Forgotten luxury experiences

Vuitton Fall Winter 2012

Writing a note with a fountain pen, instead of an text message or email; riding by train instead of taking the plane; reading a paperback book; going to the theatre to enjoy a play instead of watching TV or a movie on your iPad; sending a postcard by post instead of posting photos on your Facebook; keeping a diary – are some the growing number of ‘’luxuries’’ which are being more and more often forgotten in the astonishing pace of technology which has been taking over our lives in the past decades.

Is luxury only about social status and exclusivity? Definitely not! Luxury is also about comfort, privacy and memorable moments and how best to achieve such moments than looking back at many things we now take for granted and take control of our lives but deliberately slowing down the pace subconsciously instilled by our work and social life.

I have recently experienced such moments and realized how much joy and peace of mind they have brought me. I sat down and wrote a letter to a friend using a fountain pen and not one of those plastic Chinese made pens which are everywhere…I checked into one of Europe’s finest heritage hotels which during recent renovations has perfectly maintained and even enhanced the history and architectural richness of the property and for two days did not switch on TV…I found myself gazing at the stunning views of the lake the hotel was facing, watching boats come and go, playful swans and ducks and a beautiful fountain in the middle of the lake.

While at my classic desk, which was often used by Sir Peter Ustinov, whose photo was hanging by the wall in the living room of my suite (he would very often stay in the same suite), I took out a postcard from the drawer (I realized I almost never open those drawers unless searching for internet connection instructions). I then took the same fountain pen with its golden nib and wrote one of the postcards to my mother. I did not want to drop it off at the Concierge but instead asked for directions to the nearest post office. The concierge was surprised by my question (most likely people never enquire about offices any more) and with a map in my hand I stepped out and walked about half an hour to the post office. Waiting in line to buy a stamp felt so rewarding and made that postcard so much more valuable.

As for keeping a diary and put down my thoughts, I remembered what a good friend of mine, an experienced psychotherapist told me several years ago about how important writing it is for releasing stress and gaining back control of your own thoughts, garnering positive ones and shedding fear and anxiety. He explained that extensive research in the past years revealed that writing on computers or phones would not achieve the same results, as thoughts would actually be ‘’filtered’’. There is also the physical aspect – of written paper, whether in the form of a diary or a letter – which once stored, you can always go back and re-read and still have the feeling that those thoughts belong to you, rather than when you store them on a computer or post them on a social website.

Despite the clarity of image and quality of sound, TVs or iPads can never replace the experience of going to the thetre and watching a play. The interaction with the actors and the feel of being part of the story told is impossible to be replaced by the most advanced xD technology. It is the subtle exchange of emotions which once again create unforgettable moments.

The same applies to travel and of course we can no longer afford days to reach a destination which we can take an hour by plane. But it is the train ride which offers than incomparable sentiment of sitting back, relaxing and taking in the scenery of the nature. I took such a train between Hamburg and Berlin in Germany and could not help but wonder why so many luxury brands miss out on the opportunity to create a synergy with this form of travel – I did travel First Class…

I strongly believe that the world of luxury has the opportunity and the challenge to recreate these moments through these long forgotten experiences which can forge a long lasting relationship between the brand and the consumer. Irrespective of the luxury sector, each brand nowadays looks for the WOW factor. What a better way to create this WOW factor through enticing you as a consumer to create your own experiences that would lead to moments…

Oliver Petcu