HELLO! brings you 10 of the most extravagant brands from India that offer opulence on a plate to woo the uber-rich.
Luxury Brands in India
Live like a royal: TAJ PALACE HOTELS
Spread across India, Taj Hotels’ palace properties have become a honeytrap for tourists from across the world. Elevating luxury to a whole new level, the group painstakingly renovated, refurbished and, in some cases, resurrected centuries-old palaces and forts to create a luxe experience that can truly be called royal. From Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, once the home of Jaipur’s maharanis, to the famed Lake Palace in Udaipur, acclaimed for being the backdrop of Bond flick Octopussy, as well as Umaid Bhavan in Jodhpur, where events like Liz Hurley and Priyanka Chopra’s weddings and Nita Ambani’s birthday have been held, these palaces have withstood the test of time and evolved into their new avatars as temporary abodes to those who can afford their equally stellar room rates. The Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad deserves a special mention, possibly the brightest star in the Taj portfolio, once home to the Nizam himself!
Wheels on point: RAJPUTANA CUSTOMS
When it comes to luxury bikes, one thinks of names such as Ducati, Benelli and BMW. But for Rajputana Customs, breaking that mindset for an Indian and international audience became an obsession. Based in Jaipur and founded by Vijay Singh Ajairajpura, Rajputana Customs creates bespoke motorcycles for select clients looking to drive a machine that’s truly different from the other bikes roaming the roads. Their feminine lines are inspired by Rajasthani aesthetics and everything else their founder fancies, resulting in machines that are often described as the Indian Harley. Several Indian celebrities own these specially made motorcycles, though the brand prefers to keep a low profile, letting their art speak for itself rather than their famous clientele.
The face of Indian luxury: SABYASACHI
Kolkata’s answer to Oscar de la Renta, Sabyasachi has changed the way Indian bridal wear is viewed around the world. Having delved into classical Indian design and brought craftsmanship, textile, embroidery and embellishment to the forefront of fashion, couturier Sabyasachi Mukherjee is lauded the world over for his versatility. He has also received international acclaim as one of the only few Indian designers to ever have taken part in both the New York and Milan fashion weeks. Having branched out into jewellery and interiors, as well, Sabyasachi is in many ways a design maven whose creativity leaps out into spheres he deems worthy of his attention in that moment. A new store in New York has only added to the designer’s repertoire, making him India’s ambassador of luxury to the world.
Veritable weaves: OBEETEE CARPETS
Over a century old, Obeetee—founded by three British gents, Oakley, Bowden and Taylor — has been producing handwoven rugs that have been laid down in palaces, forts and the homes of presidents and kings the world over. Over the years, the brand has collaborated with a number of designers, including Tarun Tahiliani, Abraham & Thakore, Raghavendra Rathore and Shantnu & Nikhil. Using the same techniques as artisans who moved to India from Persia for the Mughal court, Obeetee prides itself with employing artisans who are fifth-generation descendents of the men and women who once wove carpets for India’s maharajas and emperors. Their products today, especially those for which the brand collaborates with designers, are truly breathtaking and in a league of their own.
Wardrobe essentials: ABU JANI & SANDEEP KHOSLA
No true luxe list would be complete without the mention of India’s original czars of luxury, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla. Known for the patronage they enjoy from their famous clientele, the duo has become a worldwide brand, resurrecting Indian design from bygone eras and creating outfits using only the finest materials—be it gold, mother of pearl, or even semi-precious stones. Today, AJSK have spread their wings with stores in every major Indian city and buyers who include such supernovas as Dame Judy Dench and Amitabh Bachchan. The brand’s foray into interiors, lifestyle and a host of other design-related fields only proves the versatility it’s capable of dishing out, keeping it relevant several decades since its formation.
Woven in heritage: JANAVI INDIA
The brainchild of Jyotika Jhalani, Janavi uses Kashmir’s artisanry to create cashmere products coveted by celebrities the world over. Shawls, stoles and scarves made from the finest cashmere grace their racks, which are as far spread as Bergdorf Goodman. Reviving a dying industry, one that was being taken over by the West at one point, Janavi brought home the ancient art of cashmere weaving, providing products relevant to a modern-day luxe customer.
Bling it on: DIACOLOR
The Delhi-based jeweller with flagship stores at the Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai, Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, and the Almas Tower in Dubai, Diacolor is slowly becoming one of India’s most formidable jewellery brands. A creation of Rishabh Tongya, the label has also entered the realm of procuring only sustainable and responsibly sourced gemstones, a giant leap for any jewellery manufacturer in India, which has otherwise been known to be part of an industry unaware of this rising need. Tongya has a rich legacy in jewellery, growing up in a family where rough stones were sometimes misconstrued as paperweights, and children were brought up to differentiate and sift through stones based on colour, clarity and weight. Diacolor’s creations are an amalgamation of the old and the new, with designs taking inspiration from India’s regal past and cutting-edge international trends.
Luxury begins at home: SARITA HANDA HOME DÉCOR
On a growing spree today, Sarita Handa is one more Delhi entrepreneur whose rise to fame and fortune started with a small store in the capital. Redefining age-old techniques of craftsmanship and design and re-introducing certain textiles into her wares, Handa has become a name synonymous with the luxury interiors space today. Rich fabrics, use of embroidery to embellish even the simplest items and designs that make any space stand out have become the mainstays of the brand. Her success lies in marrying contemporary aesthetics with ancient traditions rooted in heritage, in many ways keeping Indian art and design alive and breathing in the homes of our country’s high and mighty.
Hospitality at its best: OBEROI VILAS HOTELS
When Prithviraj Singh Oberoi—or Biki as he was called by those close to him—saw that his competitors had taken away most of the country’s original palaces and turned them into hotels, he decided to build his own. Today, the Oberoi Vilas hotels are equally, if not more, luxurious than the other palace hotels in India, redefining luxury in hospitality, service and product. Located in India’s heritage hotspots, the hotels have become akin to sponges, taking in the culture and history of their surroundings and presenting their centuries-old heritage to their patrons in a modern avatar. The Oberoi Rajvilas in Jaipur, Udaivilas in Udaipur, Amarvilas in Agra and Sukhvilas in Chandigarh are just some of the palatial properties transformed by the group, keeping in mind an international market for the palace experience in India. Having won several accolades and awards over the years, the Oberoi Vilas hotels are truly some of India’s finest hospitality offerings today.
For all your décor needs: GOOD EARTH
The brainchild of Anita Lal, Good Earth has redefined handcrafted luxury in many ways and brought to the fore several artisanal brands that would have otherwise wilted away with time. In its 25th year now, the chain has morphed from its small beginnings into a nationwide conglomerate, providing everything from luxe cushion covers and bed linen to ethically sourced candles, art, textiles, dinnerware and furniture, among several other offerings that have become favourites of the brand’s fan following across the world. Speaking of which, Good Earth now retails at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art at Washington DC, where its products are being showcased as part of the museum’s centennial celebrations, making it the first Indian design house to achieve this feat. Always looking at nouvelle ways of evolving their concept, Anita and daughter Simran have come up with a handful of other complementary brands that have naturally assimilated under the Good Earth umbrella to cater to a wider audience.
This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in HELLO! India’s December 2022 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!