Like so much else in modern life, luxury seems to have slipped its moorings! Once upon a time we knew where we were. Luxuries were what the monarchy and aristocracy consumed: houses in the country, staff to serve you, big cars, weekends in the South of France, caviar and champagne and gold plated taps…
What is Luxury?
A luxury is something you do not need. To enjoy a luxury a consumer needs surplus income to spend on things that are superfluous. Something is a luxury only if it carries a particular kind of exclusivity. Luxury experiences are open to only a few people yet lots of people want them. By buying something luxurious they are displaying not just their wealth but their refinement.
That is why luxury cannot be sold as consumerism but as discernment, spirituality, healing, and getting close to nature…
The other common theme to luxury in all ages is that it reflects what we are trying to escape.
Perhaps the first mass myth of luxury was the legend of Cockayne. Cockayne was a place of unimaginable luxury: a place where food was so plentiful it was used as a building material. Cockayne had a spring-like temperature. Inhabitants remained 33 years old, the age at which Christ died, and consented to gentle offers of love-making. To heal yourself you bathed in mysterious pools.
Centuries later we are still living out this medieval myth of the luxurious life. Whenever we walk into a luxury spa hotel, we indulge in a little bit of Cockayne: a world of never ending hot water, clean towels, service on tap, soothing lotions that make you feel younger, health restoring pools and fine food.
What will count as luxuries for us in future will reflect the everyday experiences we are trying to get away from.
Affluent Asian consumers will want luxuries that signal, very publicly, their wealth and how far they have travelled from their family’s rural roots. Many of those products may well be European in origin, embued with a tradition of luxury goods from Paris and Milan.
In a world that grows more complex we will put more value on simplicity: from the easy to use interface of the iPod, to the pared down luxury hotels that sell themselves with a less is more minimalism.
In a world that seems to worship speed going a little faster is not a luxury. Being able to go a lot slower is the luxury. That is what we envy.
Boating in India is fast catching on. Whether people indulge in it for leisure, lifestyle or sport, the ever increasing number of yachts in the Mumbai harbor confirm that boating is here to stay and grow! So, is the luxury connection with the yachting lifestyle justified? Will owning a yacht, small or big, truly proclaim that the world is yours… that you have arrived… that you have found the ultimate luxury asset and understood what it means… to truly experience it!
With not one or two, but four boat shows lined up this season, India is set to push this trend to its max! Come and discover what boating is all about at the many events, starting with the Goa International Marine & Boat Expo’09, 10-13 December, 2009!
Hope to see you there!