The Definition of Luxury

What do you think of when you hear the word “luxury?” Maybe ideas of exclusivity, sophistication, elegance, prestige, and class pop into your head. Maybe you think of colours like red or deep purple or midnight black, maybe you think of pearls or diamonds or silk, maybe even a specific brand pops into your head.

What is luxury?

The first definition of the word luxury in the Oxford English dictionary is: “a state of great comfort or elegance.” It is not the product itself but the state of being, of thinking, and of living. This definition presents luxury as a lifestyle, rather than merely a desirable product.

As we wrote about in a previous article, The Rise of Storytelling, luxury companies are beginning more and more to utilise brand heritage to create an experience for their clients. It becomes less about the style and more about the feeling produced from the style and the brand.

Does this mean that anyone can live a life of luxury if they have a connection with a brand? Yes and no. Luxury is becoming more accessible, but a key principle of luxury is still its exclusivity. Yet, this exclusivity has not diminished—it has just become more personalised.

We love what Inii Kim, the co-founder and creative director of King & Partners, told Glossy magazine regarding the new definition of luxury: “To me, luxury is still about being extraordinary in what you do. Staying true to the idea of luxury is brands that go far beyond regular procedure to stay exceptional in terms of quality of their products and the experience they provide, while staying pure and aspirational on every channel.

In the UK, the four key definers of luxury are quality, craftsmanship, exclusivity, and elegance. This holds true across all types of luxury brands: clothing, accessories, cars, boats, house goods, and more. Interestingly, more luxury brands are crossing over into other channels and partnering with complementary companies to create an even broader luxury lifestyle for their consumers. For example, Hermès partnered with Apple to create a special-edition Apple Watch and Burberry was the first to create a dedicated channel on the Apple Music streaming service. This further adds to the idea of luxury as a lifestyle. It enables deeper relationships between consumer and brand through multiple facets of their life.

So how can you live a luxurious lifestyle within this changing perception of “luxury”?

Think of your personal definition of luxury. What comes to mind? What’s important to you when picking a designer brand? Are you looking for comfort, lavishness, style, quality, exclusivity? What brand-stories do you identify with? Which areas of your life are most luxurious—and which do you want to be more luxurious? What kind of products and brands correspond to how you personally answer the question: what is luxury?

Contact us to share your definition of luxury to be featured on Victoria Arpels journal!

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