Friday, May 28, 2010

Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster

Paris Deluxe Tea time, 9" x 11"
I'm reading a thriller and there's no blood or guts like Girl with The Dragon Macaron Tatoo, which I dropped in the bin after 10 pages.
Paris A wine expert told me about Dana Thomas' Deluxe:How luxury Lost Its Luster. I'm enthralled. It's the perfect summer read or plane read or anytime read and a page-turner. Deluxe gives you the inside scoop on major high-end fashion brands, particularly Louis Vuitton. Remember I took you inside the grand Avenue de Champs-Elysee flagship store?
There's a huge new branch in Bloomies.ParisPhoto c/o Elle Japan
Author Thomas takes you behind the scenes of these best name status brands we've come to associate with must-have luxury. She tears out the lining and looks inside. Things are not what they once were. Formerly family-owned companies have been gobbled up by the conglomerates and the picture ain't pretty. Certainly past quality for the select few has made way for quantity for the masses.Paris Is it all 'Dreckitude' now? Read the book. Dana Thomas says, "Marc Jacobs is King of Paris fashion." I caught him leche-vitrine. The King with Miss Piggy. Another point Deluxe makes is the essential role of perfume to support top luxury fashion brands. Don't we feel great when we own a few ounces of a brand name no matter how tiny the bottle or how costly?Paris Everyone on the planet knows SATC2 is opening today - an OTT excess of conspicuous luxury consumption if ever there was one. Nevermind that. W.H. Smith, my favorite hangout in Paris, is having a slew of fun events starting yesterday!
Dana Thomas will be reading at Cafe Etienne Marcel next Thursday. I'll try to catch her before I board the Chunnel. Elizabeth Bard of Lunch in Paris,
Jamie Cat Callan of French Women Don't Sleep Alone and David Lebovitz of Ready For Dessert will be there on various days too. So if you're in Paris for Gawd's sake high tail it over there. It's bound to be great fun!Paris In honor of Sex and The City 2 Bergdorfs has put on some splendid windows full of luxe items. Window designer David Hoey loves camels and they pop up frequently in the windows for no reason at all. OK so there's a camel or three in the movie.Paris Cary's closet full of stuff that Thomas talks about in Deluxe...ahem One terrific thing Deluxe did for me was demystify the big name brands. I have every intention of waltzing into all the posh Paris joints and acting like I own the place. I will be FEARLESS! Very fearless. Well I'm gonna try. Famous last words...
I have absolutement pas no fear waltzing into any posh Parisien pastry shop. I feel right at home. I know I don't have to worry about being served up any ersats counterfeit macarons bien sur. Have you read this book?
Do tell.
PS *note Parisbreakfast has had a face lift-it's the REAL thing too.


Paris Pastry said...

Bonjour Carol! Love the new PB header! Very pretty.

♥ Daniëlle

Jessica said...

I like the facelift! I never had the patience for watercolours but you handle them beautifully!

Judith said...

Carol, that is BRILLIANT!
I never realized until you wrote it, what an overwhelming need there is for the word.
Not just in fashion, but everything, starting with politics ---
OMG, I can't wait to pass it on to everyone.
P.S. How can perfume support all this superstructure when no one (at least in the Berkshires) ever EVER wears it any more? Do French women actually still wear perfume? Do their doctors' offices not have signs saying Thank You for not wearing perfume? or Scent-free zone?
Peut-être pas!!

Anonymous said...


A bit of a grammar lesson:
It's is a contraction for it is or it has.

Its is a possessive pronoun meaning, more or less, of it or belonging to it.

So it should read: Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster (not It's like is mentioned in the blog a few sentences down).


Barb said...

Hi Carol,
a friend gave me this book when it came out and I have to tell you- totally changed my way of thinking.
Enjoy your read- you'll certainly come out much wiser.

big hugs,

Giulia said...

Love the new header, Carol.

Back later about the book....delighted to hear about it. I can't wait to see the blow-back from LMVH, etc.


PS: I still wear (light) scent, Judith. So do my French friends & we love it. (Not at the doctor, air flights, no of course not.)

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Wow. I'm going to have to read that. It sounds so interesting.

And just when I thought your blog couldn't get prettier, you did it! Love the new look!

Nadia Marie said...

Love the blog face-lift! It looks fantastic! Love this post as well! I think I may just have to buy that book! Your blog is a breath of fresh air every day! :-) Have a great weekend!

Unknown said...

Great post.

I'm actually reading this book right after I finish "Handbook of the Filthy Rich".

I bought it when I was on and found out that most of Burberry is now made in China.

BonjourRomance said...

Bonjour Carol,
I agree with everyone else - love the blog-lift! The first painting is gorgeous.
I would love to head over to meet all these interesting writers tonight, but unfortunately have other plans. It would have been a good time to say Bonjour to you as well!
Bonne chance in London and the exhibition! ITS (grammar alert) so exciting! You're the best Carol!

Nikon said...

Great collection of photos, Carol. I love the SATC2 window displays.

The blog looks great!

highheeledlife said...

Love the new header!!!! You are most creative...

That is a great book... I read it while recouping from one of my surgeries ... It is a great read!!!

Karen in VA (was CT) said...

... Must read the book ... thanks as always .. you got me on "The End of Overeating" ... GREAT NEW LOOK ...

Kimberly said...

Love the new blog header!!

Merisi said...

You not only paint Paris Dreams, you let us dream too!
Merci beaucoup for that, Carol!

I admire creative people like Karl Lagerfeld or family-owned companies who to this day craft masterpieces like a pair of shoe that not only is beautiful to look at, but wearable and lasts long enough so that the investment is worth it even for the working stiff. Enough said.

Shane Pollard said...

What a fun post to read on a cold late autumn morning in the colonies, 12,000 miles away from gay Paris.

I'm going to try and get the book today - I wonder if I'll just get blank stares and have to order thru Amazon.

(Sorry Pia, maybe I'm not being grammatically correct but I'm in a hurry to buy the book)!

Judith, the last thing I put on as I race out the door is a spray of my perfume!
I just don't feel dressed otherwise.

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

Love the new facelift too. Still love that photo of you. I no longer wear perfume. All I seem to attact in the country are the bees. And they quit making my favorite perfume I could wear with out stuffing up with allergies. But I did love wearing it when I lived in SO CAL.

Anonymous said...


I'm just saying that grammar is important (directed at those people who seem to be now a bit offended by my 'grammar alert'). Carol is even requesting that 'Feel free to correct my French KINDLY svp, spelling, punctuation, whatever.'

I, by the way, love this blog, Paris and perfume so I'm not all bad. C'mon now.


Parisbreakfasts said...

Re:Punctuation errors
I've always been generous to an extreme with my commas, hyphens, dashes,apostrophes, you name it.
Being a tad dyslexic (as was Einstein)there is little consistancey in my rotten grammaire.
C'est la vie
On verra bien

As far as the French and perfume go, enter any big Parisien department story and you will experience a free-for-all of spritzing right and left. I've never seen anything like it!
Pick up a lipstick to test and the gendarmes may show up.
Spray yourself and Bear all over and no cares a fig.
Go figure?

A Brush with Color said...

I really love the new PB banner, Carol--I can barely rad the content here for the beautiful watercolor. Merveilleux.

Unknown said...

As someone who HATES how everything has become Walmartized, I love this book. I do think this is why it is so hard for most people to understand why art, china, crystal, fine linens, etc. cost what they do. Everyone thinks everything should be 2 for XX.XX. Not! This is why I love, love, love; Moment of Luxury with Bill Stubbs. He shows us how it is done!

Unknown said...

p.s. if people would wear quality perfumes and not the cheap stuff that is cut with urine (yes! urine!) there would be no need for scent free zones.

Sophia said...

I’m pretty sure I read Deluxe when it came out—I used to read all about luxury brands when I had $$.
Two other books I really enjoyed are: The Essence of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafes, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour by Joan E. DeJean

The Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casual--and the Modern Home Began by Joan E. DeJean

Bonne Memorial Day Weekend!


naphtali said...

Lovely look! Happy weekend to you!!

jeanette, mistress of longears said...

I have had that book on my list of to-reads for some time! Just today, I saw a Marc Jacobs ad in the perfume department of a very blah department store....and it was full of MACARONS! No idea what he's selling there...just bowled over by the macs!
Please add me to the list of people WOWED by the new blog banner!

Shane Pollard said...

I can't write to you direct as you are anonymous, so I am using Carol's platform.

I was in a light hearted frame of mind after reading some lovely posts around the world.

Come on - my comments were "tongue in cheek"!!

Sweet Freak said...

I, too, loved Deluxe—such a great and insightful read! It's must, back-to-back with The Beautiful Fall.

Did I tell you Marc Jacobs hopped on the elevator when I was at Vuitton for a meeting once? Tres exciting.

It's been 32 days since I've had a real macaron. I think it's time to break the drought.

c.weill said...

Nice redesign of the header! I was wondering when you were going to showcase your lovely watercolours more in the design of the site - bravo!

jules @ The Diversion Project said...

oh i miss that LV store. I went in there nearly every day for two weeks running, in the name of research. was trying to decide which uber bag to purchase. Dior won though in the end.

That books sound v. interesting! jxx

Parisbreakfasts said...

me & macarons
You & LV!!

Thank you c.weill-I definitely want to paint more TEA CUPS unles they're mini-sized

JEANNETTE! You saw MARC with MACARONS and you didn't take a picture of something like steal that sign? I know Marc's newest perfume ad features him naked...ahem
But with macarons..are you sure yr not halucinating?

Frances said...

Bon jour Carol and many thanks for the book recommendation.

Have you ever been to the Madeleine Patisserie on 23rd St between 6th and 7th Avenues? Their macarons are the real thing...I know that the owner/baker is French.

I also have a M J moment or two. Before he moved to Paris, he lived in my neighborhood, and I often saw him. He would always stare at my handknit sweaters as if he were memorizing them.

Hoping that your journey will be splendid! Bon voyage.

Parisbreakfasts said...

FRANCES -Puleeze go to Paris soon!
I have visited Madeleine Patisserie from Day 1.
They do not sieve their almond flour properly. The macs are unpleasantly bumpy in appearence.
Taste=too sweet.
Too heavy on the sucre.
Being French doesn't automatically make you a good pastry chef.
And too many of them come here and then capitulate to what they think are American tastes. i.e. load up on the sugar - most disappointing for me.

Anonymous said...

hi! i just stumbled upon your blog, and i'm loving it because i'm here in paris for vacation! :D

excited about the LV store along champs elysees. do they really allow photos inside, and they're not strict about people taking photos?

and is the bergdorfs you're talking about with the SATC2 window displays in paris?? or that was in NYC?

merci! =)

♥ christine

La Bonne Vivante said...

I haven't read this, but now I'm going to; I was fascinated with your review, and now I have to know! In defense of perfume, though, thanks god it is doing well--it is such a source of joy for me, and I am glad the big houses are spending such creative energy on new smells all the time.

Love the blog, and LOVE your artwork. I am now a follower!

MesvitrinesNYC said...

I wish I were here to enjoy these Sex and the City 2 windows! We still have to wait for a few days to watch the movie. I can't wait anymore!!!!!!

Nicole Jeannette said...

LOVE the watercolor!

kimberly shaw said...

This looks like a great summer read, and it's on my list. Thanks so much for sharing it! Your new blog header is fantastic!

Anonymous said...

China is where everything is made and where everything gets re-exported to the Chinese at high inflated prices.
Trust me, I've been there!

Anonymous said...

Guess I don't live on this planet since I have no idea what SATC2 is. I enjoy your blog, but is it turning into a fashion blog rather than an "all-things-Paris" blog? No matter, I always enjoy your lovely artwork. RJ

PeterParis said...

I told you, when reading Stieg Larsson, you must get over the first 100 pages... then you MUST read the three tombs; you just can't stop! Have a new try!

Frances said...

Carol, you have saved me making a mistake at Madeleine's! I had yet to try their macarons, and wanted to hear your thoughts first. Merci! get another chance to go to Paris. My only visit was in 1982! Last century. Too long ago.

Bon voyage!

Margaret said...

I loved Deluxe. Such a fun book! And I was glad that some of my favorite companies, like Hermes and Chanel, came off rather better than Louis Vuitton. (I don't know what it's like where you live, but in Edmonton you can't go ten feet without running into someone dressed head to toe in LV- fake or real. I saw some poor creature at Costco yesterday in ghastly patterned Burberry boots, bag and jacket. I don't really get it. I thought luxury was about quality and can there be any romance in being branded head to toe?


Thank you for introducing me to the book "Deluxe". I have just placed the order to Amazon.
Since I am in this 'luxury' business myself - handmade & one off knitwear, I am very much interested in how mass marketing has transformed the concept of luxury now.
And I love your blog very much. It's always scrumptious! Everytime I read it, it just makes me want to hop on to Eurostar (^-^)

Jenny said...

You go girl!

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