May 21, 2013

Let's Talk Luxury

Before I began writing this blog, I read a fascinating book called Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster. I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in fashion.

Here is a quick book synopsis: 

"Once luxury was available only to the rarefied and aristocratic world of old money and royalty. It offered a history of tradition, superior quality, and a pampered buying experience. Today, however, luxury is simply a product packaged and sold by multibillion-dollar global corporations focused on growth, visibility, brand awareness, advertising, and, above all, profits. Award-winning journalist Dana Thomas digs deep into the dark side of the luxury industry to uncover all the secrets that Prada, Gucci, and Burberry don’t want us to know. Deluxe is an uncompromising look behind the glossy fa├žade that will enthrall anyone interested in fashion, finance, or culture." 

The book, for me, was a wonderful education on the history of the world's most premiere luxury brands: Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, etc. I also learned random tidbits such as the fact that Emilio Pucci went to Reed College here in Portland where his first designs were for the ski team. 

At the time I read this book, I didn't own anything "luxurious". I have since acquired a Louis Vuitton handbag, wallet and duffle. Unfortunately the quality of these items hasn't impressed me. I've had to exchange one bag, have had the second repaired, have a faulty zipper I've yet to deal with and the wallet has started to fall apart in a few places. It is clear that the quality of Louis Vuitton leather goods is no where near what they were decades ago, but the prices have continued to rise.

So where does that leave me? Honestly, I don't know that I will ever buy another item from Louis Vuitton. I know that I can get higher quality products for less money. As for other luxury brands, I think I will stick to buying on consignment only.

Has anyone else had a similar experience with Louis Vuitton or other luxury brands? 


  1. I can't afford high-end luxury items. The older I get and the more money I make I will buy better quality. But I refuse to spend major $$$ on products with a ton of logos. You're essentially paying them to market their brand, in my book.

    Based on the quality of the bags you did buy, I'm glad to know I'm not missing much.

  2. anonymous. Reassurance that you are not missing out is a good thing, isn't it? I won't be making the same mistakes again. I do enjoy the pieces I have, as they were gifts from my husband, but I won't let him buy anymore! Our money is better spent elsewhere!

  3. I read this book last summer and thought it was very interesting! As someone in the marketing industry, it only reaffirmed by admiration of the teams responsible for creating so much demand, although I don't personally purchase luxury items beyond the $200 purse splurge. I am a cheapo, and I don't actually want to wear the same shoes/clothes for 15 years so I don't think my cost per wear would be worth it.

    I thought the bit about the Japanese tourists in Hawaii was amusing, though. They're a brand manager's dream!