#LuxuryWatch: The ‘Return to Real’—Bottega Veneta, Loro Piana, Dior


David Bowie Contact Sheet

The week’s news and views on luxury from Rebecca Robins, Interbrand Global Director and Meta-luxury co-author.

“You can cry looking at a contact sheet.” Amidst the incessant spin of the digital image, it’s both heartening and telling to see a burgeoning resurgence of the real as photographers return to film.

Photograph by Jamie Hawkesworth

Burberry Mario Testino Luke Edward Hall

Burberry Testino Patchwork Bag

The return to the real is also echoed in Burberry’s latest campaign, which features the illustrations of British artist and interior designer Luke Edward Hill alongside photography from Mario Testino, celebrating the unique editions of Bailey’s Patchwork Bag—each named after a different British town or street.

From ateliers to a €2 billion (US$2.23 billion) brand—The Business of Fashion looks at the growth ambition of the inimitable Bottega Veneta under LVMH.

Loro Piana

In a sharing and experience economy, knowledge is the new currency and Loro Piana‘s commitment to excellence in quality and sustainability taps into the new connoisseur. As a new CEO arrives at Loro Piana, Reuters mulls the delicate management of a meta-luxury brand within a group portfolio.

House of Dior

Dior’s special history with Britain is reignited in a week that features “a polyglot of global influences” as Dior returns to show at the beguiling Blenheim Palace, while the latest experience of the Dior brand opens on Bond Street (above).

Sirin High-Security Smartphone

Last week’s edition featured luxury as silence in a Tokyo hotel designed to cocoon its guests in serenity and tranquility. Alongside the luxury of silence and time, privacy now appears as a valued asset as Israeli startup Sirin Labs reveals its high-security, high-end smartphone.

Recommended reading: “Spending in the Age of Snapchat,” a “real” read by the FT’s US Managing Editor Gillian Tett on the experience economy, as the creators of luxury are working harder to engage consumer demand for the creation of shared moments, meaning and memories. As Tiffany and other luxury brands test Snapchat, Tett writes, “One of the most powerful forms of conspicuous consumption today is not the accumulation of goods but the accumulation of memories.”

Austrian Central Bank Violins

My “find” of the week has to be the Austrian Central Bank, which lends a new meaning to what are listed on its balance sheets as “mobile material assets”—as it was revealed that violins, violas and cellos by Stradivarius and Guarneri del Gesù account for more than €70 million (US$78 million) of the bank’s assets. The bank is an ardent advocate of the arts and will be bringing its small orchestra out of the dark for a concert in honour of the 200th anniversary of the Austrian monetary authority. “Our intention is to make a sustained contribution to Austria’s music landscape,” says Elizabeth Dutz, who is responsible for the collection, as she emphasises the bank’s commitment to culture. “Musicians need good instruments to prevail on the international stage, and particularly the young ones often aren’t able to afford such instruments.”

So, this is the first account of meta-luxury assets appearing on a balance sheet. Given that Interbrand’s Best Global Brands have consistently outperformed the S&P 500 and MSCI World Index over the past 16 years, it may be time to consider the prospect of setting up a meta-luxury investment fund…

Rebecca Robins is Interbrand Global Director and co-author of Meta-luxury. Beats and tweets: @robins_rebecca

Get more insights in our Luxury Watch