What is Luxury?

Starting to write down the aims of my project, I got stuck at the beginning, with a question buzzing in my head. Therefore, I spent the last few days trying to figure out “What is Luxury?”.
Here is the definition I found on Merriam Webster Online Dictionary.

  •  a condition or situation of great comfort, ease, and wealth
  •  something that is expensive and not necessary
  • something that is helpful or welcome and that is not usually or always available

Consequently, more questions arose as I began to study the subject in a deeper way. I will list some of them here:

What does Luxury means to me?
What is Luxury to others?
What does Luxury means in the 21th century?
How is Luxury market developing?

First of all asked myself the question “What is luxury to me?” and draw a conceptual map as this is the easiest way for me to collect different thoughts together.
Here is the picture of the map:

Conceptual map

Nello, M. (2015) Mind Map, (picture).

It may seems confusing but it is just a collection of words that all together give me the idea of “Luxury”.

Quality, perfection, exclusiveness, handmade, pleasure, uniqueness etc. All this words are connected in a way and all of them refer to luxury itself. Many of this words are also deeply related to the five senses. A luxury item is for me a collaboration between the senses from which pleasure arise.

My research begins here; the first thing that comes out when you type “What is Luxury” on the web, is the last exhibition held at the V&A museum of London. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit it as I was not in the UK at the time (the exhibition run from 27th of April to 27th of September) or it would have been a great starting point for my future research. The aim of this event was to investigate the current production, future and connection of luxury related products, examining the past (historical production) and present design works.

Two objects in particular caught my attention as both are related to my work: “Funeral of a Swallow” by Studio Oliver Ruuger (I will write a post about him and his works) and a Venetian Chasuble from 1670–95 ( linen needle lace mounted on silk. Museum no. 743-1870). The former is a briefcase made with goat leather and the latter focuses the attention on textile, therefore are both profoundly connected with my research. [I have included here other two images that I find inspiring].

I will try to develop the other questions in the next posts, studying the current trend of luxury from a wider point of view but mainly looking at the fashion industry.


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