The luxury conundrum is very real; damned if you do, damned if you don’t. For years now, the luxury market has lived with an existential crisis- how much is too much? Should luxury be about products or experiences? Should one shun the monogram and embrace the discrete (and even more expensive) bag? Should one care about how sustainable a brand is? As people grapple with these questions and try and flip the idea of what qualifies as smart consumption, it is becoming increasingly clear that the more that is thrown at us, the more wary we are about consuming it blindly.
Over the past year, there has been a slow movement towards making luxury real. While people seek the best that money can buy, they also crave real connections and brands that don’t make them feel like unthinking, unfeeling consumers. In keeping with this trend, our luxury issue this year focuses on keeping it simple and basic and reimagining luxury through this lens.
This desire to connect on a base level with brands, even experiences, is something all our columnists echo. Sustainable, mindful travel is the phrase to own and quote; even luxury hotel brands are showing travellers how to indulge in conscious consumption. Similarly, in the midst of the chaos of the digital world, there is a quiet but distinct move to go analog as there is comfort in being off the grid. Dining with a purpose- where less is more and local is the hero- has been gaining traction for a while. True luxury now lies in seeking restaurants and dining experiences that offer ingredients low on food miles and high on forgotten, local flavours. We also delve into the world of timepieces where after a long hiatus, one is seeing a movement to return to mechanical watches that offer a different kind of luxury in today’s frenetic world.
As you join the dots, a pattern emerges. While luxury brands struggle to stay relevant in the face of cultural, political and economic upheavals, what remains is their desire to sell the idea of comfort, beauty and, above all else, a reimagined world of luxury.