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Life Style : Italian Monnalisa label targets Indian children

Pop group ABBA’s effervescent hit “Dancing Queen” took on a whole new connotation with Italian fashion house Monnalisa unveiling its swish line of western outfits for girls in the 2-18 age band in India.

What a fashion show it was Friday night, with girls aged 2-14, dressed in comprehensive coordinates, playfully dancing down the ramp as they showcased the fall/winter collection of Italian designer Barbara Bertocci.

“The aim is to be free, in the mood for juxtaposing different prints and textures. Details are absolutely distinctive - patchwork and mix, practical and stylish,” explained Bertocci.

“We have perfect silhouettes and tiny jackets, snug-fitting trousers and pants. The skirts are an explosion of volumes, full and rich, a balloon like fusion of Broque and the 1950s style.

“The new mantra is wearability and versatility, zigzagging across the centuries from the 18th century to the 1950s,” she added.

Obviously, all this doesn’t come cheap - with ensembles ranging from Rs.2,500-Rs.5,000.

“We are a premium product,” explained Bharat Bhaskar of Kads Fashion that has introduced the Monnalisa line in India. “We might be expensive but there definitely is a market in India for premium products,” he added.

For starters, Monnalisa will retail through exclusive stores in the national capital and Gurgaon and in six months expand to cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

“We are looking at a mix of exclusive stores and franchises,” said Bhaskar.

So, what makes the Monnalisa range different from the clutter available in the market?

“Italian style is all about adventure and games, a time to indulge in your teenage self,” explained company president Piero Jacomoni, designer Bertocci’s husband.

“It’s time to indulge your teenage self. Thus, we have vintage and endless combinations of tweed and herringbone; of old rose and brown; a symphony of colours amplified in velvet and taffeta,” Jacomoni added.

All this makes for indigo sweaters with ribbons chasing one another, playing with details and embellishments; short and above-the-knee trousers, over-sized jumpers and coats, gloves and artificial fur coats.

Then, there are Cossack hats and boots with the focus on red and tartan, and jackets and pullovers for a street-chic look.

“This is the fashion for a cold, wintry season. Coats become personal and are well structured, rediscovering colours like grey, blue and black,” explained Bertocci.

“It’s all about the mood for extravagance. It’s all about elegance, a personal style and a total look,” she added.

“We think there is a huge market in India for products like ours but still we are proceeding with caution,” said Bhaskar, whose company is importing 60 percent of the range and manufacturing the balance 40 percent in the textile town of Ludhiana in Punjab.

So, why is Bertocci designing only for girls?

“I don’t like men,” she retorted.

So, why is she married?

“Ha, ha, ha,” was the response.

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