Luxury: A New Era.

The Blogger Journal - featuring Elena Locatelli

I have always been an observer. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those people who see your face once for 30 seconds and wave at you in the crowd the following day. Nope. I can chat with you for half an hour, letting you think we are now best friends forever, and  then not recognise you in the lift an hour later. However, I can spot things hardly noticeable to other people. You know when in a cv you write “eye for details?” Yes, I do really have an eye for details. At least the ones that matter to me. The details able to tell you a story. The key to understanding who stands in front of you: where is she/ he from, what is her/ his job, is she/he vegan or a slow food guru?

During my university years, I used to take an earlier train in the morning to have 15 minutes to spare to look at people passing by once I arrived at destination. I had my secret spot at the station where no one could notice me and I sat there every day. I carefully watched a diverse humanity pass by. Spotting nice outfits, new colour combinations, a particular heel, amazing hairstyles or fascinating make up. Or imprinting on my mind that very unique way to smile or to move or to walk. I have never told anybody about this very own ritual of mine. It was a secret pleasure.

Last week I was asked to attend a special event in London. The venue was a jewellery luxury brand store in Old Bond Street. One of those names unknown to the public. No, we are not talking about Tiffany&Co or Cartier. Let’s say the regular customer of this brand would sit down and wait for the safe to be opened.

Well, I went there and it was pretty boring until I spotted the right place for me, a perfect corner where I could stay and enjoy the show without being seen. And it turned out to be very interesting. I spotted amazing pieces of clothing, my favourite designers and brands passing by. And nobody was to blame for lack of good taste. That was quite bizarre. In the past I would have had thoughts like: this dress is amazing but the shoes are completely wrong or you shouldn’t wear that dress with your hair colour and skin tone. But not this time. Everybody seemed to have it right. Maybe today it’s easier to afford a personal shopper/ stylist. I even spotted a couple of vintage pieces to die for. However, I had a strange feeling. Something was wrong. Completely.

On my way home I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I kept going through all I had seen, trying to understand what was wrong. I went to bed thinking that maybe I was the problem, maybe I was tired or too bored or…who knows.

And then, a few days later, I had an epiphany. Yes, the sudden revelation. And in front of me I had the answer I was looking for.

I was watching an 80’s video compilation on YouTube. I am addicted to everything that can be labelled as “vintage” or simply I am a bit of a nostalgic girl.

And the answer was there, in front of me. All in the videos was so 80’s: music, dresses, make up, hairstyles. With a smile on my face, I laid down on my sofa saying out loud “ oh that’s all sooo excessive”. Individuality was a new religion, the world was self centred and everything seemed possible. And this was clear and appeared in the fashion and personal choices of each individual.

A subtle consistency can be found in any era, call it Zeitgeist or the spirit of a decade.

Well, last week, the extreme luxury, all the fabulous coats, floating gowns, well cut tailoring, colourful dresses, they all were a pleasure to look at but they were simply wrong. I almost felt sorry for all the wealthy socialites, successful businessmen and women, spoiled girls and bored models I met that night. They all got it wrong. I guess the new luxury now could be found sneaking into the houses of people who did not attend that sparkling event. And that is because our era is finally starting to have a conscience. We are more aware of what is important and what is not. We care about environment and ethics. About making a difference for future generations.

Just the other day I read an article about motorsport. I don’t know how I ended out on that topic but what I found out was very interesting. After formula 1, these are the years of formula e(electrical). My understanding is that many F1 fans are reluctant to embrace this new series because of the lack of noise of the new electrical cars. Well in fashion it’s happening the same. It will take time to understand this new attention brought to the essence of things without “all the usual noise”.

It’s difficult now for me to consider “Luxury” pieces (of clothing or jewellery, regardless) that are not meant to last, that are not well cut, that are not produced in a sustainable way, that are crafted by people who don’t live in human conditions. “Luxury” is not aspirational any more.

Sustainability is the new luxury. A new awareness and the desire to actively participate in a change is the Zeitgeist of our new era.

And now I can finally sleep.