Luxurista Kalyani Saha Chawla talks about her prolific career and growing Christian Dior in India phenomenally, over the last 10 years…
Kalyani Saha Chawla, VP – Marketing and Communication, Christian Dior Couture has been eclipsing the world of high fashion and Indian luxury with an unfailing regularity. Her sixth sense understanding of luxury retail combined with rich and diverse experiences at a plethora of international brand makes her the most envied and admired businesswoman in the country today.
Besides, her distinctive sense of personal style makes her a regular fixture in every style list ever compiled in the country. She’ll wear an ornate Anamika Khanna creation with nifty Dior accessories like a potent cocktail and rarely misses a style beat.
Her deep and personal relationship with the Bollywood royalty has ensured that Dior has been the most visible brand on the red carpet over the last decade.
The serial entrepreneur and multi-tasker been an exporter for 13 years. From sketch board to the shelves – she has a 360 degree view with her past experience in export, dealing with luxury and high street retail giants, to running her own lifestyle boutique in Kolkata for years. “I have learnt from the best, which is Experience. There are various nuances which are involved. You can’t make a success today of anything unless you have a business acumen. You have to find key factors to be that voice and vehicle.”
Turning sari into gowns
She found Bollywood 10 years ago, and turned the sari into gowns on the red carpet. She understood Bollywood’s strongest and most powerful reach, not only in India but globally, before anyone else did. “They have been recognised internationally in so many levels of achievement and honoured. I have been very fortunate to have built up relationships over the years, which has been hugely beneficial in terms of visibility and making Dior popular outside of the obvious audience. That’s where the business is. The non travellers with the resources and the knowledge and awareness today thanks to the media which has made fashion in general such an integral part of our daily lives!”
My learning at Dior
“What I learnt at Dior, I couldn’t have learnt anywhere else. Dior is in the details! I have learnt so much from visual merchandising to merchandising itself to having the most perfect events. The two events Dior had, one in Bombay and one in Delhi, the invitees still reminisce about and the ones who missed it are still regretting it! It’s just the scale and the essence of the way this brand works, it’s been such a high to be part of this learning. My exposure on a global basis with many events from New Delhi to New York, London to Paris and Tokyo have today enriched me in every possible way, with experience and practical knowledge which is invaluable,” she shares.
We work for Dior
One’s keen to ask about the change of guard at the hallowed couture label. Over the years, Dior has seen so many designers come and go – from John Galliano to Raf Simons. So what has remained the same?
She says, “The brand is always bigger than an individual. We work for Dior. Every brand goes through the change of guard. I think a change is always good in a way as one sees new sensibility and a fresh approach.”
Luxury to me is…
“It’s knowing the difference between what luxury is and what’s not. When you wear a Dior dress, you aren’t screaming the label. Whether you’re wearing a garment or carrying a handbag – how you feel wearing it – that’s luxury. You’re doing it for yourself. It’s a feeling… which only you know,” she signs off.
How beautifully summed up!