The recent Louis Vuitton rise in price – not to mention Chanel’s skyrocketing price increases – has had many people (including myself) wonder: is it all still worth it? Where is the limit? If it exists to begin with…
In order to find answers to our questions, we must first break down the equation as follow: cost, price, value and worth.
Here’s how I would define each one of the four elements.
COST – the total amount of money that went into the production of a good or service.
PRICE – the amount of money – set by the company – required to own the good or experience the service. Price can be determined by the value.
VALUE – a subjective attribute given to a good or service which can fluctuate in time.
WORTH – a subjective opinion which results from confronting the price to the good or service itself.
In the world of luxury, “heritage” and “experience” can be added to this equation.
Not only does the price include a certain savoir-faire proper to each House that has been transmitted through the years, but customers also get to enter a world where they are being treated in a certain manner making them and every experience special. Luxury is selling talent and and the dream that it has created – a glorious lifestyle that can be reached pieces after pieces.
With that in mind, it all comes down to what we each value and to the price we each are ready to pay. Then again, how do we draw the line?
[Quality enters the chat]
Quality issues in luxury have been in the center of discussions recently. How come prices increase but quality doesn’t seem to follow? Are some luxury Houses resting on their laurels? Are we now only paying for a brand name and for what it used to stand for? To be honest, sometimes it does feel like it.
In our mind, paying the high price used to ensure a certain level of quality. Now, some customers have to return their expensive purse once – or even twice! – for quality issues. Harsh reality check. Not only does it end up breaking the dream it’s selling but also breaking the trust with current and potential customers.
So, what should we value in a luxury piece and should that always come with a high price tag?
A fashion piece, luxury or not, in my opinion should always be made to a) stand the test of time and b) suit your (life)style. Quality over quantity.
Next, if newer pieces seem to be less qualitative than before, aim for vintage pieces. Not only you are giving an item a second life but you may also find a good deal for it. For instance, if you wished to add a Chanel handbag to your collection, knowing that the vintage pieces (pre 2008) used to adorn a 24K gold plated hardware can tip the scales in your final choice.
Last but not least, another solution is to find new Houses that may be more confidential or underrated but which may correspond better to your standards. If sometimes a big name does not suit your quality expectations – or expectations period – maybe it’s time for a new House to shine. Usually their price point is not as excessive as you might think. Plus, chances are high you won’t be seeing their pieces on everyone else – yet!
To conclude, luxury pieces are usually thought as investments that could gain value over time but then again, value is completely subjective to begin with hence its fluctuation. The real value an object has is the one you give it – by enjoying it and cherishing it. As for that, the limit does not exist.