What we mean by luxury? Luxury comes from the word luxe, which means dazzle. So what dazzles you may not dazzle me, and vice versa. Luxury is relative. So let me see if these stories dazzle you : History of luxury brand and the Maharajas in the 1920s – Maharaja of Patiala diamond crown necklace by Cartier, Harley Davidson for Postmen of Nizam, Customised LV trunks for Maharaja of J and K, Rolls-Royce sales and story of another Maharaja. In his TEDx Talk, organized by IIM Rohtak, author and luxury commentator Dr Mahul Brahma explained the true meaning of luxury through stories.
He spoke on the inclusivity of luxury. He has started this fight for inclusivity of luxury and mythic value with his books The Luxe Trilogy, comprising Decoding Luxe, Dark Luxe and Luxe Inferno. Dr Brahma said the brands have been creating a myopic notion of luxury that is solely based on "price tags" and "exclusivity".
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Dr. Mahul Brahma, an author, chief editor, columnist, and luxury commentator. He is a Doctor of Letters D.Litt in Luxury and Communications and a PhD in Economics. MAhul is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta, University of Cambridge Judge Business School, St Xavier's College, SSSUTMS, and MICA. He is an authority in luxury communications and besides his books have written hundreds of columns and articles in leading publications for two decades on the inclusiveness of luxury and mythic value, looking beyond the myopic sense of price tags.
Dr. Brahma added, "A Tesla owner identifies with the brand. It makes you feel special, feel exclusive. Brand takes on your identity because it starts driving your EGO. You are no longer defined by your values or ideas. You are defining yourself as an accumulation of brands and also judging people on the same parameters."
This is the desired outcome as brands want to do two things:
All the luxury brands ensure bombarding with this thought process of "Money buying Exclusivity of Luxury" through advertisements, news and product catalogues.
Price tags and exclusivity become synonymous with luxury. It is a business after all.
Dr Brahma added: "The real luxury, however, survives in something called 'mythic value'. The word comes from myths and means an embodiment of two contradictions. For example, the famous sculpture by Auguste Rodin called "The Thinker". This is a two embodiment of two of the biggest contradictions – mind and body. No wonder it has survived a century.
In luxury parlance there is this story of Maharaja of Patiala who had commissioned the largest order to Cartier till date – his crown necklace which adorned over 2390 diamonds and 235 carat center-piece De Beers diamond. The photograph is a perfect example of a mythic value that Cartier still showcases in its top-of-the -line stores, including Paris. It embodies the contradiction of a native Maharaja adorning the epitome of western luxury, Cartier – East meeting West."
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Just like myth that survives the test of time across geographies, mythic value also makes luxury survive the same test.
"Luxury is made up of stories. The stories that are able to capture mythic value becomes a myth and endures the test of time. Luxury is an essence that captures the craftsmanship of the master creator in some remote hamlet in Venice. It is a series of stories exploring its various facets and embodying the finer or refined sensibilities. Luxury is not just a product, but yes, a product of a luxury brand embodies a sense of luxury," he said.
The hundreds of crores or the millions of dollars that are associated to depict luxury is a flawed, yet profitable way to depict luxury in its entirety. Aspiration is an economic term, it creates market. And while the luxury brands will not be inclined to agree, their machinery is well oiled, thanks to the volume of sales that are generated by the Great Middle Class.
"Stories of Maharajas, Prajas, Craftsmen, The Brand…essentially stories of you and me and our dazzle, this is what luxury is all about.
"In this myriad of more, real luxury, just like a myth, is for all, is inclusive and has mythic value as an integral element of its essence," Luxury Author Dr Brahma said.