Luxury Catalogues: The Word Of Mouth Of The 21st Century

There was a time when you just knew. If you were a wealthy gentleman about town, then you just knew that you could buy fine wine from Berry Bros. & Rudd, get quality watches from Heming, and send your children to King’s Bruton Boarding School, because knowledge of these luxury brands was just a part and parcel of being in that world.

The world of wealth and luxury was an exclusive club in that time, and one’s membership was often determined by the status of one’s birth and one’s family. As such, the brands that catered to high society were well-known by the upper classes, because the reputation and status they had built for themselves amongst the privileged few simply sustained itself through word of mouth.

Consequently, the finest brands never really felt the need to advertise or to pursue the market’s interest; they were simply the best at what they did, and those who had any business knowing about them already knew.

However, things do not remain the same way forever. The idea that the luxury lifestyle is only available to the upper classes is outdated. Society has moved on and the world has gotten smaller, and now it’s just simply not true that the only people who can afford luxury come from classically privileged backgrounds. Wealth and a desire for the finer things in life belong to people from all walks of life.

This has meant that fine brands like Holland & Holland and John Sandoe Books, who used to rely on being in every wealthy person’s little black book simply as a matter of course, have had to modernise. It’s no longer just a well-known fact that they are the best around, so luxury catalogues like Beyond Bespoke have emerged.

In such catalogues, only high quality brands that have a long and established history of being the leaders in their field are accepted as members, meaning that everything that they curate is of guaranteed excellence.

Catalogues like this play a vital role in the modern luxury lifestyle. The cultural shift of the last 100 years has meant that neither the brands nor the consumers of luxury goods and services can simply rely on the luxury world knowing who’s who anymore. This is because the people who are seeking to live the luxury lifestyle are no longer such a tightly-knit, interconnected group of peers, and ‘luxury consumers’ are now a diverse group, rather than a homogenised culture. Word of mouth, reputation and status simply do not work in the same way that they used to.

The kind of luxury cataloguing that they do is the modern continuation of the word of mouth that used to happen between the well-to-do members of society. Whilst once one might have heard that they ought to get their shoes made by Crockett & Jones over a brandy and a cigar in the gentleman’s club, now they see the brand represented when they peruse an online luxury catalogue, and they know that this is a sign of quality.



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