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3 Brands Raising India’s Luxury Game with a Refreshing Identity

From Indian haute joallerie to scents that accommodate the tropical nature of the subcontinent to indigenous properties that promise an Indian paradise, India’s luxury universe is seeing a rise of players that are ready to change the rules of the game, with grace and pride

India is one of the fastest growing GDP in the world. According to a 2022 Knight Frank Report, India will see a 39% growth in UHNWIs by 2026. And as per Statista, the size of the Indian luxury market is projected to surpass the $200 billion mark by 2030. 

As the Indian consumer matures in its needs and wants from their ideal brands, it is not surprising to see a rise of trailblazers in the luxury industry that are reinventing what it meant to be an Indian Luxury House. They are going beyond stereotypes, offering what “Incredible India” means in a global forum with a new identity which is deeply rooted in traditional craftsmanship and heritage. Here are just a few of them.

Renu Oberoi’s Brand of High Glamour – Scintillating the Red Carpet of Cannes

Renu Oberoi Ruby Diamond Set

Renu Oberoi Luxury Jewellery dazzled Cannes Film Festival 2022 with a breathtaking collection in diamonds, emeralds and precious gemstones. Influencer Maya Williamz flaunted emerald and diamond hoops from the brand while fashionista Paolo El Sitt sparkled in black diamond. From bespoke to pret, designer Renu Oberoi crafts beautiful jewels that bring out the grandness of coloured gems and highlights the purity of diamonds, all in the garb of contemporary design. From a pair of unique D-shape Zambian emerald and diamond earrings to a pearl and diamond choker that harks to the Victorian era, Ms. Oberoi has mastered the art of taking classic designs and transforming them into symbols of a modern India through innovative, striking designs. 

"You can see an increase in the visibility of Indian high jewellery at international fashion shows, red carpets and award shows…We have a long way to go because high jewellery is a niche industry. For Indian brands to find a breakthrough and make their way up, all the way alongside proverbial jewellery houses, is certainly a challenge and rightly so."

“Every piece of jewellery from our collection is unique and speaks for itself. The awe-inducing all diamond collar worn by Farhana Bodi for the opening night [at Cannes] turned many heads and so did the other colored stone jewellery pieces worn by other international influencers on the red carpet, which are just as captivating. The core of our brand is versatility and simplicity. That is what defines our universe, so to say. From statement couture jewellery one can wear on a red carpet to minimal and elegant pieces for everyday wear, our collection is almost kaleidoscopic – surprising and dynamic,” says Ms. Oberoi.

Renu Oberoi Jewellery

Farhana Bodi for Renu Oberoi at Cannes Film Festival 2022


The Indian consumer wants a well-rounded brand experience. Apart from designing high couture jewellery pieces, Ms. Oberoi is invested in expanding the influence of her brand in novel ways. Cannes was one, and their recently unveiled exquisite boutique is another. Located at the Queen’s Necklace – an emblematic and heritage landmark in the city of Mumbai – its timelessness is synonymous with the brand’s timeless designs and craftsmanship, steeped in luxury. She explained, “I strongly believe that a high-design experience should be enjoyed by all. Every aspect [of the flagship boutique] has been curated carefully to give a comfortably sophisticated and luxurious shopping experience to all our clients.” 

Renu Oberoi Jewellery

She pointed out that India is, undoubtedly, one of the fastest growing luxury markets in the world. The ultra-HNIs of India have captivated the attention of global luxury brands and we can see a rise of experiential retail now in the country. The evolving tastes of clients, from tier 1 as well as tier 2 cities have resulted in Indian luxury brands upping their retail game. “We still have a long way to go as compared to international markets like Europe, but I see a promising future for the luxury retail market in India. Indian high jewellery has been in the spotlight now. You can see an increase in the visibility of Indian high jewellery at international fashion shows, red carpets and award shows…We have a long way to go because high jewellery is a niche industry. For Indian brands to find a breakthrough and make their way up, all the way alongside proverbial jewellery houses, is certainly a challenge and rightly so. However, social media has been a game changer. It is truly bringing the world closer and is blurring the boundaries. Social media has definitely accelerated the outreach and the awareness for Indian high jewellery brands internationally. This has also helped in aligning the aesthetic sensibilities of the potential clientele abroad and the brands here.”

Sheetal Desai’s Sensitivity – Tropical Notes that Support Visually Impaired

Wisdom Fragrances India

Sheetal Desai has been in the fragrance industry since 1993, working on projects for Estee Lauder, Giorgio Beverly, Coty, Revlon, etc. Then she came to India and worked with her family business of Raw Material of Perfumes & Flavors for 12 years, where she set up manufacturing units, sourcing, quality control, etc. In 2018 she began a new journey with her brand WiSDom, to build a luxury fragrance house, dedicated to our spicy tropical continent.

WiSDom does not name its products, instead choosing to give them numbers. Consumers can, therefore, have their own interpretation and meaning to each scent. Ms. Desai explains, “The biggest problem in India is that fragrances don’t last, and that is because we live in a hot and humid country, and we eat a lot of spices. This tends to eat away the fragrances. International brands are made for international markets and hence they were never designed for our tropical weather or to keep India as a target audience. I want to address this problem, through the art of layering, where an individual can decide how you want to wear the fragrance. A fragrance smells different on different people, even if it is exactly the same. The lasting of a fragrance is absolutely different based on our skin type and our body composition and our activity. Hence fragrances are very personalized as well as very subjective. What I am trying to do here is simply the personalization of fragrances.”

Wendell X Wisdom Fragrances India

Ashwem candle for the Wendell X WiSDom collaboration


Collaborations between two luxury brands have been fuelling a lot of interest in the Western world. Think Fendi X Versace, Paul Smith X MINI or MB&F X Bvlgari. Taking inspiration from that innovative route, Ms. Desai too recently launched her collaboration with Wendell Rodricks Design to create two candles for the fashion brand: Miramar and Ashwem. “Miramar means to look into the ocean, and I wanted to capture the Ocean notes, but I also wanted it to be dreamier, and very calming, so I imagined a rose garden at the ocean. And that was the inspiration behind Miramar. Ashwem is known for its solitude and palm trees, so here I brought in warmth, where one can feel comfortable in solitude. The Spice and Cedar combination brings warmth and the Gardenia give a sense of seductiveness. All fragrances are sourced and made in India. India is known for rose, spices, and cedar wood. Hence I have made a conscious effort to keep Indian ingredients as the highlight,” added Ms. Desai.

“India has the largest population of visually impaired, and unemployed. A lot of them sell arty crafts and cutlery at the station and barely make Rs. 2000 a month. On top of it, they face a lot of humiliation. Believe me, the students I have are so determined that they travel from Pune, Vasai, etc to come to class. They are smart, intelligent, and have great retention power.”

A sign of a truly global brand is when it looks at the world around it sensitively, and sensibly. Ms. Desai has been running COFVI – College of Fragrances for the Visually Impaired, since 2013. She pointed out that when one sense is lesser, the others are heightened, based on which fact she decided to educate the visually impaired and get them employed in the corporate world. “India has the largest population of visually impaired, and unemployed. A lot of them sell arty crafts and cutlery at the station and barely make Rs. 2000 a month. On top of it, they face a lot of humiliation. Believe me, the students I have are so determined that they travel from Pune, Vasai, etc to come to class. They are smart, intelligent, and have great retention power,” Ms. Desai says proudly. 

Wisdom Fragrances India

So far, she has employed four batches in the fragrance and flavour industry. She has bigger plans for the coming future. COFVI is nonprofit and now invites donations and support to try and make this a full-time institute on a larger scale, where she will develop several other skills as well. She wants to groom the differently-abled to not just become intelligent employees, but also smart entrepreneurs. 

CGH Earth’s Love of Ancient India – Offering a Sustainable, Enchanting Paradise

CGH Earth Coconut Lagoon

CGH Earth's Coconut Lagoon


CGH Earth has being a forebearer of authentic Indian luxury experience blending local ethos, heritage, conservation and community anchored on sustainable and responsible tourism. With 16 hyperlocal properties in Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, CGH Earth has managed to create small paradises which not only offer luxurious experiences to guests, but also respect the local culture, design, community and history.

The individual cottages in Spice Village, for example, draw on the knowledge and traditions of the vernacular-built homes of the indigenous hill people, the Manan tribe. Likewise, the structures at Marari Beach Resort reflect the lives of the local fishermen. Meanwhile, Coconut Lagoon is a re-creation of a typical Kerala village with vernacular dwellings and farming practices. The traditional timber mansions known as tharawad were restored, dismantled, transported, and, meticulously reassembled at this backwater retreat using the skill and knowledge of the local craftsmen. Jose Dominic, CEO & Co-Founder of CGH Earth, pointed out that by doing so, many of the old Kerala homes were saved from being broken down or destroyed and sold as parts in the antique market. 

CGH Earth Spice Village

A traditionally-built cottage at Spice Village by CGH Earth


The length and breadth of experiences offered by CGH Earth is unparalleled in India. While Brunton Boatyard was a former shipyard in Fort Kochi during British times that has been converted to offer stately grandeur, Wayanad Wild is settled in between a rainforest where calming greenery merges with adventure sports to offer a rare holiday. Maison Perumal in Puducherry is a restored 130-year-old bungalow, while Mantra Koodam in Tamil Nadu is an ode to Brahmin lifestyle and divinity.

The traditional timber mansions known as tharawad were restored, dismantled, transported, and, meticulously reassembled at this backwater retreat using the skill and knowledge of the local craftsmen…by doing so, many of the old Kerala homes were saved from being broken down or destroyed and sold as parts in the antique market. 

Recreating ancient lifestyles or restoring houses does not come without respect. Mr. Dominic says, “One of CGH Earth's three core values is adopting the local ethos of the land and community where it exists, the other two being benefitting communities and preserving the environment. Every action and every decision revolves around these three core values. The local community plays a very important role in our endeavours. They are a majority of our team, they are people from the villages and small towns with whom we have a co-dependent relationship, they are vendors, they are our friends in protecting and preserving the environment,  they are our storytellers, and they are the custodians of the cultural traditions of each of our resorts.”

Staying true to its grassroots, CGH Earth is one of the few fast-growing brands to create an inspiring network of resorts in South India that honour the heritage of that area. Understanding the holistic meaning of ‘sustainability’, CGH Earth has been the forerunner in sustainable hotel design, unraveling what India truly means with rich bio diversity, structural marvels, local culture and ancient practices for overall wellbeing, all working together in the perfecting harmony.

CGH Earth Mantra Koodam

The reception at Mantra Koodam by CGH Earth


In anticipation of a better future, Mr. Dominic added, “Right from the beginning when CGH Earth started Bangaram Island Resort in 1988…We were able to show that the ordinary can be extraordinary. CGH Earth, in many ways, has been a pioneer in India for Responsible Tourism. Over the years, we have observed luxury brands which otherwise did not focus on responsible tourism trying to incorporate responsible tourism practices into their business decisions [now]. This shift is definitely the way forward for good businesses that will have a positive impact on the planet and the local communities.”

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