6 Fashion People On Their Newest Form Of Luxury And Why It Has Become So Different
Out with the old and in with the new, here's how we're navigating our way into the new world of luxury.
There's a new way to embrace luxury and it comes in many forms. 2020's great pause gave us enough time to rethink our needs and wants. We would like to believe that that experience has brought us new and more sustainable ways of living. In an industry so rooted in exclusivity and competition, it was so refreshing to see people and brands move together. Throwback to March of last year when Daniel Lee of Bottega Veneta created The Bottega Residency where he and his close artist friends accompanied lost creatives in quarantine through online programs that tackled design, art, music, and film. Lee believed that "in the hardest of times, it is still important to dream" and that thought has stuck with us ever since. More recently, Alessandro Michele of Gucci brought back the spirit of exploration through metaphorical adventures with his collaboration with The North Face. The expansive collection featured wearable puffer jackets, emblazoned backpacks, boots, and even sleeping bags. Whether through 8d soundscapes or isolated trekking to nearby pockets of land, Michele encouraged us to seek adventures outside our screens.
The sign of the times have truly woken up these sleeping luxury giants and as a result to this, they gave us pieces and experiences that we exactly needed to recuperate from last year's uncertainty. Could this mean that luxury has ultimately become more personal that aspirational? In the meantime, we are taking baby steps by bidding our goodbyes to excessive and often performative consumerism. The era of obsessive intangibility when it comes to highly sought-after goods is over! The new form of luxury has taken the form of pieces and experiences that matter the most and we're more than ready to embrace every bit of it.
To talk to us about their newfound pockets of luxury, our stylish bunch of local fashion industry creatives brought us some food for thought. Hear out Rajo Laurel, Rosanna Ocampo, and Chris Nick as they navigate towards new normal luxury in a designer's perspective, Stylists Pam Quinones and Cath Sobrevega on habits we have hopefully adapted after 2020's retail noise, and Vern Enciso to help us forecast luxury consumer behavior this year. Make sure to indulge in every conversation down below, you'd be quite surprised at how personal luxury has become!
For Rajo, luxury can now be defined by being healthy, having the peace of mind, and having a sense of normalcy in this chaotic world. The esteemed designer has found joy in the simplest of things including a great kimono that can blur the lines of indoor and outdoor dressing and a set of China tableware and accessories that can elevate his dining experience at home. Like the rest of us, Rajo has found luxury in the form of sleeping too with the best set of bed sheets and pillowcases.
In terms of what’s coming in House of Laurel, we can definitely expect pieces that will bring life into our new normal wear. “I am aching for colour! I feel that color can make everyone happy that’s why we are injecting this in our new collection. We also have invested in materials that feel better on the skin, we're doing more natural materials in washed cottons and washed silks that feel amazing. Structure will be present but this upcoming collection will be more fluid with shapes that are definitely away from the body and not as fitted. I feel the need to be more free so the shapes we're doing are looser and more generous,” says Rajo.
In a conversation whether luxury has become within reach due to luxury brands creating more pieces designed for now, Rajo says that “Luxury will always be evasive, that is why it is so desirable. If everyone can easily achieve this then in my mind it would not be as luxurious. However I still believe that it should be attainable and reachable so it is up to us to create this sense of luxury that will be defined as giving true and real pleasures.”
When we asked about Chris’ current top three luxury or non-luxury must-haves, he immediately thought of a medical grade mask, his Tom Ford clutch, and his skincare essentials dominated by products from Chanel and Nars. Luxury for Chris has always been personal but he values the form of escape it can give to people who go for aspirational luxury pieces. “The previous year brought so much uncertainty and it has definitely taken a toll on brands that have a rather aspirational type of style but I think a majority of the people indoors still crave that sense of glamour and escape,” says Chris.
In his most recent collection called Luxe Lounge, Chris focused on elevating neutral-colored pieces of loungewear that can be dressed up or down and can be still used to transform a look from day to night. “I recently released my version of loungewear which still had dressing on top of mind. I took inspiration from tuxedos because for me, easy-to-wear doesn’t necessarily always have to be sportswear or pajamas. I think the clients right now are looking for easy dressier pieces that they can wear again and again on special occasions or for their downtime,” says Chris. Our favorite pieces from this collection has got to be the cummberband bralette paired with the boyfriend lounge pants. Both pieces bring up the zhush when it comes to work-from-home attires.
In the height of the pandemic, Rosanna kept herself busy with her workout gears, online courses, and podcasts. Those were easily her saving graces and pockets of calm during the strict lockdowns. Physical and mental escapes during the lockdown were her forms of luxury.
Following the sudden shift of perspective and priorities of the consumers last year, Rosanna had to make a couple of adjustments for namesake brand in terms of silhouettes. “Le weekend by RO is our pandemic born label and it focuses on a lifestyle full of music, cardio, and cocktails. We will continue to work on coordinates, blazer sets, and bar carts since that extremely did well last year. Pieces will definitely remain therapeutic with a sense of longevity,” shares Rosanna.
Our little pockets of luxury will definitely thrive this year along with creativity and sustainability. Rosanna is hugely expecting a market that is more open to upcycling and styling pieces that are made to be used for a lifetime. We definitely agree that luxury is now defined by happiness, well-being, and growth more than ever.
In the past decade or so, Pam was concerned by how some luxury brands have neglected quality and craftsmanship as they go head-to-head with trends instead. Year after year, she has noticed how brands and consumers move farther away from what luxury really is. After last year, Pam thinks that we are now more inclined to look for meaning in things. “I believe that luxury is becoming more simplified and it's going back to its core: exceptional quality, very limited quantity, it takes time to create, and it lasts a lifetime,” says Pam. Most of all, she now values having much less but with pieces of the best especially with Qurator Studio and Vestido. Lately, Pam has been in a habit of dressing up even at home. It has also become a habit of hers to re-evaluate her relationship with her clothes with the question “Did I buy it for myself or for other people?”
Like most of us, she is most excited about dressing up again! “I would love for designers to experiment and create a look that will define post-2020-lockdown the same way Dior's New Look defined the post-war era. I'd love to see more colors, personality, and LIFE! I'm excited to see the fashion industry become more mindful and ethical while the rest of us try to keep this mindset permanent and part of the norm,” Pam continues.
On luxury brands creating more wholesome experiences, she absolutely adored Prada's initiatives with its collaboration with Raf Simons. “They've created a familiar and inclusive atmosphere that makes you want to be part of. Experience, education, and creativity work hand in hand in their shows. I especially love that students all over the world are given a platform to chat with the designers after the show. This access is unprecedented.”
Luxury can mean different things to different people but for Cath, new luxury has opened up a space for wellness, well-being, and healing. “Ever since the pandemic started, I have been focusing on small luxuries that will make my day a little bit brighter. It is candles that fill our home with luxurious smells, treating myself to a fine dining experience at home by cooking and having a glass of wine to end the day. These are things I need to recharge and refocus,” says Cath.
After months of only wearing PPE suits for Styled By Cath, she is most excited about getting dressed in 2021. Cath enthusiastically expressed her love for brighter colors this year, “I would love to see bright bold colors that can instantly lift one’s spirit. Knit pieces that're perfect for lounging and can easily be dressed up when going out. Mutton sleeves that're perfect if you’re feeling a little bit romantic.” Luxury takes in many forms but inner and outer peace has got to be its most coveted form.
More than anything, Vern values wholesome experiences as a form of luxury. Since traveling back and forth from Cebu to Manila wasn't easy at all during the pandemic, Vern thinks that living in luxury nowadays means that you can have “safe meetings with loved ones, share a nightcap with friends you haven’t seen in months, having to shop for clothes, shoes or bags beyond the screens of our phones or as simple as having an amazing meal that isn’t cooked at home. It’s crazy how things changed given that these are the things we used to take advantage of before, things we even dreaded at times." We couldn’t agree more when Vern said that luxury in any form is something everyone can finally experience given the fact that we all have so much time in our hands.
Her ultimate luxury must-haves this year has got to be a comfortable mask and a baby doll dress that she can wear for both lounging and working. “The baby doll dresses that made a comeback last year that had a very loose and comfortable silhouette is something that I would like to stay in 2021. It just made the WFH situation of girly girls like me so much easier considering I can wear it to lounge around the house, attend an event or meeting on Zoom and even nap in even on hot summer days. Although, I do miss wearing structured pieces like blazers and coats so I'm hoping to see more of that be redone to be appropriate for loungewear,” says Vern.