More entangled in culture and lifestyle than ever, luxury brands have engaged their prized clientele at every level in 2022– from embracing branded hospitality experiences to spearheading digital community creation.
Zyva Studio and Charlotte Taylor unveil a reinterpretation of Mercedes-Benz’s signature vehicle, the G-wagon, France
This year, we have witnessed shifting dynamics between luxury brands and their clients, giving rise to what The Future Laboratory calls Guilded Luxury. In this macrotrend, we have explored new ways in which brands create bespoke experiences for different kinds of consumers, offering personalised services that nurture a deeper sense of involvement and belonging.
Luxury houses will be providing exceptional access to rare moments and niche communities for their most prized clients – a white- glove service that spans every aspect of their lives. For younger or digitally orientated audiences, virtual collectibles and tokens will provide new paths to luxury while building online communities of luxury consumers of tomorrow.
In many ways, luxury brands are morphing into members’ clubs, with tiered levels of access offering different benefits and services, be they private boutiques for the highest spenders or NFTs for the digitally driven that deliver early access to new or bespoke products. Indeed, Bain & Co reports that by the end of 2030, digital assets and the metaverse will comprise 5–10% of the luxury market.
Brands will also become facilitators to satisfy the needs of individual luxurians and assist them in their pursuit of self-growth. ‘For VIP clients, the luxury brand is transforming into a travel agent, hotelier and cultural compass, always providing a five-star concierge service,’ says Christopher Sanderson, co-founder of The Future Laboratory.
The Big Idea: Luxury landmarks reshaping cities
In the backdrop of economic recession hindering consumer confidence and the rise of Gated Retail, luxury companies will have to compensate for the rise of exclusivity in the sector with more public-facing projects that can help them remain culturally relevant.
We are seeing businesses in the sector renovating historic monuments and refurbishing public spaces, transforming them into new hubs of luxury, from hotels and landmarks to gardens.
In France, LVMH-owned fragrance company Maison Francis Kurkdjian is partnering with the Château de Versailles to fund the development Perfumer’s Garden, brimming with plants and flowers historically used in perfumery. Supporting fragrance-making’s legacy is central to this project, while also opening the gardens to the public for the first time in 2023.
As LSN:Global noted in the Legacy Spaces section of our Hyperphysical Stores macrotrend, companies are investing in landmarks and monuments to amplify their own heritage and create experiences beyond retail or hospitality. Examples include luxury house Fendi, which became a patron of vast archaeological site Parco Archeologico del Colosseo, and has been involved in renovating the Temple of Venus and Roma, a significant ancient Roman landmark. Other charitable endeavours that Fendi has undertaken in the city include the restoration of the Trevi Fountain, which then served as the backdrop of the company's haute couture show.
Britain’s Old War Office to become Raffles London at The OWO by late 2022, UK
The Campaign: Gucci Valigeria
Gucci Valigeria at The Savoy, UK
Luxury houses are further blurring the lines between retail and hospitality to unlock new exclusive branded experiences. One such example is Gucci’s collaboration with The Savoy for the opening of a pop-up luggage boutique in the famous hotel.
The Gucci Valigeria offered diverse travel leather goods – including trunks, suitcases, holdalls and handbags – but also board games, travel pet accessories and skateboards, most of which are part of the exclusive Gucci Savoy collection. Guests who booked the hotel’s Royal suite, decorated by Gucci in 2021, could enjoy additional perks including a dedicated butler and use of The Savoy’s Rolls-Royce.
‘The Savoy is constantly evolving to accommodate the changing desires of sophisticated global travellers; the suite caters for the needs of a style-driven high-net-worth guest while the Valigeria can provide a taste of luxury to a much wider audience,’ says Franck Arnold, managing director of The Savoy.
The partnership reflects long-standing ties between the two companies, which originated when Guccio Gucci first came to London in the late 1890s and was hired as a porter by the hotel, and caters for HNWI consumers’ appetite for Gated Retail concepts.
The Interview: Aeir
Enrico Pietra and Rodrigo Caula, co-founders, Aeir, US
LS:N Global sat down with Enrico Pietra and Rodrigo Caula, founders of Aeir, a carbon-neutral luxury company that specialises in synthetic fragrances, and part of our Futures 100 innovators. We discussed how the pair’s background working at the intersection of luxury, sustainability and biotechnology has led them to the fragrance sector.
Aeir’s line of fragrances – unlike traditional brands – is entirely lab-made, protecting the environment from the extraction process, resulting in a product with the lowest carbon footprint possible. ‘It’s not that we oppose the use of natural resources; we just believe we should be extremely aware of our impact when doing so’ Rodrigo Caula comments. ‘Extracting 350 tons of flower petals or chopping down ancient forests to produce a single oil can cause severe environmental implications. The perfume industry should take a step back and look at what impact it is having at scale.’
The silver coating achieved on the packaging is produced through a process developed by NASA that not only creates a sleek design but creates zero waste. The duo wanted to use silver for its association to historic codes of luxury, creating a packaging which doubles as a collectible keepsake object. Aeir founders think this is a way to future-proof their business, as younger generations are increasingly knowledgeable about luxury timepieces and drive a comeback of traditional savoir-faire pieces, such as cutlery or silverware.
The Space: Life Time
Life Time Living Green Valley, US
At LS:N Global, we have been monitoring new developments in luxury real estate in 2022. Following the rise of Automotive Accommodation, in which premium car brands enter the residential market, a new trend is catching on: wellness real estate. Life Time Living is 'an athletic country club' offering semi-furnished flats for fitness fanatics.
The all-inclusive wellness village is a 16.5-acre property located in Henderson, Nevada. Its biggest draw is an extensive list of wellness amenities. In addition to a gym, pool, spa, pickleball courts and concierge services, residents also have access to weekly meal plans, personal chefs and aestheticians.
The facility, which was designed to foster community and social interaction, also has a private pool, a work lounge with a coffee bar, and dining room and bar spaces that can be reserved.
Although this is Life Time Living’s first residential complex, the company already has plans to expand the concept to Dallas and Miami, turning itself into a fully-fledged Brandlord.
Download the Future Forecast 2023 report
Victoria Ling for The Future Laboratory
Now that you know what shaped 2022, discover what’s on the horizon. Download our Future Forecast 2023 report comprising 50 new trends across 10 key consumer sectors, insights from our analysts and interviews with global innovators.
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