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What is a luxury fashion brand? To understand the luxury we have to have a taste for it. Hallmark of the taste reÂsts in sensitivity, from feelings. Every one has a different taste, but it is indispensable for eveÂryone. Someone has a taste of luxury, and he can not afford to buy cheap thinks. Luxury brands work on an equal basis. We are not born with the right taste as well as there are no born masters in the right taste for fashion. Perfect luxury fashion brand consist of many eleÂments, as a result of harmony. People wear different brands to express their personal style but also social and class relationships. Luxury brand can help them to be on higher social level, but is it true? Someone can buy one luxury model and to imersonate for rich people in the upper class. A lot of people can buy a Louis Vuitton bag, because it is the Louis Vuitton bag. They do not buy it, because of the quality. These people buy it because of the brand. But it everything depends on the taste, someone will buy the bag because of the quality, another one, because of the brand.
The purpose of this dissertation is to clarify the identity and advertisement of the brands and to find out how they make the luxury illusion. The thesis traces the basic growth of the luxury. It depicts not only the growth of the luxury, but mainly the luxury fashion brands as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Chanel. Their brand image, advertisement and placement in the luxury world.
Buying the luxury products can represent that less people use to buy luxury products comparing to products concerning the physiologic needs. Paradoxically, the luxury products have become the property of the general public.
Every star has a connection with monogram LV. Why this or the other luxury brands change the world? Why everyone want to be stigmatizing by the logo LV? To own the luxury Vuitton bag is a dream of a lot of women. It can be fetisch, prestige, snobbery, fashion, lust for luxury, quality or just not to be different from the other world.
"Vuitton is the McDonald's of the luxury industry," says Dana Thomas The logo LV is known worldwide as the logo of McDonaldÂ´s.
2. The concept of luxury
What is the definition of luxury? The perception of luxury is relative. People from various cultures can define luxury differently. The role of the luxury has been important from the beginning of civilisation as it is in modern society. Earlier, the usage of luxury was confined to the elite classes. The meaning of luxury was pretty clear. The elite classes could be defined as luxury, whatever the poor. Nowdays, it is often interpreting luxury as a phenomenon structured by rivalry for social position and social rivality. Therefor the luxury for some people may be ordinary for othrers. Luxury evokes feelings of uniqueness and exclusivity, and is characterised by products of high quality, controlled distribution and premium pricing (Okonkwo, 2009). Luxury can be also defined by something expensive and extravagant.
According to Tungate (2009) theluxury can be a basic human need. People want to taste the luxury.
The luxury brand endeavour to connect contrary requirements: to continue with tradition and innovation, to be authentic and at the same time to be modern. The emphasis is placed on dynamic development of the brands and primary demand for renovation and creativity.
Luxury brands play an everyday role in our live. But if the luxury good can be found everywhere it loses its exclusivity and becomes ordinary.
â€žThe current definition of a brand has however evolved from marks, names, logos and shapes to elaborate marketing development and strategies. The result is the creation of something powerful and consistent, which has the ability to produce emotional and psychological attachment with consumers and financial value for the brand owner." (Okonkwo, 2007:9)
The luxury fashion brand is created by marketing communication, an excellent quality of the product and fashionability. Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci and Dolce Gabbana are very well established and succesful luxury brands.The primacies between luxuries keep the Louis Vuitton form the beggining of origin, without questions.
"We are what we buy, so for some of us fashion is way to express identity. " Hancock, 2009
Okonkwo (2009) proposes that the brand can not be created only by name. In implication the branding concept depend on customers - their feelings and perceptions from different messages from each brand. She also introduced that the brand concept and name are the main elements of the identity. The concept could be inconquerable and catchy for customers. The traditional brand concept should be always related to logo, sign or label for physical differentiation.
Okonkwo defined luxury fashion brand as brand strenght, differentation, exclusivity, innovation, product craftmanship and precision, premium pricing and high - quality.
Brand concept and image is essentially how the consumers perceive the brand identity. The brand image is an important for consumers, how they feel about a company.
Two men and one vision
"If Cinderella ever needed to replace her fairy godmother, she would call Dolce & Gabbana. This design team creates products that sparkle and has managed to change the staunch and uptight image of luxury fashion, making it fun and exciting for everyone." (Hancock, 2009:53)
In the year 1985 Domenic Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have gone down to the fashion scene. The connection of sociable Stefan and more serious and sedulous Domenic began in 1980 when they met in the design company when they worked. Their relation full of emotion, passion and love in fashion created the key of their succes. Stefano loves colours and patterns. While Domenico loves sharp cut shapes and a perfect style. Their brand shows lifestyle of modern live on the based of tradition. Dolce & Gabbana has very strong brand image. "Dolce & GabbanaÂ´s advertising campaigns have added to their controversial image." (Hancock, 2009:54) Their identity celebrates women and their sexiness, although they are homosexuals.
Hancock (2009) states that the stories of this brand are intended for people who were not expected to wear the luxury fashion. It can be for unusual people who do not wear the brand, but their own image.
"Dolce & Gabbana branding story is about taking the nontraditional fashion costumer and demonstrating how they can be stylish and sophisticated in their own way." (Hancock, 2009:53)
According to Hancock, Domenico and Stefan are sometimes part of their own advertisements and campaigns as models. They want to reflect the spirit, reputation and image of the brand.
Italian named Guccio Gucci had a passion for horse, from this reason he decided to establish a business with leather accesories designate for the purpose of riding horse, in 1921. While Guccio attend his passion throughout his life, his three sons aspired along something bigger and more succesful. For several years the Gucci brand became famous. The brand had a brilliant and classic identity represented with elegance and style. Until then Tom Ford became the creative director. He had a major influence of GucciÂ´s succes, he radically change it from base. With Tom Ford's vision Gucci's image was reinvented. Ford has displayed highly sexual images through his design, fashion shows and advertising.
The importance of the Gucci brand positioning is that is distinctive and has an aura of exclusivity amongst its target audience. Gucci has a wide range of products ranging from shoes, watches, jewellery, clothes, perfumes, eyewear, baby wear, home goods (including furniture, bedding and wallpaper), luggage, handbags and gifts (even including gadgets for pets). The brand identity of Gucci can include the double G symbol, the Gucci webbing - the red and green pattern, the horse bit, the GucciÂ´s signature, the monogram whit the double G symbol and a flower print called the Flora print. Everything from these attributes is visible in each of the collection. Gucci use different promotional strategies than for example Louis Vuitton. Gucci incorporates shocking issues in their marketing strategy to promote brand imagery, Louis Vuitton use celebrity.
The image and aura of prestige surrounding Gucci gives added value to the products. This is created through advertising, innovative designers and the whole experience of buying Gucci
â€žA great dress exist just for an instant - maximum, until the end of the party. Fashion is all illusion. Appearance is all illusion. And this moment of perception of beauty is what matters most. But this moment goes away, it wears off." Tom Ford
The history of modern luxury goes down to the foretime. In 1854 Louis Vuitton and his wife established their own company with travelling case. Louis was made famous for crafting the luggage for Napoleon. It is reason why the brand has become synonymous with luggage and in particular handbags.
"Louis opened his store and established Maison Louis Vuitton. Always a visionary, he invented the first flat trunk, a model that was ingenious, elegant, and strong - the first modern luggage. Travelling took on a luxurious attribute. A legend was born." (Pasols, 2007:51)
The succes of this brand became immediatelly. (Pasols, 2007:54) Nowdays, the handbags and suitcase Louis Vuitton are rhe symbols of social situation over the world. LV monogram design can be considered as the first brand on the product. It was developed in 1896 to prevent from falsification. Nevertheless Louis Vuitton is the most counterfeit brand in the fashion history. This company carefully cultivates celebrities and had used famous models and actresses in their campaigns. LV has a strong support of brand images. Last ten years was very succesful for Louis Vuitton mainly because of Marc Jacobs, the creative director from 1997. The charismatic designer assumed by simplicity and colour scheme.
The principal leather goods lines of Louis Vuitton are: the Monogram line, a historical canvas created in 1896, also available in Monogram vernis, mini, satin, multico and denim; the Damier line in three colours, ebony, blue azur and the Damier Graphite line for men, launched in 2008; the Cuir Epi line, offered in nine colours, the TaÃ¯ga line for men in four colours (LouisVuitton.com, 2010)
The symbol of Louis Vuitton is the monogram that appears on each of the products of Louis Vuitton provides. This symbol has an international success and represents the key symbol of the brand. One point that influences the reputation of LV is their communication and marketing strategy.
Louis Vuitton does not use TV and radio to communicate. They publish commercials in fashion magazines, but not in the public places.
"Nothing is more beautiful than freedom of the body." (Bott, 2007:28)
Emancipated liberal but also angry and egocentric Frenchwoman delivers womanÂ´s body from corset. Coco Chanel has enforced princip of elegance and simplicity. In 1909 Coco opened her first hatterÂ´s in Paris. From 1913 she started to produce also fashion and opened fashion houses firstly in spa centers. In 1919 has founded her own butique in Deauville and Biarritz with the financial help of Arthur Capel. The butique is still there.
Coco has enriched the fashion world. ChanelÂ´s iconic symbols are Chanel No. 5, jewelry, and of cource the black dress. The fashion icon Chanel died in 1971, fortunately, her brothers adopted the brand and they have kept the great reputation of Chanel. Succesfull fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is the creative director from 1983. Lagerfeld has observed the stylish elegance and unconvential themes of famous Coco Chanel. The monogram double C has been still the most famous brand of haute couture.
"The timeless Chanel brand is a perfect illustration of the houseÂ´s determination and talent for Â´suprising without shockingÂ´." (Bott,2007:7)
Promotion, place of distribution
Promotion plays an important role in communicationin luxury fashion idustry. Understandably, one of the main indicators of promotion is advertising. Advertising communicate via message of the brand. Promotion has an enormous influence to costumers, through the images, colourful composition, design and atmosphere of the campaigns and even the store and architecture connected with the luxury brand. Okonkwo, 144
The advertisement of luxury fashion brands is placed mainly in fashion and lifestyle magazines, because of there are the target audience.
The stores are also very important for promotion. Stores of these luxury brands are located on expensive high street locations. For example the window of GucciÂ´s store portrait a provocative images. But the interior of every luxury fashion brand have a free flow layout as its visually appealing and allows consumers to browse comfortably. Everything including décor is rich and classic to add to the atmosphere of the store. The sleslaidies are often dressed all in black and ready to assist consumers in any way. Even the security guard is suitably dressed to add to the image.
Advertisement is all around us. It becomes a strange in marketing communication, psychology and design. It can be a key method in building of identity of luxury brands. It helps to create the illusion of luxury. Design should be about creating the advertisement or campaign with a purpose.
"In addition, the advertisements of luxury brands are means of communicating the brandsÂ´story, starting from their history and development to their personality and image, products and service" (Okonkwo, 2007:145)
Sexual context and provocative pose are in the advertisement for everything nowdays. From parfumes and underwear up to food. But nobody take exception to this. Sex in the advertisement occuring the media. Costumers want to see this. In every fashion magazines is at least one sexy advertisement. The fashion adverts in fashion, or lifestyle magazines are given mainly for woman. These fashion campaigns do not degrade woman as an object for menÂ´s pleasure.The fashion industry wants to captivate. This kind of advertisement can be shocking, but not original.
Dolce & GabbanaÂ´s campaigns go hand in hand with their image. "Advertising must reflect a companyÂ´s capability to convey strong brand images to the global market." (Hancock, 2009:65) The controversial campaigns are the key of their succes. Their campaigns tell a story with an Italian character, sensual and unique style. The main illusion of any luxury brand creates the image of various campaigns.
"The photographer has an enormous influence on the branding process." (Tungate, 2008:103)
The photographers create the image that brings the brand to life. (Tungate, 2008:105)
Stephen Klein photographed spring campaign for Dolce & Gabbana in 2008. The luxury products are defined by the quality and uniquenees. Photos and advertisement from the campaigns could have the quality and uniqueness as well as the products. Steven KleinÂ´s pictures are original, unrepeatable and unique as Dolce & Gabbana. What is the real signification of his work? He is almost perfect master in coloured interpretation of pistures and light moods, dark, erotic, surreal and visual aesthetics. All of these images have an atmosphere and feelings. KleinÂ´s specialisation of his work can be focused mainly on the colours. The colourful representation of KleinÂ´s pictures is the one part which makes it perfect. Colorful precision create every detail and tone for the final view. All of these details and tones have their own reason. Most of the campaigns photographed by him make the dramatical colorful impression.
Light as the most important component for creating of the photographic image, is one of the fundamental parts for the authorÂ´s handwritten. Play of lights and shadows make the campaign clear and readable.
The other significant part for creating of the photographic image is undoubtedly the composition. Particular components create the composition. Campaign for Dolce & Gabbana 2004 can be the clear example of the perfect composition. The whole gathering of people and object has never been accidental, rather on the contrary. The composition is very specificly elaborated from the beginning. For viewer the picture is clearly arranged across a lot of components. At the photography are ten people in the space of an attic apartment with various objects. The coloured carpet, pictures on the wall, lamps, books and magazines. Despite of the image is synoptical. In the left part of photography is a man standing next to the window. Later became visible his violent yellow shoes, which is given to the space by view - through underneath the table. On the table is another man standing, this time with blue shoes. The blue is given to the space in the composition again. Girls on the sofa have their legs matted together. Therefor their figures are not deformed. The girl in front of the image is outstanding mainly because of the colourful shoes, which she wears. All of the images and people from the photography sophisticetely look out and the models do not appeal brokenly. The feeling from this campaign can be random - people just accidentally met there.
The women from KleinÂ´s photographs have enormous long legs, their countenance is lost in dreams and stress the clothes. The womenÂ´s body is exponentiated by motion. Their gesture should express a specific dynamism and earnestness. The models are often captured in a motion of walk, moving of their hands, or beckward bend. Backswept create an excelent effect - the position can be very unnatural, but the issue is more interesting. In Dolce & Gabbana 2006 campaign Klein use the powerful motion. The image applies dynamism, however not dramatically. The detail was seeting to modelÂ´s hands, concretely their fingers. It adds the appropriate elegance. The persons are mutually affected and tell a story by this. According to Hancock (2009) "each of the ads is a story that increases the brandÂ´s mysterious image. " Hancock also proposes that their campaigns are almost cinematic.
Steven Klein as well as Dolce & Gabbana has found an inspiration in some celebrities in between we can include Maddona. The woman of a lot of faces, already the whole world admires, has always wanted to be an idol of women and men. Nowdays, Madonna indicates a trend not only in music, but also in fashion and style. And she is inspiration for others. It was a good step to use Madonna as an icon for their campaigns. Madonna created a perfect illusion for the brand in the new campaign 2010. The images should showcase an intimate, real aspect to the ultimate icon's life.Â She was interprated as a typical Italian, maybe perfect woman, wife and mother. Woman want to be like her, in spite of that it is not real. The whole campaign radiates an energy, Italian temperament and strain. Maddona was portrayed during everydays situation - shopping, washing dishes, and other housework. But openely, is it real Madonna? No, it is just the perfect illusion of the new campaign.
Another luxury fashion brand with very sexual advertisement is Gucci. Tom Ford started in 1990 as a designer for Gucci. After four years he became the creative director and he had a responsibility about all of the product lines - fashion, perfumes, the brand image, advertising and campaigns and even design of shops.
Gucci creates controversial advertising such as the promotion of Opium perfume with a naked photo of Sophie Dahl. This caused uproar in Britain and was banned by the advertising standards, as it accounted for a third of all complaints about poster adverts. However this campaign managed to win advertising awards throughout Europe.
Gucci under the direction of Tom Ford had a several scandals campaigns. Really good example of the shocking sexual and scandal campaign was spring/summer 2003; model Carmen Kass and logo Gucci in the place where it would not be. She isÂ pulling down her knickers and showing off body hair shaved into the letter 'G'. This campaign was photographed by Mario Testino. We can give him a name: realism of luxury. He is known for his highly sophisticated, stylish, clear and fresh images; sometimes he used exotical or sexual undertone photos. But he always shock people by his controversial eyeview on the world. Testino shoted more campaigns for Gucci, but the G is the most memorable.
Supermodels and sexuality sells... Mario Testino worked also for Dolce & GabbanaÂ´s, he shoted the campaign Fragrance. Models from the campaign represent a personality attached to the fragrance. For example Naomi Campbell should represent the star, while Claudia Schiffer should figure the dreamer and Eva Herzigova with Fernando Fernandes figured the players.
The other significant photographer for Gucci is Terry Richardson.
"RichardsonÂ´s lurid, funny, blatantly sexual pictures - famously shot on an old Instamatic - continue to provoke controversy today." Tungate, 107
Terry was drug addict and punk. Only these facts can be controversial in the contrast with the shiny luxury world. This man likes to take photos of nude models. It is Terry Richardson; he brought a shock, pornography, confrontation, energy and roughness to the fashion photography. The very nude woman wears nothing, just the product, placed between her legs. His images are perverse as this campaiign for GucciÂ´s fregnance.
Gucci campaign spring 2010 is all customary a part of a coherent themed. The pictures were probably taken in the same environment with the same overall expression. The environment, bright colours and lightening is confusing. It is not absolutely clear what time of the day is. The lightness is focused on models than the rest of the image. It may be an early morning after party, because the models are dressed for occation. Everything from these images has an element of luxury. The campaign is provocative a s most of GucciÂ´s adverts. The long legs, sexy pose and dress is lifestyle and glamour as Gucci.
According to Okonkwo (2007), celebrities play very important role in luxury fashion sector. These icons must be famous around the world, they have to be the best and talented in their field of producing, the personality of the celebrities must reflect the brand and of cource they should look beautiful almost everytime. Therefore the celebrity must not disguise the brand. The brands used the celebrities to make the brand communicating through their message. The icons show a connection with brand and people want to be like them. "Other personality attributes that the celebrity may have such as glamour, beauty, talent and style will also be ultimately linked with the brand." (Okonkwo, 2007:160) The brand shows the connection between the celebrities and brand.
"The gorgeous people in the magazines and on television unconsciously speak to you, telling you that their lifestyle and material possessions like their clothes and accesories can also make you beautiful and help you become a part of their world." (Okonkwo, 2007:7)
Louis Vuitton fall/winter campaign 2002 - 2003 called "Faity Tale" figured Eva Herzigova as Cinderella. Photographers of this campaign were Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott. (Pasols, 2007:380)
The big companies often use big celebrities into their campaigns. When they also used a big photographer for their advertisement, the succes must be guaranteed. Louis Vuitton is not exception. For a few years the famous photographer Annie Liebovitz creates visuals for LV. She has already externalized the actor Catherine Deneve, politics Michaela GorbaÄov or the famous tennis couple Steffi Graf and André Agassi. The face of their campaign in 2008 was also guitarist of Rolling Stones - Keith Richards. He looks like timeless man with a wild live. Simultaneously, he is still on the roads, almost an ideal icon. Annie Liebovitz was able to catch the emotion and story in this camapign. The campaign was devoted to trevelling. It should display a way over self - knowledge.
"Jennifer Lopez, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Diane Kruger, and Uma Thurman have all embodied the Louis Vuitton woman: desirable, elusive, changeable, and elegant, according to fashion and season." (Pasols, 2007:380)
Madonna is an icon, so it is clear that she appeard also in Louis Vuitton campaign in 2008. The campaign has an excelent atmosphere as all of the VuittonÂ´s campaigns. The atmosphere is like from the old french movie. The smoky bistro, the luxury handbag and a beautiful woman in mini and hight heels - it is the other presentation of one of the richnes singer in the world, entirely for different luxury brand. Famous fashion photographer Steven Meisel shoted this pictures. Steven Meisel can be known as a genious of fashion photography. Consequently it is not an accident that he photographed campaigns for Louis Vuitton.
The new campaign of LV 2010 was also shoted by this genious. It can looks like the era of celebrities in fashion campaigns is over. Only Dolce&Gabanna used Madonna for their 2010 campaign. However, the other luxury fashion brands went back to the charm of supermodels. Christy Turlington, Karen Elson and Natalia Vodianova are the new faces of LV campaign. Meisel shoted this campaign in atelior in New York. They wanted to show a beauty of womenÂ´s body, diversity and more adult aesthetics.
It can be paradoxial that the most influental and luxury brand Louis Vuitton introduced an advertisement, which was consequentlly forbidden. According to Advertising Standard Authority in UK the advertisement could bring the costumers in mistake. The customers could think that all of the Louis Vuitton products are hand made. While, in fact the bags were made on the sewings machines. These ads were made by Oglivy and Mather. There was figured a woman stitching the handle of a handbag, or a woman creating the folds of a wallet. It could look that the women made the handbag by hand, but it was not true.
As well as Louis Vuitton, the other luxury brand use celebrity for their campaigns - Chanel. Although they have similar marketing strategy - many celebrities and supermodels, Chanel is more clasic in the producing of its brand.
From the nativity of perfume Chanel no. 5 it became the most famous and the most selling perfume over the world. This famous perfume has everything what is typical for Chanel - femininity, courageousness, fashionableness, black and white. However, today it is not just a perfume, it is much more. Chanel No. 5 is part of our collective counsciousness, it represent a legend and exteriorize of luxury. In the new advertising spot actor Audreu Tatou became a sixth muse of Chanel No. 5. She goes in the steps of Vicky Hilbert, Catherine Deneuve, Carole Bouquet, Estelly Warren or Nicole Kidman. Audreu Tatou represents a woman with free and equal mind. She can do what she want, to travel by herself in luxury night train. This spot has an atmosphere of luxury. It is story about man and women, libidinous met in the train.They attract together - Chanel No. 5 is killing.
In the new campaign for Chanel lighted up the British singer Lilly Allen. Lilly has considered as a muse of Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director of Chanel for a long time, but now she became the icon of Chanel. Karl Lagerfeld photographed this campaign by himself. The campaign is elegant and clasic, black and white, yet the campaign can feel very playful. As I mentioned before, Chanel does not need shock.
Therefore Chanel does not produce only classic and elegant advertisement Kate Moss wear only long beads with cap in one of their campaigns. Kate Moss is known for her acces to drugs. In spite of this, she is an icon for pretty much luxury brand.
This dissertation has aimed to provide a basis explaining of the luxury fashion brands, and the illusion which the luxury create.
We buy the luxury fashion as a demonstration of our social situation and desire for recognition. Fashion is a symbol of society. It is probably a tool for satisfaction of our sences. The luxury brands could create the illusion by helps of their tradition. Surely, brands as Louis Vuitton, or Gucci have the aura of luxury deservedly. But sincerely, vast majority of the costumers buy product of this brand on the score of the brand. Luxury fashion is not just about the most faked brands. (Okonkwo, 2007:238) says that definition of luxury can be also a dream for someone. To buy a luxury brand is a way to obtain status and enhance the self, satisfying ego needs. A necessity for consumers buying luxury can be that the product's brand image is concurrent with their own self-image. The fashion status and aura of exclusivity is of primary concern to these exclusive luxury brands.
The advertisement and campaigns help the brands create the illusion. The advertisement has an enormous influence for people. In the advert are beautiful women, or men, celebrities or icons. It is the dream in hidden reality. And if we talked about luxury fashion brands, the dream is bigger. People want to live in dream as the people from images.
It is evident that for example Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Chanel use different promotional strategies. For instance Gucci as well as Dolce & Gabbana incorporates controversial and even shocking, sexual issues into their marketing strategy to promote their brand imagery. On the other hand Louis Vuitton use celebrity as their promotion, whereas Chanel especially try to concentrates on the classic and elegant style as mention of history and tradition of this brand. Every brand bring different dream, but it is still dream or illusion.
Wheter the luxury brands have a perfect quality, tradition and exlusivity or not, they create the illusion. Ilussion for people who feel better, more luxurious or highly sociable owing to the brand. But maybe why not? Illusion can make the people feel better.