When we visited Venice this summer in August, the main topic was LUXURY. The Italian Pavilion at the Biennale had a section of the Venetian definition of luxury and presented bejeweled shoes by René Caovilla, a traditional Venetian shoemaker, tapestries by Rubelli and fine jewelry by Buccellati, of course all Venetian merchants, artists and producers of beautiful things during those times and still today in a century when luxury has more than one side to it.
We stayed at the renovated Palazzo Papadopoli which belongs to the Arrivabene family and was transformed into a hotel by the Aman group in 2013. The Aman Venice is the ultimate luxury hotel with six stars, close to the Rialto Bridge with one of the grandest gardens in Venice and covered with frescoes, antique tapestries and original art treasures that remind you more of a museum than a luxury hotel. Is this the modern version of luxury? We think so, as Aman, which translates as peace and shelter, stands for the respect of the venue and the people, for uniqueness, for the outstanding, the arts, silence and space. True luxury.
Over a delicious breakfast of buffalo yoghurt with caramelized strawberries and poached eggs and green Sencha tea while temperature where rising up to 37 degrees, we thought, yes, this moment is as precious as maybe the latest handbag for someone else.
Reading the business section of the New York Times that same morning I learned that Gucci had a 43,4% increase in sales in the first six months of 2017, with the Kering Group being the top winner of luxury growth. Good news and what a well done move from Pinault to choose Alessandro Michele to be the creative director of Gucci. Michele is to be congratulated for the incredible success of the brand and known for his playfulness. Like a kid he combines vintage antiques with pop colored designs. As Picasso once said: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Alessandro Michele is not Picasso but he copied the concept and gave Gucci a new vibe.
The Asian market especially is looking for that new product, that new vibe and you can also find it in Venice’s Fondacio dei Tedeschi, the newly opened department store next to the Rialto bridge, a mere 700 meters from the Aman Hotel. The shopping Palace is aptly run by DFS Group, a Hong Kong based retail giant, owned by a LVMH. We visited it yesterday and it gave us a new perception of luxury from the other side of the world. Where high fashion brand accessories are a statement and the latest it-bag is like the private hotel garden for someone else. Or is the private garden the next step of luxury and the Gucci bag the luxury for beginners?
That came to my mind when my 14-year-old nephew had a Saint Laurent T-shirt on his X-mas wish list, which I shopped together with him as visiting the Saint Laurent store on Bond Street was a big part of my present. He is an even bigger fan of the brand now and I found out weeks later why when he proudly told me that the sales person had sent him a handwritten letter asking if he still likes his T-shirt and if everything is fine. Well, how nice and caring of the brand and how frightful that my 14-year-old nephew is their new customer target group.
Later that day when we left the Aman Hotel and the lady at the reception handed me a tiny tin box with homemade fresh mints, I understood my nephew’s happiness. How well thought of the hotel to give me some fresh mints on my way to travel during the biggest Italian heat wave since 60 years.
So now, I think I understand the various facets of luxury and I can say that I have found my way.
This post was made possible by the kind support of Aman Resorts.