August 2008

Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster

The Penguin Press

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(212) 366-2000

How Luxury Lost Its Luster

Dana Thomas, the author of abc Deluxe How Luxury Lost Its Luster xyz , is the cultural and fashion writer for Newsweek.  Thomas also lives in Paris, and in this capacity was able to gain unprecedented access to some of the most prestigious luxury houses in the world.  Chanel, Hermes, Prada all fall under the scrutiny of this experienced journalist and what we are left with is perhaps the most comprehensive look at the world of luxury retailing and manufacturing.  Probably the most fascinating section of this book details the history and meteoric rise of Louis Vuitton, which is the world’s largest luxury goods company.  From the days 150 years ago when Louis Vuitton started making trunks in the Paris suburbs of Asnieres-sur-Seine to the major conglomerate of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) which is now owned by Bernard Arnault.  Thomas goes on to describe the creation of the iconic LV logo and how Louis Vuitton came to be sold in Japan.

Thomas conducted an insightful interview with legendary fashion designer Miuccia Prada and her husband and business partner Patrizio Bertelli.  Prada took over the family business and created a legend with the Prada Nylon backpack.  That backpack launched her secondary line Miu Miu and Prada Sport while creating an empire all based out of Milan.  Prada took the company to unprecedented heights.  Other areas of note include how fragrance is big business in the luxury market and how Hermes is the pinnacle of luxury handbags with their Birkin and Kelly styles.  Deluxe is the most in-depth and hard hitting look at the world of luxury retail to date.  A must-read.

Reviewer: Monika Earle, FIDM Library Staff Member