April 1, 2016
Let’s Chat: Luxe Life
Lounging on a velvet chaise in Paris, dripping in diamonds, feasting on chocolate, cheese and red wine – the word luxury conjures up a myriad of images. But has that all changed? After all luxury means different things to different people. What does it mean to you?
It’s interesting to see how the ideals of luxury change over the years as society progresses, experiences recessions and financial booms, as technology evolves and even as we get older.
But regardless of what you or I consider items or experiences of luxury, is there a limit? Can we indulge too much?
True luxury is being able to own your time … not [to] be compelled by obligation.” – Ashton Kutcher
The Romans believed there was a limit and subsequently created the first laws on luxury, in turn limiting excessive shows of wealth by restricting how much could be spent on banquets and adornment. They believed there was a point at which we are satisfied, anything beyond that we simply have too much and fail to be pleased.
In 200 AD, the Baths of Caracalla in Rome were considered to be optimal luxury, with heated water, bronze panels for sun reflection and a library for leisure reading.
Between 1400-1600, several goods and foods such as vanilla, coffee, sugar, tobacco, cocoa and chocolate were introduced to European society, appealing to the lavish tastes of the upper classes. The exclusivity of these goods led them to fetch higher prices.
In a day and age where so much is easily accessible and people’s perception of want and need is becoming more blurred – perhaps the real luxuries are not tangible.”
Meanwhile, here in Australia during World War 1, tobacco, cakes, puddings, condensed milk, sugar, biscuits and newspapers were considered to be luxury items and rationed among troops
What is luxury in today’s modern age?
Coco Chanel, who many people would say epitomises luxury, said, “Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.”
Whereas fashion designer Marc Jacobs believes luxury encapsulates anything you don’t need, “You need food, water, clothing, shelter … but good wine, good food, beautiful interiors, nice clothes; those aren’t necessities, they are luxuries – it’s all luxury”.
But I think it goes even further than that. In a day and age where so much is easily accessible and people’s perception of want and need is becoming more blurred – perhaps the real luxuries are not tangible.
“True luxury is being able to own your time – to be able to take a walk, sit on your porch, read the paper, not take the call, not be compelled by obligation,” actor Ashton Kutcher says.
While American designer Michael Kors says the older he becomes, “the more I realise that the ultimate luxury is time”.
It’s a sentiment I wholeheartedly believe in. I feel like time is moving faster as the years go by and it really is of the essence – so take the time to enjoy the company of your loved ones and really be in the moment with them, put down your phone (yet another technological luxury of the modern age), does it really matter how many likes and comments accumulate on the photos from your lavish holiday in the Maldives?