Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster

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  • Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Lustre - Dana Thomas - Google книги;
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  • Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster - Dana Thomas - Google книги.
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Thomas's fact and bargain-finding trips to Japan, China, India, the discount outlets of California and the luxury malls of Las Vegas, record our present in which significant percentages of the global population have caught, or been taught, the mad idea that they can acquire the signifier of modernity, immunity, celebrity, identity - Thomas can't or won't define what the fantasy they're after is - for the price of a Prada bag, or failing that, a Gucci wallet.

Luggage is stacked so high throughout the book that I kept exclaiming "a handbag? Thomas only presents the saleable present, though.

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Her history, other than that of labelled products as researched in company museums, is questionable - embroidery in China is around four millennia old, not the 10 she claims. Some of her futures seem iffy too - even before the book was published, her preferred prognosticators, the Wall Street investment bankers Bear Stearns, had proved fallible. She's thrilled to retail tales of spite and treachery among stylists of stars on the red carpet at the Oscars, but that doesn't provide much cultural context for the ascendancy of upmarket bling.

Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster

There's hardly a mention of the market deregulation and the associated expansion of retail credit in the s that supported the rise of Arnault and Racamier. Nor any explanation as to why the Japanese, who pay in crisp fresh cash, can spot a millimetric deviation in a line of stitches, and have always had local taste in craftsmanship, should consume the naffest Cartier in Hawaii's duty-free gallerias. Must be the exoticism of the occident. Thomas barely registers the displacement of physical reality by the camera: that we now look to photographs for guidance on what we should buy to look good in photographs, explains much about the immateriality of our material possessions.

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There's the main motivating fantasy, not to enjoy and live but to be seen in photographs to be above enjoyment while playing at living. An empress of China wouldn't now be buried with grave goods, stuff you could stroke and unroll and put on exhibition, just the latest copy of Chinese Vogue with many spreads of her modelling the current names in destination hotels in Dubai.

By the end of the book, Thomas sounds a bit glutted with the greed and inanity of it all. The Russians seem particularly raucous - next time revolutionaries won't storm the Winter Palace but the limestone hallways of Crocus City Mall outside Moscow.


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