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Tuesday, 19 February, 2002, 20:11 GMT
Indian fashion takes hold
Rita Beri web page
Ritu Beri started her own successful label 10 years ago
Ritu Beri has become the first Indian to be appointed as head designer of a prestigious French label.

She's been hired to create a new image for the pret-a-porter business of the fashion house Jean-Louis Scherrer .

She takes over from Stephane Rolland, who will now concentrate of Scherrer's haute couture collections.

Ritu Beri launched her own successful label ten years ago, setting up boutiques in New Delhi and Bombay and now generates more than $4.5bn a year in sales.

Her creations are worn by Bollywood film stars and American celebrities such as Nicole Kidman.

Textile appeal

Mounir Moufarrige, chief executive of France Luxury Group which owns Scherrer, took an interest in the Indian designer when she made her couture debut in Paris two years ago.

"I'm interested in the Indian industry in general because I think it's a great textile country," he told the BBC's World Business Report.

He says there are a lot of manufacturing facilities and a lot of design talent in India.

"Of course that has been confined to Indian design, not Western design necessarily, and I think that it's time to go larger than the market in India," he said.

Talent

Mr Moufarrige said he did not choose designers because of where they come from.

"I choose designers because of their talent," he said.

"They may be Japanese, Indian, English or French, but I believe that Ritu has the talent and that is what really conditioned my choice."

Mr Moufarrige does not believe the ethnic market is very large.

"It goes and it comes - it's a touch here and a touch there," he said.

Market appeal

According to Mr Moufarrige, there was a stir when Japanese designers introduced a Japanese influence some years ago.

"But it was limited and I think anything in the Western world that is ethnic has a market - but the market is limited," he said.

"I think it's time that we see a designer from India going beyond the market in India itself, because today you are either global, or you are regional - one of the two," Mr Moufarrige said.

"I think Ritu Beri will bring a new image to Jean-Louis Scherrer and that she will design collections that people will want to buy," he added.

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Mounir Moufarrige, France Luxury Group
""I believe Ritu has the talent and that is what really conditioned my choice."
See also:

22 Jan 02 | Europe
Fashion guru bids adieu
18 Aug 00 | South Asia
Fashion week in India
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