While I was on holiday in Singapore, I was searching for some interesting fashion book to read and I came across this book Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas, a New York Times bestseller. After reading a few lines, the book got immediately my attention. I could not get my eyes off the book… Which is pretty hard to imagine because that time I was sunbathing by the Infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands.
I have to say that this is one of the best books I have ever read. I personally don’t like books which are on 500 pages but you could squeeze the important information just into one short chapter. But in this particular book, every single paragraph tells you essential information you most probably didn’t know. It shows you behind-the-scenes look at the luxury fashion industry, such as Gucci, Dior, Prada, and many more. You will read about the sudden change of the industry, how the luxury brands have changed since they were acquired by one of the investment groups such as LVMH, Kering or Richemont. Because if you still think that by buying a luxury handbag you will receive the best quality handbag you can get on the market, you are wrong …
Gone are the family owned businesses dedicated to quality. Now the industry is run by multi-billion dollar corporations who are focused on growth, visibility, brand awareness, advertising and most importantly, profit. Therefore, handcrafted goods are practically extinct and the production has been outsourced to large factories, such as in China.
Why do you think that the luxury brands do not sell that many garments as they used to? Because products such as handbags, sunglasses or cosmetics have much higher margins and thus, make much more money. That is the reason why most of the shops were reconstructed in the last couple of years. You need to see the handbags, sunglasses, scarves first when entering the shops.
As a fashion addict, I love luxury brands. I collect luxury handbags, shoes, scarves like a little girl collects her barbies. But I have to say that this book completely opened my eyes. I don’t look at the luxury brands the way I used to. Because the products (most of them they sell) don’t represent the quality they used to ….They represent a dream … A social status that you can buy….
Dana Thomas is a famous journalist who contributed for the style selection of The Washington Post and served for 15 years as the European cultural and fashion correspondent for Newsweek in Paris. She is also writing for The New York Times Style Magazine, The New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and the Financial Times. She lives in Paris.