Luxury and Art

From Weekly I/O#74

Luxury is superlative, never comparative. It's art that happens to have a little bit of functionality.

Book: The Luxury Strategy

Luxury is superlative, never comparative. For a luxury brand to have lasting financial success, comparisons must be avoided at all costs. Luxury thrives on uniqueness rather than mere superiority.

Luxury is like art that happens to have a little bit of functionality. Luxury and art both embody a dream and convey abstract concepts, but a Hermès Birkin bag happens to be capable of storing stuff (but not many). While the price of any non-luxury product must be justifiable by its utility curve, hedonism takes precedence over functionality for luxury.

In The Luxury Strategy, the authors highlight six defining attributes of luxury goods:

  1. A very qualitative hedonistic experience or product made to last
  2. Offered at a price that far exceeds what their mere functional value would command
  3. Tied to a heritage, unique know-how and culture attached to the brand
  4. Available in purposefully restricted and controlled distribution
  5. Offered with personalized accompanying services
  6. Representing a social marker, making the owner or beneficiary feel special, with a sense of privilege

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