The multi-award-winning designers behind the brand - Hemant Sagar and Didier Lecoanet - have moved their business metaphorically, from couture to ready-to-wear, and also physically, from Paris to New Delhi, and the change suits both them and their loyal customers perfectly.
"We could see a radical change in haute-couture buying from the early Nineties onwards; a sudden decline that never went back to its precedent level," Sagar told us. "The result was that collections started becoming a demonstration of art and creation, while less and less people would be actually wearing it like in the Eighties. It started becoming a launch pad for perfumes and even ready-to-wear collections. Lecoanet Hemant was a very young brand then and changing our function from haute couture to artisanal-industrial was impossible in the economic context of Paris in the Nineties, with industry reclining at all levels. So, we decided to make the move and set up a manufacturing unit that would unite all these points in a single place; which was India. Today, 15 years after the move, India has an even greater promise than at that time."
Now a sprawling New Delhi atelier - which houses three embroidery, one metallic, and two leather workshops, as well as the rest of the brand's large team - produces pieces that may be ready-to-wear but which employ couture techniques across the board. While the technical advancements in production mean that much is possible that would not have been when the label launched, the designers still prefer the artisanal approach to creating their collections.
"More and more we are implementing procedures and techniques to create garments from scratch in our workshops, which includes creating the material as well as the embellishments," Lecoanet told us. "India is a fantastic place to create haute couture and the artisanal procedures here are impossible elsewhere. We believe there is a big future for fashion here, even if it will take time."
India is their future, they assert, and neither designer seems nostalgic about their Parisian haute-couture past - rather they are pragmatic about the changes that have taken place as fashion forges forward.
"When we started, haute couture counted 24 houses," Sagar remembered. "International clients flew in to order clothes for the season and were prepared to come back to Paris repeatedly for fittings. There was a general excitement. Haute couture was essentially about quality style and finishing, not signature designs of specific houses or designers. We used to deposit the sketches of the collection with an appointed bailiff a few days before the show for seasonal copyright protection. Another business was selling patterns along with rights of reproduction to couture salons in many countries. Looking back it seems quaint comparing it to today's way of life and business."