A time to redefine luxury?

A time to redefine luxury?
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First Published: Fri, Oct 17 2008. 11 50 PM IST

Bling thing: Judith Leiber bags in India cost Rs70,000 plus.
Bling thing: Judith Leiber bags in India cost Rs70,000 plus.
Updated: Fri, Oct 17 2008. 11 50 PM IST
I don’t know about you but I’m becoming increasingly weary of reading fashion magazines in which women show off their shoe closets and say that the main reason they buy Jimmy Choo is for the easy-to-put-on clasps because “you don’t want to be stuck with the wrong shoe in an awkward position or having to get your maid and ‘say come and put my hook on for me’.”
Bling thing: Judith Leiber bags in India cost Rs70,000 plus.
For now, let’s sidestep the more important issue of how we treat our household staff. Maid or not, I wonder how many of us will be willing to pay the premium for comfortable clasps in another three months.
To be fair to these magazines, they work a few issues in advance. How were they to know that August’s US crisis would be October’s global mega crisis?
But it’s time our fashion magazines reflected what’s going on in our world and went easy on pictures of Rs1 lakh-plus feathered footwear and Rs25,000 moisturizer (for 30 ml). Besides, even if consumers do have the money and want to be big spenders this festive season, why would they shop in India when they know all the luxury brands are going to offer great holiday season discounts in Europe and the US? The prices of airline tickets to these destinations have also plunged in recent weeks.
Replacing luxury and bling with recession chic, downturn dressing and back-to-basics fashion might be more appropriate in a world where investment banking died a sudden death. The fashion world could launch a search for the next Coco Chanel, the lady who opened her first iconic store during The Great Depression and revolutionized fashion with the little black dress and those sexy pearls.
As the country’s three fashion weeks are held in Delhi and Mumbai (the first one began on 14 October and the last one goes on until 24 October), it will be interesting to see how the economic downturn is reflected on the ramp.
At Lounge we’re equally fond of showcasing all those pretty bags and shoes that most of you would probably think 10 times about before buying. But even if we do dedicate a couple of pages to all the luxuries available in your neighbourhood stores, we don’t see the world from behind diamond-encrusted, price-on-request sunglasses.
As world economies do the herky jerky dance, the concept of luxury is bound to be redefined in the coming months. Some definitions that come to mind:
Luxury is having a job.
Luxury is not living in Iceland. Or Eastern Europe. Or Pakistan.
Luxury is having savings and control over your cash flow.
Luxury is being able to hold on to your stock market investments for the next two, three, five or X years until the R-word disappears again.
Luxury is gold.
Luxury is cash.
Luxury is the fact that for some reason you didn’t buy that Manhattan studio apartment even though it looked like a good investment six months ago.
PS: Put away the bling next week; Friday marks the anniversary of the great stock market crash of 1929.
Write to lounge@livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Oct 17 2008. 11 50 PM IST