Drawing on heritage in a continuously experimental manner, not taking itself seriously, daring & surprising, ultimate quality consistency, craftsmanship, durability, desirability, scarcity, no compromises, very limited or no discounting, no brand ambassadors, no barters, timelessness in design & aesthetics, practicality, ultimate comfort, limited online sales, exceptional brick&mortar stores – are just some of the ingredients which have ensured a unique positioning for certain luxury brands.
With the exception of its watches and perfumery, all other Hermes product categories exude perfection. In the growing international context dominated by instability, Hermes, the waiting lists for its Kelly or Birkin handbags have only become longer, in some areas / countries reaching 5 to 6 years. In all the apparel collections, the dominant fabrics include finest silks or cashmere.
Hermes CEOs have been reconfirming that Hermes does not create or design products for a certain consumer target. The company has no Marketing Department and its communications initiatives are often mind-blowing – this year a group of clients and media gathered at Paris airport to board a plane and only find, out once on board, that there were taking a trip of a lifetime orchestrated by Hermes to the farthest fjords of Norway which almost have no daylight.
Hermes’ presence on social media may appear superficial, instead it is an ongoing teasing with playful takes on its products. Its current social media campaign depicts Hermes products transformed into cakes and being cut for eating.
Considered by many as ”the Italian Hermes”, Loro Piana is the epitome of Italian luxury, with the finest apparel and accessories for men, women and kids. The house still does not release store photos, which, instead are replaced by sketches. Cashmere is very much centre-stage. With a product extension that could have been risky, Loro Piana has alsoestablished itself as a leading global supplier of the finest fabrics, most often used in interior decorations but also on the First / Business Class suites of major airlines.
Another power feature of Loro Piana brand is that all design appears timeless. The association with sailing is the only major marketing exercise of the house.
For Cucinelli, craftsmanship is a form of art. In the home town of Salomeo (Italy), various crafts which have been passed down from generation to generation are still ‘in the hands’ of locals. Needless to say, securing the finest quality cashmere. Ultimate sophistication through simplicity is at the heart of the company’s strategic marketing approach. Durability is also yet another key element.
Time transforms things, just as in dreams, and there is no apparent reason to it. How beautiful are all those things that can be understood without needing to be explained by reason! When we take time for the spirit, we see new, profound things, and old things from a new perspective. Where once we felt sorrow, we now have a glimpse of hope, and the things that appeared to be mud, shine like diamonds under the moon.
Goethe once said, “Beautiful moment, do not pass away!” And Plato talked with his disciples of his idea of eternity, the sum of all our past, all our present, and all our future. The past, kingdom of memory, the future, kingdom of the imagination, and the present, so elusive in its flow, just like that river in which, as Heraclitus thought, we never step twice, because like the water, we too, are constantly flowing.
When we were children, what was time to us? But our elders know time, they’re acquainted with its length, and at times they fear it. But no, when we take time for the spirit, it becomes a wellspring of life. Old age, that brings pain to many, feeds the spirit with memory and with the joy of getting closer and closer to the stars each day. This is the wonder of life, in which the body first grows and at a certain point begins to decline, but the Spirit flies ever higher.
Belgian based Delvaux is known to be the oldest luxury leather goods in the world. However, the brand maintained a dormant operation with a limited product range and retail outlets until 2012 when it was acquired by Chinese conglomerate. Unlike most other brands which Fung acquired but did achieve a revival, Delvaux has become one of the most coveted luxury handbags brand of the finest quality. Daring yet elegant and classic, Delvaux is vey much an exceptional experience with spectacular new store openings, each different but boasting the same DNA features.
Delvaux has been expanding its men’s range and is successfully experimenting with pop-up spaces – ex its present retail location in Paris at Rue St Honore may appear permanent, however it is not. Brand communications have been established as being ‘desirable’, however, effortless, in such a way customers feel they belong to a club.
In part 2: John Lobb, Roger Vivier, Jitrois
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