If luxury were a dream, it would be a poetic dream and you would fall into it as Alice in a luxurious wonderland. It would make you feel as if you were having the best experience of your life, as if you would share a secret only very few knew about. All your senses would expand, every touch, every breath, every taste would be a new experience you will never forget. Every look at a Haute Couture dress would be a crush forever. But more than sensorial experiments, the dream you are in tells you stories. Stories that began in 1837 with Hermes, in 1910 with Coco or in 1946 with Christian. Each one lives in a Maison you ought to discover. You will want to see every single room, search for details that lead you to the roof where stand the gods. Now you are a connoisseur. Now you have earned the right to come back again and feel at home. Now the dream comes to an end. Once you get out, it ends. You have discovered secrets, senses and stories. You have met the gods. Every time you look at others, you know who is in and who is out; who deserves it and who does not; who you can connect with and who seems afar. But be quiet, do not show it, keep it inside. It remains in your heart forever. Congratulations, you are now a luxury sensitive. This is luxury à la française: exclusivity, elegance, refinement and exclusion. It touches you because you appreciate to spend money in a great restaurant, to buy things you do not need just because you will keep it for years. You know the power of appreciation and time. You feel confident about your ability to find great products, with high quality and you like to reward the artisans with a high price. You know where to go because you are in the club, you feel free to express your difference, in real life and on the internet.
The digital world gives you the opportunity to feed the need you have to discover new stories, more details, more secrets and more Maisons. It empowers you with knowledge. Once you have found your haven, put your phone away and prepare to enter the new dream you will be a part of.
« Dreams, feel real while you’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange… » (Dom Cobb, Inception). Luxury itself can be considered a paradox. From the data taken from interviews of fifty Parisians, it appears that the idea of luxury is ambivalent. Is luxury a dream for the ordinary mortal? The most known features linked to luxury are those of beauty, elegance, refinement, exception, history and obviously, the dream. Nonetheless, according to the interviewees, luxury seems to be ostentatious, a way to differentiate yourself, something that is not necessary. People for whom luxury is barely reachable do not care about the experiment but about the image shown to the world. We could call them « imposters ». They would be the ones who seek recognition, who have something to prove to the world when a luxury sensitive person would be the true luxury clients. According to the interviewees whom we will consider imposters, the experience aspect is crucial but different in its meaning: luxury sensitives look for something unique but intimate, discreet whereas imposters need to show that they are equally inclined to experience something but something exceptional and big. Another aspect that was extracted from the interviews is the tarnished image of luxury. Indeed, when asked about luxury and quality, more than half of the interviewees believe that luxury products are not necessarily of good quality. These features show the two aspects of luxury. On the one hand, the so-called luxury sensitives seek exceptional experiences whereas the imposters want to distinguish themselves, to show-off. It appears relevant to wonder about the longevity of the current luxury Maison. Will they resist to the rise and pressure of imposters leading to the creation of new luxury institutions?
By Ines PAULIN, Aurore PICQ, Sarah DJEGAOUD and Arthiya MOHANAKANTHAN