Friday, 11 December 2009

The Paradox Of Luxury

Well nothing like the harsh truth to spur a girl on… Having been told in no uncertain terms that my last blog on Harris Tweed was bordering on the obsessive and frankly a bit dull I am back to my witty form and hope to regale you with tales of fun and frolics from The Studio.

But before I do I am anxious to fight my corner on the Harris Tweed front. Not that I want to make a whole Thing about it, because I don’t… But actually I do because I think the point is being missed. It isn’t just about tweed, it is about the Value and Virtue of Luxury. I can understand that not everyone’s idea of fun is a woolly factory in the Outer Hebrides. But I certainly can’t make any excuses for the fact that I think cloth woven by hand in the homes of crafts people is the ultimate in luxury whilst others paradoxically prefer to define the virtue of luxury by measure of abundance. I am bemused by people who think that the luxury status of a product is defined by the amount of money something costs as opposed to its rarity or emotional value. I find it incredible that we have reached a time where in some cases the cost of something can be inversely proportionate to the amount of time spent in its creation. I understand that one could justify expense as a definition of luxury by arguing that the more something costs the harder it is to afford it and thereby creates a scarcity value in so much as less and less people have the disposable income to be able to own it. However to my mind this is a shame because it creates a univalent relationship between money and value which disregards the properties of time and emotion as defining factors. For me craft will always be the ultimate in luxury because someone somewhere has spent time working with their hands, dreaming their dreams and thinking their thoughts whilst working on that piece, product or item whatever it might be. To own that item is to own a little of that persons skill, a smidgen of their time and a fragment of their dreams. There can be no higher value than that.

This probably all sounds a like a rant and slightly left of field but luxury has been on my mind... Last weekend Amiee, Helene and I hit the streets of Florence on our annual girl's trip. Every year at the same time we spend 3 days in this beautiful Italian city. We stay at the super chic J K Place where we share a room and giggle like teenagers. We eat at fabulous little restaurants (one is so little they seat only 16 and serve the finest wines with delectable cheeses and salamis) and get happy on red wine whilst propping up the bar at the wonderful Ringo’s at lunchtime (the best cheesecake in the world. Bar none). And we spend a serious amount of time enjoying the shops, the streets and the markets. Everything is a pleasure to look at and engage with because the Italians really understand beauty and craft. They also understand time. Nothing happens in a hurry, everything is exercised carefully from the hand crafted leather bag to the care taken over the preparation of a simple salad. It is this attitude to life, that anything worth having is worth waiting for that makes Italy the centre of luxury as time is the greatest luxury of all.

Amiee The Luxury Gimp!

On a lighter note, last night we had Team Berman Xmas shindig. We had a big round table at our old favourite San Lorenzo. Totally traditional and delightfully delicious. We had a blast. It was emotional. But most of all I want to take this opportunity to raise our glasses once again to our wonderful team. It has been a roller coaster of a year and you guys have been the bomb. Thank you for everything - your hard work, your integrity, your confidence, your power and your laughter. You make everyday possible and everyday a pleasure. Big up Team Berman.

Team Berman

Millie - Guest Of Honour

1 comment:

  1. Oh Pah! Do not listen to the naysayers. I loved yr Harris Tweed post. I always think blogs shld be a mix of, well, everything, to keep the pace interesting. And it was fascinating, in addition to giving a deeper insight into yr label philosophy. Merry Christmas! LLGxx