From Rive Gauche to Rive Droite, walking through busy luxury areas such as Sèvres-Babylone, Saint Germain, Rue Saint Honoré or Place Vendôme, we met with some locals in order to get a glimpse of what they think and how they perceive luxury in France. To do so, we questioned a few locals from different backgrounds, ages and interests and we found out that Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Dior are the most anchored luxury brands in the French people’s minds. Whether they were cooks, bloggers or salespeople they all knew these fashion brands and they were the first ones to pop up in their minds. These brands are some of the most visible ones on the streets, television, magazines and on social media. Thanks to exhibitions, Paris Fashion Weeks or even designers such as Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel, fashion is the sector most linked to luxury. But it is important to remember that luxury isn’t only defined by fashion, especially in a country with such a big heritage in gastronomy, fine wines and hospitality…
Except the fashion sector, the luxury world is, in fact, very discreet. Luxury likes to hide from the public. The rarer the product is and the more prestigious it is, the better. Therefore, confidentiality has a big role in luxury.
Luxury brands have the will to nourish their exclusive essence. By touching connoisseurs who have a real brand culture. In France, luxury includes an incredible know-how mixed with culture. The industry gathers a huge number of artisans, chefs and creative directors who can link savoir-faire with dream. They are serving our worldwide reputation in terms of craftsmanship. Our history is written throughout the courts of kings, vineyards, Michelin chefs, exceptional palaces…. “Made in France” is the worldwide label meaning quality, refinement and dream. It justifies all prices and excesses. It can easily be seen as an untouchable universe. A confidential and exclusive universe.
Exclusivity can sometimes lead to exclusion; therefore, more and more brands are trying to reach a wider audience while preserving their core target. Through innovation, creation and the element of surprise, luxury brands set their objectives. We noticed collaborations were one of the many actions used by these brands to introduce the audience to their brand. Indeed, we understood thanks to our interviews, that the younger generation tends to be more touched by collaborations, as they feel closer and more involved in the brand’s image. This is also a generation demanding more from luxury brands, not only wanting a product but the whole experience.
Through digital actions, brands have been able to get closer to their audience. People are more engaged, more cultivated and more aware of luxury codes. They can follow fashion shows almost live on the brands website or through their Instagram posts.
Could democratization of luxury be the opportunity for luxury brands to develop their image and expand themselves while preserving their heritage?
By Alexia Toury, Charlotte Waldelof, Elwine Barthelemy, Isabelle Crétat and Samia Boutayeb