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Mark Sayers: A theology of luxury

October 29, 2008

Marks Sayers has an interesting post up about what he calls a ‘theology of luxury.’

So what is behind this global desire for Luxury? I was recently listening to a forum on the BBC world service and one of the contributors noted that Luxury today operates as a kind of religion. Luxury items are items or services that have been overlayed with deep sociological, cultural and even mythological meanings. For example a signed copy of Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan will carry far more symbolic meaning that a signed copy of an album by the Huey Lewis and the News cover band that play Tuesday nights at your local sports bar. Why? Because our culture has deemed that Bob Dylan carries a tremendous amount of cultural currency. Therefore an album by him particularly with his signature, carries far more mythic symbolism. Thus you could say that a luxury item is a totemic symbol. It carries an almost magic quality. By adding a symbol such as the Louis Vuitton logo to a product all of a sudden its status changes. Fashion designers operate as modern day priests or alchemists turning ordinary objects into totemic luxury items.

Hmm. Something to think about.

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