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Opinion

Luxury and “sacrificial success”

Cristina D’Agostino

By Cristina D’Agostino09 juin 2021

While figures and production paces have improved in the luxury industry over the first quarter of 2021, it seems that brands have paradoxically accelerated the “sacrificial success” movement during the last few years. Maisons sacrifice some of their most noble and sought-after objects, considered as pure aesthetical abstraction of the brand, on the altar of desirability. With hope that the temporary and unsatisfied seduction transforms into eternal lust.

Have the pandemic and its repeated business interruptions driven an increase of this new symptom: to stop at the peak of glory? Luxury houses accelerate the pace of capsule collections, a great marketing channel to test new ideas without taking financial risks, while increasing the brand’s desirability, shorten the timing of their accessibility (Prada offers a shirt capsule collection of 50 pieces each month, over only twenty-four hours) and even discontinue some iconic models, at the peak of glory. Of course, rarity will be ever more appreciated, and its heritage value will increase.

Nevertheless, it is clear that the status of icon, destined to be eternal, is not impacted by this “sacrificial success” trend. To the contrary, and this is where the paradox lies. How can this be explained? Digitalization, which makes the message ephemeral by principal, reinforces this trend to conceive creation as passing and not set in stone. The Swap philosophy, or excessive consumerism, favors the ephemeral. The interruption during glory sets the icon status.

It is also certain that beyond the sector of the luxury industry, this new way of apprehending success as “sacrificial” is penetrating other spheres that are more personal. Mastering one’s own image doesn’t happen by jeopardizing one’s needs anymore. Roger Federer, with his tennis icon status, seems to be taking the right path. To willingly stop his matches at Roland-Garros after a victory in order to preserve his physical resources and sacrifice his audience (but not his image) is a new way of managing success.

To prolong the myth through absolute control over glory surges in a stop and go movement: that’s the guarantee of success in 2021. With panache? Nothing could be less certain…

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