We’re recommending these luxurious, regal and engrossing reads for young professionals with high aspirations and expensive taste. Find out the history behind the famous Louis Vuitton monogram, champagne secrets, and the corporations that make us want more. What is luxury? Author Dana Thomas outlines luxury as: “Luxury wasn’t simply a product. It denoted a history of tradition, superior quality, and often a pampered buying experience. Luxury was a natural and expected element of upper-class life, like belonging to the right clubs or having the right surname.” Yet, soon, in the interests of profits, luxury companies, “turned their sights on a new target audience: the middle market, that broad socioeconomic demographic that includes everyone one from teachers and sales executives to high-tech entrepreneurs, McMansion suburbanites, the ghetto fabulous, even the criminally wealthy.”
The Widow Cliquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It by Tilar Mazzeo
Judging by the cover, The Widow Cliquot seems to be a story of feminist history and breaking through the conceptualized glass ceiling. But things aren’t as they seem. The engaging narrative is actually rich with family history and heartbreak, with heroine Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin championing champagne innovations that changed the industry. Spirited and determined, The Widow Cliquot guided the business through the Napoleonic Wards and political and financial strife. She is noted as one of the first authentic businesswomen and one of the richest women of her time. The iconic yellow label is now a champagne mainstay, and has lent its color to designer collaborations. Remember the coveted DKNY and Veuve Cliquot rain boots from 2011? The biography is mesmerizing and would be best enjoyed with a glass sparkly.
Tom Ford by Tom Ford and Bridget Foley
A classic coffee table staple, Tom Ford recounts his successes that catapulted him to an iconic, celebrity-in-his-own-right status. The glossy pages are gorgeously architectural and weave the story of Ford’s design work at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent from 1994-2004. To his credit, Ford has not only shaped the styling and fashion industry, but also created some of our culture references. Compelling summaries, inspirations and insights from Ford himself accompany each year. This book is a must-have for fashion newcomers and veterans alike.
Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas
35 brands control 60% of the $157 billion luxury business. How did the luxury industry grow from artisan craft to corporate giants? Dana Thomas explores this question, traces the histories of Europe’s most famous fashion houses, and weaves compelling stories rich with family saga and well-researched detail. She investigates the old-time craftmanship, still seen today in Hermès, to the mass-production secrets of some of our beloved “European” luxury (albeit made in China) brands.
Entry-level luxury is considered to be small leather goods, handbags and perfume – extremeley popular with, well, everyone. The rich and chic can still distinguish themselves with couture and higher-priced items Balenciaga biker jackets and Tom Ford suits. Today most of the well-known brand names are owned by multinational behemoths, like LVMH, and luxury items have become commodities, where buyers crave name brands for what they represent rather than their inherent quality of manufacture, design or customization. Thomas concludes that this eroded all that made it special in the first place. She argues that Louis Vuitton now “has a logo as recognizable as the Golden Arches.” Thomas is no killjoy. She appreciates the historic roots and entrepreneurial spirit that understandably evolved these brands and brings to light the dark corners of an industry that epitomizes glamour, style and polish. If nothing else, it may make you think twice about purchasing this seasons coveted “it” bag.