Luxury, always attached to fashion, oscillates between constant change and a return to the traditional. This apparent contradiction keeps pace with current times. Thus, the pandemic has radically changed the perception of luxury, “never a better time to talk about luxury.”
In this way, Jorge Lozano , professor of Information Theory at the Complutense University of Madrid, introduced the round table on Semiotics of luxury, at the initiative of the Group for the Study of Semiotics of Culture (GESC).
Luxury, dislocation, but also gloomy, this is how it is necessary to talk about it in times of pandemic, according to Lozano, who defines this concept as the conjunction of the exclusive and the exceptional. “Luxury is a double and contradictory phenomenon , ” he said.
In this line, Gérald Mazzalovo , an expert in the field, who has developed brand strategies and has been CEO of firms such as Loewe and Ferragamo , defended that the semiotic study is completely pertinent to “know the nature and identity of a brand ”, As is required in the communication strategies themselves.
This analysis tool allows them to see the details that seem most precious to correctly analyze the messages that certain brands, products or advertisements can convey. Like, for example, some mythological narratives proposed by many commercials symbolizing Venus or the reading of the heel of a shoe as the pedestal of a sculpture and all that these symbols imply.
Among the latest trends, the speakers argued that fashion always walks in search of the authentic after the hegemony of virtual representations or simulations, which is why they underline the creative difficulty of finding something unique among mass production.
This drift has meant that firms do not stop producing creative content by launching constant messages, although these often do not find reference.
Within brand building, Mazzalovo divides two attitudes that firms follow: some oriented towards “authenticity”, which do not strictly follow the market norms and conform to their traditional image referring to their own quality, such as French maison Hermès .
And others, who have been adjusting to the new demands of the market and have chosen to reinvent themselves and not relate to what they were before. In this second category includes Gucci and all the companies that have embraced the discourse of sustainability and corporate responsibility .
Mazzalovo also insists that this path is more difficult to follow, since it is not guided by a clear roadmap and that the only thing that defines these firms is their constant change, which is why it ends up weakening their own identity. However, he adds that these companies are currently doing much better than the others.
Therefore, this new orientation towards social responsibility and sustainability, which has been strengthened by the crisis, has redirected the new luxury, according to Lozano, the exceptional at the cost of the exclusive. This is where the concept of ethics, sustainability, in short, of everything that is accessible comes in.
There is also a new phenomenon that Mazzalovo calls “vaporization of luxury” , when the object melts into a context, being the fashion of sustainable and recycled a perfect example of this.
For a company, “sustainable development is now a requirement, as is a finance department,” says the brand strategy consultant, adding that this is driven by the new generations, who are the most capable of verifying if this A company’s message is true or not.
In this way, “integrated social initiatives are necessary that give brand value for their efficiency and competitiveness”. And he claims that luxury brands are the most advanced.
From GESC they highlight the great importance of the cultural meaning of luxury, in terms of the attitude that society has towards it.
So this new attitude to luxury shows a change in perception that we have about the future, where the constant reference to the environment only shows the need for that future to continue to exist, in opposition to what the climate crisis can cause.