IS THERE MORE TO THE WORD LUXURY THAN JUST EXTRAVAGANT, SUPERFLUOUS MATERIAL THINGS?
Luxury is not easy to define, as it involves exclusiveness, nearly uniqueness, and not because it is addressed to few people, but because it’s special instead. At a time when we have explored virtually all means of material expression, definitions of luxury continue to evolve and mean many different things to different people…
Throughout history, the meaning of the word luxury has always seemed inherently rooted to something rare, precious, exotic or even extravagant, but it has always involved the owning of beautiful, sometimes superfluous things. After the Industrial Revolution roared through Western society, mass production allowed for the middle class to demand everything they could desire and therefore rare and luxurious goods became attainable to almost all layers of society.
Therefore, what is the meaning of luxury today? Reflecting for the past few weeks on what the word luxury means to me, I sometimes find myself at a crossroad, as I cannot deny that whilst I do enjoy the finer things in life, I also find tremendous joy in the simplest, priceless things of everyday life…
I. LUXURY AS A PART OF OUR EVERYDAY LIVES
When I was a small girl, my grandmother encouraged my sister and me to bring out our special tableware for everyday moments at home if we liked, not just kept away for special occasions. This approach made us move away from reserving luxury for the “best”, and instead finding the luxurious meaning in everyday moments, and everyday experiences, like cooking or bathing, became elevated beyond the ordinary.
For someone who loves cooking and having friends over to share their passion, this could be a beautiful set of crockery, or putting on your favourite dress on any day if you absolutely feel like it! Personally I love enjoying a glass of my favourite Ribera wine by the sound of the crackling fireplace. It’s those moments that give life it’s meaning, as the sum of these everyday moments are what make life absolutely special and memorable.
Nowadays, a unique and magical, even life changing experience has become the epitome of luxury. As time passes, I find myself investing more time and resources in gaining experiences to help me learn, grow, get to know the world around me, and reconnect with myself and with nature, whether it be through traveling to a new destination, barefoot living, trying a tasting menu to experience new flavours and sensations, or enjoying a magnificent morning yoga class at sunrise.
Meaningful, authentic, culturally immersive and transformative experiences will become the things to focus on in the future. It would be naive, however, to believe that the desire for beautiful things will end, but there is a growing sense that we need less to experience more.
III QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
I believe that luxury is not about buying into a rare lifestyle or fitting in anymore, but manifesting personal values and beliefs through our informed choices of luxury. When luxury brands create something truly special, handcrafted of spectacular quality, these items will be seen and feel like luxury, that people can actually value long-term over time. This is why luxury costs more, simply because it means more.
I can guarantee that some of the most treasured pieces that we own are those truly special ones that have been passed down over generations, and they usually not only hold a symbolic and emotional meaning, but they are quality items that have stood the test of time. The longevity of luxury items is becoming an important part of their appeal, and in our conscious decision to move away from disposable culture, we are learning how to care for items properly so they last for years.
IV COMING BACK TO CORE VALUES
The current world pandemic is a unique point in time that has served as a wake up call, giving us an opportunity to pause, reflect, refocus on ourselves and reorganize our priorities in life. The need to come back to ourselves and the essential needs that we’ve neglected in the overly materialistic consumer culture has become an urgent priority this year, shifting our focus to wellness, well-being, healing, coming back to our roots and meaningful relationships.
Thanks to my profession, I’ve noticed a generalized desire and tendency of people transforming their homes into more pleasant living spaces, surrounded with things that bring them joy, whether it be a beautiful dining area, a cosy reading nook, or a super comfy exterior lounging area for spending quality time with our loved ones.
So, I like to think of this as my mantra of the word luxury. The experience of beauty, knowledge and humanity at their deepest and most inspiring meaning. Life must not only be lived, it must be enjoyed every single day. It must be wholeheartedly embraced. Ultimately, it must be worth it.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER A LUXURY IN LIFE? IS IT TIME, SPACE, OR SOMETHING YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT LIKE A TIMELESS CLASSIC CAR OR A BEAUTIFULLY FURNISHED HOME TO ENJOY WITH YOUR DEAREST? I’D LOVE TO KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!
Photo Courtesy of L’Objet
Photo Courtesy of Amansala Eco Chic Resort
Photo Courtesy of Knoll