french luxury - new world order?
As I studied Fashion Science and the courses about the topic "luxury" I still remember how Christopher Berry and his book "Luxury Goods" really got to me. A real eyeopener! Berry is very certain in the way he makes it perfectly clear that that "luxury" has always been associated with "desire". If we look at "luxury" in contemporary advertising we find outselves suddenly dealing with a paradox. Is it possible for fashion houses to mass produce products and, on the other hand, proclaim that their products are "luxury goods" as to imply exclusiveness. Luxury goods has its base upon seemingly being associated with expensiveness and rarity. Although, luxury is not something static, it is dynamic, it is subject to development, as the desires and beliefs. In contemporary society, luxury is regarded as an essentially innocent desire and ownership of luxury goods is associated with power, wealth and taste. But in history, as for example in Roman and Medieval societies, ”luxury” was a threat to exclusivity by representing the subversivenesss of private desire. A huge change to the way we look opon luxury today as the ”message” reinforces the legitimacy of such desire.
There has also been a change in the way consumers look upon luxury fashion these last years. The most wealthy people who choose to be luxury fashion consumers tends to more and more have a penchant for low-key and log-free fashion products and this view is growing in the world. There is a shift that has been going on a while where the movement for high-end fashion is focusing on the personalisation and individuality as the ultimate goal with a fashion product. This customer group, growing and growing, want the luxury fashion products not be short-lived in a time when instagrams, fashion blogs and live-streamed catwalks show that trends are changing faster than ever. A luxury retailer analysis by retailar consultant (former head of Valentino) June Haynes recently said that: "Today, it's really about discreet luxury". Charles Lawry (associate professor at Pace Univerity, Luxury Marketing) has the same ideas about a change in the luxury fashion industry and said: "I think because customers have started to notice changes in their own income and income for others, they begin to feel a little yuppie debt about purchasing goods with logos" and "It's the thought that you do not want to act as if you're trying to brag about the products you own." Some of the global luxury brands adapted quickly to this new reality. As for example did Louis Vuitton hire Nicolas Ghesquiere, a designer who is generally regarded as one of the world's leading innovators, to act as his new creative director. With his very first collection of the brand, Ghesquiere did not completely ignore the logo but gave rise to different interpretations.
If we look from the consumer´s perspective: Luxury consumption is almost necessary for the maintenance of social status. Dwight Robinson wrote that "The motivation for luxury consumption is not the pursuit of demonstrabel rarity for its own sake, it is for the sake of social perception". I do think that the future of luxury fashion and how to be valid and increase sales is to offer loyal high-end consumers a sale as a memorable moment too. Luxury consumer are increasingly spending more and more money on experiences as exotic travels to the NorthPole or a dinner at a Michelin restaurant, rather than on goods. I think that the luxury fashion houses of today has to stay valid by creating a special oasis for their key customers. An experience, after all, is something you can not put a label on.
My thoughts are based upon my ideas about how a global luxury fashion house can keep and take shares of this market in the future. I think that it is becoming more and more about meeting the customers on the platsforms they want to meet. All to little in the fashion industry of today is about the human need of being seen and validated while buying their luxury products. Sadly! The experience of a sale and what is surrounding it should get more focus if you ask me.
Although this is just a short flash of my current thoughts about the world of luxury fashion and based upon my own impressions of the first Louis Vuitton menswear collection by Virgil Abloh. A superfly and cool collection, a vip front row with all American royalties from Instagram and Reality shows kicked up with musicians, Kardashian and Kanye. Can you beat it? A collection with logos, sneakers to die for and plastic bags in vibrant colors. Also learned later about Virgils smart move with personalisation on garments. Products: Light, colorful, fresh and young!
Although: Did I feel the breath of heritage, luxury and France? Did I see, oooh this is a Louis Vuitton fashion forward collection? Did I get a feeling of modernity and innovation in for example the plastic materials (As the oceans are dying with plastics and we are constantly being aware of pollution and killing the planet)? Although, collection with top qualityproducts and handmade decorations, did I feel exclusiveness? Did i feel like this is for all fashion lovers, like ageless as Vogue wrote? Is marketing and social media for the luxury fashion industry becoming more important then luxury fashion itself as foremost based upon a strong factor as for example heritage? Did this collection speak about awareness of the society we live in or was it at all a reflection of it? And most of all: Did this collection arise my desires? I have too figure all this out, and it will take some time!!
I do adore the collection as a superfly cool collection! So do not get me wrong! Yet my feeling was: What is happening to French fashion? Is this a major swift of the order that has existed since the Renaissance and Golden Age of fashion history? If so, as being a supernerd Fashion Scientist, this is really an exciting time in the world of fashion: A new world order! Yet, a theorist once said: When one country applies the fashion from another country, it is like when starting to speak the other countrys language: A sign of an up-coming invasion!