There are a few rare individuals whose inner light shines bright and illuminates any room they happen to be in. Swagata Baruah Bottero is one of them. She is the lady with a demanding, high-powered job at Cartier—the world’s most iconic jewellery brand. The exciting news first: Swagata, as Cartier International’s India affairs and strategic director, is spearheading key initiatives that will focus attention on India in the months to come. Swagata and her team kicked off the ambitious programme by signing our very own Deepika Padukone as brand ambassador, ensuring the star’s multi-dimensional interests get as much importance as her extraordinary beauty.
Swagata calls Paris her home—the Tezpur-born lady has been in France for 20 years and her new responsibilities at Cartier are a dream come true for her. With two girls—Meera and Maya—to look after, Swagata and her French husband (also in luxury) lead a pretty hectic life, flying trans-Atlantic and visiting India. They take turns to be home with their daughters.
I met Swagata in Mumbai over a leisurely lunch, organised by Tikka Shatrujit Singh, who, after a successful stint at LVMH, has come on board as a well-connected consultant for Cartier. I was utterly disarmed and charmed by Swagata, who graduated from Delhi University and went on to get her masters from ESSEC and INSEAD business schools in France. Her vision for India and Cartier is passionate and inspiring. She is keen on projecting the country of her birth in the best possible context and is planning many India-centric promotions globally, including spectacular window displays during Indian festivals. Her deep understanding and knowledge about Cartier and its long history with Indian royalty—who can ever forget the stunning ‘Patiala Bib’ created for the Maharaja of Patiala in 1928—is something Swagata plans to showcase across the world.
Cartier’s flagship store in India is in Delhi, but plans seem to be afoot to open one in Mumbai shortly. Swagata wants to create a high-impact event to mark the occasion. She mentioned how the young in India are buying non-traditional statement jewellery with a great deal of confidence and flair. The famous Cartier love bracelets are likely to fly off the shelves, with women ‘stacking’ them up for the wow factor! Swagata is in tune with this emerging India, and is unlikely to take the caparisoned elephants and decorated camels approach in future promos. This is evident from the way Deepika’s shoot was conducted for the prestigious campaign—it was stripped off desi exotica and pictured naturally.
This is just the start, Swagata told me with a broad smile, as we discovered a few old connections and talked easily about our families, children and common friends. Her parents visit Paris regularly, and she looks forward to large annual get-togethers with cousins, aunts and uncles in Tezpur. While Swagata misses India, it is Paris that has embraced the dynamic strategist and given her such a great opportunity to lead a crack team and create waves. I am guessing we are going to see a lot more of Deepika and Swagata in the coming months. Here are two strong women from India making a major statement together.
India is back on the luxe map after a long lull. This was strongly signalled by the arrival of the legendary editor of Vogue—the redoubtable Anna Wintour—in Mumbai. It is good business to invest in India right now, given the imminent collapse of several European and British markets. Valentino is all set to open a huge store in Delhi. And, LVMH recently launched an exclusive Rani Pink shoe collection. Luxury is not new to India; it has existed for centuries. Glad to note the world is finally waking up to it. And, the ultimate stamp of approval comes from Swagata, who is all set to dazzle the world with Cartier Joailliers.