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Conference Offers Fresh Take on Luxury

LONDON -- Clean air? Meditation? Water conservation?<P>That's hardly the language of a luxury goods conference. Nonetheless, those words cast a spell over the audience at the Luxury Briefing Conference, held at the Great Eastern Hotel here...

LONDON — Clean air? Meditation? Water conservation?

That’s hardly the language of a luxury goods conference. Nonetheless, those words cast a spell over the audience at the Luxury Briefing Conference, held at the Great Eastern Hotel here Tuesday.

The biannual conference was organized by James Ogilvy, publisher of the monthly digest Luxury Briefing, and the keynote speaker was Jeffrey Miller, a New York-based creative consultant and trend-spotter.

Miller’s theme was “new approach-new world” — and he began by noting that the concept of luxury goods is truly in trouble when you hear words like “nuclear war” and “Kashmir” used in the same sentence.

Since Sept. 11, he said, luxury consumers have been wanting more than anything else to get back to basics, start from zero, purify and pause — before snatching that last Mombasa bag off the shelf.

“Humanity is the new luxury,” said Miller, as the audience scribbled feverishly into notebooks. “Today, social interaction is becoming more important.”

To that end, Miller — whose ideas stem from research and study, world travels, and one or two Deepak Chopra lectures — made a few suggestions for the coming year. They are:

Buy an air purifier or filter. This was aimed especially at New Yorkers who were forced to breathe the toxic fumes from ground zero.

Wear an amulet. This could be anything from a cross to a medal to a leather string. It’s meant to ground and protect.

Meditate. Induced pauses — even if they last only 15 minutes — clear the mind.

Men, get some flare in your trouser legs. “The days of minimalism are over,” said Miller. “Men’s fashion is swinging again.”

Women, no more pointy-toe killer heels. “Enough is enough. Find something more comfortable.”

Conserve water.

Never ignore a coincidence; they happen for a reason. Believe in synchronicity.

Practice pulsing. Miller believes people need to eliminate input — whether it be news, friends, mobile phones, e-mails — every so often. It’s all about turning off, so that you can turn on again.

Join a club. “It can be cryptic, trashy or even a yoga group. The point is to get away from our routines and crawl into the skin of our higher selves,” said Miller.

Get your team together, they will care for you and help you focus. Miller suggests getting some sort of body worker — like a masseuse — as well as an energy healer, homeopath, astrologer, psychic or numerologist, and a nutritionist.

Meditate or pray.

Detox, return your phone calls — on a land line, of course — and repay your debts, of every kind.”