The Paradox of Luxury: Being of Our Time and Timeless

4 mins read
What Makes a Brand Relevant Over Time? 

Serge Carreira, Lecturer in the Master New Luxury and Art de Vivre Program at Sciences Po Paris. 
He focuses on one of Luxury's most singular dimensions: TIME. 
He also uncovers how Luxury can evolve with society to ensure its values are lasting. 

Luxury is a magic word. Some people will describe it as a feeling. Others will consider it as an object or an experiment. It will be restrictive to define Luxury as only what is not needed. Luxury is a cultural expression beyond immediate needs.

Luxury is defined through various elements: Quality, Identity, Use, Price, Desire, Scarcity, etc. Let’s focus on one of its most singular dimensions: Time.

The fact is that the idea of Luxury combines individual and social representation. It generates a temporal mutability of Luxury. Luxury is a quest for perfection, an appreciation of know-how and culture, and an aesthetic vision. If Luxury involves society, its values are lasting. There is a kind of paradox: it has to be of our times and timeless at the same time.

Luxury & the Past

There is no past we can bring back by longing for it. There is only an eternal now that builds and creates out of the past something new and better.


Luxury is rooted in the past, but it should not be nostalgia.

Past means heritage. A Luxury product has a history. The vocabulary of Luxury includes Crafts, Myths, Icons and Excellence. However, if Luxury doesn’t evolve, it could become dusty and old.

Luxury Brands in The Present

Beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them.

David Hume

The eye changes. And then Luxury changes.

Luxury expresses a desire a beautify life. It could be considered the pursuit of absolute beauty. It is something extraordinary, which means something not ordinary. It has a dreamy touch.

Aesthetic is a major element to turn Luxury attractive. Luxury is a business of offer, not a business of demand. That is why it could sometimes be pushing the boundaries.

Despite its strong roots in the past, Luxury is a game-changer. To be in a constant attraction relationship, it must reflect today’s customers’ expectations: Authenticity, Transparency, Sustainability and inclusivity.

These values are at the core of the Luxury concept. Lasting is one of the characteristics of Luxury. It juxtaposes the different temporal dimensions.

The Future of Luxury

Luxury doesn’t have to be futuristic. Nevertheless, what makes it so unique is the fact that it always remains relevant despite trends.

Craft, Myth, and Design make a Luxury product durable. It also brings personal emotion as it is a meaningful object. A bag, a ring, a scarf or a watch can be transmitted from one generation to another.

Moreover, in essence, Luxury embodies bold and perennial values:

  • Quality Beyond Aesthetic
  • Legacy Beyond Desire
  • Emotion Beyond Ownership
  • Creativity Beyond Trends
INSIDE LVHM: Luxury & Sustainability - Promotion May 2022
Chapter: Unlock how Luxury and Society have been inextricably linked over time

Fashion Stylist & Editor

Born and raised in Shanghai, living and working in Paris.
Academic background: English Literature, History of Western Art
Professional background: Art Curation, Fashion Design, Styling

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