What is Luxury?

Iris van herpen

3D printed fashion by Iris Van Herpen is even more striking live as in photos.

Few things have changed as much as luxury in the last five years. An exhibition by Crafts Council at the V&A Museum in London interrogates ideas of luxury today.

V&A exhibition attempts to question the meaning of luxury today; and especially how the values behind it have changed.

The most dominant trend at the moment in luxury industry is craft, which was well presented at the exhibition. It was great to see new technologies and materials applied to traditional products e.g. a saddle by Hermes.

An interesting take on luxury was that in the future when certain materials become more rare, they become luxury e.g. human hair.

Some of the rare objects raise questions about the polarisation of luxury; who needs and can afford them? Should we stop making such rarities all together? Is it right to own them, when there is so much poverty in the world? The museum cabinets seemed a right place to exhibit them; not in use, but to admire from distance.

As ownership and material possessions are getting valued less and less by the younger generations, these types of rare objects seem uninteresting and irrelevant. In fact, the exhibition misses totally the other aspect of luxury: mass affluence and accessibility.

Today’s new luxury is linked to the use of objects, experiences instead of ownership, and to general wellbeing for all.

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