Book I’m half finished reading: Deluxe, How Luxury Lost Its Luster!
I’m too impatient to wait until I’m completely finished with a book to write a review here…sorry. My friend Rick gave me this book last Christmas, and I just got around to starting it like a month ago. Basic gist: a full, very thorough, report on the inner-workings of the luxury goods market and the brands that comprise it. All the history of them up until about 2006 I think…so pretty current stuff. It’s all the heavy hitters: LV, Gucci, Hermes, Prada, Dior, Lanvin, Chanel, etc, etc. Since I’m not finished with the book I can’t give a complete review - but I can say its been amazingly eye-opening. And more than anything else - I’ve learned to watch Bernard Arnault like you watch Steve Jobs…if not far more so. Man, he makes Gordon Gecko look like a Boy Scout troop leader…no joke. He’s an incredibly shrewd man who has shaped almost everyone’s view and conception of ‘luxury’ in the past 20+ years…either directly or indirectly. It’s not that I hadn’t heard of him, or knew about him before - but this book really gives you a blow-by-blow of his rise to power - and more importantly his influence over literally what the market would define luxury as…super crazy. Anyway, the book. It’s really just amazing to see the often, if not always, humble beginnings of the now massive luxury fashion houses. And as you can imagine - its never as pretty as you’d think under the hood. From my reading so far, only LV and to a much greater extent Hermes are the ‘real’ luxury brands per the original definition of luxury which had a lot less to do with expense and more to do with purpose and the artisans behind the products. Again, to disclaim, I’m a huge fan of LV - but I’m not ignorant to the fact that there is a lot of marketing at work attempting to influence my opinion on a brand…but with that being said, its even still eye-opening to look behind the scenes of these brands, what makes them tick, their margins (!!!!) and how they seem to break traditional business rules. Really interesting stuff. This post was longer than I was shooting for…my bad.