Global branding and development of the Indian luxury market has been the goal of The Luxury League since its inception. On 30 November, the organisation held its annual event, The Luxury Symposium 2018, at Hyatt Regency in Delhi. In attendance were significant personalities—international business leaders, entrepreneurs, government officials etc.—who have all contributed in their own way to the luxury space.

The daylong event highlighted how the luxury market can help promote Indian art, crafts and artisanal brands. Several sessions were held throughout the event, which explored how the concept of luxury has evolved over the years; how global partnerships can popularise premium Indian brands; and the expected growth of the luxury market in India. There was also a well-curated exhibition held at the venue, aimed at popularising Indian crafts.

The Minister of Food Processing Industries, Harsimrat Kaur Badal inaugurated the Luxury Symposium with a special address. Next, there was a master class with the Michelin-starred chef Carlo Cracco, in conversation with Rashmi Uday Singh, author and food critic.

Italy being the country partner of the Symposium, Lorenzo Angeloni, the Ambassador of Italy to India, talked about creating a partnership that links Italy and India through the luxury sector.

This was followed by Ritu Beri, founder of The Luxury League, addressing the audience about the idea behind the event. Rajiv Makhni, consulting editor, technology, NDTV, moderated multiple sessions at the event.

A keynote address by Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs, touched upon how diverse our traditional products are. She pointed out that we have so many talented artisans, but nobody is paying any heed to them. “When a khadi product gets a designer’s tag, then it becomes a fashion statement. It’s the same with every other product. It is commendable that these treasures of our country are being given contemporary designs to make them salable in the world. India’s art and heritage transformed into luxury is a soft power that can bring glory to India,” she said.

One interesting segment of the Symposium was the session about the cultural ties between India and Italy through luxury. Licia Mattioli, vice-president, Confindustria; Atul Chaturvedi, Addl. Secretary, DIPP; and Vinita Jain, Founder, Biotique Royal, were on the panel. A country’s strength lies in its ability to draw on its tradition, craftsmanship, culture and heritage. This year also marks 70 years of Indo-Italian relationship, furthering our ties through innovation and transformation. Italy has changed the way luxury is manufactured, and as a result, affected the market globally. India also devised the “Make in India” initiative to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub. The panellists talked about how both the countries use luxury as an art form to promote their unique traditions. The session ended with a special address by Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce and Industries. He spoke about how the per-capita income defines the role of luxury in the Indian context.

Art installation at the Luxury Symposium 2018.

“Culinary Creativity: The Trick to Create the Innovative Palate Experience”, was the next session. Carlo Cracco, Italian chef and restaurateur; Thierry Gardinier, director, Les 110 Taillevent; Stefano Pelle, MD, Ferrero India; Silvia Landucci, export director, Boscovivo Truffles; Sonal Holland, first Indian master of wine; and Andrea Sinigaglia, general manager, Alma participated in this session, which was moderated by Rashmi Uday Singh. They discussed the changes and trends in the F&B industry. The session highlighted key factors for overall palate satisfaction and an unforgettable culinary experience. K.J. Alphons, Minister of State for Tourism, wrapped up the session with a few words on promoting the industry.

Next up was the “Success Stories” session, which explored global business opportunities and calculated risks taken by brands to face new challenges. This took place in conversation with Francois Arpels, co-founder and managing partner, Brands & Beyond; Gabriella Cortese, director, Antik Batik; Andrea Scotti Calderini, co-founder & CEO, Freeda; Claudio Marenzi, President, Confindustria Moda (Fashion); and Raj Mahtani, director, Raj Mahtani Couture Jewels. They elaborated on how a brand reaches and maintains itself at the top of the market. After this, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister for Minority Affairs, spoke about the government’s intervention in helping

There was also a session called “Evolving Habits and Demands: A Renaissance in Lifestyles”, about redefining the demands across niche-customer segments. In conversation with Fatima Karan, consulting editor, Bloomberg TV India, were Peter D’Ascoli, creative director, D’Ascoli & Company; Raseel Gujral Ansal, creative director and founder, Casa Paradox; Andrea Maspero, VP, ANIE (National Federation of Electro Technical and Electronic Companies) and Snehdeep Agarwal, chairman, Bhartiya Group. They talked about luxury in relation to the real-estate market. Vijay Goel, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, got on the podium next.

The automotive landscape provides immense scope for luxury. So the next session was, “Luxury in Motion: The lavish Brand Narration”. On the stage were Bibek Debroy, chairman, The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister; Sergi Canovas, MD, Ducati India; Diego Graffi, MD, Piaggio India and Silvio Angori, CEO, Pininfarina, in conversation with Jamal Shaikh, national editor, Brunch and New Media Initiatives at Hindustan Times. They explored the demands and prospects of the Indian automotive market. Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, talked about popularising Indian crafts in the luxury segment.

The last session of the day was “Synopsis of The Luxury Symposium 2018”. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, in conversation with Rajiv Makhni, talked about the future of startups in the Indian luxury sector.