Luxury has a new definition

Alpana Parida | Updated on March 10, 2018


Today’s excesses are those of enablement — such as a profusion of apps and features on a smartphone

Luxury has invariably been seen as an excess of something beyond the purely utilitarian. Luxury has been defined by the extra, the non-essential, the extra large spaces — more than what was needed for one person. The king-sized bed, the 10-seater dining for a family of four, the large homes — such as the Ambani home — for a family of five plus mother, large cars, large furniture; it was about more than what was necessary.

Luxury was in the embellishments, the carving, the lace, the mosaic — that added to the time it took to create the final product, used more resources and effort and created extremely aesthetic and beautiful creations that served no ‘real’ purpose.

Excess, waste and greed have become negative today — and a more mindful ‘smart’ consumer is emerging. Today’s excesses are excesses in enablement — such as an excess of apps and features on a smartphone. Today’s excesses are paying more for responsible living, such as that reflected in the growing consumer base for organic foods, or aficionados of brands such as Prius or Tesla.

Today’s wealth is not inherited. It is hard-earned — creating a class of consumers looking for the best deal for a business class ticket and renting a villa in the South of France. Brands that typify better technology and intelligence, creativity and innovation are preferred. A pure luxury experience such as that offered by a Bentley or a Rolls Royce is an old discourse. BMW and Audi score on what is under the engine — and not just their plush interiors.

Consumers are getting harder to please and smarter to satisfy, and imagery with foreign models and locales is no longer adequate to draw them in. They are demanding an excess of substance.

Alpana Parida is President, DY Works, a brand strategy and design firm that creates culture-based solutions for businesses

Published on December 24, 2015

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