Thursday, 27 March 2014

The new luxury

Showing off used to be about conspicuous consumption of luxury brands and articles - my car, my house, my yacht. But these days it's more about the conspicuous experience and the sharing thereof on Facebook - my perfect family diving in the Maldives. And the luxury brands are being appropriated by the movers and shakers in the developing markets. It just takes a ski holiday in one of the classic resorts of Old Europe to see how times are changing.

But a new form of luxury is emerging - discreet luxury. Actually, I am sure that this has been there all along - people who furnish their homes with family heirlooms or one-off antiques rather than the latest bling-bling. And much of this is, like the antiques, previously-owned.

A perfect example is Byronesque, conceived by ex-M&C Saatchi planner Gill Linton (we do have our uses!). Described as "Designer vintage fashion for the subversive and androgynously chic", this has nothing to do with twee floral frocks or polka-dot blouses. Most of the pieces offered on sale are from the 90s (which is worrying for an oldie like me!) and can set you back - like the Vivienne Westwood coat above - thousands of pounds.

But for someone looking for exclusivity, this has it all: it's democratic and accessible in terms of not having to make your way to a snooty shop in Bond Street, but the prices naturally count most mere mortals out. Uniqueness and style are there by the metre, sustainability is built-in.

And, every piece comes with a long story attached. Just like the family heirlooms.

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