Monday, April 5, 2010

Luxury & Status in Fashion

Steven Meisel, Vogue Italia, 2006

Luxury and status seem to be the very basis for the fashion industry. Luxury goods that adorn and distinguish bring social status.

1. What do we observe in reality & media that communicates the message? Luxury and status appear in both genders, across cultures. It is a practice of adornment, comfort and distinguishment. For women it also appears in the form or jewelry and detailed accessories, while men emphasize tailoring and adorned uniforms that signify power status.

Media consistently presents luxury as desirable and attainable.

Below uses celebrities as a category to sort fashion

There are numerous celebrity figures who communicate the message of luxury and status, especially in the fashion and music industries.

Victoria Beckham demonstrates a consistent message of luxury status.

2. How can we describe the message?
Together luxury and status communicate the following values:



Exceptional, extra


Decorative, adornment

High myth value


Recognition, Fame

Attention, Respect



Fashion crowd pleaser

Territory ownership, marks


Merriam Webster
Middle English luxurie, from Anglo-French luxorie, from Latin luxuria; akin to Latin luxus luxury, excess; Date: 14th century

1.A condition of abundance or great ease
2.Something adding pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary


Merriam Webster
Date: circa 1630

1 a : position or rank in relation to others b : relative rank in a hierarchy of prestige; especially : high prestige

2 : the condition of a person or thing in the eyes of the law

Together these aspects are present in clothing that communicates “added value” enhanced through recognizability.

3. What writing also expresses this message? In the posts below are readings that explain luxury and status as well as the two books featured here.

Pamela Danziger's Let Them Eat Cake addresses the recent increase in mass luxury in the past decade

4. What clothing forms communicate this message? Haute couture, high quality fabrics and tailoring, formal wear, reflective adornments, furs and designer bling

5. What images communicate this message? Editorials that promote a luxury lifestyle are the basis of fashion magazines.

Sebastien Faena, V Magazine, 2006
Below Inez & Vinoodh for W, April 2010 in "New York, NY 10021".

6. What brands communication this message? The French houses especially LVMH communicate luxury. I am focusing on the Italian ones, Gucci and Cavalli.

Gucci uses gold and reflective light in its brand communication

Like Gucci, Cavalli also uses gold. He also personally promotes his brand and his personal life of lux & status.

While not the most luxurious among department stores, Saks used a brand campaign emphasizing luxury and old money in 2005.

Above the text reads "Saks Loves Treasure Seekers"

7. What is a binary message? The service uniform suggests utility and lower status.

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