The most intimidating thing for many — especially if you are casually dressed and not dripping in solitaires and flaunting the latest designer bag — is you walking into a high-end designer boutique and browsing through the clothes. As you walk in, before escorting you, the snooty sales assistant first needs to make up his/her mind about whether you can afford the stuff at the store! And if you don’t fit the bill, you are treated with indifference and borderline disdain. (It’s a different story that they can’t afford to buy any of their stuff either!)
Recently, a mother and daughter who walked into designer Manish Malhotra’s Mumbai store alleged that they were first met by a cold stare from the designer, who was comfortably settled in his chair with his legs crossed. He arched one eyebrow up, checked the ladies out from top to bottom and went back to his work, thinking they were not worth a smile either as they didn’t ‘look’ like they could afford his ware. The store assistants too reportedly didn’t bother and were busy standing in attention, attending to the fittings of one la-di-dah lady who seemed to be an NRI.
Another example of the needless snooty attitude was at the recent Vogue Wedding Show in Delhi. It was a ‘by invite-only’ event where celebrities like Anita Dongre, Sabyaschi and many A-list designers showcased their bridal collection. When Neena (name changed), a resident of Hyderabad, contacted the event organisers for a pass, she was asked a series of questions, starting off with basic information like ‘is there was a wedding coming up in your family?’, ‘If yes, what is your budget?’, ‘Have you roped in any designer as yet?’. And it didn’t end here, they even asked what car she owns and which clubs she was a member of. To these questions, Neena said she bragged, and then they promptly said she will be sent the invite.
However, when we contacted Vogue, they explained that even though the first few questions were asked to everyone who wanted an invitation, the latter questions were never asked by their staff.
Kamini Saraf, who retails Manish Malhotra’s clothes at her store, Angsutra, said, “I find Manish’s staff very cordial and helpful. It must have been an isolated incident.”
But many socialites do say that if you plan to check out the high-end stores, dress well — wear jewellery, sport a latest bag and look chic — or else they will give you the cold shoulder until you open your bag and shell out lakhs of rupees to pay for the outfit. In that case, their attitude changes immediately.