THE FIVE READS: “Meta-Luxury: Brands and the Culture of Excellence.”

There was a time when “luxury goods” were defined by their cost and value. The phrase “if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it’ was attached to virtually anything in the luxury goods category. Marketers created exclusivity, which created desire. Then, marketers got greedy, and started to define “luxury” in broad terms, to a broader audience. Suddenly, everyone could afford “luxury,” (“affordable luxury”) and became an act of “showing” and an external manifestation of ownership. To differentiate the “luxury” that anyone could own, terms such as “hyper-luxury,” “super-luxury,” and “ultra-luxury” were tossed around. 

But the recent economic turmoil has forced society to take a second look at values and what is valued, and re-define “luxury” in different terms.

The authors of the book “Meta-luxury, Brands and the Culture of Excellence,” also believe that the term “luxury” has been “overexposed, overstretched and diluted” as they coin the term ‘meta-luxury’ to recognize what is beyond a word that is now devoid of meaning. They content that the term “meta-luxury” defines a new class—as a culture rather than an industry. They see it as a longing rather than a business target. They see “meta-luxury” based on excellence as a conviction rather than luxury as a convention.

Authors Manfredi Ricca and Rebecca Robins, Directors at Brand leader Interbrand, examine the rise of a paradigm of “luxury beyond luxury,” founded on the principles of knowledge, purpose and timeliness. The authors examine what is at the heart of meta-luxury and its implications for brand and business management. They use conversations with an eclectic array of world-renowned academics, artists and brand leaders—from architect Renzo Piano and Bulgari CEO Francesco Trapani, to violinist Salvatore Accardo. 

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