If we ask you what luxury is, images of glittering gold and diamonds, sprawling mansions and mega-yachts might come to your mind. And if we asked what is luxury for you, the visuals may change, depending on your likes and dislikes, experiences, culture and age.
For 25-year-old fashion, lifestyle, and beauty blogger Juhi Godambe, luxury is something that she desires, a product or service that she has thought long and hard about before buying. The Founder of fashion brand Arabellaa doesn’t consider “it” pieces luxury. “Most luxury products I purchase are things that I know I will use for a while. They hold a lot of meaning to me,” Godambe says. Whereas luxury for 55-year-old industrialist Gautam Hari Singhania, Chairman and Managing Director of the billion-dollar Raymond Group, is something that he finds very comfortable. The Chief Marketing Officer of online cosmetics brand MyGlamm, Malaika Mahtaney, 45, believes luxury is low-key. “For me, something ostentatious cannot be luxury,” she says.
Not ostentatious but sizeable is what the Crown Prince of Jaisalmer Chaitanya Raj Singh is eyeing at the moment. “I’m looking at acquiring an island in the Pacific Ocean,” says the 25-year-old royal. And Godambe is eyeing an expensive handbag. “I’ve always been into luxury handbags. I got my first one when I was 16, and it was a Louis Vuitton. Ever since, I set aside some money every year to purchase one bag that I really know I am going to use for long,” she says, explaining how she got herself a Lady Dior for her last birthday, a Chanel Classic for her 21st, and is eyeing a vintage Fendi Baguette for her next. Luxury, in this way, seems to be timeless and ageless.
Another tendency that seems to transcend generations is the propensity to spend on luxury experiences more than on luxury products. “If you’re spending on luxury goods then you should also spend on the lifestyle!” believes Godambe. No wonder, luxury travel is one thing that is popular across the board.
Luxury consumers are often judged by what they clad themselves in. And for Mahtaney, her choice brands are Chloe, A.L.C and Zimmerman for formal wear and J.Crew, Massimo Dutti and Everlane for casual; a mixed bag of classic and relatively newer brands. Our millennial fashionista Godambe picks the celebrated 73-year-old Dior as a current favourite, speaking highly of the House’s marketing and product placement strategies.
Illustrated perfectly in the opening scene of the film Confessions of a Shopaholic, the retail experience gives you an endorphin rush like no other. As we see Isla Fisher’s character describing the perfumed racks, cashmere sweaters and shiny new shopping bags, we are taken over by the desire to get inside the screen and grab them. And this experience never grows old. Godambe believes it’s what makes all the difference when it comes to luxury. “I love experiencing the process of looking at a product, buying it, seeing how it is packaged.” Talking from a business point of view, Mahtney, explains how a seamless shopping experience reinforces the luxury perception of the product.
The decision to dine at a specific restaurant is sparked by numerous factors. The reputation of the restaurant and its head chef tops the list for, both, Singhania and Mahtaney, who also value word-f-mouth recommendations from locals while seeking dining recommendations in foreign countries. For Godambe, the “buzz” around a place is a definite factor. Even social media plays an important role for her, as with most millennial who do an online recce before stepping in a restaurant. The place’s ambience must wow them enough to make a night out of it. ‘I like to go out with my friend and have a good time. I’m not into serious dining. The place must have good music and a nice vibe,” she says.
Travelling for leisure and for work are very different ballgames, even for a luxury consumer. Singhania likes his business hotel utilitarian, the one with a clean bed and washroom. On vacation, however, he only looks for premium properties, to spend quality time with his family. Similarly, Mahtaney requires comfort and practicality in hotels when on work trips, while preferring quiet luxury for a vacation hotel. A secluded property that’s not crowded with tourists works best. In contrast, being in the centre of it all is a draw for Godambe. Accessibility scores high points.
Getting to the destination is half the fun, they say, and airlines continue to raise the bar of in-flight experiences tailored for luxury consumers. Fliers like Singhania aren’t complaining. “I expect top-notch service when I fly first-class. As a first-class passenger, the crew must be able to anticipate your needs before you voice the and deliver promptly to make your travel experience superb,” he says. Our royal millennial flier highlights a different priority. A no-noise journey is of utmost importance to Singh. Along the same lines, Godambe flies business for work trips, and sleep is the only reason. “I often have to get to a shoot right after I land. So, I can’t stay up the whole night. I’m also quite tall, so, the extra legroom helps,” she explains, emphasizing on the comfort factor of a premium seat.
For many of us, or work lives depend on the rectangular devices in our hands. Our smartphones play many roles but for a corporate executive like Mahtaney, features that allow her phone to transition seamlessly between all her other devices sit high on the specification checklist. After all, a dynamic work space includes laptops and smart watches as well. Singh require a life with good battery life and camera, something Godambe echoes.
While Godambe doesn’t consider collecting artworks a hobby, our other millennial respondent has a fascinating interest. “I am collecting different fossils from Jaisalmer; it is a geologist’s paradise,” explains Singhania. Last Diwali, he designed an art installation at Phoenix Marketcity, Kurla, that stunningly showcase the fossils that he found. For Singhania, automobiles is a passion. “I am into collecting and restoring vintage cars,” the motor sport enthusiast explains. He was recently elected as India’s representative to the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) World Motor Sports Council (WMSC).