The handbag appeared in “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara,” or “You Only Live Once,” the story of three friends on a road trip across Spain. Purchased as a wedding gift, the Kelly begins to take on anthropomorphic qualities — and prompts some giggles.
Bagwati’s cinematic appearance is part of a Bollywood revolution. Traditionally a medium where vibrant color and sparkle always trumped taste, costume and art direction in the country’s movies are starting to reflect the growth of fashion consciousness across urban India.
“We’ve gone from no information, no aesthetic, no awareness of fashion to a place where we thrive on fashion,” said Karan Johar, one of the most successful producer-directors in Hindi cinema.
And from the standpoint of designers and fashion companies, especially Western brands trying to establish themselves in a country where the national dress still dominates, the ability to put their creations in front of millions of enthralled viewers is all but priceless.
Bagwati (wati is the Hindi suffix for woman) was the creation of Zoya Akhtar, the film’s director, who said she was fascinated that Indian women of a certain class are defined by their handbags.
For the famed French leather house Hermès, Bagwati’s appearance could not have been more opportune.
The company, which has been present in India since 2008, recently opened its first boutique in Mumbai, the headquarters of Bollywood. And while Hermès would not say whether sales of the bag had been affected by the film, it said customers did walk in asking about the Kelly.
Christian Dior and Chanel had their turns in the spotlight in two 2010 movies, “Aisha” and “I Hate Luv Storys,” among others.
One of the earliest brand successes came from Mr. Johar, who is credited with introducing Western luxury labels like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Bottega Veneta in his movies.