Craft & Co-Creation
Luxury is often intertwined with the concept of time, whether that relationship generates rarity, individuality or lasting value the two concepts have a symbiotic connection. Until fairly recently luxury consumers were of the mind that anything worth having was worth waiting for, luxury used to be a bespoke business.
The disposable commoditisation of luxury products and a growing consumer hunger for the ‘new' challenged this age-old approach, for the last twenty years our sector has grown largely on the sales of 'mementos of true luxury'. Mass produced motifs of a world of luxury far removed from the experience of luxury itself.
In my parents and grandparents’ era precious things were waited for, treasured for a lifetime
and passed to the next generation. The emotional connection and value which transcends value were a reflection of the individuality and personal nature of a luxury purchase. Not about 'a season' or 'a fear of missing out’ but about personal taste, an informed passion and a desire to make something part of your life.
As you will know if you read my column regularly, I love luxury but I wrestle with that love. I also want quality to be accessible and for the world to waste less and care more. In contemporary commerce, these values are sometimes hard to reconcile. I guess if there were such a thing, I would be a founder member of the slow luxury movement. This measured approach to the business of luxury is not without its commercial benefits. Brands with the quality, confidence, appeal and the ability to wait for the right products and right customers can create value exponentially greater and longer lasting than any flavour of the month, fast fashion, luxury lifestyle brand. They just need vision, time, deep pockets and nerves of steel!
These businesses don’t need to be big, old, or traditional, but it helps. This is why it’s so encouraging to see the emerging appeal of smaller luxury brands, built on the values of true luxury, connecting with consumers who instinctively understand true value. I am fascinated to see the queues outside Goyard on Mount Street every day, whilst no longer owned by the founding family, the brand is family owned and run by Jean-Michel Singles and sons since 2005. The careful growth of the brand and uncompromising quality make it magnetic for consumers seeking authentic luxury.
Perhaps the family connection is significant, the idea of creating value which transcends generations in business sits well with the concept of creating product that is capable of doing the same. These values, if they are deep enough and true enough can adapt beautifully to a modern consumer. I love the story of Carolina Bucci, a business which dates back to the nineteenth century, a true family business, fine jewellery still made in the families Florentine workshops. Today the business reflects the spirit of Carolina Bucci, it creates wearable fine jewellery for an effortlessly confident, cosmopolitan woman. No surprise that this was the brand Audemars Piguet chose to collaborate with in the creation of the latest incarnation of my favourite watch of all time, the Royal Oak. In Ms Bucci’s hands a classic is re-born with sensitivity, wit and charm.
This approach is clear throughout the collection from the signature precious friendship bracelets in gold to the bespoke collections which require an almost therapeutic experience. Beyond bespoke, Carolina Bucci works with clients’ heirloom pieces to create new wearable re-workings of old and new. An unworn heirloom can be reworked into a woven bracelet handmade on the families nineteenth century loom in Florence, literally weaving old memories and emotions into new desirable, wearable pieces of fine jewellery. Jewellery boxes of charms and trinkets are given a new lease of life, curated and strung onto bold strings of precious beads. This process of co-creation and craft delivers the ultimate in luxury, emotionally resonant personal pieces desired to be worn for a lifetime, rich with stories to tell the grandchildren. This kind of luxury is well worth waiting for.