This is our annual luxury special, where we look at the big names in luxury and understand what makes them tick. This year, editor-at-large Hindol Sengupta began on a sweet note, visiting a modern-day Willy Wonka who dismisses the whole idea of “single-origin” chocolates. Instead, London’s chocolatier Paul A. Young loves to make small batches of exotic flavoured chocolates. Alphonso mango and chipotle truffles, anyone? All chocolates are made by hand in small batches, and Young says he has no plans of scaling up. His three stores are in London, and he has just begun shipping across Britain. Judging by his fan following, he doesn’t need to do much more. Elsewhere, luxury cashmere product maker Begg & Co is facing a crisis that’s not really rooted in business. It’s about procurement, which is directly linked to... Actually, read about that on page 74.In an issue that talks of banking and investment, taking haircuts could mean more than a visit to the barber. But Sengupta visits Truefitt & Hill, barbers to British royalty, and discovers the various ways they are giving Indians a haircut. With elan. And, of course, there’s the annual photo feature on page 93.From the business of luxury to the business of banking. Talking of big moves, the first woman chairman of State Bank of India, Arundhati Bhattacharya, will step down in October after her extended term as head of one of the world’s 50 largest banks. Bhattacharya has gone about removing the “stodgy PSU” tag from SBI with quiet determination. More important, she has been trying to chop the mountain of non-performing assets the bank was sitting on. Nothing is going to resolve that problem in the near future, but Bhattacharya has made a start. In an exclusive, frank, freewheeling conversation, Bhattacharya says she had begun her tenure as chairman with six focus areas, and has been working on all six from the day she took over. That’s on page 64.
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