Manish Malhotra and Reliance Brands Limited (RBL) on Friday announced a strategic partnership aimed at accelerating the 16-year-old couture house's growth plans in India and across the globe.
In a statement, RBL said it has signed a definitive agreement to invest in founder and creative director, Manish Malhotra's eponymous brand for a 40 per cent minority stake. Notably, this is the first external investment for the brand, which had so far been privately held by the designer.
"Our strategic partnership with Manish Malhotra is anchored on our immense respect for his craft and our deep commitment to Indian art and culture. Being an entrepreneur, Manish the man behind the brand, has always been nimble and ahead of his times. Recognition and appreciation for Indian couture is at an inflexion point globally and we are excited to partner in this journey with Manish," said Isha Ambani, Director, Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd.
RIL said the coming together of the country's "leading couture house and foremost luxury conglomerate" aims to develop a corporate framework that sustains Manish Malhotra's legacy for generations to come.
"The brand Manish Malhotra stands unique at the intersection of fashion and movie entertainment. Thus, expanding the brand into a larger lifestyle consumption portfolio would be a natural next step," RIL said.
The Manish Malhotra brand also has a significant cache of current and potential consumers across global fashion capitals and onward plans include expansion both in India and international markets, noted the statement.
"Besides physical retail expansion, the partnership will work on creating a strong technology backbone for the business, developing phygital and experiential e-commerce opportunities," the company added.
Speaking about the partnership, Manish Malhotra said, "From the largest luxury couture stores in Delhi and Hyderabad; the launch of India's first couture virtual store; and redefining glamour at Indian weddings, I have always aimed to set benchmarks across the life of the brand. The collaboration with Reliance Brands Ltd. was a natural decision for me, as it represents both Reliance's astute vision and the family's deep affinity for crafts and culture. As the brand aims for international expansion, business diversification, and renewed creative growth, there could have been no better strategic partner to accompany us on this journey."
Completing the costume to couture to institution evolution cycle, the brand will continue to be led by Manish Malhotra, Managing and Creative Director of the brand.