By Elizabeth Greatrex
“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
Said Lord Henry to Dorian in Oscar Wilde’s philosophical novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Wilde was certainly a literary genius, and although this story is 129 years old and was more about the moral corruption of a young man than anything else, the themes of his novels are seemingly relevant today. This quote in particular resonates with me when contemplating the topic of luxury. Luxury means different things to different people. If you put 20 different people from different backgrounds and walks of life into a room and asked them, ‘what does luxury mean to you?’ it is evident that they would give varying answers. To some, when they hear the word ‘luxury’ they think of frivolity and superficiality. To others, they think of the most expensive things money can buy. A plane, a yacht, a diamond ring or Aladdin’s cave of wonders. It can be as simple as having a week off work to relax in the privacy of your garden, without having to check a single email. Or sipping a glass of iced peach juice to cool down on a hot summer’s day. To those in third world countries, having access to running water and sanitary products is a luxury. The list of variations could go on forever.
When Oscar Wilde’s character stated that people are quick to consider the price of things more so than their value, it struck a chord about the average person’s opinion of luxury and its relationship with money. Many believe these two elements are joined at the hip. That having one means you must have the other. That money must equal something of quality or something worth having that will give you a cutting edge. These individuals are under the impression that if they are to invest a significant amount of money towards something, they have succeeded in their search for the best of the best. However, they are often very wrong.
Life is simpler for individuals with this kind of opinion, their hunger is more easily satisfied, their personal journey for the prize of luxury isn’t as long or drawn out. However, it is a different story for the 1%. When money isn’t an issue, in a way, things can be much more complicated. An abundance of choice means that the world of luxury is a jungle and it is extremely easy to get lost. But what is it that High and Ultra-High-Net-Worth individuals are searching for? They seek something much deeper and more meaningful than a household name and an impressive price tag. They are in search of true quality in every meaning of the word. Quality and value can come in different forms. However, one thing is for sure, whether it comes at the price of one pound or one million pounds, the best there is needs to be carefully, thoughtfully sourced by those who know the business of luxury like the back of their hand. I’m talking about Listique.
Listique has come at a time when it has become known HNWI’s and UHNWI’s and their staff want this kind of guidance. A directory they can trust, and reasons to spend their money that they can justify with good quality. They want products and services that they can rely on, that will ease the pressures of the often fast-paced and stressful lifestyles they lead, and further complement their quality of life. Phillipe Starck, a French designer known for his interior, product, industrial and architect design, is in full understanding of this. He describes the effect that true luxury and quality has upon one’s sense of harmony:
“Quality at the highest level is the real luxury. Luxury is also harmony. You cannot understand why suddenly, you love something. It is not because it is luxurious, it is because it is harmonious.”
Starck has hit the nail on the head. For the wealthy, what is the point of having ‘luxurious’ things if they simply mean ‘expensive’ and give nothing else? They need to do way more than that, they need to add to the aesthetic of life. These individuals want to walk into their front room as the sun is rising early in the morning, while their family are still asleep, and feel the warmth of the sun on their cheek as they gaze out of their beautifully constructed French windows. They want to sip delicious, well-sourced coffee that won’t give an overwhelming rush of caffeine. They want to treasure that precious moment of complete peace, surrounded by a bright, perfectly laid-out room. To feel soothed by the arrangement of their furniture and its quality of craft and material. To appreciate the rich colour palette of the walls. To glance over at the art on their mantlepiece and to feel ignited by its fascinating historic culture dating back to the fifth century. They want to be surrounded by things that fuel their inspiration, promote a depth of intellect, ease their anxieties and feed their soul and sense of self. To feel safe in the knowledge that they have filled their home with true luxury, true quality, and built their life with elements that will help them enjoy the ride.