The real luxury today is sensual stimuli

The real luxury today is sensual stimuli

The feel and sound of a silk scarf: that's what luxury means today.  (Image: Susan Wilkinson/Unsplash)

The feel and sound of a silk scarf: that’s what luxury means today. (Image: Susan Wilkinson/Unsplash)

Get rid of logos

It’s the smell of leather seats or the rustle of a silk scarf. Today, luxury is no longer shown in an obvious way; instead, it appears seductively silently in your nostrils or only becomes apparent upon closer inspection.

One gets the impression that bling-bling is over, more is not more, but less is more. Would today’s equivalent of Franck Ribéry board a plane in a shiny gold Dolce & Gabbana tracksuit like a 1970s pop star and act folksy in second class? Probably not, rather he would fly discreetly in first class, shielded from view, in splendid isolation, completely enveloped in dark colors.

Covering yourself from head to toe in logos now also looks cheap and loud. You no longer show, at least not at first glance, what you can afford and achieve. You don’t want to attract attention, you want to go unnoticed. The new luxury is silent and secret.

No wonder beige, blue and champagne are enjoying a new boom. Even the street smarts are a little too aggressive. It seems that we have once again adhered to Adolf Loos’ definition of a gentle man: well dressed is someone who goes unnoticed and naturally follows the ruling class, in the city that sets the tone (for Loos it was not Vienna, but London). Or you can go with Coco Chanel: it’s not about being praised for your beautiful dress, but for her good looks.

The Covid winner was therefore not just sweatpants, but also soft, warm, light and cozy cashmere – for everything, including sweatpants. Cut so you don’t feel like you’re wearing anything. You need a second look, an inner knowing, to recognize this silent luxury that is not imposed on you, but perhaps silently creeps seductively up your nose and flatters your ears.

The smell of money

The special scent of leather seats, the soft, newly tuned hum of departure, the deeply satisfying click of a purse clasp and the rustle of silk from a scarf – these are the sensual stimuli we fly towards, often without consciously. noticing them. The eye is no longer first violin; hearing, smell and touch are the focus of luxury research.

At this moment, our desire no longer aims to overshadow others. And ultimately not because we are recognized in the quiet luxury of our species, the happy few. We no longer long for the first house on the block so we can be seen there at the right time and by the right people. We no longer dream of winning the competition for recognition, but rather of an isolated place, outside of social competition. The ultimate utopia, an incredible luxury, the most beautiful gift is to escape the desire for distinction, to ignore it, to turn your back on it.

Ultimate luxury is not outrageously expensive, but off-price because it is incomparable. The best gift is an out-of-this-world space where everything is taken lightly and people can have fun. And the right click of a purse clasp, a supple leather or the rustle of a heavy silk scarf sends a shiver of happiness down your spine.

Barbara Vinken is professor of general literature and Romance philology at the LMU in Munich. She reached a wide audience with her reflections on German family politics and fashion.

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