28 April 2008

Luxury discourse, luxury drivel

It's a truffle. This small, turd-like lump of chocolate apparently finds itself at the epicentre of the luxury lifestyle. Here's a case in point.

My graduate colleague Kris Mroczek pointed this one out to me - she knows I'm always looking for choice examples of the insanities of luxury discourse. It comes from Katrina Markoff, the "founder" of Vosges Haut-Chocolat - how much hard-to-pronounce French can you pack into one name?

"Some people just see a fancy, expensive chocolate, but once you read the story behind it, it has a strong, renegade, save-the-world voice. ... I always made sure the craftsmanship of my product was super high-end: I used regal colors, created luxurious textures, gathered unique flavors from all over the world, gave it a chic feminine vibe, and mixed it all in with my cause."
Come on! It's chocolate, for god's sake!

It's a description which takes up the luxury discourse in a big way - a language of utterly semioticized, aestheticized nonsense. What/when is "super high-end"? Or, for that matter, "regal"? "luxurious textures"? "unique flavors"? "chic feminine vibe"? It's drivel - both the slavering kind and the twaddle kind.

No, but seriously. Who knew saving the world (from what? itself? chocolatiers?) would be as easy as consuming the Green Truffle Collection which, we are informed, is:
A collection inspired by the spices, teas, fruits and flowers indigenous to Asia, including cardamom, pandan leaf, macha green tea, and Japanese cherry blossoms. Available in the Spring while supplies last.
The natural (sic) consequence of arch-consumer lifestyle marketing? I know it's lavatorial of me, but we also know where that "exotic truffle" ends up. And, it has to be said, looking remarkably like it did at the start. Or maybe that wasn't the start after all? Hmmm... maybe I'll pass when that antique, filigree truffle salver comes round again.

Source: Ladies Who Launch - Entrepreneurship and Creativity as a Lifestyle (whatever that means).

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