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Construct + Luxury Briefing

The events of the last 12 months mean there is no patience for anything other than honesty, quality and sustainability. Smoke- and-mirrors marketing and the economics of anxiety seem fragile in a world re-connected with self, an individualised appreciation of value and a genuine desire to see change in action.

"Slow but sure, a tide of realisation and re-prioritisation is taking place in the hearts and minds of consumers"

At its most basic, this means the future of luxury will be focussed on quality, sustainability and purpose. Brands with these values at the heart of their business will find a magnifed resonance with their consumers. Honest communication will gain more traction, the timeless product will be valued and innovation for positive impact will win new customers.

This is not being driven by the marketing departments of multi-nationals. It is not a trend; it is a movement. Slow but sure, a tide of realisation and re-prioritisation is taking place in the hearts and minds of consumers. This change happens first at an individual level, it gathers momentum and becomes a collective cultural conscience. A new context for business and consumption is impacting every one of us.

The movement might start slowly and in private, but it quickly gathers momentum. As critical mass is achieved, it will result in a sudden shift in perception. Every category will be impacted, and the luxury market is likely to experience these changes the most. Luxury items that were once lusted after will become uncomfortable to display, status will be indicated by a different set of signifiers, more complex, more coded but as sharply observed as ever.

What does this mean for our businesses? At Construct, we are observing an exaggeration of market dynamics with the most premium products and services performing better than those that are more mainstream. We are seeing a renewed interest in more discrete expressions of connoisseurship, as evidenced by the changes in the watch market, where dials are getting smaller again; and in the car market, where green credentials are the campaign headlines.

In fashion, a category that has always been a clear barometer of cultural conscience, uplifting vibes, comfort, the outdoors and craftsmanship are king. Homewares, beauty and wellbeing chime with this momentum and will continue to outpace other categories, while adventure and experience will bene t from resonance as well as a rebound born out of the enhanced value of freedoms lost and rediscovered.

And what does it mean for each of us? I can’t speak for anyone but myself. After all, this new dynamic is not about new seasons or being on-trend, it’s about lifelong passions, personal style and individuality. On a personal level, I have rediscovered my love for Church’s shoes through their collaboration with Noir Kei Ninomiya (sold out, of course). Why? The hypnotic promise of authentic, timeless craft and con dent creativity existing harmoniously in an eminently practical (and comfortable) product.

I have enjoyed playing endlessly with Carolina Bucci’s Forte beads, creating my version of her genius concept: precious, hard-stone beads (think turquoise, amethyst and cornelian) to construct as bracelets and necklaces, strung on metallic cords with precious gold tips, threaded and re-threaded to match the day’s mood (or outfit).

I can’t wait to return to places that ll me with peaceful contentment, from Amangiri to The Anchorstone Café in Dittisham. (Who would have ever thought those two could co-exist in a single sentence!) And, I have watched and re-watched singer FKA Twigs’ mesmerising live performance at Valentino in January this year. Emotional, powerful and somehow prophetic, it reminds me of the beauty of unforgettable moments we will hopefully soon be able to enjoy again.

In a nutshell, I have remembered I truly value nature, friends, family, my home, exceptional craft, timeless quality, those things that reflect my unique perspective and experiences I can connect with emotionally. Some brands seem to be in tune with this feeling, they have become part of my bubble and I am ignoring all the rest. What we all want now is less but the very, very best.

Time flies

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It’s five years since we first worked with Mali Marciano, the creative visionary behind the re-birth of Le Kasha.

Mali was born in Paris into a family that had long specialized in knitwear. As a child exploring factories with her father all over the world, she developed a passion for travel from an early age. Her curiosity for cashmere was piqued as she learned about the material firsthand.

After graduating from business school, she plotted a course across the hotel and knitwear industries, dividing her life between Paris, New York, and London, while also travelling the world and discovering its delights.

Founded in France in 1918, Le Kasha was part of a revolution in the way the women of the 1920s dressed. An innovative fabric made with Kashmir goat hair blended with a revolutionary new fiber, here was a fabric that looked elegant and was comfortable, while still being easy to care for, maintaining its shape and style even with constant use and washing.

Supplied to prestigious French Haute Couture houses such as Jeanne Lanvin and Jean Patou, Le Kasha was notable for the beautiful way it draped. Coco Channel cemented Le kasha's reputation forever, when she used it to create her first suit collection. The spirit of freedom and adventure of the 1920s persists today, and with it the enduring values of Le Kasha

Le kasha's mission is to make beautiful, timeless pure cashmere clothing suitable for every place and every season. Clean lines, high quality pure cashmere, light fabrics, and neutral tones combine to create a relaxed and functional elegance. Made from cashmere fiber sourced from the Alashan and Arbus regions of Inner Mongolia (Eco Label factory), acknowledged as the foremost region for producing the highest and finest quality cashmere fiber, each piece is both light and long-lasting, making it the perfect fabric for the world's wanderer. The Cachemire de Voyage collection is a complete wardrobe. It captures the romance of travel in a universal and refined look that the curious and cosmopolitan traveller will want to keep close and take everywhere.

The best creative relationships are a two way conversation, Mali interviewed our Creative Director Georgia Fendley for the Le Kasha travels with series...

MM: If you were a mode of transportation, which would you be?

GF: horse. I have ridden all my life and love that you can’t hurry a journey, it’s also the best height for wonderful views above hedges and for sneaky peeps into peoples houses. I often think about a time before other modes of transport and how slow travel would effect your perception. When I ride I am so aware of the seasons, I notice the smallest details and I feel the world slow down

MM: The hotel you would chose to live in for one year…

GF: The Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc circa 1924 when it first opened for the summer season, ideally dining with Sara and Gerald Murphy each evening with their entourage; Picasso, Hemmingway and Fitzgerald

MM: If you could teleport yourself to a place for lunch, which restaurant would you pick?

GF: I would pick the plains of Argentina with Francis Mallman cooking – not a restaurant but an ultimate food experience

MM: You never travel without..

GF: Books, real ones, I love to read, for me time to read is the greatest indulgence

MM: What do you most like to steal from hotels?

GF: Ideas and overheard conversations

MM: A movie that inspires you to travel…

GF: I love Fellini, the drama, the attitude – I can’t pick a favourite. I also love the Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies, one of my favourites is the one with Claudia Cardinale at the ski resort, so chic and funny

MM: The last sentence of a great postcard…

GF: stolen from Kurt Vonnegut: 'I told her one time, “I worry about women.” She said “Don’t”.'

MM: Your dreamy lost at sea situation…

GF: I’m actually frightened of the sea so for me this is a nightmare, it’s too big and powerful and hidden and dark. I like to swim in the sea but would hate to be lost with no horizon in sight

MM: A place you never wanted to leave…

GF: Home. Because I travel so much I really love to be at home with my children, my dogs and my garden, for me this is paradise

MM: A beach where you would like to swim naked…

GF: I would head to the Brecon Beacons and swim in the pools around Ystradfellte Waterfall, not a beach but magical, beautiful and private

MM: Your dream world tour, in five spots..

GF: all the places I haven’t been – India, New Zealand, the orkneys and shetlands and the Swedish archipelago

MM: A place for a romantic breakfast…

GF: my bed! we have the most amazing view of our garden with Solsbury hill behind, ancient yew trees and horses grazing

MM: Which iconic person would you ask for a tour of their city?

GF: Marcus Aurelius, Rome

MM: Which iconic person‘s home would you most like to rent for a unique holiday?

GF: Peggy Guggenheims Venetian home during her lifetime

MM: Which piece of the Le Kasha would you most like to travel in?

GF: I love the aspen arm warmers, so cool and the ultimate between season life saver

A Powerful Tool

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We often share our finished projects but rarely the craft we employ to get there.

Colour is a powerful tool, it can influence our perceptions, our emotions and our mood. We spend an inordinate amount of time exploring colour for our clients. Defining their colour universes based on factors like heritage, audience, environment, purpose and vision.

Starting with research, we explore our clients colour use, we make sure they understand their audiences and start to build colour palettes by creating mood boards as a starting point for colour definition.

Widely studied from Goethe and Schiller in 1798 to Carl Jung and contemporary studies of colour. Colour impacts how we feel about the brands, products and environments we encounter. Contemporary research tells us that customers generally make an initial judgment on a product within 90 seconds of interaction and about 62%-90% of that judgment is based on colour.

We consider what colour landscapes our clients ‘own' and how they can be harnessed, expanded and evolved to better speak to their audiences.

Mood boards allow us to play with subtle flexes and additions and how a complex colour palette can be ordered to provide both identifiable impact and pace.

When a palette has been defined we start to extract colours to build a clear hierarchy for use.

Next comes colour testing, we always test proposed colour palettes carefully across a variety of print substrates and processes, exploring colour options, tones, tints and the impact of substrate on colour. In some cases this is a laborious task, for Claridge’s we ran hundreds of print tests over two days to get the Jade green just right, with the energy and vibrancy our vision for the brand palette demanded.

And last but not least we define guidelines for use on every possible application from web, to print and three dimensional product.