Luxury Shopping: Dressing down could signal more purchase power

A recent study of Harvard Business School about nonconformity suggests that dressing down might actually signal more purchase power and intent than someone wearing a luxury outfit. The research, published in the Journal of Consumer Research and authored by doctoral student Silvia Bellezza and two Harvard professor found that luxury shop assistants in Milan perceived those outfitted in gym clothes as more moneyed than people who were dressed up.

The trend described by CPP‘s Oliver Petcu as ‘anti-luxury’ has been growing at an astonishing pace in the past years of financial crisis. ‘From Moscow to Beverly Hills, from Mumbai to Beijing, anti-luxury has become the ”new luxury” says Oliver Petcu.. Wearing mix & match –  a non-branded apparel item with an ultra-luxury handbag – has been embraced by luxury consumers of all ages, irrespective of the social status category and, most importantly, connoisseurship. adds Oliver Petcu.

This is now overtly expressed in luxury marketing, with traditional ‘brand ambassadors’ replaced by commoners who illustrate a well defined lifestyle class – see Dolce & Gabbana’s repeated 2013, 2014 and now 2015 ad campaigns which depict Southern Italym specifically Sicily – home to the creative duo behind the brand). Generation ‘cross-overs’ is yet another luxury branding strategy, with luxury power-brands such as Lanvin opting for ‘mother & daughter’ models,  Celine for a former Vogue Editor turned writer of over 70 years old, and Saint Laurent for singers and actors well into their late 60′s, mid-70′s

The abrupt transitioning  from ‘Sex & The City’ to ‘GIRLS’ (both HBO series) pop culture has probably been the biggest source of inspiration for many top luxury brands in their ‘cool transitioning’. Sarah Jessica Parker’s apparent failure to embrace luxury marketing is now turning in her favor, with an affordable luxury shoes line which is mass-distributed.

But what about logo-mania and the fear of losing exclusivity over excessive retail exposure? Oliver Petcu reckons: ‘Louis Vuitton’s second airport store opening, in London last month, refutes any theory related to over-exposure which may result in loss of exclusivity. Luxury retailers are waking up to a new reality which is SERVICE & RELEVANCE, which are the essence of the key motivational factor for luxury which is lifestyle. Consumers are no longer willing to condone mediocre customer service and purchase challenges such as product availability.

Louis Vuitton Heathrow Terminal 5 London store