STATUS UPDATE What’s a status symbol for the super rich in 2017?
Technology means life’s luxuries have never been more accessible to the masses. So what’s a true status symbol for the super rich in 2017? GEORGINA SAFE asks the experts
In an era when anyone can rent a private island for their next holiday on Airbnb, a Vionnet gown for a night via Armarium.com or a chauffeur-driven Rolls courtesy of Uberlux — with one click of the mouse — it’s fair to say the goalposts have moved, luxury-wise.t hanks to technology, you no longer have to be a billionaire to act like one — for a few hours, at least. So where does that leave the genuine article — especially now there are so many more of them (hello, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel) who have made their fortunes through technology? You could say the bar of “normal” has been raised for the super rich.why buy a Maserati to drive to your bolthole on the Mornington Peninsula when you can bag a Spacex spacecraft to fly to your private retreat on Mars? The sky is literally no limit when it comes to living large. But don’t for a moment think you need to flaunt it as you spend it: conspicuous consumption is out and discretion is the new black. ‘Authenticity’ and ‘self-actualisation’ are the buzz words, and health and happiness the new status symbols — but that doesn’t mean you can’t also indulge in the odd triple-michelin-star restaurant meal or collectable handbag along the way.the aim of the game now is extraordinary experiences that help you become an extraordinary person, because, to quote the adventurer and writer Ernest Hemingway, “there is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. true nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”
We asked four luxury connoisseurs to gaze into their crystal (obviously) balls and define what a true status symbol equates to in 2017.
Co-founder of seriously luxe concierge service Quintessentially, whose latest project is the world’s biggest superyacht
“Luxury is having access to something unnecessary or rare. For people who can pay up, buying into this is getting the rarest Patek Philippe or Birkin ever made, staying in five-plus-star hotels and travelling on private jets, and I don’t think this will ever change.the super rich will always want to invest in luxury in this way, as there’s an indisputable sense of status attached to these sorts of commodities, but now, increasingly, luxury is less about materialism and more about rare experiences, untapped destinations and learning extraordinary skills. Status now is less about ‘what I have’ and more about ‘who I am’. Our members are spending more money on things that will enable their self-development — masterclasses with the world’s most influential tastemakers; pushing themselves to run marathons, climb mountains, sail the Atlantic, challenging themselves mentally and physically; and investing in life gurus who can help them build on professional and personal relationships. It’s much more impressive to say,‘look at what I’ve done or learnt’ than ‘Look how many cars I have.’
“Our top request is and always has been for restaurant reservations or last-minute tickets.we’ve had requests for instant access to private members’ clubs, perfectly designed trips outside London, a lot more requests for male grooming,funnily enough.our Hong Kong members are much more focused on their children and place a lot of academic requests. Our Middle Eastern members are big on hotels — they’re the biggest spenders in this area — as well as luxury retail and luxury car rental. Recently, one Dubai member flew over a small team of Lamborghini mechanics from London to Dubai to service and repair his windscreen because he wasn’t satisfied with the service in Dubai.”
Co-founder of Vie Active, an activewear brand with a store on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, California, where all
the Silicon Beach tech titans shop “Extreme luxury today is about time and unfettered access to health and wellness.to have the time and financial means to go to a daily $50 spin class, add a $200 superfood powder to your smoothie and book a biannual wellness retreat in Bali is without doubt a luxury, but this luxury is also more accessible than ever before. Luxury today is a state of mind: a feeling of being at your peak but also feeling more balanced and peaceful. Everyone today wishes they were healthier, fitter or stronger. I am a big believer that health is the new wealth. Physical fitness is now a status symbol: toting your green juice post Soulcycle class says something about the kind of person you are. It is no longer what you are wearing on your body, but your actual body that becomes the new luxury status symbol.a status statement in 2017 is defining your own brand, look and feel. For me that is the idea of rocking a pair of leopard leggings with an investment leather jacket, a cashmere sweater and a green juice in hand post 6am workout. It is a conscious choice to create a look that states the lifestyle we choose to live. For many women, that lifestyle choice means putting your health first and spending money on yourself, not just on logos and materialistic consumption.trends like personalised meal plans, studio fitness classes and activity-based vacations are all part of this movement.
“There’s a sense of conscious consumption today, rather than conspicuous consumption. Consumers don’t just shop the most expensive price point, they align with brands on an emotional and psychological level. Some of the most popular purchases today are private training sessions with the girls from Body by Simone in New York and Los Angeles, unique experiences like heli-skiing in Sun Valley, Idaho, or buying private jets or Teslas.”
Luxury developer and designer specialising in turnkey properties such as the $20 million Mosman, Sydney,
pile Justin Bieber rented recently “Extreme luxury is flying on your own Spacex Spacecraft with Elon Musk as your pilot to your private estate on Mars where everything is made from recycled materials. Luxury has become a commodity because too many brands lay claim to it to elevate their offer.true luxury is a profound experience that has the ability to transport you to a different reality. A status statement today is all about experience, so booking yourself a seat on Virgin Galactic is probably a good start!
“Luxury is now not only defined by the product’s value, quality and performance, but also by the exclusivity it has in the marketplace. It is the lack of availability to those who can easily afford it but still cannot get access to it that creates a nearly unquantifiable level of luxury to the select few who can obtain it. As the world’s number of billionaires grows globally, and their respective ages are now spread from millennials to those in their much later years, what each generation looks for differs greatly.
“Millennial billionaires want to make changes to the world in the way populations live and communicate now and in the future. They are not interested in ‘ownership’ of what we know as status symbols, they want instant satisfaction through experiences. One week they may be renting an island in the Caribbean, then flying by private jet — a different make and model to the one they flew on to the Caribbean — to spend a week in a chalet in Aspen at a mountaintop estate.the older billionaires are more focused on ownership — accumulating status symbols and multiple homes around the world. In this respect, turnkey homes [houses sold completely furnished and curated] are a level of luxury that is rarely experienced, because they are a holistic approach to architecture, interior design, technology, artwork and functionality.they create a sanctuary and an experience that transports you to a reality far away from that which lies outside the boundary walls.
“The billionaires of today are looking at everything available, so I always need to push the boundaries of what is possible in design and functionality. I am creating a home for someone who does not want compromise: design, rare materials and perfect execution is what they pay for. Handpoured marble floors, contrasting with bespoke timber baths and vanities made from white American oak, Tibetan silk rugs, bronze custom-made furniture from Paris, imported curtain fabrics from Milan, artwork acquired from Sydney, New York and London, beds with Egyptian cotton sheets, cashmere blankets, Siberian goose down pillows,wedgwood cutlery and crystal glassware, multiple kitchens, floating gardens, media rooms. Fully integrated audio-visual, security and lighting systems, underfloor heating and climate control throughout, electric internal and external curtains, blinds and awnings, the ability to microchip your wardrobe so it can be logged into your dressing room television. An interactive mirror that will allow you to visually scroll through your wardrobe and create outfits, mirrors that can film you so you can see yourself from all angles, just to make sure your outfit looks perfect, fingerprint scanners to open doors … This is where the luxury turnkey market is.
Another ultimate luxury is the Mach One motor yacht, which pushes the limits of what is possible on water in terms of speed, design, performance and technology.”
Senior vice-president of sales & marketing at the Oetker Collection luxury hotel group, which includes Eden Rock, St-barths, and Hotel du Cap-eden-roc, Cap d’antibes
“Luxury is rarity and uniqueness; those doors that open for you only.this may mean visitingversailles on Monday when the site is closed to the public and being able to walk through the chateau in the company of Sofia Coppola, who directed Marie Antoinette a few years ago, or it could mean securing the last two seats for Don Carlos at the Bastille Opera in October with a cast of singers no one will ever see all together again. Extreme luxury has little to do with gold, diamonds and oversized suites or expensive watches. It’s about unforgettable experiences. It is about yearning for anything you don’t have in your everyday life: a garden to stroll at dawn, someone you completely trust to look after your children, a whole day to read a book and not worry about what’s in your inbox, or a one-to-one conversation with a writer you have always dreamed of meeting.
“When it comes to guests and what experiences they want to have in our hotels and resorts today, exceptional hospitality is about no surprises, huge smiles and genuine personalities and definitely no attitude. Guests want recommendations on how to better explore, smell and breathe their destination, and, above all, they want a stay that resembles them, which allows them to be their true selves and to stay apart from the crowds.younger billionaires aren’t so much suite bookers. What they want is an exceptional situation, view and product, and, more importantly, to stay close to friends or family. Today’s eating preference goes to healthier, organic, local food, but it doesn’t mean guests won’t fancy a three-michelin-starred restaurant. But what has changed — for the good, I am sure — is the etiquette.there should be no more long faces or intimidating attitudes in luxury restaurants. Dining today must be a moment of pure pleasure and enjoyment.”
A turnkey home on Coronation Avenue, Mosman, Sydney. Left: model Martha Hunt trains with Body by Simone in LA. A private tour of the Palace of Versailles, France.
Heli-skiing in Sun Valley, Idaho. An exclusive holiday rental: Necker Island in the Caribbean.
Travel to Mars on a Spacex spacecraft.