Suave ,stylish and extremely down to earth, meet Akash Sheth – Curator and Managing Director for Luxury Lifestyle Weekend. A one of its kind luxury exhibition slated to happen this weekend, at Jio Garden, BKC, Mumbai, it is one that promises to be on a scale that has never before been seen in the country. Along with an astounding 107 brands participating, it also promises experiences that are a class apart. Akash, with his conviction and his love for all things luxe, has managed a coup of sorts and tells The Exquisite Edge how it all came about. In conversation with Priyanka Sippy.
What inspired you to create LLW?
I have been planning this concept with my team over four years now. We actually blocked our domain name in 2011 and didn’t land up doing it then as we were a smaller team. Also, we wanted to gain a proper understanding of the market and macro-economic environment before executing the model of the weekend. As part of our research, we attended and took back learnings from international peers like Monaco Yacht Show, Masterpiece in London, SIHH Watch Show in Geneva to understand the curation, flow, layout and other details that go into the making of an ‘experience’. Luxury Lifestyle Weekend will be one of the first events in India that will look beyond the product to share immersive experiences and bring luxury brands together with the nascent pool of consumers in India.
Tell us more about what we can expect at LLW?
Over the span of three days from 9th to 11th March 2018 the weekend promises to bring together brands from the worlds of Interiors, Fashion, Automobiles, Beauty, Jewellery, Art, Food, Travel, Hospitality, Watches and Real Estate. Brands will curate never-before-seen experiences across all days,
- Watches: Franck Mueller is a Swiss watchmaker who is also known as the “Master of Complications”. Timepieces by the brand are famous for infusing contemporary style and design with traditional Swiss watch making techniques. Franck Mueller will be bringing down their carnet of around 100 odd pieces to display at LLW.
- Jewellery: Araya is one of the leading manufacturers of diamond jewellery in India. They pride themselves on their high-quality pieces, customised designs and commitment to customer service. Araya Fine Jewellery will be launching their new collection of Mughal inspired contemporary jewels at LLW. They will be offering onsite bespoke fine jewellery designing services for their exclusive, one of a kind diamond and gemstone layouts.
- Art: Set up by Prateek Jain and Gautam Seth in 2006, Klove Studio is concerned with creating beautiful lighting that merges fantasy, reality, functionality and design. They work with Indian craftsmen to create their one of a kind designs. The studio will be setting up an exclusive art installation at Luxury Lifestyle Weekend.
- Interior: Roche Bobois is a French retailer of high-end, luxury furniture. The brand will be launching their Mahjong-Kenzo Takada collection at LLW
Besides this, visitors will be able to partake in an array of international cuisines at the LLW Café: The More You Eat, The More You Give – This space has been specially curated by LLW in collaboration with Food with Benefits (by Nachiket Shetye and Mangal Dalal). The idea is to go beyond providing delicious food and try to make a difference. As part of this commitment, part of the proceeds from the café will be going to charity. We have commissioned chefs who specialise in cuisines from around the world to create menus specifically for this weekend. Each chef will be creating four original dishes focusing on the techniques, flavours and aesthetic that they are known for.
How many brands are participating?
107 brands across verticals like Art, Automobile, Fashion, Watches, Jewellery, Hospitality, Travel and more participating at Luxury Lifestyle Weekend.
Name some of them
Sofitel is our hospitality partner and Etihad is the airline partner for this edition. Visitors will be able to engage with brands like Panerai, Fendi Casa by Seetu Kohli Concepts, Christie’s – who will be bringing on board vintage Rolex and Patek Phillippe timepieces. Designers like Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla, Rohit Gandhi & Rahul Khanna, Deme by Gabriella, Rohit Bal and Shantanu & Nikhil will be showcasing their latest collections at the event.*See attached full list of participating brands.
How does LLW plan to be different from the other luxury exhibitions held in the country earlier?
It’s not just another luxury expo. With Luxury Lifestyle Weekend our endeavor is to bring together the varied stakeholders that make up the industry ecosystem. On one hand, the aim is to introduce consumers to luxury through the lenses of experiences and craftsmanship; while on the other, it is to share access with brands to a larger pool of aspiring buyers beyond traditional geographic pockets.
What are the challenges that you faced?
Every day is a learning experience for us. It is our first edition and we have been taking one step at a time on ongoing challenges; whether it’s logistics, regulations, production and more.
What, in your opinion, is the future of the luxury goods market in India?
Brands have to localize their strategies to thrive in India- I agree India is a tough market for luxury brands but the disposable income in the country is extensive and can be tapped into making luxury more participative and less exclusive. The key is to understand the consumer and be able to customize to their preference.
Will this be an annual exhibition?
Right now my focus is just to giving our best for LLW as it is set to start this Friday. While we do have interest in extending this to other cities and more editions, our focus for now remains on ensuring our first edition is everything that we have expected it to be
What else do you do apart from this?
Apart from being an avid consumer of luxury brands, I have been consulting with a few brands along with my two business partners at The Magnanimous Group. Since the inception of Magnanimous in 2014, we have worked with more than 40 international luxury brands and executed over 100 world-class events for brands including, Cartier, Christian Dior Beauty, Ferrari, Jo Malone, Maserati, Moët Hennessy India, Montblanc, Piaget, Rolls Royce, St. Regis Mumbai, W Hotels and Young Presidents’ Organization, to name a few.