What Is Luxury Today?
Virgil Abloh and Alexandre Arnault, the scion of LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault, on why it's not all about the price tag.
At the Vogue Fashion Festival in Paris on Friday and Saturday, industry heavyweights from LVMH, Kering, Coty and more weighed in on the importance of brands and heritage, the changing role of stores in an increasingly digital world, and why luxury is no longer about price. — Lauren Indvik and Sarah Schijen
Luxury is about creativity, not price
“Luxury is something we try to get away from even at LVMH,” said Alexandre Arnault, the 26-year-old chief executive of German luggage maker Rimowa and son of LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault. “The word ‘luxury’ itself we don’t like because there’s a link to price. We sell €30 bottles of Moët champagne – that’s a luxury product. We also sell $8,000 Vuitton handbags. High quality, craftsmanship, DNA — that for us really goes into the word ‘luxury’.”
Virgil Abloh, who joined Arnault on stage on Friday morning, concurred, arguing that successful luxury products have emotional resonance. A beloved pair of vintage Levi’s sourced at a flea market can be more luxurious than a bespoke Hermès belt. “As designers in the industry, it’s about asking ‘How can you make this emotional connection?’” he said. “We want to make products people take pride in.” Those products should feel “human” and exhibit “design intention”, he added.