Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Lustre by Dana Thomas - review by Wendy Holden

Wendy Holden

Chanel for Chavs

Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Lustre


Allen Lane / The Penguin Press 375pp £20 order from our bookshop

I live in the country, where fashion is irrelevant. If I walked through Matlock with a Luella handbag and Prada, no-one would bat an eyelid. Not that kind of eyelid anyway. I might get laughed at. I was once sneered at in the supermarket for wearing spotty wellies. Then again, perhaps laughing is the only right response to high-level luxury. Those saps who join thousand-strong waiting lists for a handbag that looks just like every other handbag. That bizarre yet unbending rule which dictates that the most ludicrous-looking people on earth (Valentino’s tan, anyone?) are the most fêted of its designers. How seriously can one take the whole business?

Very seriously, if you’re Dana Thomas. She’s written a whole book about the recent expansion – or explosion – of luxury brands (Gucci, Vuitton, Burberry, Dior, etc), underpinned by the idea that in going global they’ve lost exclusivity and therefore class. Going along with this argument depends, I suppose, on

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