45. Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster

by Dana Luster

started 9/22/07 finished 10/6/07

I am not nearly as materialistic as I was in high school and college. I used to be very particular about which brands that I wore, and they didn’t always jibe with what my peers in inner city D.C. were wearing. My tastes were decidedly Preppy with a touch of the Hamptons mixed in. I did not wear Izod, only Polo ( I even had a mini-Polo wardrobe to take to start my freshman year – Orange Polo with Green Rider; Green Polo with Orange Rider; matching socks – Go Rattlers!). My jeans were only Polo or Calvin Klein. My shoes were Bass Weejuns for the winter and Bernardo & Ferragamo sandals for the summer. As I have gotten older (and responsible for paying my own bills) I don’t rely on brands as much and bought my last pieces of clothing at Target (never would have done that in high school). I have found that there are more important things in life than having the latest designer bag (but if a Hermes Birkin bag fell from the sky, I would give thanks!).

This book chronicles the luxury market and its evolution from being exclusive to the rich and powerful to being accessible and coveted by everyone. It starts with the story of Louis Vuitton (the only logo bag I would ever carry) and the company that still bears his name. It follows the ups and downs and the (over)saturation. Other luxury dynasties are reviewed here including Prada, Chanel, & Hermes. The most interesting chapters cover the emergence of handbags as status symbols, the lucrative counterfeiting industry, and the importance of the internet to the luxury market. It brings it full circle by showing designers like Tom Ford (no longer affiliated with a megabrand like Gucci) and Christian Louboutin who strive to bring back the quality, service and exclusivity that established the market in the first place.

Oh, and if you don’t believe all the hype in the news today about China being the next financial superpower, please read the chapter called What Now? In the next 3 years, 300 shopping malls will open in China; 375 in India. This is a great read for those who want to know the history and future of some of your favorite designers.

4 thoughts on “45. Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster

  1. My mom would love this book. She’s always so interested in the history of fashion. I never have been able to have a visible label on any of my belongings. I think it’s because my brother was sooo obsessed with them and I hated that. And, 300 malls in China? Goodness.

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