Deluxe by Dana Thomas

Every piece of non-fiction I have been assigned, either at school or university, has sent me into a tizzy of boredom.  Those chapters/books/articles always seem to feel dry and pointless.  Who really wants to read about the economy or the music of Aida?  I don’t, well, not really.

Therefore, I got the idea that all non-ficition writing was of the same tear-inducing dullness.  I have since learnt, however, that non-fiction isn’t boring.  Not at all.  In fact, I’ve come to realize that non-fiction books are some of my favorites.

That is not to say that I love all non fiction.  If you hand me a book about the economy or about the music of Aida, I’ll probably fall asleep and wake up to find tear stains on the pages.  Generally, I find biographies and memoirs the most compelling.  They still have the same narrative structure as a fiction book, but it’s all true.

Well, luck for me, all the books lying around our house that I haven’t read are non fiction.  Guess that’s not too surprising given what I stated above.  For some reason I saved Dana Thomas’s Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster for last.  There wasn’t a real reason, it was just the one that I thought would be the least compelling.

I was one hundred percent wrong.  Out of all the books that have been sitting around my apartment, this one was, hand-down, my favorite.  It was well written, presented an interesting argument and, yes, it even told a compelling story.

So, what is the story exactly?  Thomas argues that with the increasing availability of s0-called luxury brands, think Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci etc, these houses are no longer luxurious.  The idea of luxury as something that is prohibitive is fading, but if everyone can enjoy it, is it really luxury.

She presents different aspects on the how and the why, illustrating to the reader how fashion, but mostly the business of fashion, has changed in the past twenty-ish years.  There is discussion of branding, hand-bags, perfume and even counterfitting.  The book is a comprehensive examination of the term luxury.

Not only does Thomas present interesting thoughts of her own, they are framed in a manner that involve the reader in the story.  You must come up with your own conclusions whilst reading, or at least begin to examine how you may or may not buy into the industry of luxury.

Like The End of Fashion, this book is perfect for anyone who takes any interest in the world of fashion and how it’s changing.

Do you think luxury should be accessible?  Why or why not.


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