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Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster Paperback – July 29, 2008
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I entered the world of luxury goods last year for an Italian brand that even it's "epicenter" store is elusive without the name of the store on Rodeo Drive. What Dana Thomas has written about the luxury brands is eye opening and condemning. From the factories in China, Santee Alley in the Downtown Los Angeles and the country side of France, you get the insiders view on how indeed luxury lost its luster. Once considered lavish and extravagant, we now see what luxury brands have done to diminish the quality and service of these high end stores and at great cost. No one walks into Gucci and buys a $2000 handbag expecting it to be made by an under paid teenager in China only to have the tag changed once it is in the companies possession to "made in Italy" for adding a handle. Small couture brands exist that retain a sense of dignity by continuing the art of exclusivity, style and hand made products that are still created and made where the tag states they're from. Even Hermes, a brand that continues to grow steadily, has retained its heritage and luxe by hand making made to order handbags and saddles.
Aside from the investigative interviews and reports on luxury's current state, you also get history lessons on the birth of luxury from Alexander the Great's wardrobe, how Chanel No 5 came to be and the creation of the "Birkin" bag for Jane Birkin by Hermes. Witty, insightful and damning, you can't help but feel drawn into this book hoping that it never ends. But all good things come to an end and what I was left with was a sense of doubt and a bit of anger.Read more ›
But frankly, I'm not a big designer brand buyer and would sooner plunk $400 on a Pottery Barn couch than a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes. So I never imagined how engrossed i would be by this book. In fact, I was shocked.
Dana makes this elitist world come alive by putting luxury in a historical context (Caesar wore only silk togas and the Senate was POed at the expense!) and taking the reader with her on a personal journey behind the scenes and around the world, to find out the sad truth about the decline of the luxury goods industry.
It's utterly fascinating and engrossing. And it's funny! Dana has a wicked snse of humor and pulls no punches in describing the decadent denizens of the "Deluxe" world. Even if you know nothing about fashion, couldn't tell a Gucci bag from a Prada purse, and don't own a single designer knockoff product, this book will fascinate, educate and entertain. Plus any book that can make me put down the last Harry Potter - in the middle! - has to be some kind of good read.
Hermes is one of the few large companies that still gets it right. Smaller leather goods makers and perfumers such as Valextra and Lorenzo Villoresi continue to carry the torch. One complaint is that many of these smaller companies were not mentioned in the book. Superb quality and true luxury will always be there if you know where to look.
For some, luxury still means exclusivity; as Thomas points out, wealthy cognescenti will continue to quietly raise the bar by seeking out rare items of exquisite quality, leaving the "mass affluents" behind in logo purgatory. Of course, the hoi polloi will be giddily buying "luxury" bags that the upper crusties wouldn't be caught dead with.
There is some justice in all this. With all her vast wealth and power, Delphine Arnault cannot carry an exquisite, handmade Hermes bag,(at least not in public.) Poor thing! She's stuck with her daddy's lackluster, "McLuxury" brands.
UPDATE: Although he has denied it, it is clear that Bernard Arnault is lining up his ducks for an eventual takeover of Hermes. So far, the family has been able to block him from taking a majority stake. I hope that this never happens. I bought my first Hermes bag in 1983.Read more ›
She tells us the stories behind all the luxury items we covet -- Chanel No. 5 perfume, that Prada bag, that Dior evening dress. And most importantly, WHY we covet them. You might never walk down 57th Street, or Rodeo Drive, or Bond Street, and see the stores quite the same way.
Impeccably researched, highly informative, fast paced -- this is on my gift list for all my pals this year. A great read...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A must read for any fashion student, entrepreneur, and luxury consumer. You vote with your dollar!Published 27 days ago by fran
Realny good book. Opened my eyes for what is behind luxury brand.
Wonderful book - so much information about why the fashion industry today is what it is. Explains the connection between fashion's extremes - couture and fast fashion. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great book to learn about what fashion is or is not.......good insights to what fashion is all about.Published 4 months ago by Madame Bovary "Julie"
A must-read if you are: a connoisseur of old school luxury items (artisanal couture type) OR a throwaway fashion type who never saw much difference between the faux and the fine... Read morePublished 7 months ago by RiceMom
I was chained to this book until I reached the back cover. Facts, stories and the author's personal acquaintance with top names in the industry are neatly packaged into a product... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Gabor Holch
I have this book and purchased it for a friend and it was in great condition.Published 10 months ago by Steph
This book details the mass consumer and profit oriented mindset of the few high end brands that frequently churn out formulaic luxury goods to create an illusion of value. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Shammari Hook