11 September 2009

The nonsense of luxury

There've been lots of snippets sitting on my desk(top) waiting to be posted through the summer - now's the moment.

Back in 2001, in a Guardian newspaper article reported Rem Koolhaas' collaboration with Prada to design a "flagship" store in the Guggenheim museum in New York. Koolhaas apparently offered this seemingly deep definition of luxury:

Luxury is stability.
Luxury is "waste".
Luxury is generous.
Luxury is intelligent.
Luxury is rough.
Luxury is attention.
Luxury is not "shopping".
I really don't think I know what this all means. I'm certainly unclear why "waste" and "shopping" are scare-quoted. Any thoughts? Is the House of Prada (and the likes) merely a House of Medici for the 21st century? Are there to be no spaces - physical or metaphysical - to be left non-commercial, non-capitalized, unsold? In this regard, I rather liked the journalist's comment
You can see both art and fashion as a form of alchemy. Fashion turns shirts sewn together for pennies in Indonesia into high-ticket, high fashion. Art makes the base metal of canvas, fibre- glass or dead shark meat into the raw material of the auction-room.
Now that I get. That, I, er ... buy.

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