Luxury is one of the hardest to understand elements of modern life. The minimalists and utilitarians protest it while the hedonists proclaim it, and yet they both value luxury - such as it may be - in differing ways and enjoy it in its various incarnations. The modern luxury brand is just one of those. They are ubiquitous in contemporary culture - from Dior to Louis Vuitton via Givenchy and Chanel - and aim to promote an ideal lifestyle, an aspirational vision of what we want ourselves to be and to look like and to dress and to smell.
Lucian James and Co is a French brand consultancy company that specialises in working with luxury labels in order to reinterpret their heritage and history, work with customers and promote growth. They've worked with powerhouses like LVMH, Dom Perignon, Estee Lauder and Lexus on brand strategy (and it's definitely worked). Earlier this year they came up with a project called 50 thoughts on luxury, and it's ridiculously good (you can download it for yourself here). Apart from the fact that every thought sounds like Yoda or the Dalai Lama wrote it (it must be something about the translation from French to English, where even the most simple of phrases becomes lyrical), they also ring so true. Luxury brands do have to connect to their history in order to succeed - in many cases their victories in the markets stem from their ability to tap into that original, historic ideal, think the typical Chanel customer in her tweeds and pearls and two tone ballet flats, the Givenchy girl who bears a remarkable resemblance to Audrey Hepburn, resplendent in couture in Funny Face. We love the way the document inspires luxury brands both to seize the cultural revolution that they created as well as respect the needs of the customer.