Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster

Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster

by Dana Thomas

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From the author of Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes

Once luxury was available only to the rarefied and aristocratic world of old money and royalty. It offered a history of tradition, superior quality, and a pampered buying experience. Today, however, luxury is simply a product packaged and sold by multibillion-dollar global corporations focused on growth, visibility, brand awareness, advertising, and, above all, profits. Award-winning journalist Dana Thomas digs deep into the dark side of the luxury industry to uncover all the secrets that Prada, Gucci, and Burberry don't want us to know. Deluxe is an uncompromising look behind the glossy façade that will enthrall anyone interested in fashion, finance, or culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101218075
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/16/2007
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 73,106
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Dana Thomas is the author of Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes, Gods and Kings and the New York Times bestseller Deluxe. She began her career writing for the Style section of The Washington Post, and she has served as a cultural and fashion correspondent for Newsweek in Paris. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times Style section and has written for The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and Architectural Digest. In 2016, the French Minister of Culture named Thomas a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. She lives in Paris.

Table of Contents

Introduction     1
Part 1
An Industry Is Born     17
Group Mentality     39
Going Global     73
Part 2
Stars Get in Your Eyes     99
The Sweet Smell of Success     135
It's in the Bag     167
The Needle and the Damage Done     209
Part 3
Going Mass     235
Faux Amis     269
What Now?     297
New Luxury     321
Acknowledgments     347
Notes     350
Bibliography     361
Index     363

What People are Saying About This

Jay Alexander

"Miss J. says don't buy the shoes, buy the book. Perfect front row reading when the shows are late during fashion week. Deluxe is a luxury to read."--(Jay Alexander, America's Next Top Model)

Rose Apodaca

Through exhaustive reporting and personalized storytelling, Dana Thomas has delivered a historical survey of a business that truly keeps the world going round. She may never again be so readily welcomed in some quarters of this beau monde, but the trade off is an essential reference for any student of fashion, finance or culture. (Rose Apodaca, former west coast bureau chief, Women's Wear Daily )

Fareed Zakaria

The story of luxury goods today is really about globalization, capitalization, class and culture. Dana Thomas has a feel for all of this and more and has written a fascinating book. A luxury product about luxury.

Michael Isikoff

"Dana Thomas is a brilliant reporter with a sharp eye for detail. In Deluxe, she provides an illuminating account of how the multi billion dollar luxury industry and the corporate giants that dominate it prey on, and bamboozle, consumers in the United States and the rest of the world."--(Michael Isikoff, co-author of Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal and the Selling of the Iraq War)

Joel Achenbach

"Deluxe is delicious if you know about fashion; fascinating even if you don't. We're not just backstage at the runway show, we're all the way back in the factory, which might well be in a remote province of China. Dana Thomas is a fearless reporter who shows how so many designer goods have gone to hell in a handbag. This is a page-turning yarn about the men and women who have transformed luxury into an off-the-rack, global commodity."--(Joel Achenbach, Washington Post columnist and author of The Grand Idea)

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Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so informative, eye-opening and well-researched. It was an overall great book. Not only did it expose many of today's so called luxury brands for the mass-marketed, mass-produced items that they are, but it also was fascinating to learn how the brands that still produce high quality merchndise take it that "extra step" to make sure they only produce a truly high quality items. I especially loved the chapter on fragrance. It was a very interesting lesson on how fragrances are produced and what is involved. The chapter on the link between celebrities and the promotion on brands was also enlighting. The exposure of the "knock-off" industry and their ties to child labor and and abuses will stop me from ever, ever thinking of buying a fake again! For anyone who loves fashion this is a must read!
Sarjevane More than 1 year ago
Thomas uses each brand to outlines what luxury is about today. The book is full of why and how luxury does not mean unique. Definition of luxury is still up in the air, but definitely you finish the book realizing that what luxury was is not what it is now. Does it mean it lost its luster? May be not. But it lost its "one of a kind" aspect. You finish the book in a hate love relationship with those brands; you realize what they could be, and what they truly are about. At the same time, the book is inspirational. There is a big opportunity where the luxury brand were; a place where price is not the only motivation, but the individual service is. The final chapter is refreshing and optimistic about the luxury industry.
montano on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Thomas seems personally embittered about French fashion and luxury houses that have expanded to global brands. Her accounting of mergers and corporate raiding doesn't make a point or for compelling reading.
rivkat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Luxury products have democratized greatly, but only at great cost: lower quality, massive outsourcing (Thomas details that EU law governing source disclosure is much laxer than US law, so sellers can import goods from China, rip off the ¿Made in China¿ labels, and add ¿Made in Italy¿ with only small manipulations), and a pervasive materialism/consumerism that is connected to the massive overspending of the past few decades. Thomas is nostalgic for true luxury, available only to the wealthiest of the wealthy, not signalled by huge trademarks but by being ¿in the know.¿ It¿s an interesting book, marred by Thomas¿s uncritical acceptance of the industry¿s idea that counterfeiting is a big source of terrorist income and sweatshop/slave labor, without ever comparing counterfeit goods to the equally cheap noncounterfeit goods made in the same factories and sold at Wal-Mart. I am much more persuaded that cheap is the problem. And the luxury brands, by buying into the corporate culture that demands 5% growth every quarter, helped spur the very consumerism/brand consciousness/bargain-hunting by both producers and consumers that drives counterfeiting. This is the world they made. Isn¿t it wonderful?
jasonpettus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)I confess, I know barely anything about the world of high fashion, and so of course especially know nothing about the highest end of it all, the so-called "luxury" brands like Prada, Gucci and Hermés that charge just insane prices for the stupidest little stuff (a hundred dollars for a handkerchief, five hundred dollars for a t-shirt), sold specifically to members of the nouveau riche with self-esteem issues and platinum credit cards. Ah, but see, that right there is part of the big problem with the luxury industry these days, or so argues Dana Thomas in her brilliant but unfortunately long-winded new exposé Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster. You see, explains this veteran fashion journalist, back in the 1700s and early 1800s, the beginning of the Industrial Age when all these prestige brands were born, they became prestige brands precisely because it know, prestigious stuff, objects that became known as "luxury items" precisely because they were truly luxurious; it's only in our modern (er, postmodern) times that the effort to even produce high-quality items has been dropped from these companies, when the "brand" part of "luxury brand" has suddenly become much more important than the "luxury" part.For a whole variety of complicated reasons, Thomas successfully argues here, the entire luxury industry has recently become a dangerous shell game, something that now relies almost entirely on marketing and public opinion, on selling an idea rather than an actual product; sure, it made these companies just obscene amounts of money throughout the go-go '80s and '90s, but Thomas argues that it's a house of cards about to fall apart, that it was Americans' unending willingness to go into deep debt for no good reason in those years that essentially fueled that industry more than anything else. It's a highly intriguing theory to be sure, one that Thomas factually backs up over and over throughout the manuscript; it's just too bad that, you know, sometimes she takes forever to actually make her point.Because that's the ironic thing, that my biggest criticism of Deluxe is actually Thomas' glowing credentials as a journalist; based in Paris for most of her adult life, she's been Newsweek's head fashion writer for a dozen years, the French correspondent for the Australian Harper's Bazaar, contributes regularly to such places as Vogue and The New Yorker, and was even a journalism professor for several years. This all comes shining through in the finished book, but that actually turns out to sometimes be a problem; this hard-news, magazine-based writer in fact sometimes has a difficult job figuring out how to trim her stories to make for a good full-sized book, with it sometimes coming off more as simply a collected series of magazine articles than as a cohesive 350-page manuscript. And in fact, part of this is the same problem I've noticed with a lot of fashion veterans who try writing something critical of the fashion industry, that they tend to simultaneously worship the very things they're being critical of, and in that annoying pink-hued "Sex in the City" way I find just so distressing and terrible. ("Oh, isn't it such a crime that the market's been so falsely manipulated, these companies can now charge $25,000 for a leather purse? And now, twelve pages on how those gorgeous little babies are made!")Because make no mistake, Thomas has a devastatingly effective criticism to lay out here regarding the so-called luxury industry; that there is simply no luxury left in the industry, that a series of soulless marketing-oriented corporate executives have taken over and conglomerated all these companies over the last thirty years, turning the entire thing into an excuse to charge outrageous amounts o
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
really interesting read. would be nice if they would update it to 2013 because things have changed in the past six years. Also, has your typical nook typos here and there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off" This book does just that. Tells the truth. After reading this Iam discusted by logos and I will only buy made in usa product and bags with NO LOGOS!!!!! Iam selling my Tory Burch clutch. I feel these logos are a way for these "designers" to escape actually creating a design.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mwaa ha ha ha ha.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very informative look into a very flashy world, unfortunate that the world of luxury is like the Wizard of Oz. A look behind the curtain will dispel all illusions you have about our many "luxury" brands.
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Derrybookworm More than 1 year ago
This book was very insightful into the world of luxury items such as designer clothing and handbags. Even the chapter on the world of perfume was interesting. I loved this book so much, I bought a copy for my sister. I didn't want to part with my copy.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Living near one of the world's most expensive malls, I was really interested in learning more about the extremely expensive items that stock the elite shops located in the mall in my area, which purportedly charges the highest retail rent in the nation. I always wondered how those shops thrived because I'd never witnessed anything approaching what could be considered a crowd of shoppers in any of these luxury goods stores, and it puzzled me that they could pay enormous rents, employee salaries, marketing expenses, etc., etc., and still make astronomical profits. My curiosity was satisfied by reading Dana Thomas' book 'Deluxe.' It's now very simple to understand how these 'luxury' brands are so profitable. The information contained in this book will annoy many who were under the impression that their Louis Vuitton bag or their 'designer' clothing is anything quite special.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I am appreciative of the writer's honesty and further investigation into a field that she knows well. It makes clear the distinctions between quality, mass consumerism and profit. Deluxe is a detailed account of the downfall of a loved one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is well written, chic, and also keeps the reader wanting to 'know' more of what she has to say. Overall a great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a fabulous, well written, easy-to-read book. The information the author provides is very interesting and written in a story-telling way. Anyone who loves fashion and luxury products will enjoy the insights this book has to offer!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dana Thomas¿s Deluxe is a perfect fit for anyone who loves the world of fashion. I found the book really interesting because you would think that when a large amount of money is spent you would receive a very quality one of a kind piece, like a Louis Vuitton handbag. That is not true though. The big names like Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton all started as mom and popshops. Over the years the original designers died and family did not want to take over, so big tycoons come in, buy the names, design and produce products that are made of lesser quality materials, especially leather and sell for outrageous prices. Through the years luxury really has lost its luster because now people do not care of the quality but of the status they are displaying. Nowadays quantity over rules quality. I really enjoyed learning that a name is not everything. Just because someone owns a Chanel bag does not mean it is any better quality than a bag from Target. I found it very interesting that some of the big name brands produce their products in the same place as lesser-known brands for a lot more money. There was nothing I did not like about this book. From the details of how all the shops look inside with their exquisite architecture and crazy patterns to the gifts employees receive, I never lost interest in this book. Deluxe let me do some research on the next handbag I want to buy and I now know what brands are real quality and which ones are just a fabulous name. If you¿re someone looking for and inside scoop on the real fashion world, this book is perfect. It is a behind the scenes look at how a big name brand really makes their money. One thing I keep in mind after reading this book is that quality is much better than quantity. The brands do not see things the same way the consumer does so to them quantity is much better than quality.