in Orange.