Ambani’s Reliance buys stake in Bollywood stylist Manish Malhotra's fashion house

MM Styles was launched in 2005 by Manish Malhotra, who has styled some of the biggest Bollywood stars

Designer Manish Malhotra with Bollywood actors Jacqueline Fernandez and Arjun Kapoor. Reliance said it is planning to expand the physical presence of MM Styles following its investment in the brand. AFP

Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani has bought a stake in a high-end fashion brand, run by a stylist to some of Bollywood’s biggest stars, as Asia’s richest person continues to expand into luxury retail.

Reliance Brands bought 40 per cent of MM Styles, which owns Manish Malhotra’s eponymous fashion house, the company said. The privately-held brand was launched in 2005 by the designer, who made his name over three decades by styling Bollywood stars in some of India’s biggest blockbuster movies.

Besides expanding the physical presence of Mr Malhotra’s brand beyond its four flagship retail stores in India, Reliance will seek to create a “strong technology backbone” for the brand and build it into a “global couture powerhouse”, according to the company. Reliance didn’t disclose the financial details of the transaction.

The investment in Mr Malhortra speaks of Mr Ambani’s wider aim of transforming Reliance Industries, lessening its dependence on the oil-refining and petrochemicals businesses that he inherited from his late father.

The tycoon is quickly turning his conglomerate into a technology-driven consumer and retail behemoth as part of an increasing trend toward the consolidation of corporate power in India among a small and select group of conglomerates.

As well as acquiring marquee global brands and assets abroad in recent years, Reliance has forged partnerships with numerous luxury international brands, including Burberry Group, Hugo Boss and Tiffany & Co.

Updated: October 16, 2021, 9:25 AM