Author(s): Giorgio Riello
We live in a world obsessed by luxury. Long-distance airlines compete to offer first-class sleeping experiences and hotels recommend exclusive suites where you are never disturbed. Luxury is a rapidly changing global industry that makes the headlines daily in our newspapers and on the internet. More than ever, luxury is a pervasive presence in the cultural and economic life of the West - and increasingly too in the emerging super-economies of Asia and Latin America. Yet luxury is hardly a new phenomenon. Today's obsession with luxury brands and services is just one of the many manifestations that luxury has assumed. In the middle ages and the Renaissance, for example, luxury was linked to notions of magnificence and courtly splendour. In the eighteenth century luxury was at the centre of philosophical debates over its role in shaping people's desires and oiling the wheels of commerce. And it continues to morph today, with the growth of the global super-rich and increasing wealth polarization. From palaces to penthouses, from couture fashion to lavish jewellery, from handbags to red wine, from fast cars to easy money, Peter McNeil and Giorgio Riello present the first ever global history of luxury, from the Romans to the twenty-first century: a sparkling and ever-changing story of extravagance, excess, novelty, and indulgence.
Peter McNeil is Professor of Design History at the University of Technology Sydney and Professor of Fashion Studies at Stockholm University. Trained as an art and design historian, he works mainly on eighteenth-century western Europe and on twentieth century Anglo-American topics ranging from fashion to the politics of the domestic interior. Giorgio Riello is the author and editor of several books on the history of fashion, dress, and textiles including the best-selling edited collection Shoes: A History from Sandals to Sneakers (in collaboration with Peter McNeil) and Cotton: The Fabric that Made the Modern World (2013). He is currently Professor of Global History and Culture at the University of Warwick.
1. Luxury, Antiquity, and the Antique ; 2. The Courts, the Church, and Medieval and Renaissance Luxury ; 3. Luxury and the Orient ; 4. Housing Luxury: From the Hotel Particulier to the Penthouses ; 5. Luxury and the Fashionable Body ; 6. Jet Set Life: From Trans-Atlantic to Global Elites ; 7. The Chic of Poverty: The Minimalism of Luxury ; 8. Everything that Money Can Buy? Manipulating Luxury ; 9. Has Luxury Lost its Lustre? ; Further Reading ; Notes ; Index