Everyone dreams of a luxurious life. It is a normal human behavior to crave the absolute best for one’s self. However, only a few fortunate ones amongst us are able to fulfill this desire. What is a luxury good? One might ask. To put it in simple words, a luxury item is one that is somewhere near the top of the hierarchy of high-end most expensive fashion brands, placed only after haute couture. They signify extravagance and sophistication. Luxury apparel offers top quality, but also come with quite a heavy price tag. Despite the ongoing recession, luxury clothing brands have only shown increasing sales. Irrespective of the economic market at any given point in time, they have successfully managed to maintain a positive growth rate with ever-escalating demand for more.
Bain & Company, a well-renowned consultancy firm, projected the luxury fashion brand market to be valued at a staggering $274 billion. By 2016, they predicted sales set to reach an inconceivable $328 billion. Louis Vuitton is considered to be the most expensive fashion and apparel brand across the globe and it has managed to lead the high-end clothing brand market since years. Over the years, however, many other brands such as, Gucci, Hermes and Prada, have climbed up the corporate ladder and demonstrated momentous growth. The reason behind their success is believed to be a boost in demand from newer fronts such as, Western Europe, Asia, and North America.
In recent years, many new luxury brands have introduced themselves in the market, but only a few have managed to leave a mark on the wealthy and elite. A major contributor to their success has also been social media. With the extensive use of technology in this day and age, it is important to reach out to the masses in the most convenient way possible. With digital marketing and active social media campaigning, these brands are now not only known and loved by a limited few, but by the general masses. It has also helped immensely in reshaping the brand’s image to a more invigorating one.
Here is a list of the top 12 luxury brands in the market along with a list of lesser known facts about each of them.
Polo Shirts, classy silk gowns, and statement ties –the classic American fashion of the late 60s will be remembered with just one brand “Ralph Lauren”. The fashion world’s reigning superpower –this famous one man brand was inaugurated back in 1967 by Ralph Lauren. Starting from humble beginnings, Ralph Lauren first set his foot into the fashion industry by creating a line inspired by the elitist sport of Polo. Since then, the line has been the primary forerunner for the brand and has designed for various athletic events including, Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Olympics.
Although the company takes pride in producing lavish apparel, it also offers various scents, footwear and home furnishings. With a very strong global market, the brand has hundreds of stores operating globally, whilst also managing other labels under the same brand name including, Ralph Lauren Black Label, Ralph Lauren Blue Label, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Chaps and Club Monaco. Ralph Lauren has based its headquarters in none other than the Big Apple itself, New York City. Wherever one goes, the brand reflects an aura of rarefied living representing classic and timeless fashion.
Often labeled the brand of celebrities, Versace was first inaugurated in Milan, Italy, 1978 by Gianni Versace. The brand’s first couture collection walked the ramps in 1989 after which, Gianni branched into perfumes and home décor. Versace was hugely popular amongst many superstars including, Tina Turner, Elton John, and Madonna. The brand even managed to snag the attention of royalty such as the beautiful Princess of Wales, Princess Diana. Well renowned for extremely alluring styles, Versace very quickly set its name in stone in the fashion industry with brand’s signature style being their siren dresses. Elizabeth Hurley credits her rise to stardom after donning a black dress designed by Versace in 1994. It was a perfect reflection of Versace’s vision as a designer and artist. Within a decade, Gianni built an empire worth $807 million.
Unfortunately, Gianni Versace was shot dead in 1997 and the brand was handed over to his sister, Donatella Versace. She then took over as the new creative director for the brand. Versace specializes in luxury apparel, footwear, bags and textile. To this day, Versace stands high and mighty in the limelight and promises extravagance and glamour in all of its creations.
Another label that hails from Italy is the House of Armani. The foundation for the label was set by Giorgio Armani and Sergio Galleoti in 1975. This label, like other luxury brands, also does business with a wide variety of products ranging from haute couture to home décor. Giorgio Armani, Armani Collezioni, Emporio Armani, AJ, Armani Exchange and Armani junior are some of the sub-labels run under the House of Armani label. Giorgio Armani first launched his brand in 1970s. Since then, the brand has flourished and Armani soon turned into one of the biggest moguls of the Clothing fashion industry. He received attention from the media after he designed pieces for Richard Gere in 1980 for his movie, Gigolo.
From then onwards, there was nothing holding back the brand’s success. Superstars including, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jodie Foster and John Travolta are amongst his regular clients. By the end of 1990s, the brand had over 2000 stores across the globe. The first haute couture line by the brand walked the runway in 2005 and now, it has expanded its business to books, hotels and house ware. The word Armani makes a statement of its own. It signifies class and elegance and is the definition of true luxury.
Dolce and Gabbana “D&G”
Dolce and Gabbana is an Italian luxury brand that was founded in 1985 by Domencio Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. D&G is famous for its chic and statement designs. A particularly loved brand in Hollywood for the same reason as well, D&G has been a frontrunner in the fashion business because of its exclusive range of glamorous signature designs. The brand’s designs emphasize on divergent features and are tailored to perfection. It is a perfect fit for all shapes and sizes. There is something for everyone. D&G has a strong market in apparel, handbags, footwear, sunglasses, and cosmetics respectively.
Christian Dior is the mastermind French designer behind this leading brand. Founded in 1946, Dior has been a forerunner since it first step foot in the fashion business. Dior’s journey is a perfect depiction of the rags to riches story. Dior started from nothing and rose to fame after struggling through his way with menial jobs. He initially sold his sketches to make money after which he was recruited by couturier, Lucien Lelong.
Today, Dior is one of the biggest fashion names in the business. Whilst Dior is well known for women fashion and apparel, it also runs a separate label for men called, the Dior Homme and a separate one for children. They also have a strong marketplace in footwear, handbags, cosmetics and accessories. Dior is like a souvenir from the luxurious elitist lifestyle that everyone wishes to be a part of and implies wealth and power.
Fendi is a synonym for “Haute Fourrure”. Founded in 1925, Fendi is a leading Italian luxury fashion house, particularly popular for its fur and fur accessories. The fashion house is the brain child of Adele Casagrande and her husband, Edoardo Fendi. In 1918, what first started off as a small shop in Rome, selling fur and leather goods, very soon turned into one of the largest labels in the history of fashion. German designer, Karl Lagerfeld, joined Fendi in 1965 and is responsible for the creation of the international Fendi “FF” logo, that soon turned into a worldwide status symbol and transformed Lagerfeld into a fashion industry tycoon.
Fendi is the only brand that has its own fur atelier and is celebrated for its inventive ways in modernizing fur. Throughout history and in popular culture, fur has been portrayed as the fabric of the wealthy. Fendi helped give recognition and progression to the concept by consistently revolutionizing the use of fur, by making it more convenient and less burdensome to wear. Renowned HBO TV show, Sex and the City, featured a clutch named the “Baguette”, in one of its episodes, which soon turned into a very signature fashion trend in the 90s. The style made a comeback in 2009, owing to Fendi, except with a modern twist of “paint your own” coated canvas style which included ten Pantone markers for ornamentation. Fendi is the only brand that has been able to revive old trends with its contemporary take and therefore, is a leading name in products dealing with fur, leather and other luxury apparel. When the word, Fendi, is muttered in a crowd, you are bound to get attention your way. That is the kind of impact the brand has managed to make in the world and it is truly commendable.
Starting its journey from selling outerwear in Hampshire, Burberry was founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry. Burberry has been a pacesetter in fashion, particularly amongst the privileged youth. Burberry, now a go-to brand for many celebrities, runs several other labels under its fashion house including, Burberry London, Burberry Prorsum and Burberry Brit. The brand is based in London and has branches in the field of clothing, footwear, leather goods, fragrances and cosmetics.
With a huge demand on an international scale, the brand has 500 stores functioning 50 different countries. Burberry has also managed to surpass expectations when it comes to campaigning, designing and advertising. If a person walking down the street is wearing Burberry, you can spot their signature designs instantly without even looking once at the logo.
The eponymous brand takes its name from its founder, French designer, Coco Chanel. The name is a statement in itself. First introduced to the market in the 1920s, she launched her first ever fragrance along with the signature little black dress and the Chanel suit that set waves in the fashion industry. The brand follows the sayings of its own curator stating, “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury”. The first shop was inaugurated in 1910, in the birthplace of high fashion, Paris and from then onwards, it was one ground-breaking success after the other.
From the launch of her first fragrance, Chanel No.5 to revolutionizing women apparel with the introduction of the signature Chanel suit, Coco Chanel brought the brand to stardom. The Chanel suit, a collarless jacket and a body hugging skirt, was a major contributor to the brand rise to the limelight. After her passing, fashion designing tycoon, Karl Lagerfeld took responsibility to carry the brand’s heritage forward and took over as the creative designer for the fashion house. With its headquarters in its birthplace, Paris, the brand continues to be a global favorite amongst the affluent. Their products range from haute couture to accessories. The brand values at an astounding $7billion. Coco Chanel gave the word luxury a whole new dimension by simply quoting, “Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.” When a woman carries Chanel, she radiates class and a superior, unparalleled sense of style.
A fashion house budding from Milan, Italy, Prada is the brainchild of Italian designer, Muiccia Prada. Muiccia joined her family business founded in 1913. The business focused on leather goods including hand stitched suitcases, handbags and footwear for the wealthy and affluent citizens of Milan. With the aid of her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, she managed to redefine the brand’s image by introducing new self-made designs. Prada launched a prêt line of affordable apparel. The brand did not stay restricted to just clothing. In 2007, the partnered up with LG to release a series of Prada mobile phones, which proved to be big victory.
The brand was making an impact on all fronts. In 2012, at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Prada put up an exhibition on display, in collaboration with the works of the late, Elsa Schiaparelli. Prada is today one of the most innovative brands in the luxury business with a brand value of $9.4 billion. Prada loafers and Prada handbags are a staple amongst the fashion forward elite.
Guccio Gucci laid the foundation for the brand in 1920, in Florence, Italy. First launched in 1921, Gucci sold extravagant leather goods and crafts. From then onwards, the brand rose to success and has made its mark in the fashion world as one of the biggest fashion houses to have ever existed. The brand takes pride in philanthropy and sends out regular donations to organizations such as UNICEF. Gucci has actively campaigned for children’s education and healthcare and won the love and support of many internationally.
The brand is based in Florence, Italy. With a net worth of $7 billion, they specialize in clothing, watches and leather goods. Gucci’s signature style has continued to make an everlasting impact in the fashion world and is the sole reason why the brand stands so tall today in the business.
Thierry Hermes, the founder of the brand, established the company in 1837. According to popular belief, every product by Hermes is carefully created by one artisan from the beginning till the end to ensure the end result is flawless. Owing to their perfectionist approach, Hermes has managed to set many records in the handbag business, especially with its Hermes Birkin bag. It is the most costly bag to be ever sold at an auction in 2011. The bag sold for an inconceivable $203,150. Based in Paris, the brand specializes in leather goods, accessories and perfumes. Celebrities including, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and Heidi Klum have endorsed the brand labeling it as their favorite in the handbag business
Finally, Louis Vuitton, a label that no other brand has reached up to par with in history and most probably, never will. The brand was launched by Louis Vuitton Malletie, a French designer and entrepreneur. He stepped into the world of the elite after being hired by Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife. Vuitton’s work first received acclaim in 1872, after the launch of his trunk design featuring a beige canvas and red stripes. The brand has more than 200 outlets operating internationally.
Louis Vuitton specializes in leather goods such as handbags and luggage, but also has Luxury prêt, footwear, watches and accessories. The brand is well renowned for being only for the elite with A-list Hollywood celebrities such as, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Kardashian and Angelina Jolie quoting the brand as their personal favorite. Louis Vuitton currently holds a net worth of a mindboggling $28 billion and is thus the most luxurious brand in the fashion business.
The Vuitton logo speaks volumes for the brand. The brand’s signature design has to be their leather handbag with their signature “LV” logo in print. One just cannot talk about high fashion and not mention Louis Vuitton. The brand has been a representation of eternal style and sophistication since it first received recognition and shall continue to do so until its last breath.
Every one craves for luxury. The concept is to treat one’s self with items to make one feel more worthy and content. Luxury apparel brands have managed to be the reason behind these little joys. They allow many amongst us who cannot afford the lifestyle, to work towards that dream and achieve it one day. Expensive clothing brands shall always be at the top of the fashion hierarchy. Every other brand seeks inspiration from them and wants to be them. Needless to say, they shall continue to succeed till the end of time.
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