I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but the luxury industry has undergone something of a facelift of late. While the old image of luxury conjures 1980s levels of ostentatious wealth, roaring Lamborghinis, private jets and the rest, luxury in 2020 is a very different animal. The coronavirus pandemic has done its part in boosting the switch towards a far more sustainable, healthy luxury lifestyle. The way we vacation, the products we buy – even the food we eat is remarkably different.
These days, luxury vacations aren’t so much about five-star hotels and champagne in the hot tub, as the adventures we go on and the stories we learn. Luxury is an experience, and a true luxury vacation is about travelling to unknown parts, discovering new places, and learning about different ways of life. After all, cookie-cutter hotel rooms can be found in every corner of the world – but sleeping in a clear igloo in Finland to watch the Northern Lights, or under the sea in the Maldives is an experience impossible to live elsewhere.
As we explore the world, each experience deepens and enriches our consciousness. There’s been a switch towards active vacationing as well. Scaling mountains, sailing through remote glaciers, husky sledding; the inspirational value these experiences provide us with are unrivaled, and in the end, that’s what luxury is about: something priceless and precious, that sets itself apart from the commonplace.
Hotels have followed the sustainability trend in their own right. Luxury hotels work with small, local businesses to stock their bathrooms with artisanal health products; they source the greenest electricity providers available; some hotels even have their own herb gardens, where the hotel cooks don’t need to look any further than the rooftop when preparing the menu.
Eating out has changed, too. The traditional idea of a luxury meal is something like foie gras, caviar, an old and expensive bottle of French wine. Neo-luxury looks to local sources for fresh vegetables and proteins, using ideas from different types of cuisine across the world to create brand new and exciting menus, based on flavour palate, health, and ecological availability. We take care of the planet, and we take care of ourselves along with it.
The concept of luxury has taken a turn towards sustainability, and towards experiences rather than tangible products. Larger trends see us moving towards neo-luxury brands like Tesla, which help protect the environment while providing us with incredibly modern, incredibly stylish experiences. Established brands are also moving in this direction. This year, the covid pandemic showed us the importance of caring for each other and taking responsibility – and during the early months of the pandemic, brands like Louis Vuitton stopped perfume production and used their equipment to produce hand sanitizers.
We’re entering a new phase of luxury living, and it’s a fascinating one. Coming out of coronavirus, we can expect to see things change even more. So, what does the future hold for luxury? As we grow and evolve, we become more and more conscientious about the environment, and about ourselves. The luxury market is coming with us. It provides us with opportunities to learn, to question ourselves, to see the world from a new perspective, to treat ourselves and others with respect – and this really is the base of the neo-luxury lifestyle.